Who made out in the 2019 NBA trade deadline | Bonehead Picks

Reassessing the NBA’s Eastern Conference contenders post-trade deadline

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The 2019 NBA trade deadline was one of the most frantic ever. Although the biggest name (Anthony Davis) reportedly available wasn’t moved, several NBA teams currently in playoff position made notable moves. The Golden State Warriors are still the favorites to win the NBA championship and there are legitimate questions to who will likely face them in the Western Conference Finals. The Eastern Conference is a different story however. Entering the 2018-19 NBA season, the Boston Celtics were perceived by many to be the favorite to win the East based on the “additions” of former All-Stars Kyrie Irving and Gordon Heyward, both of whom did not play at all in the previous season’s Eastern Conference Playoffs but the young Celtics made within a game of getting to the NBA Finals last season. Of course, this NBA season has been a slight rollercoaster for the Celtics as they have dealt with some on court and off court chemistry issues. The Celtics did not make a significant trade but the three other likely Eastern Conference Finals contenders did make trades near or at the trade deadline.

The Philadelphia 76ers have come a long way from “The Process”. The man who inherited that phrase as a nickname, center Joel Embiid, is still in Philly but the team around him and the franchise’s other building block, point guard Ben Simmons, is significantly different than when the 2018-19 season started. There were some fit issues when the 76ers acquired disgruntled former Timberwolves star Jimmy Butler and now head coach Brett Brown must fit new starting power forward Tobias Harris into a starting lineup with three guys in Embiid, Butler, and Simmons who all likely believe they are the best player on the team. The positive of the Harris acquisition is that he is well traveled in terms of playing on several teams so he is used to adjusting to new teammates and systems. Don’t sleep on the trades for backup center Boban Marjanovic, James Ennis III, and Jonathon Simmons because the 76ers needed to add more talent.

The Toronto Raptors have extra pressure to perform during the Eastern Conference playoffs as they will try to prove to Kawhi Leonard to return to the team after he likely tests the free agent waters this summer. Leonard has seamlessly replaced former longtime Raptor DeMar DeRozan who was traded last year. The Raptors decided to upgrade in the frontcourt by adding one of the best Memphis Grizzlies in franchise history, center Marc Gasol. He was not traded for much other than the Raptors center Jonas Valanciunas and Gasol is better even if he shouldn’t be considered an impact player. His skill level with help Toronto.

The Milwaukee Bucks have a true MVP contender in Giannis Antetokounmpo so he will be the best player on either team in virtually every playoff series that Milwaukee plays. They have a consistent season while being at the top or near the top of the Eastern Conference record-wise all season. They made the “smallest” trade acquisition among the trio of Eastern Conference contenders sans Boston. Milwaukee acquired Nikola Mirotic from the New Orleans Pelicans as part of a three team trade. He adds some shooting off the bench for a team that has frontcourt bench shooting with Tony Snell and Ersan Ilyasova.


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