WLOY Sports Wrap 2/6

February 6th, 2018 by Stefan Joyce

Welcome back to the WLOY Sports Wrap! As February reaches its midpoint, that means the NBA trade deadline has passed and moves that changed the landscape of the league need to be dissected and evaluated.

Before we jump into the moves that were made on the actual deadline day, which featured many of the biggest names and surprises, let’s go over the trades that happened prior to February 8th. The biggest move happened before the month, as the Pistons and Clippers swapped three players and draft picks. In the end, the Pistons acquired All-Star Blake Griffin, Willie Reed and Brice Johnson, and the Clippers received small forward Tobias Harris, Avery Bradley, Boban Marjanovic. They also got the Pistons’ first-round pick (top-4 protected) and a 2019 second-round pick. This trade was a surprise to the league and its fans at first, but when one takes a longer look at it, the swap makes complete sense. The Clippers didn’t want to hold onto Griffin’s contract, as the departure of Chris Paul during the offseason has the Clips in a rebuild mode rather than in a hard push for contending for a championship. Dumping his salary opens up more possibilities of attracting free-agents, most notably LeBron James, as it is unclear if he intends to stay in Cleveland. As for Detroit, it’ll be interesting to see how Blake and dominant big Andre Drummond will work down low in Motor City, but the Eastern Conference got a little wake up call 12 days before the deadline.

Now onto the busiest trade day of the year. February 8th featured many small moves and shifts among teams in and out of contention, like the Phoenix Suns acquiring guard Elfrid Payton from the Magic. But the most important news to come out of the last day of trades was the complete restructuring of the Cleveland Cavaliers’ roster. First, the Cavs traded Dwayne Wade back to Miami for a 2024 second-round pick. This move was solely to get Wade out of the locker room and get him back to the team he should end his career with. Although he has a great relationship with LeBron, he simply wasn’t a good fit for the experiment that was the early Cavs squad. Two other new additions of the offseason, Jae Crowder and Derrick Rose, were shipped off to the Utah Jazz. And to top it all off, the newly acquired Isaiah Thomas, the main part of the blockbuster summer trade of Kyrie Irving, was sent to the City of Angels, along with Channing Frye and a first round pick in 2018. Thomas was the center of the drama that had been reported for weeks to have existed in the Cavs’ locker room, as he called out coaching and player rotations during his very short stint with the team. His injury has held him back from getting to 100 percent physically, and his play on the floor was highlighting that. But in return, Lebron and the Cavaliers acquired four players seemingly drama-free, which just what the organization needed during their freefall over the past month after winning 18 of 19 games earlier in the season. With the additions of veteran guard George Hill, Rodney Hood, Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr., the Cavs added energy, size, athleticism, and most importantly, the focus on playing over insignificant finger-pointing off the court. And in the debut game for all of the new pieces, Cleveland walked into the TD Garden, on Paul Pierce’s jersey retirement night no less, and wholloped the Boston Celtics 121 to 99. Not only do the Cavs looked rejuvenated, Lebron looks happy, and that should scare the rest of the league.

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