NBA Trade Deadline Recap: Cavaliers trade Isaiah Thomas and five other players in a frenzy of deals

In the hours leading up to the NBA trade deadline, it seemed like the trade market has slowed down significantly. It seemed like this year’s trade deadline would be more bark than bite as no deals were being made yet and it was all rumors.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski was also reporting how the mood was changing from a highly aggressive market to one that would wait it out.

Boy, were we all wrong. No one expected the frenzy of deals that would happen in the final three hours approaching the trade deadline.

It started off innocently with a trade of bench players between the Chicago Bulls and the Detroit Pistons. Yahoo Sports’ Shams Charania broke the news that Jameer Nelson, recently acquired by the Bulls was being traded to Detroit for the Pistons newly acquired big man, Willie Reed.

That initial trade opened the flood gates. Wojnarowski tweeted this.

A few minutes later, all hell broke loose. The Cleveland Cavaliers traded away All-Star point guard Isaiah Thomas and Channing Frye to the LA Lakers for Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance. Cleveland also sends their own first round pick to LA

Clarkson has been in several trade rumors in the weeks leading up to the trade deadline. His contract needed to be dealt away to make room for big name free agents in 2018. But with the Lakers reportedly shifting their focus to the 2019 free agent crop, there was a sense that Clarkson was staying in LA.

That all changed in a matter of hours. The Lakers get Thomas and Frye, both expiring contracts for next season. That makes space for the Lakers to sign two superstars this coming offseason.

The Cavaliers weren’t done wheeling and dealing just yet. Cleveland was involved in a three-team trade with the Utah Jazz and the Sacramento Kings. The Cavaliers acquired Rodney Hood from the Jazz and George Hill from the Kings. The Jazz got Derrick Rose and Jae Crowder from the Cavs while the Kings nabbed Joe Johnson from the Jazz and Iman Shumpert from the Cavaliers.

The tweet was barely sent out when Woj had another bomb flying away. The Cavaliers sent Dwyane Wade back to the Miami Heat for a second round pick. This move was done as a way to make things right with Wade and allow him to retire with the team he calls home.

The last two moves by the Cavaliers show the direction of the team moving forward. They reloaded with young guys (Clarkson, Hood, Nance) and acquired a solid veteran (Hill) to help the team win.

The overhaul of the Cavaliers will ideally shake things up for a team that is in a downward spiral. They’re now a younger, more athletic team that has a punch on offense and has tools to be better on defense.

But this move isn’t just for this season. It’s also a failsafe for the Cavaliers in case James bolts in the offseason. They have a young, talented roster and they were able to keep the Brooklyn Nets pick this year. That gives them a top 10, possibly top 5 pick in the draft to reload if James leaves.

In the middle of the Cavalier trading spree, the Detroit Pistons improved their wing depth by acquiring James Ennis from the Memphis Grizzlies in exchange for Brice Johnson who they got from the Clippers trade.

The Miami Heat also made a move to add some shooting to their team by trading Okaro White for Luke Babbit from the Atlanta Hawks as reported by ESPN’s Marc Spears.

Charania reported a trade of young prospects between the Toronto Raptors and Sacramento Kings.

He also reported that the Jazz will be waiving Derrick Rose so that he can sign with another team.

This opened up the possibility of Rose reuniting with his former coach, Tom Thibodeau in Minnesota, as reported by Marc Stein of the New York Times.

Wojnarowski reported another three-team trade between the New York Knicks, Denver Nuggets and Dallas Mavericks.

The Knicks finally get a point guard who can run the team. Mudiay lost his spot in the Nuggets with the emergence of Jamal Murray. Mudiay joins a Knicks team that has needed a point guard since the start of the season.

The Chicago Bulls fortify their front court by acquiring Noah Vonleh from the Portland Trail Blazers. The Bulls give away the rights to a stashed player in Europe.

Charania reported that Rashad Vaughn recently traded to the Brooklyn Nets was on the move again. Vaughn was traded to the New Orleans Pelicans for Dante Cunningham.

The Washington Wizards traded away bench player Sheldon Mac to the Atlanta Hawks for a second round pick.

The final trade before the deadline was between the Phoenix Suns and the Orlando Magic. The Magic traded away Elfrid Payton for a 2018 second round pick.

The Suns were able to steal a player with the potential to be a starting point guard for pennies.

Here’s a look back at the trades that happened before the February 8 trade deadline day.

January 29: Blake Griffin was traded to the Detroit Pistons for a package of players that included Tobias Harris and Boban Marjanovic

February 1: Nikola Mirotic is traded to the New Orleans Pelicans for a package of players and picks.

February 5: The Milwaukee Bucks acquire Tyler Zeller for Rashad Vaughn and a second round pick

February 7: The New York Knicks trade Willy Hernangomez to the Charlotte Bobcats for Johhny O’Bryant and picks

Photo from Getty Images

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