The 2022 NBA title is up for grabs. Only the Phoenix Suns are currently on pace to win 60 games. The preseason Eastern Conference favorite has barely had its full team together, and their Western Conference counterparts are currently slated for the play-in round. Nobody has grabbed the season by the horns yet this season. That can change in the coming weeks.
The NBA trade deadline is on Feb. 10, and even though there doesn’t appear to be any superstars on the market — aside from one certain player on the Philadelphia 76ers‘ roster — contenders shouldn’t have much trouble finding upgrades. Talent abounds at nearly every position. The deadline is still weeks away, but we’ve already seen our first batch of deals. Below, we’ll detail each completed trade between now and the final buzzer.
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One team’s trash is another team’s treasure. Bryn Forbes had struggled for minutes in a crowded San Antonio backcourt, but might find more luck on a Nuggets team that sorely needs shooting. Neither Bol Bol nor P.J. Dozier (out for the season due to injury) were going to contribute much to the Nuggets, but the Celtics were eager to scoop them up as long-term additions. In the process they managed to get off Juancho Hernangomez’s contract, a critical step if they plan to avoid the luxury tax. Hernangomez was once a very productive offensive player, and now, San Antonio will have a chance to see if it can rediscover that form.
Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk admitted that bringing back virtually everyone from last season’s Eastern Conference finals appearance may have been a mistake, and in an attempt to rectify that, he dealt Cam Reddish to New York for a heavily-protected first-round pick originally belonging to the Charlotte Hornets. The move opens up some wing minutes on an extremely crowded Atlanta roster, but perhaps more importantly, gets an asset back for Reddish before he became eligible for a contract extension that the Hawks didn’t seem too eager to give him. The Knicks, who drafted Reddish’s college teammate RJ Barrett No. 3 overall in 2019, decided to take a low-risk, high-reward home-run swing on the former top prospect. Reddish wanted a deal. Now he’s gotten his wish.
There wasn’t much to this deal. Utah, deep in the luxury tax, managed to save a bundle of money in this deal while opening up a roster spot in the process. Oklahoma City was happy to accommodate for a second-round pick. This one won’t swing the championship, but it’s the sort of minor, bookkeeping deal that the deadline produces every year.
The Cleveland Cavaliers opened the season with one of the deepest backcourts in the NBA. That changed when Collin Sexton and Ricky Rubio suffered season-ending injuries. That forced the Cavs to find a veteran capable of soaking up some of their minutes, and they landed on Rajon Rondo. The two-time NBA champion had largely fallen out of the rotation in Los Angeles, so a change of scenery was more than welcome. The Lakers, meanwhile, saved a fair bit of luxury tax cash and opened up a roster spot that has proven necessary for mid-season maneuvering.