Sun rises after NBA trade deadline

Photo Courtesy: @bleacherreport on Instagram

Photo Courtesy: @bleacherreport on Instagram

Emily Cain

   The NBA’s trade deadline has officially come and gone, and the countless deals that were settled left fans in shock as some of the league’s biggest names have made a switch. 

   The first major event to hit the headlines was the arrival of Kyrie Irving to the Dallas Mavericks. This followed Irving’s request to be traded from the Nets, which he announced just days before the deadline. Irving has joined Mavs superstar guard Luka Doncic, who has put up record numbers this season.

   The second major deal was a three-way trade between the Lakers, Timberwolves, and Jazz. After months of questions about Lakers’ Russell Westbrook’s value to the team and his ability to play at a level at which he was consistently at a few years ago, the team finally solidified a trade that landed Westbrook in Utah. Westbrook had a rather challenging start to the season, and there had been prior discussions of a trade that involved a complete uproot from Los Angeles. 

   According to CBS Sports, “The Lakers have been trying to trade Westbrook since the offseason but failed for most of the season to find a suitable deal. There were rumors in the offseason that they were close to dealing Westbrook and two first-round picks to the Indiana Pacers for Buddy Hield and Myles Turner, but that deal was never completed.”

   The three-team trade landed the Lakers with D’Angelo Russell from Minnesota and two other players from the Jazz. Both the Timberwolves and Jazz received a few picks and players in the deal. 

   Several other deals were finalized ahead of the deadline. The Raptors and Spurs settled a deal, as well as the Knicks and Trailblazers, among other teams. 

   Upon the final hours before the deadline, the Nets and Suns completed a deal that sent their star player Kevin Durant to Phoenix, where he will join Devin Booker and Chris Paul. Last summer, Durant stirred up a saga with his demand to be traded from the Nets, but nothing came of it, and he played with the team for most of the season. 

   The Western Conference has been extremely wide open in terms of who can pull through to the Finals, as the western rankings have not stayed very constant this season. Phoenix is hopeful the arrival of Durant will be a strong addition to their roster and will increase the team’s chances of a second Finals appearance in the past three years.

   The Suns gave up key defensive player Mikal Bridges to acquire Durant, which has left many in question about Phoenix’s defensive presence. However, the organization believes MVP candidate Durant will be worth the price they paid to acquire him.

   According to ESPN, “The Suns paid a steep price for Durant, 34, but this is a franchise that has never won a championship and decided to take its shot with Durant, who is under contract for three more years.”

   There is still time in the regular season for teams to shift and improve before the playoffs begin, and the chaos brought on by the trade deadline will make for an interesting remainder of the season.