November 17, 2017
Cousins, NBA
DeMarcus Cousins was the biggest name to be dealt in BBALLBREAKDOWN’s mock trade deadline. (Photo: Winslow Townson – USA TODAY Sports)

Here’s the deal, BBALLBREAKDOWN approached the trade deadline from a fresh perspective. Thirty writers (and podcasters and various other NBA heads) each were awarded a team to run, and the BBALLBREAKDOWN mock trade deadline ensued. Blockbuster deals were made, franchises were forever altered. Check out the full scope of our trade bonanza here.

Now that the dust has cleared, how’d our bevy of general manager’s fare?

I reached out to some of the best and the brightest to help me comb through our results. We’ll start out east;  I’d like to thank SB Nation’s Zito Madu, Foxsport’s Daniel Carson, and Hardwood Paroxysm/ESPN Radio’s Steven McPherson for taking the time to join me in “grading the trades”.

Let’s take a walk through our mock draft and survey the damages. 

Atlantic – Zito Madu (@_Zeets, writer for SB Nation)


  • In a three-team deal, the Boston Celtics send Amir Johnson, Jaylen Brown, Terry Rozier, Demetrius Jackson, the 2017 Brooklyn Nets’ first round pick (the Boston pick will go to Brooklyn in the pick swap), the 2019 Memphis first round pick (lightly protected) and $1 million to the Sacramento. The Sacramento Kings send DeMarcus Cousins, Matt Barnes and Ben McLemore to Boston and waive Ty Lawson to open up the necessary roster spots. Boston sends James Young and Minnesota’s 2017 second round pick to Utah (required for roster spots) to facilitate the deal.
  • Boston trades Jonas Jerebko, 2017 Los Angeles Clippers’ second round pick and Detroit’s 2019 second round pick back to the Detroit Pistons for Marcus Morris.


  • The Raptors send Norman Powell to the Magic and Cory Joseph and Patrick Patterson to the Jazz, receive Serge Ibaka, Mario Hezonja and Raul Nieto.


  • The Knicks send Joakim Noah, Sasha Vujacic, Maurice Ndour, 2018 first round pick and the Bulls’ 2017 second round pick to the Heat for Tyler Johnson, Udonis Haslem and James Johnson. Knicks buyout Haslem, who retires and joins Heat front office.
  • The Knicks send Courtney Lee, Lance Thomas and Brandon Jennings to the Bulls for Dwyane Wade, Michael Carter-Williams and Isaiah Canaan.


  • The 76ers send Jahlil Okafor to the Mavericks for Seth Curry, J.J. Barea and a 2020 first round pick.


  • The Nets send Brook Lopez and Sean Kilpatrick to the Portland Trail Blazers for Al-Farouq Aminu, Festus Ezeli, Ed Davis and the Trail Blazers’ 2017 and 2019 first round picks with top 10 protections for two years—if picks not conveyed first year, will transfer to next available year for two years until the pick loses protections. Nets waive Quincy Acy.
  • Nets flip Al-Farouq Aminu, Randy Foye and cash to the Orlando Magic for Evan Fournier.

Boston obviously swung for the fences here, while the Raptors moved to try and really battle the Cavs. What do you think of their respective moves? Any other noticeable Atlantic moves that make you sit up and take notice? Run through the division for us.



As a Lakers fan, if Boston managed to somehow get DeMarcus Cousins and Ben McLemore, who has been improving and playing well this last month, I would riot. I would call up Dan Gilbert and ask him to draft another letter to the league to put a stop to it. Any trade that gets you Boogie without losing any of your best players is a steal. Obviously the biggest losers in this trade would be the Kings, which I’m more than fine with. They’ll lose the headache of having to deal with Boogie but quickly realize that he’s the only reason that they’re relevant as it is, so the existential crisis would be wonderful to watch. 

I think Cousins is worth these assets, but it presents the same problem as above: the Celtics would be too good and I’m just not comfortable with that.


Only worry here is if Ibaka is not the defender he once was? Patterson’s absence has been keenly felt by the Raptors on the defensive end and that’s what they need more than anything. Think Patterson would be great for Utah’s stingy defense and style of play. Also, I really want Hezonja to be good, and maybe a change of scenery and an actually competitive team with great players will benefit him on that journey. It’s not like he has the promise to be an all-star talent, but he was so cocky before his draft that I need him to succeed to back that up.


I approve of anything that sends Joakim Noah away. They could trade that entire team for next to nothing and I would still be okay with it as long as Noah is gone. 

Wade has been better than I thought he would be when he signed for the Bulls, but I would be okay with the trade only because it would split up the duopoly of him and Butler that sees them isolated from their teammates. Butler and the front office have been problematic and Wade’s presence and anger towards Riley intensifies that distrust. It’s not Butler or Wade’s fault but there’s clear factions in that team that could use some tearing apart.


I’m cool with this. Seth is good and getting a first round pick for Okafor when you don’t need or want him anymore is good business. J.J. always remind me of a store-brand J.J. Redick. That has nothing to do with anything, but that’s all I think about when I see him.


Nets are trash and Lopez is one of their only valuable assets so they have no choice here but to think of the future and rebuilding. The picks are worth it because, what else can they really do in their position?

I like Boston’s and the Raptors ambition, but I would honestly take Boston’s chances to push the Cavs to their limit if they did pull those moves off. Cousins changes everything. Especially with the Cavs falling apart to injury.

The Knicks one is also eye-raising because it reminded me that Sasha was still alive and playing basketball. That’s good to know.

Welp. You about summed it up- even as a Celtics fan, I applaud your level of “haterade.” How about we toss some grades around and call it a day?

Celtics- went all in and nabbed a superstar big to pair with their superstar little, Isaiah Thomas. Ben McClemore is looking like a real player recently, so yeah. Easy A+.

Zeets: Yeah, think the Celtics get an A+ for their work. The results of that trade would change the landscape of the East.

Raptors- Life imitated art as Ibaka actually is now a Raptor, but this mock deal may be better than real life. A 

Zeets: I would give them a B+, just because I’m wary of Ibaka these days.

Knicks: whatever man. Shedding Noah’s deal is awesome, getting Tyler and James Johnson is dope, but Wade joining Rose and Melo further squeezes Porzingis’ development. NAH. C-

Zeets: I agree with you there, it has to be a C-, they’ll shed Noah but would still be lounging in the same purgatory as they are now.

Sixers- hey, they moved Jahlil, they got a pick, they got a legit shooter for Embiid in Curry, and JJ….um…sure. B

Zeets: I agree with the B as well. They actually have something to build around now, so positive assets are welcome.

Nets: Evan Fournier can hoop, and moving Lopez for all those pieces gives them a ton of flexibility. Like you said, they didn’t have much choice. B+

Zeets: I’ll give them a B as well. They have to make moves but will be a while before they see any real gain. 

In our mock trade deadline, the Bucks went all-in on a Lillard-Antetokoumpo pairing. (Photo: Jeff Hanisch – USA TODAY Sports)

Central – Steven McPherson (@Steventurous of Rolling Stone, Hardwood Paroxysm, ESPN Radio, A Wolf Among Wolves blog, basically everything) 


  • The Cavaliers send Iman Shumpert, the rights to Cedi Osman and the right to swap 2019 second round picks for Alec Burks, Shelvin Mack, the second round pick from the Los Angeles Lakers or Minnesota Timberwolves. Shelvin Mack traded into a separate transaction to fit into a trade exception.


  • The Pacers send Rodney Stuckey, *a 2019 top 14 protected pick and a **conditional second round pick to the Phoenix Suns for P.J. Tucker.*The pick will turn into 2020 and 2021 second round pick if not conveyed by 2020.
    **If Rodney Stuckey opts in, the Suns will receive the Pacers’ next available second round pick (top 48 protected). If he opts out, no pick is conveyed.


  • The Bulls send Dwyane Wade, Michael Carter-Williams and Isaiah Canaan for Courtney Lee, Lance Thomas and Brandon Jennings.
  • The Bulls send Nikola Mirotic and their 2018 and 2020 second round picks for Mike Muscala and Mike Scott.


  • The Pistons send Marcus Morris to the Celtics for Jonas Jerebko, 2017 Clippers second round pick and their 2019 second round pick back.


  • The Bucks send Malcolm Brogdon, Jabari Parker, Khris Middleton, Thon Maker and John Henson for Damian Lillard, Mason Plumlee, Evan Turner and Shabazz Napier.

There’s a TON going on here. So let me start by saying, BRAVO, Duncan Smith, you went big to bring a star to pair with Giannis Alphabet. How’d you feel about the move? Any other trade deadline gold stars to hand out in the division?


Cavs: Is Shelvin Mack supposed to be the “creator” that LeBron has been pining for? If that’s your answer, well … I’ve got a bridge in Brooklyn I want you to look at (and possibly an NBA team). I’ve always liked Alec Burks — he has appeared in numerous NBA 2K teams of mine over the years to some critical acclaim — but I’m skeptical about him because of injury concerns. However, you don’t give up much to get something in return that could pay off. How good this trade looks to you probably hinges on how important you think Shumpert’s hair game is to Cleveland. 

Pacers: I like Tucker a lot, and a lot more than Stuckey at this point. Tucker strikes me as the kind of hard-nosed guy who can up the level of work on just about any team overall, and could be a boon for the development of a guy like Myles Turner, so I like this. 

Bulls: Well then. This certainly should help alleviate some of the Bulls’ shooting and spacing woes with Courtney Lee, and it seems like Jennings has settled down enough now that his pluses outweigh his minuses, meaning he’s at least an upgrade over MCW. I know Mirotic has struggled, but I’m not completely thrilled with giving up on him for Scott and Muscala, particularly with the second round picks involved. Mirotic and Muscala are the same age and Muscala has looked good (topknot aside), but I feel like you’re giving up a lot to get a marginal improvement back.

Pistons: Sure, I guess? This doesn’t really move the needle for me beyond getting back some picks that might help you given that the Pistons haven’t looked as ready for primetime as was assumed when SVG took over. You certainly don’t want the team to top out in the “perennially in the bottom half of the playoffs” territory they could be destined for without more assets, I guess. 

Bucks: This is obviously complicated now by Parker’s injury, but let’s push that aside for right now. I think chemistry and time together matter for a team, so I’m always skeptical of trades this blockbuster-y for teams that aren’t already on the precipice of contending. For my money, the Middleton-Antetokounmpo-Parker core has some of the highest potential in the league, and Brogdon is a real nice piece to keep alongside Giannis as primary ball-handler. Lillard is obviously a superstar, but does anyone else here move the needle for the Bucks? Plus you ended up with Evan Turner, which means you automatically lost this trade.

This is why we’re best friends (*on Twitter), I really don’t have anything to add. Let’s slap some grades on this puppy and call it a day.

Shump’s hair game + Gordon Hayward’s perfectly coiffed ‘do = Follicle Nirvana and the Jazz become unstoppable. For Cleveland, I like Burks’ as a tertiary scorer and Shelvin Mack can hit open threes. A-

Steven:  I am always in favor of collecting as much good hair on one team as possible. I have definitely made all-dreads and all-fro teams in NBA 2K, so I like where your head’s at for this. I’ll give it a B+ just because I’m still worried about Burks’ injury history.

I’m with you on PJ Tucker adding needed toughness to a milquetoast Indy lineup. Underrated aspect: Tucker can play some small-ball power forward, dude is like a cinder block in sneakers. B 

Steven: Tucker is definitely a *extremely Walter Orange voice* brick … house, and I really like him as a small ball PF. I’d even go B+.

Bulls seem to be just moving the peas and rhubarbs on their plate around instead of just getting better food. The back-court upgrade of Lee helps a ton. I’m an irrational fan of Mike Scott, and overall the added depth/better fits is a plus. B-? 

Steven: I feel like the hit you take overall in terms of chemistry and time together might not be worth it, although it’s not like Chicago’s chemistry is so great. I would make this a C+ because it’s a lot of motion that might not really fix anything.

Oh Pistons. Thought this would be a “big leap” season for them. Like you said, this move is about keeping the cupboards stocked, I guess. A silver lining is opening up more playing time for Stanley Johnson so they can REALLY see what they’ve got in the lad. C+

Steven: This is a C- at best. Don’t impress me much.

The thought of Lillard and Giannis together fills me with glee. But…Evan Turner. F. (Just joking, A from me!)

Steven:  I honestly think this might grade out better for the Blazers than the Bucks (Editor’s note: I think Steven is nutso). Call it a B+ for Portland, B for Milwaukee.

Raptors, Serge Ibaka
Will Serge Ibaka make the Raptors legitimate contenders? (Photo: Nick Turchiaro – USA TODAY Sports)

Southeast – Daniel Carson (@TheDoctorCarson, senior writer at Fox Sports, all around good guy)


  • The Hawks send Mike Muscala and Mike Scott to the Chicago Bulls for Nikola Mirotic and two second round picks (Chicago’s 2018 and 2020).
  • The Hawks send Taurean Prince to the Portland Trail Blazers for Noah Vonleh, Pat Connaughton and the Cleveland Cavaliers’ 2017 first round pick.




  • The Heat send Tyler Johnson, Udonis Haslem and James Johnson to the New York Knicks for Joakim Noah, Sasha Vujacic, Maurice Ndour, the Knicks’ 2018 first round pick and the Bulls’ 2017 second round pick.
  • The Heat send Hassan Whiteside and Josh Richardson to the Mavericks for Andrew Bogut, Deron Williams, Justin Anderson and the Mavericks’ 2018 first round pick.


  • In a three-team trade, the Magic send Serge Ibaka and Mario Hezonja to the Toronto Raptors. The Raptors send Norman Powell to Orlando and Cory Joseph and Patrick Patterson to the Jazz. Utah sends Derrick Favors to Orlando and Raul Neto to Toronto.
  • The Magic send Nikola Vucevic and Jodie Meeks to the Wizards for Otto Porter Jr., Trey Burke and Andrew Nicholson. Orlando waives Anthony Brown.
  • The Magic send Evan Fournier to the Nets for Al-Farouq Aminu, Randy Foye, Portland’s 2017 top 10 protected pick (acquired in Brook Lopez trade) and cash. Magic waive Damjan Rudez.

Whew. I almost don’t know where to start, so I’ll let you go stream of conscience.



Mirotic Madness is over, but this is definitely 1,000x the better deal of the two here.

I’m not against dealing Taurean Prince for a reasonable net, but Noah Vonleh is non-starter, and I say this as guy who cheered this man like the Second Coming when he was at IU. The guy was an exciting and athletic floor-stretcher at Indiana and has since proven to be less athletic than almost any other big man his age in the league.


Ugh…God d*mn this division forever. Alright, at first blush I really like the Knicks’ first rounder, particularly when you consider the 76ers being capable of beating literally anyone on any given night this season and the Knicks are currently entering a new stratosphere of #Knicksing right now. But New York is prideful, and a Melo deal down the road could either make that pick A1 amazing or send enough assets their way to make this team just good enough to dick Miami out of a strong lottery position in ’18.

A decent idea, considering Hassan Whiteside is probably at or nearing his peak right now, and the Heat need to look themselves hard in the mirror and truly say yes to the dress and by “the dress” I mean being real, actual garbage and committing to the rebuild they need. That being said, I don’t think the Mavericks are as far away from being good as this trade would suggest, and you could probably get a surer pick with another team in exchange for Whiteside. Also, you do not bring Joakim Noah onto your basketball team for any reason. Even if there’s a fire.


Man. Why did I ask to analyze this division? This is literally Titanic deck-chair feng shui analysis. Anyways, someone has to go in Orlando, probably a couple people, and they might as well move Ibaka while he has some value if they can swing it. Derrick Favors feels like decent value with good upside, and Utah is in a good enough spot to want to make a deal.

I like this (Tthe Vucevic/Otto Porter Jr move) a lot.

I’m not against moving Fournier, but not if it means bringing in more power forwards for the ill-advised wall the Magic are building between them and real progress.

Which GM do you crown King of the Southeast?

Dan: The Southeast is a chemical fire inside a poop factory on the side of Clown Sh*t Mountain, so even a candle of competence shines like the Bat signal in this godforsaken chuckle box. So I got to go with Rich Cho. The Hornets are in a good spot. 

Which GM do you mock mercilessly on Twitter?

Dan: As a Magic fan, I have to go with ridiculing Rob Hennigan, whose dedication to building the first team in the league of power forwards and freakish young athletes no one wants is as breathtaking as it is well-intentioned and poorly executed.

Your description of the Southeast almost made me spit out my coffee. And I send my condolences to you for being a fan of the godforsaken Magic. I’ll give sorrowful grades by myself and we’re start the healing process:

Hawks bring in Vonleh? What’s lower than an F?

I’ll disagree with you about the Hornets being in a good spot. Losing Jeremy Lin, Courtney Lee, and Al Jefferson in the off-season was a bigger blow than they knew, and now they’re in desperate need of more scoring. D

The Heat finally embraced the tank. The nightmare is over. B+

Magic just keep churning through good-not-great guys, guys with potential who need stability, and marginal players. F.

Let’s all bow our heads.


James Holas

Suffering Celtics fan. Lefty post dominator. Purveyor of the finest Steakums cuisine and candy corn.

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