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NBA trade deadline: Winners and losers

Thursday afternoon at 3:00 pm ET marked the conclusion of wheeling and dealing in the 2023/24 NBA season.

Teams had their last chance to tweak their rosters heading into the All-Star break and ultimately in advance of the regular season's stretch run and, finally, the playoffs. 

There was a decent amount of activity on Thursday even though no bona fide superstars changed locations. Who were the winners and losers? 


New York Knicks

Everyone is seemingly in complete agreement on one thing: the Knicks won the trade deadline. 

Having already acquired OG Anunoby from Toronto, New York added Bojan Bogdanovic and Alec Burks from Detroit. Both Bogdanovic and Burks are shooting better than 40 percent from three-point range this season and the former is averaging 20.2 points per game. Veterans who can provide depth while also stretching the floor with their shooting ability could be especially critical in the playoffs.

New York has come up with a lot of answers from a player personnel standpoint in recent weeks, but one question remains. Can a conference title or even NBA title be won with depth as opposed to with multiple superstars on the roster?  

Read more: NBA Championship Odds

Oklahoma City Thunder

In a move that wasn't really on anyone's radar, the Thunder landed veteran forward Gordon Hayward from the Hornets in exchange for two second-round draft picks. Those picks basically mean nothing to Oklahoma City since this franchise is the leader in draft capital over the next few seasons.

The Thunder, +900 to win the Western Conference, can afford Hayward's salary from now through 2024/25 and his services could pay immediate dividends. Hayward has not played since December 26 due to a calf injury, but he will be back soon – certainly and most importantly, in time for the playoffs. 

The former Butler star is averaging 14.5 points, 4.7 rebounds and 4.6 rebounds. He could be a significant contributor on a real Western Conference contender. 

Philadelphia 76ers

Opinions are varied on Philadelphia's acquisition of Buddy Hield from Indiana. Let's be honest, though – it's a good move. 

Obviously, the 76ers' season all comes down to Joel Embiid returning from his knee injury for the playoffs. If that doesn't happen, everything else is irrelevant. 

Needless to say, Philly's front office would not have made this trade if it did not expect Embiid to return in 2023/24. The deal was made with title contention in mind. Assuming Embiid is on the floor for the playoffs, Hield gives the Sixers a much-needed outside game to compliment their superstar.

Tyrese Maxey is Philly's primary ballhandler, whereas Hield is the essence of an outside shooter, making more than a trio of three-pointers per game and shooting better than 40 percent from distance. 


Los Angeles Lakers

The Lakers were reportedly in all kinds of talks prior to the trade deadline, specifically with the Hawks about Dejounte Murray. However, nothing materialized – not with Atlanta and not with any other team. 

That's not to say that Los Angeles is hopeful. When healthy, LeBron James and Anthony Davis can still dominate at times. Winning a playoff series and perhaps even two is not beyond the realm of possibility. 

As currently constructed, though, the In-Season Tournament banner is the only one the Lakers, +3300 to win the NBA title, will be hanging this season. 

Toronto Raptors

The Raptors had already been the most active team on the trade market, shipping Anunoby to New York and Pascal Siakam to Indiana earlier in the season. They weren't finished, as trade-deadline deals included sending Dennis Schroder and Thaddeus Young to Brooklyn in addition to a sizable deal with Utah. The latter transaction cost Toronto a first-round pick, resulting in the services of Kelly Olynyk and Ochai Agbaji

It's not a terrible deal since the Raptors were never going to use all three of their first-round selections, but you would have thought they could get more in return. 

Blowing it all up is the right strategy in Toronto; it's just hard right now to decipher the exact rebuilding plan. 

Chicago Bulls

The Bulls were expected to be sellers at the trade deadline. They surely wanted to be, but that effort was made more difficult when Zach LaVine recently went down for the remainder of the season. 

As such, Chicago couldn't deal LaVine and it ended up not dealing DeMar DeRozan or Alex Caruso, either. A franchise that has been stuck in neutral seemingly ever since the Michael Jordan days should be going Toronto's route in terms of a total rebuild. 

Instead, it looks like Chicago will be content to either lose in the Eastern Conference play-in tournament or get swept in the first round.  

Odds mentioned in this article were correct at the time of writing and are subject to change.

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