Knicks Get Most Plaudits At NBA Trade Deadline

Michael Salfino
February 10, 2024 4:44 AM

The NBA trading deadline is now over and three teams are the consensus winners.

Let’s look at who is in, who is out, and what it may mean going forward for the New York Knicks, Dallas Mavericks, and Oklahoma City Thunder.

The Knicks added two scoring wings Bojan Bogdanovic and Alec Burks.

The cost was Quentin Grimes, Evan Fournier (expiring contract), Malachi Flynn, and two second-round picks.

Both Bogdanovic and Burks are shooting over 40% from downtown this year, joining long-range Knicks sharpshooters Jalen Brunson and Dante DiVincenzo (also both over 40% from behind the arc).

This gives the club better spacing in all their rotations so that Brunson and (eventually) Julius Randle (shoulder), New York’s two all-stars and leading scorers, will have more room to operate inside the arc. Brunson however has an ankle sprain that could cause him to miss a few games.

Randle is out at least through February. Ditto prior trade acquisition OG Anunoby (another elite three-point shooter), who had minor elbow surgery and is expected to miss three weeks.

Starting center Mitchell Robinson (ankle) is about six weeks from returning.

And on Thursday, Isaiah Hartenstein, who does so much of the dirty work for the gritty Knicks, aggravated a sore Achilles and could also miss time.

Not surprisingly given those injuries, the Knicks are off the board for their win total.

But everyone should be fully healthy come playoff time making the Knicks very live in the conference futures (they are +750, third behind the Celtics (+120) and Bucks (+240), as of Thursday night.

Consider that there is a pronounced risk that Randle will suffer another dislocation of his shoulder when he returns (it eventually will require surgery).

This tweet reflects the consensus reaction to the Knicks trade, at least to the extent that they are dramatically improved (not necessarily a conference favorite).

Mavericks Go For Broke

The Mavericks have seen their win total increase by 1.5 to 47.5 after their trades.

It may be higher now after the win against the trade- and injury-depleted Knicks.

They are +1800 to win the Western Conference.

Dallas added forward P.J. Washington from the Hornets and center Daniel Gafford from the Wizards.

The cost was heavy with two first-round picks and forward Grant Williams.

Guard Seth Curry was also shipped out. The Mavericks currently don’t have a first-round pick until 2030.

It’s hard to see how Washington is an upgrade over Williams.

Gafford gives the Mavericks rebounding and rim protection and a center who can run the court. On paper, the Mavericks do not seem to be nearly as improved as the Knicks.

But Dallas is healthier at the moment, though Kyrie Irving at this point has to be expected to miss half the games and you just pray he’s good to go in the postseason.

But can a guy who hasn’t stood up physically to the regular-season slate hold up in the far more intense and physical playoffs (even with extra time off)?

Some believe that Dallas was an even bigger deadline winner than New York.

Thunder Get A Closer

Finally, Oklahoma City is viewed as the third winner but you can make a case they helped themselves as much as New York.

The Thunder added a scoring wing from the Hornets in Gordon Hayward, who is not that far removed from an All-Star season.

The cost was Vasilije Micic, Tre Mann, Davis Bartans, and draft compensation that involves swaps and is too complicated to detail, though the bottom line is that the Thunder probably end up with a slightly better pick.

Hayward has struggled with injuries (25 games this year) but seems to have rediscovered his shooting stroke.

He can play off the ball, which works well for the Thunder, who are an established contender.

Hayward can get minutes without causing changes in the way the rest of the team operates, at least in theory.

“The Thunder just got a player in Gordon Hayward that can close games for them,” ESPN’s Zach Lowe said. “(He) can play the three, the four, he can shoot, he can work off the dribble, he fills every need the Thunder had.

Yes, his health is a big question, but I’m told he’ll be ready to play very soon, if not immediately for Oklahoma City.”

OKC is already the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference and is +900 as of Thursday night to win the conference.

Their win total is up from 54.5 to 55.5.

The Thunder are fifth in offensive rating and fifth in defensive rating before improving at the deadline.

No other team in the West is even top 10 in both offensive and defensive ratings.

The Thunder seem underrated by the futures market.