Winners and losers at the NBA trade deadline

Winners and losers at the NBA trade deadline
Denver Nuggets guard Arron Afflalo, left, drives on San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard during a game on Jan. 20. Afflalo was traded to the Portland Trail Blazers on Thursday. (David Zalubowski / Associated Press)

At the end of Thursday's NBA trading deadline, players and draft picks were moving at such a frantic rate — particularly in the final hour — it was hard to keep track of all the roster changes.

When the dust settled, it marked one of the most active trading days in league history.


With less than two months to go in the regular season, here's a quick look at the teams that benefited the most from the moves and the teams that didn't do enough to improve.


Portland: Neil Olshey, Trail Blazers president of basketball operations and a former Clippers executive, pulled off another great deal by acquiring swingman Arron Afflalo from the Denver Nuggets.

Afflalo is having a down season, but he immediately gives Portland an upgrade to a bench that lacked a scoring punch and he should help the Trail Blazers make a strong push in the Western Conference playoffs.

He averaged 14.5 points per game in Denver, his lowest output in the last three years, but that's more than any of the Trail Blazers' reserves and it would make him the fourth-highest scorer in Portland. He shot 42.8% from the field and 33.7% from three-point range with the Nuggets, both the lowest since his rookie season in 2007-08.

But playing alongside All-Stars Damian Lillard and LaMarcus Aldridge should give Afflalo plenty of open looks.

Afflalo, who started in Denver, has the versatility to be the backup shooting guard behind starter Wesley Matthews and the backup small forward behind starter Nicolas Batum.

Olshey also has plenty of decisions to make this summer. Matthews will be a free agent, after making $7.2 million this season, and Afflalo, who has a player option for next season at $7.7 million, is expected to opt out and seek a longer-term deal.

The Trail Blazers would still be a very good team with a Lillard-Matthews backcourt, or a Lillard-Afflalo backcourt. It just depends how expensive it will be to keep Matthews or Afflalo — or both.

Oklahoma City: The Thunder got rid of disgruntled backup point guard Reggie Jackson, who reportedly fell out of favor with the team's franchise player, Kevin Durant. That in itself made it a good trade for Oklahoma City to ship Jackson, who wants to start, to Detroit.

Durant may not have been as happy to see reserve center and friend Kendrick Perkins get traded to Utah, but the Thunder All-Star forward had to be happy with how the team improved at three key positions and improved its bench.

Oklahoma City acquired a quality backup point guard from Detroit in D.J. Augustin, a former teammate of Durant's in college at Texas; a solid backup small forward from Detroit in Kyle Singler; and a good young, big man from Utah in center Enes Kanter.

Kanter, who averaged 13.8 points and 7.8 rebounds in Utah, gives the Thunder more offense down low; Augustin, who averaged 10.6 points and 4.9 assists in Detroit, can start or come off the bench; and Singler, who averaged 7.1 points in Detroit, plays defense and can score some.

Along with Russell Westbrook and Durant, those moves probably assured the Thunder of getting into the playoffs.

Miami: In one of the biggest deals of the day, the Heat had to surrender two first-round draft picks to get talented point guard Goran Dragic from Phoenix.

But Dragic, 28, is an upgrade over Miami's other point guards and Miami was one of the teams he listed as his preferred destination. Now the Heat just has to sign him to a contract extension this summer, which can be as high as five years for $100-plus million.

Dragic wasn't getting the ball in his hands enough in Phoenix, but he was still averaging 16.2 points and shooting 50.1% from the field.

A Heat backcourt of Dragic, who was All-NBA third team last season, plus Dwyane Wade and with Hassan Whiteside in the frontcourt will give them a good chance to make the playoffs in the East.


Phoenix: The Suns messed this up last summer when they signed 5-foot-9 free-agent point guard Isaiah Thomas to a four-year, $27-million deal, creating a logjam of little point guards in the backcourt with the 6-3 Dragic and 6-1 Eric Bledsoe.

The Suns lost two of those players, sending Dragic to Miami and Thomas to Boston.

It must be noted that Brandon Knight, 23, whom the Suns picked up in a trade with Milwaukee, is a very good point guard and is still improving.

It'll be interesting to see whether Knight and Bledsoe can make it work in the backcourt together, especially for two players who are at their best with the basketball in their hands.

Denver: The Nuggets traded two players, but couldn't ship out two others who had been on the trading block.

Besides trading Afflalo to Portland, Denver also traded unproductive and mostly injured center JaVale McGee to Philadelphia.

The Nuggets picked up a first-round pick from both the Trail Blazers and 76ers in the deals and Denver got an $11.2-million exception in the McGee trade.

But the Nuggets didn't trade point guard Ty Lawson or forward Wilson Chandler, two disgruntled players Denver hoped to move.

It probably won't be easy for Nuggets Coach Brian Shaw to deal with Lawson and Chandler going forward.

Brooklyn: The Nets' goal was to lower their league-high payroll of about $91 million, but they were unable to move any of their max-contract players — Joe Johnson ($23.1 million), Deron Williams ($19.7 million) and Brook Lopez ($15.7 million).

The Nets unloaded Kevin Garnett to Minnesota, but he was playing a career-low 20.3 minutes per game and averaging just 6.8 points.

Brooklyn did nothing to improve its chances of making the playoffs.

Twitter: @BA_Turner