Today is the first day that dozens of players are eligible for trades, a point on the NBA calendar that traditionally leads to player movement. Three trades took place in the 10 days following December 15th last year, including the blockbuster Rajon Rondo move. We’ll look at how those swaps have turned out for each of the teams involved:
- The Mavericks get Rajon Rondo and Dwight Powell.
- The Celtics get Brandan Wright, Jameer Nelson, Jae Crowder, Dallas’ 2015 first-round pick if it falls anywhere from No. 4 to No. 14, and the move favorable of Dallas’ 2016 second-round pick and Memphis’ 2016 second-round pick.
The worst-case scenario of the Rondo trade played out for Dallas, as he and coach Rick Carlisle clashed and the situation became so dire that the Mavs and Rondo essentially parted ways during the playoffs. Rondo went down with what was announced as a back injury, one that was reportedly a ruse that allowed the point guard to save face. Rondo departed in free agency for the Kings, but the Mavs are still benefiting from their less-heralded acquisition in the deal. Powell, the 45th overall pick in 2014, is in the Dallas rotation, averaging 8.9 points and an impressive 6.3 rebounds in 19.8 minutes per game.
This deal served largely as the catalyst for a whirlwind of additional trades for Boston, which pulled off six more swaps between this one and the deadline. One of them sent away Wright, for a protected first-round pick with a strong chance of turning into two seconds, and another sent away Nelson for Nate Robinson, whom Boston waived. Crowder emerged as a key part of the Celtics in the second half of last season, and the team showed a clear desire to keep it that way, committing five years to him in a new contract worth a total of $35MM in the offseason. The Dallas first-rounder didn’t convey this year, so it’s top-seven protected for 2016 and likely to be in Boston’s hands come June, unless the Celtics flip it.
- The Rockets get Corey Brewer and Alexey Shved.
- The Timberwolves get Troy Daniels, Sacramento’s 2015 second-round pick as long as it’s within the top 49 picks (via Rockets), Houston’s 2016 second-round pick (top-45 protected), and $1MM cash (via Rockets).
- The Sixers get Ronny Turiaf, Houston’s 2015 second-round pick, and the rights to Serhiy Lishchuk.
Only one player is still with the team that acquired him in this trade. That’s Brewer, and it took a new three-year, $23.421MM contract in the offseason for that to be the case. The signing hasn’t paid off yet, with Brewer averaging a career-worst 35.1% shooting this season. He nonetheless was a key part of Houston’s bench during the team’s run to the Western Conference Finals last season, unlike Shved, whom the team flipped to the Knicks along with two second-rounders for Pablo Prigioni. That move paid dividends for the Rockets when they were short on point guards in the playoffs, and Houston forwarded Prigioni to Denver in the Ty Lawson deal.
Daniels wasn’t long for Minnesota, as the Timberwolves sent him along with Mo Williams and cash to the Hornets for Gary Neal, who departed in free agency this summer, and Miami’s 2019 second-round pick. Minnesota still holds that pick and Houston’s 2016 second-rounder, but the Sacramento pick didn’t convey, since it didn’t come within the top 49 picks in the order.
The Sixers simply added Turiaf’s $1.5MM salary to their effort to reach the salary floor, since he was already out for the season because of hip surgery and was on an expiring contract. The rights to Lishchuk, an oft-traded draft-and-stash prospect, didn’t last long in Philadelphia either, as the Sixers conveyed them to the Clippers in January for Jared Cunningham, whom they immediately waived, plus $300K cash and the rights to Cenk Akyol, another draft-and-stash prospect who seems unlikely ever to play in the NBA. As ever, the key for Philadelphia was the second-round pick, but it didn’t wind up paying dividends. The Sixers used it on J.P. Tokoto, who reportedly let the Sixers know he was open to remaining unsigned for this season and becoming a draft-and-stash prospect. That didn’t happen, as Tokoto signed his required tender, forcing his way onto the preseason roster, and Philadelphia cut him before opening night, forfeiting his draft rights.
The Pistons were just two days removed from shocking the NBA with their release of Josh Smith, and the acquisition of Tolliver followed along the same lines stylistically as Stan Van Gundy continued his transition toward a more modern, small-ball approach. Van Gundy didn’t play Mitchell at all during the first two months of the regular season, but Tolliver became a part of the rotation, averaging 7.7 points in 22.3 minutes per game and shooting 36.0% from 3-point range as a stretch four. Those numbers are off this season, in part because his long-range shooting has dipped to 31.9%, an ominous sign in a contract year. Mitchell didn’t play for Phoenix either, and a couple of weeks later, he was on waivers, as the team used the cap space it cleared in the trade to deal for Brandan Wright, who had just been involved in the Rondo swap.