Who Won and Who Lost? Reviewing All 12 NBA Trades

James HardenThere have been exactly a dozen NBA trades made this season, from small to significant. Some teams wanted to clear up money, some teams wanted to continue rebuilding, while others took bold steps in ensuring present and future success on the court.

But in our society of instant gratification and unceasing competition, we almost have an unquenchable thirst for deciding winners and losers. And for the 19 teams involved in these 12 trades, it is time for an insightful look at how everyone fared since the end of October.

We start with the biggest of them all …

thunder small logorockets small logo10/27/12Oklahoma City traded G James Harden to Houston for G Kevin Martin, G Jeremy Lamb, two first-round draft picks and a second-round draft pick. 

Oklahoma City was unwilling to give Harden a max contract, and the Thunder made the unpopular decision to send him to Houston for scoring guard Martin, Lamb and Toronto’s first-rounder this year (top 3 protected). The Rockets were desperate to acquire a star player, but GM Daryl Morey probably didn’t envision Harden becoming one of the top scorers and players in the NBA so quickly. Here’s where he stacks up in many statistical categories (stats via Basketball Reference):

HardenNumbersLeague Rank
FT Attempts7481
FT Made6442
Offensive Win Shares9.93
Win Shares12.64
Win Shares/ 48 Min0.2145
Pts Per Game25.95
Steals Per Game1.87
Min Per Game38.28
True Shooting %60.69

ThunderWhile OKC remains the top team in the Western Conference, the Rockets greatly improved and clinched a playoff berth on Tuesday night.

Winner: Both Teams. Houston is now in position to be a viable conference contender for years to come, while the Thunder remained a top team while gaining cap flexibility and a lottery pick.

grizzlies small logocavs small logo1/22/13- Memphis traded F Marreese Speights, G Wayne Ellington, G Josh Selby and a future first-round draft pick to Cleveland for F Jon Leuer.

This was a salary dump for Memphis and a prelude to the Rudy Gay trade you’ll see below. Cleveland got a heavily protected pick from the Grizzlies, but the deal for the Cavs really hinges on Speights’ long-term future with the team. He’s signed through next season, and is certainly making a case to be a building block on this young Cleveland squad.

SpeightsMinPPGFG %Reb/GamePER
Before Trade14.56.642.94.716.1
After Trade18.910.846.65.119.3

Winner: Cleveland. 
The Cavs need to lock Speights up, and this will have been an even greater trade for GM Chris Grant.

grizzlies small logoraptors small logopistons small logo1/30/13- Memphis traded G-F Rudy Gay and C Hamed Haddadi to Toronto for G Jose Calderon and F Ed Davis. Traded G Calderon to Detroit for F Austin Daye and F Tayshaun Prince.

Rudy Gay

I won’t discuss this trade in enormous detail, since I talked about Memphis’ improvement without Rudy Gay at length back in this recent column. Gay is owed roughly $37 million through the 2015 season, and the Raptors traded for him when he was going through the worst season of his career. He gave Toronto a brief boost, but it faded quickly.

The Grizzlies got nice contributors in Davis, Prince and Daye whose ultimate value will not be known until we see how they fare in the playoffs as Memphis goes in as one of the few completely healthy postseason teams. The Pistons got a huge expiring contract in Calderon. His $11 million is going off the books, and Detroit could end up with $36 million in cap space that Joe Dumars can blow this summer and the 2.0 version of Charlie Villanueva and Ben Gordon.

Winner: Memphis. Detroit’s grade is an incomplete based on what they do this summer, and Toronto goes down as a loser.

celtics small logowizards small logo2/21/13- Washington traded G Jordan Crawford to Boston for C Jason Collins and G Leandro Barbosa.


After the trade deadline, I mentioned that Crawford could be an asset for the Celtics. I was wrong. He’s been terrible. Look at the stats:

CrawfordMinPPGFG %3 FG%PER
Before Trade26.213.241.534.514.7
After Trade20.18.138.729.510.2

Winner: Washington. The Wizards got $2.5 million in expiring contracts and freed up playing time for the budding backcourt of John Wall and Bradley Beal. I wouldn’t necessarily call Boston the loser, because it was a low-risk, high-reward move that could have infused scoring into a team that needed direction after the Rajon Rondo injury. But this trade/purge worked out well for Washington.


  1. Nick says

    You call the Heat winners cause their trade freed up time for Chris Anderson, but no mention that the Knicks dealing Brewer freed up the spot to sign K-Mart.

    Come on…

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