Nets GM Sean Marks continues to do solid work with his cheap veteran signings, and now he cashed in one of them to pick up an extra draft pick that will likely last longer with the team than the former 17th overall pick was going to. Across 42 games (33 starts), Zeller averaged a solid 7.1 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 0.5 blocks in just 16.7 minutes with 54.6%/38.5%/66.7% shooting. I don't completely see the need on the Bucks' end for another limited big man, but they always seem to be looking for a center that can provide some offensive skills without killing them on the other end. Since they declined the fourth year option on Vaughn, they obviously didn't have plans for him in the future after he was also the 17th pick in his draft, so they must be hoping they'll be good enough that the 2nd rounder will be late enough to not be of much consequence.
New York gets:
Poor Hernangomez: he goes from out of the Knicks' rotation to a Hornets team that already has Dwight Howard, Cody Zeller, and Frank Kaminsky in established roles up front. Howard and Kaminsky only have one more year left on their deals, though, and the 23 year old Spaniard showed enough as a rookie (11.6/9.3/2.0 averages in 25.8 minutes over his 22 starts) that he can be thought of as a nice backup center option in the future. It would have been nice if things worked out for him to stay in New York with his former Sevilla teammate and buddy Kristaps Porzingis, but getting two 2nds back isn't bad value in return considering he was a 2nd rounder himself and that his defensive limitations have kept him out of favor this season.
Los Angeles signs Williams to 3 year, $24 million extension:
With the last year reportedly only containing $1.5 million guaranteed, this was a surprisingly affordable extension for the Clippers since Williams was eligible to sign for upwards of $42 million over four years. I suppose the 31 year old veteran preferred some security in the same city after being on his fifth team in five season, including a year and a half in LA already with the Lakers, over chasing the Mid-Level Exception that is expected to have around an $8.6 million starting salary this summer. That's understandable, so hopefully for his sake the Clips don't end up trading him after the required six month wait now that the high-scoring 6th man is under team control like they did with Blake Griffin.
Don't look now, but after all the other times they conceded sweeteners as a throw-in, the Bulls actually made a deal that benefited them in the 2nd round! Nelson, who turns 36 tomorrow and will be on his fourth team since training camp, was never long for the rebuilding squad after being included in last week's trade, and now he gets to be reunited with his Orlando coach, Stan Van Gundy, as needed point guard depth for a team competing for a playoff spot. The cost is clearly low for the Pistons after Reed was also recently acquired as an extra piece in the Griffin trade, and it looks like Chicago is just going to waive him anyway despite his productive per-minute numbers. That's a little disappointing, but it does open up a roster spot to try out younger players while inching the Bulls ever so closer to the salary floor (more on that shortly).
Los Angeles gets:
I'm still a bit in shock from the first stunner of deadline day as my initial thought from this morning still holds true: I can't believe the Cavs helped the Lakers clear salary space to target LeBron James and another max contract this summer. As things stand now with the 1st round pick sitting at #24 and estimated at a $1.82 million cap hold, LA can hold onto Julius Randle's cap hold as a restricted free agent and have $45.93 million in space. Clearing Clarkson's salary made things simpler to achieve the estimated $65.65 million in room needed for James and a 30% max salary player like Paul George (assuming a $101 million salary cap), though, because they can stretch Luol Deng's remaining salary and simply renounce Randle's rights like the rest of their free agents to reach $67.3 million. That number could increase a little bit if the pick becomes lower due to Cleveland improving after today or if they waive the non-guaranteed contracts of young players like Tyler Ennis, Ivica Zubac, or Thomas Bryant. Perhaps the Cavs are confident enough that James will stay, especially after fortifying their roster today, that it doesn't matter; there was a report two days ago that LA was shifting their focus to the 2019 free agent class after all. If that is the case, this still helps the Lakers get closer to having two max slots that summer as they'll now have over $60 million in space, and stretching Deng that year could offset a new deal for Randle that eats into that. Deng's contract might even be easier to move once it has less money remaining on it, but it's always been likely that it'll have to count as $7,362,000 in dead money over five years or $6,270,000 over three depending on once he's waived.
As for the actual product on the court, it's a shame how far Isaiah Thomas' stock has fallen after his hip injury and poor 15 game run in Cleveland that he's basically just an expiring contract, so hopefully he can rebuild his free agent value a bit with what is likely to be plenty of opportunity in LA. It may hurt his pride to come off the bench, but he could potentially feast on opposing second units, play alongside the 6'6" Lonzo Ball, and have free reign during the times the rookie is banged up like now. If Frye isn't bought out, he can help in their young players' development by providing floor spacing as a big man like I wrote about when Brook Lopez was brought in. For the Cavs, Nance will give them a player who actually brings effort on defense, and they've already seen recently with rookie Cedi Osman how much of an impact that simple difference can make. He can also slide across a couple of positions for some versatility along with Clarkson, and although the latter tends to give it back up on defense, he provides an athletic scoring punch to the back court with some passing. With that being said, it is a little odd that they did this move that required giving up a 1st round pick and taking on future salary considering they had their other big trade coming just a little bit later. Dealing with Isaiah Thomas' constant public comments couldn't have been that bad, could it?
It would be a real shame if someone captioned this pic.twitter.com/nNHImE8vWi— Rob Perez (@World_Wide_Wob) February 8, 2018