All posts by Griffin Mathiews

Grizzlies trade Ennis to the Pistons

The Memphis Grizzlies traded shooting guard/small forward James Ennis to the Detroit Pistons in exchange for power forward Brice Johnson and a 2022 2nd round pick.


Pistons grade:

The Detroit Pistons definitely got the better end of this deal as they are getting a useful role player at least for the remainder of this season. James Ennis can provide some offense off of the bench occasionally, but he is more known for his defensive skills. Ennis will provide some Pistons with some much needed depth and versatility especially after they recently traded Avery Bradley and Tobias Harris. Also, the Pistons are only giving up G-League power forward Brice Johnson and a 2022 2nd round pick that probably won’t amount to much. Detroit is all-in on competing for a playoff spot this season and this trade will certainly be beneficial in the short-term.

Grade: A


Grizzlies grade:

This trade makes some sense for the Grizzlies as they are getting at least something in return for a player that likely would have departed this offseason anyway. Brice Johnson is a player with some decent upside as he is still only 23 years old, but he will likely need a lot of development in the G-league before he is ready to make an impact in the NBA. Also, the Grizzlies are receiving a 2022 2nd round pick in this deal which probably will be a low-end 2nd round pick and it likely won’t help them out much. This isn’t a very good return for a solid role player, but give the Grizzlies credit for at least getting something in return for a player that probably would have left after this season.

Grade: C+


Magic trade Payton to the Suns

The Orlando Magic are moving on from young point guard Elfrid Payton as the team dealt him to the Phoenix Suns in exchange for a 2018 2nd round pick.


Suns grade:

I really like this trade for the Suns because they are receiving a player with very high potential, but at a very low cost. Elfrid Payton is a very good role player already and he has the potential to be a good starting point guard as well. The Suns were looking for help at the point guard position and this will certainly help in the short-term even though the Suns aren’t competing for a playoff spot this year. However, it also helps Phoenix long-term as they continue their rebuilding efforts since Payton provides the team at least with a very quality role player for the future. The Suns are getting a player that they can use for years to come basically in exchange for a mid-end 2nd round pick that might not amount to anything.

Grade: A


Magic grade:

Elfrid Payton was a draft pick of the old regime in Orlando a few years ago and clearly the new Magic front office didn’t view Payton as having much of a role with the team in the future. Payton played somewhat well as a starting point guard for Orlando, but he never quite turned into the complete prospect that the team hoped he would be. It is disappointing that the Magic only got a 2nd round pick in return for Payton considering that he was a top 10 pick a few years ago. However, it was wise for the Magic to let go of him now rather than letting him go for nothing in free agency.

Grade: C+

Trail Blazers trade Vonleh to the Bulls

The Portland Trail Blazers traded power forward Noah Vonleh to the Bulls in exchange for the rights to Milocan Rakovic.


Bulls grade:

Noah Vonleh has been a major bust in the NBA since he was drafted 9th overall in the 2014 draft. However, Vonleh is still only 22 years old and there is the possibility that the Bulls could develop him into a decent role player. The Bulls are a perfect fit for Vonleh since they are a team in rebuilding mode and they can afford to give him more playing time than any other NBA team could. Chicago is giving up nothing in return for Vonleh as Milocan Rakovic is a 32-year old player that will likely never play in the NBA. This is a very low-risk trade for Chicago and there is a potential that they could develop Vonleh into a decent contributor for their team.

Grade: A-


Trail Blazers grade:

This trade is specifically for financial reasons as this deal helps the Trail Blazers fallow below the luxury tax threshold for this year. Noah Vonleh wasn’t much of a contributor for the team anyway as his minutes had been declining dramatically recently. The Trail Blazers are receiving nothing besides financial relief in this deal as Milocan Rakovic is just a player that was drafted in 2007 who has no intention of ever playing in the NBA. Overall, this was a decent trade for Portland as it clears up some salary and a roster spot for a cheaper bench player.

Grade: B-


Bulls trade Nelson to the Pistons

The Chicago Bulls found a suitor for veteran point guard Jameer Nelson as the team traded him and a 2022 2nd round pick to the Detroit Pistons for center Willie Reed and a 2022 2nd round pick.


Pistons grade:

Jameer Nelson is a good veteran leader at 36 years old, but besides that he won’t provide much value to the Pistons. Nelson is a washed out point guard and he likely won’t have much of a role on the Pistons as they are already relatively deep at the position. However, Detroit gave away backup center Willie Reed in this deal which doesn’t help the team much since they already were thin at the center position. Also, swapping 2nd round picks in 2022 isn’t ideal since the Pistons will likely be rebuilding at that point in time. This just seems like a waste of a trade for Detroit as it really doesn’t benefit them immediately or in the future and it could actually make the team worse.

Grade: D+


Bulls grade:

This trade makes sense for the Bulls as they are getting a minimal return for a 36-year old point guard that doesn’t provide much anymore. Nelson was taking away minutes from some of the younger guards on the Bulls roster so it didn’t make sense to keep him around since he doesn’t provide any short-term or long-term value. The Bulls are receiving Willie Reed in this trade, but he will be waived by the team as he was just an add-in for this trade. The real value in this trade is that the Bulls are swapping 2022 2nd round picks with the Pistons. Basically the Bulls are hoping that they will be rebuilt by that point in time and the Pistons will then be in decline which would probably give the Bulls a better pick in the 2nd round of that draft. Chicago was likely to release Nelson soon anyway so possibly getting something in return makes this a good trade for the team.

Grade: B


Hawks trade Babbitt to the Heat

The Atlanta Hawks made an interesting move at the trade deadline as they traded small forward Luke Babbitt to the Miami Heat in exchange for power forward Okaro White.


Heat grade:

I really like this move for the Miami Heat because they are acquiring some much needed depth at the small forward position. Luke Babbitt provides the Heat with a very good 3-point shooter as he is 44% on 3-point shots this season. Babbitt doesn’t do much else besides that, yet he will still provide some valuable depth for the Heat as they look to make a playoff push. Also, Miami basically gave up nothing in this deal as Okaro White has been injured since November and he wasn’t a productive player when healthy anyways. This is a terrific trade for the Heat since they are receiving a contributing role player in exchange for an injured player.

Grade: A


Hawks grade:

This move makes absolutely no sense whatsoever for the Hawks since they are basically giving up a player for nothing. Atlanta is barely saving any money by trading away Luke Babbitt and they could have just kept him for the rest of the season and let him go in free agency. The Hawks are literally receiving nothing in this trade as the only player that they are getting back is the injured forward Okaro White who the team will waive immediately. Atlanta should have gotten a draft pick or something that would benefit them, but instead they just gave up Babbitt for nothing. It would have been more beneficial for the Hawks just to keep Babbitt on the roster for the rest of the season rather than giving him up for nothing.

Grade: F


Knicks trade Hernangomez to the Hornets

The New York Knicks sent center Willy Hernangomez to the Charlotte Hornets in exchange for power forward Johnny O’Bryant, a 2020 2nd round pick, and a 2021 2nd round pick.


Hornets grade:

This move makes some sense for the Charlotte Hornets as they are getting young center Willy Hernangomez who is still a raw prospect, but he has quite a bit of potential. The only issue is that Charlotte might struggle to find him playing time since they already have Dwight Howard and Cody Zeller at center. However, Hernangomez is under team control through the 2019 season at a very cheap cost so this is a move for the future rather than anything else. The issue that I have with this deal for the Hornets is that they are giving up two future 2nd round picks which is quite a bit for a player who hasn’t done much so far in his NBA career. The Hornets will hopefully be able to develop Hernangomez some more, but if not then he still should be a quality backup center.

Grade: C


Knicks grade:

The Knicks have a crowded frontcourt with Enes Kanter and Kyle O’Quinn as the top two centers on the roster. There just wasn’t enough playing time for Hernangomez with the Knicks as he was only averaging 9 minutes per game. The Knicks did well to receive two 2nd round picks for a player that they really didn’t have a role for. However, it still isn’t great for the Knicks to get rid of a player that had some good potential. New York’s goal right now is to rebuild their roster and I’m not sure that getting rid of a good young prospect is the way to accomplish that.

Grade: C-


Projected Landing Spots for Players likely to be traded

  1. Tyreke Evans – Current Team: Memphis Grizzlies – Projected Landing Spot: Philadelphia 76ers

Markelle Fultz hasn’t been healthy basically the entire season, so the 76ers have been seriously lacking depth at both guard positions. The 76ers need some more production at both guard positions and they especially need more production off of the bench. That is why Evans is the ideal fit for the 76ers. Evans is a terrific scorer and he would be a terrific rental to make sure that Philadelphia makes the playoffs this season. The 76ers would likely have to give up a 1st round pick in order to acquire Evans, but they would only likely give up their own non-lottery selection for Evans which would be worth it if the team makes the playoffs.

2. DeAndre Jordan – Current Team: Los Angeles Clippers – Projected Landing Spot: Cleveland Cavaliers

There are a few teams that could trade for DeAndre Jordan at the trade deadline, but the team that seems most likely to make a deal is Cleveland. The Cavaliers don’t have much at the center position right now as Tristan Thompson hasn’t been very productive this season. However, Jordan would provide the Cavs with an elite interior presence as he is terrific on the glass as well as being an elite defender. Cleveland probably won’t give up the 1st round pick from Brooklyn. However, the Cavaliers could give up their own 1st round pick as well as Thompson and Iman Shumpert. Maybe that would be enough to persuade the Clippers to move on from Jordan and his big contract.


3. Lou Williams – Current Team: Los Angeles Clippers – Projected Landing Spot: Boston Celtics

The Celtics one area of weakness is at the shooting guard position where Marcus Smart hasn’t been very effective this season. However, if the Celtics really want to win the East this year then they need to make a big splash via trade especially to find a new shooting guard. Lou Williams would be an ideal fit as he is a terrific scorer and he would provide an upgrade to a Boston lineup that is already filled with talent. Williams is a free agent after this season so he would likely just be a rental for the remainder of this season. However, if Boston sends Marcus Smart and another player or draft pick in a deal for Williams then the Clippers might be willing to trade him away.


4. Kemba Walker – Current Team: Charlotte Hornets – Projected Landing Spot: Indiana Pacers

Charlotte has been struggling even with Kemba Walker as their franchise cornerstone, but now rumors have it that they might be willing to move on from him. Walker is not just a rental player as he is under contract at a really modest price through the 2018-2019 season. It would certainly take a lot for the Hornets to trade away Walker, but if there is team that has the ability to acquire him then it would be the Indiana Pacers. The Pacers could include young players like T.J. Leaf and Myles Turner in a deal for Walker. However, they would likely have to include at least one 1st round pick and a young prospect along with veteran players like Darren Collison and Al Jefferson. Indiana has plenty of players that could entice the Hornets to trade away Walker, but it would take a huge package of players and picks in order to do so. Acquiring Walker would give the Pacers a dynamic duo in the backcourt for many years to come as the team already has proven shooting guard Victor Oladipo.  This would be a risky trade to make for Indiana as they would likely have to give up some promising young players, but it would probably make the team better even long-term.


5. Rodney Hood – Current Team: Utah Jazz – Projected Landing Spot: Detroit Pistons

Rodney Hood is having the best season of his young career as he is averaging a career-high 16.4 points per game for the Jazz. However, the Jazz have a somewhat crowded backcourt which means there isn’t too much of a role for Hood. One team that could really use Hood is the Detroit Pistons. The Pistons have a major need at shooting guard after trading away Avery Bradley in the Blake Griffin deal. Hood would provide a significant upgrade at shooting guard for Detroit and he is under contract through the 2018 season so he wouldn’t just be a rental player for the team. The one player that Detroit could trade to Utah in this deal is young small forward Stanley Johnson who is only 21 years old. Johnson has tons of upside, but he has yet to make a real impact as an NBA player. Utah has a need at small forward and maybe they could develop Johnson into the player that many people thought he would be. Either way, Hood would be a great addition for Detroit as they try to make a playoff run in the eastern conference. However, we’ll see if the Jazz would be willing just to accept Johnson in a deal for Hood or if they would want something else from the Pistons in return.