NBA Trade Grades

By Mike Elworth.

Follow Mike @MikeElworth24. For site updates follow @walterfootball.

Updated: Feb. 13, 2023.

Memphis receives Luke Kennard; the Clippers receive Eric Gordon and four second-round picks; and Houston receives John Wall, Danny Green and a 2023 first-round pick
This is an interesting trade because all three clubs did very well. The Grizzlies got a much-needed big-time bench scorer in former Duke star Luke Kennard, who simply didn't fit well with the Clippers. The Memphis bench was in no way poor, but the team has really improved its roster with Kennard, who is shooting 44% from three for the season. As a trade though, I dislike the value of trading four second-rounders for just Kennard.

The Clippers paid a big price, but basically changing Kennard for Gordon is a fantastic move, and also receiving these picks is simply genius. Gordon is one of the best shooters and sixth men of his generation and an excellent fit for the Clippers. He will bring them excellent scoring and solid playmaking to their bench.

As the favorites to get the No. 1 pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, this is just being smart by Houston's general manager, Rafael Stone. He has added assets while making the Rockets a lesser team.

Grade for Grizzlies- B
Grade for Rockets- A
Grade for Clippers- A+

The Lakers trade point guard Patrick Beverly to the Magic for center Mo Bamba
The Lakers made one more move, and although it was small, I like the deal for them. They had to get more size after trading Thomas Bryant, and Bamba can be a fantastic bench piece for them. As for the Magic, I have no idea why they chose to trade Bamba for a player they are likely to cut.

Grade for Lakers- D
Grade for Magic- D

Charlotte receives Svi Mykhailiuk and a second-round pick; Philadelphia receives Jalen McDaniels and two second-round picks; and Portland receives Matisse Thybulle
This is a ridiculously complicated trade, but it's just getting the Trail Blazers a defender and the 76ers landing a shooting big while the Hornets are just helping them out.

Personally, I love this move for the Trail Blazers, as they needed a guard/forward to replace Josh Hart and added a much-needed defender. Thybulle is one of the NBA's elite defenders - he is truly incredible -, but he is a poor, poor offensive talent. He has a averaged 4.4 points in 245 games, but if he can become at least average on offense, he could be a star.

When it comes to Jalen McDaniels, I love the fit. The 76ers needed a scoring and shooting big off their bench. Still, although they filled a need, they should have gotten more for Thybulle.

Grade for Blazers- A-
Grade for Hornets- A
Grade for 76ers- C+

Phoenix trades Dario Saric and a second-round pick to Oklahoma City for Darius Bazley
The only way this trade makes sense to me is the Thunder wanting to be a lesser team and improving their shot at a prime draft choice, because Saric hasn't accomplished much in awhile and Bazley is a talented young big. Saric gives Phoenix, which is now a title favorite more bench help, which the team truly lacked, and he could give them 20 solid minutes a game. He is a small big man, but a strong rebounder and shot-blocker, plus he can shoot the ball. This was a fantastic trade for Phoenix.

Grade for Suns- A-
Grade for Thunder- D-

Denver receives two second-round picks and the Los Angeles Clippers receive Bones Hyland
This is a steal. The Nuggets wanted uber-talented second-year guard Bones Hyland gone so much that they literally pawned him off for only two second-round picks. He is just 22 and was averaging 12 points, two rebounds amd three assists per game, but was on the court for less than 20 minutes. Basically, the dude can score the ball at an elite rate, and he and Eric Gordon will be monsters in their second unit. I know he had issues with some people with the team, but the Nuggets couldn't get a first-round pick, a talented young player in return, or more than two seconds? This is a poor deal.

Grade for Nuggets- D
Grade for Clippers- A-

Los Angeles Clippers trade Reggie Jackson and a second-round pick to Charlotte Hornets for Mason Plumlee
The Clippers had the best 1-12 roster in the league, yet improved it by swapping Plumlee for Jackson. The Clippers thought they needed some big help, so they wisely brought in the veteran center who could start for half the teams in the NBA. With Plumlee averaging 12 points, 10 rebounds and four assists per game, the Clippers now have the best second center in the league.

As Jackson is a strong veteran guard about to be a free agent, he will likely not play for the Hornets, which will buy him out of his contract or just waive him. This was obviously just about getting an asset for the Clippers long-time starting center who this offseason is a free agent, and in his 30s, so he was not what they were looking for.

Grade for the Clippers - B+
Grade for the Hornets - B

San Antonio Spurs trades Josh Richardson to Charlotte for Devonte Graham and four second-round picks
Lost in the shuffle of all the trades was this little trade that to me is quite interesting. Josh Richardson can and will help the Pelicans because he is a solid bench two/three, but this trade is about the Pelicans ridding themselves of Graham's contract, hence the four picks.

The deal is interesting because Graham is the superior player, but the Spurs got the picks and a player who pretty recently averaged 18 points and seven assists a game for the Hornets. Graham has had a rough two seasons for the Pelicans though, and Richardson still has two seasons at about $25 million owed to him, so you can see why the Spurs traded him.

Grade for Pelicans- C+
Grade for Spurs- A

Boston trades Justin Jackson and two second-round picks to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Mike Muscala
Woah, I like this for Boston. The Celtics have needed a stud shooting big man off their bench and have just gotten one of the best for very little. Muscala is shooting just about 40 percent for the season from three. As for the Thunder, Sam Presti ... what the heck are you thinking? I guess a few assets beats zero assets if Muscala was walking as a free agent.

Grade for Celtics- A-
Grade for Thunder- D+

The Nuggets receive Thomas Bryant and the Lakers receive Davon Reed and three second round picks
The Nuggets wanted some more big man depth and so they have dealt for one of the elite in that regard. Thomas was a monster for the Lakers with Anthony Davis injured and is a 20-10 threat if he receives proper minutes. He makes the West's best team stronger. Second round picks are nice for the Lakers who need as many assets as possible, but it's doubtful Reed makes a difference for LA.

Grade for Nuggets- A-
Grade for Lakers- C+

The Atlanta Hawks receive Saddiq Bey, the Detroit Pistons receive James Wiseman, the Golden State Warriors receive Gary Payton II and the Portland Trail Blazers receive five second round picks
As for the Hawks, I love this trade for them, as sending just a couple of second rounders for someone who could start, but is likely to become their best bench player is smart. This was needed since their bench is mediocre at best. Bey should give them 15 points and a lot of shooting off the bench.

The Warriors received 5 second round picks for Wiseman and then traded them for Payton. It is obvious why they made the deal as Wiseman is still raw, a center isn't their biggest need, and Payton fit them perfectly, but Wiseman could be a star. I love the player and the fit, but I hate the actual value of the deal.

The Pistons traded just a few second round picks and got Wiseman who I think will become an all-star, so this is a W. He is also on a team that is spending this season simply helping their talent thrive and is a huge addition to their franchise.

The Blazers traded Payton and got 5 second round picks. He barely got minutes in Portland and they did take quite a bit of money off their books. The Pistons are the winners of the deal.

Grade for Hawks- A-
Grade for Warriors- D
Grade for Pistons - A
Grade for Blazers - C

The Atlanta Hawks have dealt Frank Kaminsky and Jrue Holiday and 2 second round picks to the Houston Rockets for Garrison Matthews and Bruno Fernando
This was a real trade, so I shall grade it, but keep it short as I'm confident that most fans have no clue who Matthews and Fernando are and that the well known former Hawks were still in the league. This is simply Atlanta paying 2 second round picks for the younger talents, while saving about $5 million.

Grade for Hawks- B+
Grade for Rockets- A-

San Antonio Spurs trade Jakob Poeltl to Toronto for Khem Birch, a first-round pick and two second-rounders
As we are all aware, the Spurs are rebuilding, so they have traded center Jakob Poeltl. I like that they were able to get several draft picks, but Birch wont be a factor for the Spurs, and I think they should have gotten at least one more asset.

I hated how Toronto handled this deal. First, the Raptors traded some legit assets for a center who fits them very well and their age range, but they should be rebuilding. The team kept Fred VanVleet and O.G. Anunoby, who were two of the most talked-about trade candidates and could have yielded Toronto as many as four first-round picks. The Raptors weren't a playoff team yesterday and aren't one today with Poeltl. They could have started their rebuild with a boatload of picks and young talent, but they choose to trade for a starting center who is a free agent after the season. Why?

Grade for Spurs- B+
Grade for Raptors- D-

Portland Trail Blazers trade Josh Hart to the Knicks for Cam Reddish, Svi Mykhailiuk, Ryan Arcidiacono and a first-round pick
As I have written many times, I love Josh Hart, who is an NBA swiss army knife. He is a strong scorer when he needs to be, an elite rebounder, a talented playmaker, and the type of guy who can make a playoff team a much stronger team. But he isn't a talent who can turn an average playoff team into a contender, so I don't love this for the Knicks. I do somewhat like it though.

Hart fits the Knicks rather well, as he can be the versatile player for them and start for them, but they need a star, so this is a waste of assets to me. Jalen Brunson, Julius Randle and R.J. Barrett are all nice pieces, but the Knicks need a star. Wasting assets for another role player is simply a mistake, as much as I like Hart.

The Trail Blazers are about to give Jerami Grant a massive extension, and as helpful as Hart was, they probably realized that paying big money to Hart as well wasn't a wise choice. Receiving a first-round pick, which is likely to turn into three second-round picks, and a strong prospect in Cam Reddish, who can be a fantastic NBA scorer, is strong value; Mykhailiuk and Arcidiacono likely won't be factors for Portland. I think the Trail Blazers could have gotten more for Hart in this trade.

Grade for Knicks- C
Grade for Trail Blazers- B

Phoenix Suns have traded Mikal Bridges, Cameron Johnson and four first-round picks to Brooklyn for Kevin Durant and T.J. Warren.
Well, this is the trade of the decade because the Suns somehow got one of the NBA's five best players, signed for three more seasons to come to one of the NBA's best rosters. It is true that Phoenix lacks much after Durant, fellow superstar Devin Booker, former superstar Chris Paul and excellent center DeAndre Ayton, but how the club was actually able to make this trade and not have to include Ayton is ridiculous.

The Suns now have probably the beat roster in the NBA, although the Celtics and Nuggets would have a gripe with that statement. Phoenix has a very real chance of winning a title for the next four seasons. Somehow, the Suns also convinced Brooklyn to give them scoring bench forward T.J. Warren, who will instantly be their best bench player. I rarely, rarely give a signing, draft pick or trade grade a perfect score, but Phoenix earned it.

This is hard to grade. With Kyrie Irving getting his trade request, it was obvious that the Nets were no longer a threat for a title and they kindly traded Durant, which was his wish and to one of the teams he wanted to be with. The issue is Brooklyn could have gotten more for him. I get that the Nets had no need for Ayton with Nik Claxton; I really like Johnson and Bridges, who are their biggest pieces aside from Claxton; and four picks is solid, but the Nets need a true re-build, and Bridges (26) and Johnson (26) aren't really younger pieces. Brooklyn is too talented to rebuild as is, and the team will probably still make the playoffs. I wont grade the Nets too harshly, but what is their direction? I have no idea.

Grade for Phoenix Suns- A+
Grade for Brooklyn Nets- D+

Los Angeles Lakers, Utah Jazz and Minnesota Timberwolves agree to a three-team deal; the Lakers receive D'Angelo Russell, Jared Vanderbilt and Malik Beasley; the Jazz receive Russell Westbrook, Juan Toscano-Anderson, Damion Jones and a first-round pick; and the Timberwolves receive Mike Conley, Nickeil Alexander-Walker and three second-round picks
This sounds pretty tricky, but I can assure you, it's actually quite simple. This is basically the Lakers trading Westbrook's massive expiring contract and a first-round pick to the Jazz, which are then trading Mike Conley to the Timberwolves. Minnesota is then sending three pieces to the Lakers.

As for the Lakers, I love this deal, given that thought it would take two first-rounders to make it, which was not the case. I also love D'Angelo Russell for the Lakers, as he gives them a legit 20-point scorer, a shooter and a playmaker. He really fits. I'm also a fan of Beasley, who should be a fantastic sixth man for them and is another young shooter and scorer. As for Vanderbilt, he is a forward who is a strong rebounder and playmaker who can play as a combo forward off the bench and be a shooting four as well. He is an excellent fit too for the Lakers. The only reason this isn't an A is that Russell and Beasley are free agents in the offseason, just like Rui Hachimura, and the Lakers have to keep at least two of them, one of which must be Russell. It will be expensive, but it will give the Lakers a chance to compete for the next several seasons. This was a fantastic trade by Rob Pelinka.

The Jazz have no intention of keeping Westbrook, who will be a free agent very soon; they did this to get rid of Conley's huge deal, get that first-round pick and become a lesser team to end up with a stronger draft pick. I can't see Toscano-Anderson or Jones making much noise for Utah, if either remains in Utah. I like the trade for the Jazz, which have received another first-round pick for their rebuild.

Yeah, I'm not the biggest fan of this move for the Timberwolves. They traded the best player in this deal and got jutr an overpaid, aging guard, a mediocre young talent, and a bunch of second-round picks. I like second-round picks because the improving international talent has made NBA drafts much deeper, and Alexander-Walker could play a sixth-man role for a team that has no depth, but isn't Minnesota trying to win? I have no idea why the Timberwolves made this trade.

The Lakers are the winners of this blockbuster.

Grade for Lakers - A-
Grade for Jazz - B
Grade for Timberwolves - C-

Miami Heat trade Dewayne Dedmon and a second-round pick to the San Antonio Spurs
This is the Heat trading a second-round pick to the Spurs for the simple deed of taking on Dewayne Dedmon's contract. This gives the Spurs a veteran big man, which is nice as they likely will be trading Jakob Poeltl; he could also be cut. I like this for the Spurs, but the Heat gaining a roster spot is a big deal because they want some bigger deals.

Grade for Spurs - A
Grade for Heat - B+

Brooklyn Nets trade Kessler Edwards and cash to Sacramento Kings for David Michineau's draft rights
This is a very simple trade. The Nets want another roster spot and to lessen their luxury bill, so they are trading a young guy who had no role to Sacramento. The second-rounder from Pepperdine, in his second season, will go straight to the Kings' minor league affiliate, but they get a talent almost for free, as Michineau is 28 and likely to stay in France, so this is a win.

Grade for Kings- A
Grade for Nets - A-

Brooklyn Nets trade Kyrie Irving and Markieff Morris to the Dallas Mavericks for Spencer Dinwiddie, Dorian Finney Smith, a future first-round pick and two future second-round picks

Kyrie Irving's story this season is well known. He asked for an extension twice and a trade twice; the second trade request was granted after he learned that Brooklyn wasn't willing to give him a 4-year, $200 million contract. How someone who also insulted the Jewish community a mere two months ago and was suspended thought such a deal was an actual viable option, I won't try to ponder why, but he got his wish for a trade. Let me be clear though, the Mavericks are a near-perfectly run team, so he's still not getting that max deal if he helps them win a title this season; no owner will.

As for the basketball aspect of this huge, huge deal, it makes sense for both Brooklyn and Dallas. The Nets had to cut bait as soon as possible to simply rid the franchise of Irving's toxicity, so kudos to them on the quick trade, and they did want proven talent to help them win this season, which they got, as well as some draft picks, but the exchange leaves me wanting more. I'm a big fan of Dinwiddie and Finney Smith, who will slide into the starting point guard and the combo forward bench roles respectively, but I feel the Nets could have torn Christian Wood from the Mavericks, keeping Dallas one of the East's elite. To me, Brooklyn can't win a title with this roster, but the team had to, just had to, trade Irving.

As for the Mavericks, they went from a mediocre playoff team to a true contender. With Luka Doncic, who is the best offensive player in the NBA; Christian Wood, who is one of the best offensive bigs in the league; and Irving; the Mavericks have a Big Three that can compete with any trio. Irving is one of the 15 or so best players in the world, averaging 27-5-5, so this is a steal of a trade, and while Dallas could be incredible, but they team now has to deal with Irving and his impending free agency, which will be headaches. Also, Markieff Morris will have a role for Dallas, as he is a physical four/five who can score the ball and shoot. Regardless, Luka Doncic asked for help, and the Mavericks helped him, so this has to be a solid grade for Dallas.

Grade for Nets - B-
Grade for Mavericks - A-

Los Angeles Lakers trade Kendrick Nunn and three second-round picks ('23, '26, '29) to Washington for Rui Hachimura

The first trade of the season! This isn't the blockbuster Lakers fans wanted, but I'm a big fan of Hachimura. The combo forward is just 24 and should be their starting power forward, which was a need for the Lakers. He is also averaging a solid 13 points and four rebounds per game, but he is a just a mediocre shooter.

The Wizards likely were seeking a first-rounder for Hachimura, who was the ninth pick a few years ago, but obviously couldn't find one. This is likely because he's about to be a free agent. Wizards fans may not love the haul, but Nunn was recently a very productive guard, is still just 27, and second-round picks have a lot of value now because the foreign talent has improved so much.

This move could help the Lakers make the playoffs, although I doubt it, but it makes sense for them and the Wizards.

Grade for Lakers - B
Grade for Wizards - B+


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