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NBA Roundtable: Post-trade deadline talking points

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With the trade deadline in the rearview mirror, theScore's NBA editors answer some of the biggest questions around the league ahead of the All-Star break.

Which player dealt at the deadline will have the biggest impact?

Buddy Hield was a sensational pickup for the 76ers, who nabbed the sharpshooting vet at a relatively inexpensive cost. His numbers may be down across the board, but it was arguably difficult for the Bahamian wing to establish consistency while being in and out of Indiana's starting five this season. He's posted 13 points on average with 46/39/89 rounded shooting splits across 28 games as a starter while recording just 10.8 points per game on 42/38/67 shooting in 24 reserve appearances. Hield will give Joel Embiid a lethal kick-out target if defenders try to collapse inside once (if) he returns. Nobody on Philadelphia shoots from deep at Hield's volume (10.5 attempts per game this season), and of the five 76ers shooters with at least three 3-point attempts per contest, none of them top Hield's 38.4% clip. - Soveta

It may not have been the flashiest move, but adding Daniel Gafford gives the Mavs a nice one-two punch at the five, where they've lacked production in recent years. The 25-year-old is having a breakout campaign, averaging 11 points and eight boards. He's fifth in the Association in true shooting percentage (70.7%), ranks seventh in blocks (2.1 per contest), and sits 13th in offensive rebounds (135). Gafford should pair nicely with Luka Doncic in the pick-and-roll and strengthens Dallas' poor interior defense. He also provides some insurance for rookie center Dereck Lively II, who's already missed his share of games this season. With Gafford under contract through the 2025-26 season, the Mavs now have two quality centers locked in for the foreseeable future at a manageable cap hit. - Nacion

The Knicks added two impactful veterans at the deadline in Alec Burks and Bojan Bogdanovic who can help shore up their rotation as the team gets closer to the playoffs. The tandem should also take some offensive pressure off Jalen Brunson leading into the All-Star break with Julius Randle and OG Anunoby sidelined. Bogdanovic and Burks have been consistent offensively despite languishing on the lowly Detroit Pistons. Both players are connecting on over 40% of their shots from three, which should help a New York team that ranks in the middle of the pack in made 3-pointers and percentage. Playing for the Knicks should inspire both players to exceed expectations. Parting ways with a high-upside guard like Quentin Grimes stings, but there's no better time to add proven commodities with a few Eastern Conference competitors faltering. - Higney

Which team should have been more active in the trade market?

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The Oklahoma City Thunder have seemingly unlimited draft capital, the potential MVP, and a 35-17 record. Why was acquiring a 33-year-old who hasn't played since December their biggest move? Gordon Hayward is Sam Presti's Josh Giddey insurance: a wing who can offer some playmaking. However, the Thunder failed to give head coach Mark Daigneault a center to play besides Chet Holmgren. The wiry-framed rookie has been outstanding on both ends of the floor this campaign. Holmgren's 2.6 blocks per game is the fourth-best mark in the NBA. But the 195-pound Holmgren will struggle against the likes of Nikola Jokic and Rudy Gobert in the playoffs. The Thunder could've matched or surpassed the offers for Daniel Gafford, Kelly Olynyk, or Xavier Tillman. Oklahoma City may be young, but its championship window is officially open. The Thunder needed to capitalize on Shai Gilgeous-Alexander's brilliance. -Tittley

It was slightly surprising to see the Golden State Warriors elect to stay the course when this season has been anything but smooth and straightforward. Questions abound surrounding the efficacy of Stephen Curry's supporting cast, the redundancy of playing Jonathan Kuminga and Andrew Wiggins together, and Klay Thompson's continuing decline. You could argue Golden State perhaps should've considered shopping Kuminga for experienced reinforcements or ripped off the bandage entirely and broken up its core. In fairness, the Warriors have shown encouraging signs since Draymond Green's return from suspension, but it does feel like a missed opportunity in favor of kicking the can down the road. - Soveta

There was no reason for the Bulls to stand pat at the trade deadline for the third straight year. It's clear what the ceiling is for the current core, and no midseason move would've raised that. Chicago's rebuild is long overdue, and the Bulls had an opportunity to pivot in that direction after Zach LaVine underwent season-ending foot surgery. DeMar DeRozan's scoring, Andre Drummond's rebounding, or Alex Caruso's defense could've been a nice addition for any contending squad. Instead, the Bulls prioritized a play-in tournament push over draft compensation and young assets. To make matters worse, DeRozan and Drummond could both leave for nothing in free agency. - Nacion

Which transaction was the most surprising?

The Raptors parting ways with Dennis Schroder wasn't shocking after they pivoted away from Anunoby and Pascal Siakam. The shocking part was waiving Spencer Dinwiddie to reportedly avoid paying a contract bonus worth $1.5 million for games played. Not receiving an asset in the form of draft capital is hard to justify. Getting out from under Schroder's $13-million deal for next season will open up more flexibility for the Raptors to re-sign key free agents like Immanuel Quickley, Gary Trent Jr., and the recently acquired Kelly Olynyk, but potential opportunity can't be the sole reason to make deals at the deadline. - Higney

There might be no one who can truthfully tell you they had Hayward heading to the Thunder. With a trove of first-round picks and a talented young roster spearheaded by a legitimate MVP candidate in Gilgeous-Alexander, it was fair to assume this deadline might be the perfect time for Presti to burn through his stockpile of picks and make a move for another budding star to maximize the Thunder's current contention window. Instead, Presti secured a 33-year-old forward making $31.5 million on an expiring deal who hasn't played in nearly two months. That's not to say the deal is completely illogical; when healthy, Hayward will likely be tasked with stabilizing Oklahoma City's second unit in the postseason while serving as a valuable locker room voice. But it was definitely unexpected. - Soveta

It isn't surprising that Toronto acquired Olynyk at the deadline. The 33-year-old is a useful player on an expiring contract who provides a skill set the Raptors are lacking: size and shooting. Olynyk's 43% clip from downtown isn't only a career best, it's also the highest percentage on Toronto's roster. The 7-footer is also an adept playmaker for his position. Olynyk has the fourth-highest assist rate by any center in the league (29.8%), trailing only Nikola Jokic (40.7%), Domantas Sabonis (33.5%), and Joel Embiid (31.3%). The surprising part is that he wasn't acquired by a different team. A contender like Oklahoma City or Denver couldn't come up with a better asset than Toronto's late first-round pick? - Tittley

Which team has positioned itself for a big summer?

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The Lakers' lack of assets - particularly draft picks - largely held the team back in its pursuit of an impact player at the deadline. That won't be an issue this summer when L.A. will be able to offer three first-rounders in a potential trade for a third star. Numerous marquee names have already been linked to Los Angeles, including Trae Young, Donovan Mitchell, and Kyrie Irving. But before that chase can take place, the Lakers' fortunes could be turned on their head if LeBron James opts out of his contract this summer. The four-time Finals MVP has until June 29 - two days after the NBA draft - to make a decision. James hasn't been shy about his desire to play alongside his son Bronny. Should the USC guard declare for this year's draft, James could quickly make that dream a reality by declining his player option and signing with whomever selects Bronny. No team has a wider range of outcomes this summer. - Nacion

If the Lakers can't secure the services of that potential star, the Knicks have quietly turned themselves into an intriguing suitor for LeBron's services, or the next big player that wants out. A deep playoff run with multiple players having signature moments could entice a big-time player to venture over to New York to try and lead the franchise to that illustrious championship, a feat that hasn't been accomplished since the 1970s. With an emerging star in Brunson, stout defensive pieces all over the roster, and draft assets to go out and potentially get another star, any notable player should have their sights set on the Big Apple. - Higney

General manager Arturas Karnisovas can say the Bulls are competitive all he wants. The reality is that Chicago's ceiling is a first-round blowout. LaVine’s foot surgery should've been the catalyst that started a fire sale. Instead, the Bulls sat tight, leaving lots of work to be done this summer. DeMar DeRozan and Andre Drummond will most likely be on different teams as impending free agents. The emergence of Coby White is one of the few bright spots for the organization. The former seventh overall pick has made one of the biggest scoring jumps in the league and is a contender for Most Improved Player. Re-sign Patrick Williams, see what you can get for LaVine post-surgery, and move on from this failed experiment. -Tittley

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