The 2022 NBA title is up for grabs. Only the Phoenix Suns are currently on pace to win 60 games. The preseason Eastern Conference favorite has barely had its full team together, and their Western Conference counterparts are currently slated for the play-in round. Nobody has grabbed the season by the horns yet this season. That can change in the coming weeks.
The NBA trade deadline is on Feb. 10, and even though there doesn’t appear to be any superstars on the market — aside from one certain player on the Philadelphia 76ers‘ roster — contenders shouldn’t have much trouble finding upgrades. Talent abounds at nearly every position. The deadline is still weeks away, but we’ve already seen our first batch of deals. Below, we’ll detail each completed trade between now and the final buzzer.
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Pacers trade LeVert to Cavs for Rubio, picks
With the Feb. 10 NBA trade deadline now less than a week away, the action is truly heating up. The Indiana Pacers and Cleveland Cavaliers got into the mix Sunday with a deal that will have Indiana send Caris LeVert and a second-round pick to Cleveland in exchange for Ricky Rubio, a lottery-protected 2022 first-round pick and two future second-round picks, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
LeVert is not having the most efficient season, but is putting up 18.7 points, 3.8 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game, and is the type of instant-offense player the Cavaliers desperately need. With Collin Sexton and Rubio out for the season due to knee injuries, the Cavs have often struggled on the offensive end — especially when Darius Garland is not on the floor.
As for the Pacers, they are looking to the future. Rubio, again, is out for the season due to a torn ACL, so he will not play for them and his contract will expire in the summer. That will free up some space on their cap sheet, and they’ll get some extra picks for their trouble. It’s not clear yet if they’re going full rebuild, but extra picks never hurt.
Clippers acquire Covington, Powell from Blazers for Bledsoe
Though the Clippers are without Kawhi Leonard — who may not return this season — and Paul George who is still out indefinitely with an elbow injury, they find themselves still firmly in the hunt for a playoff spot. To help continue that journey, L.A. brought in some reinforcements by agreeing to trade away Eric Bledsoe, Justise Winslow, Keon Johnson ad a 2025 second-round pick to the Portland Trail Blazers for Norman Powell and Robert Covington, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Powell gives L.A. some extra production on offense, while Covington will add to the Clippers’ already strong defense. For the Blazers, this gets them some salary relief in what has been a lost season while franchise centerpiece Damian Lillard remains sidelined with an abdominal injury. Getting a young asset in Johnson and a future pick is a bonus in this deal.
Nuggets acquire Forbes in three-team deal involving Celtics, Spurs
One team’s trash is another team’s treasure. Bryn Forbes had struggled for minutes in a crowded San Antonio backcourt, but might find more luck on a Nuggets team that sorely needs shooting. Neither Bol Bol nor P.J. Dozier (out for the season due to injury) were going to contribute much to the Nuggets, but the Celtics were eager to scoop them up as long-term additions. In the process they managed to get off Juancho Hernangomez’s contract, a critical step if they plan to avoid the luxury tax. Hernangomez was once a very productive offensive player, and now, San Antonio will have a chance to see if it can rediscover that form.
Knicks land Reddish from Hawks for Knox, protected 2022 first-round pick
Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk admitted that bringing back virtually everyone from last season’s Eastern Conference finals appearance may have been a mistake, and in an attempt to rectify that, he dealt Cam Reddish to New York for a heavily-protected first-round pick originally belonging to the Charlotte Hornets. The move opens up some wing minutes on an extremely crowded Atlanta roster, but perhaps more importantly, gets an asset back for Reddish before he became eligible for a contract extension that the Hawks didn’t seem too eager to give him. The Knicks, who drafted Reddish’s college teammate RJ Barrett No. 3 overall in 2019, decided to take a low-risk, high-reward home-run swing on the former top prospect. Reddish wanted a deal. Now he’s gotten his wish.
Jazz trade guard Oni, second-rounder to Thunder for cash considerations
There wasn’t much to this deal. Utah, deep in the luxury tax, managed to save a bundle of money in this deal while opening up a roster spot in the process. Oklahoma City was happy to accommodate for a second-round pick. This one won’t swing the championship, but it’s the sort of minor, bookkeeping deal that the deadline produces every year.
Cavaliers acquire veteran guard Rondo from Lakers
The Cleveland Cavaliers opened the season with one of the deepest backcourts in the NBA. That changed when Collin Sexton and Ricky Rubio suffered season-ending injuries. That forced the Cavs to find a veteran capable of soaking up some of their minutes, and they landed on Rajon Rondo. The two-time NBA champion had largely fallen out of the rotation in Los Angeles, so a change of scenery was more than welcome. The Lakers, meanwhile, saved a fair bit of luxury tax cash and opened up a roster spot that has proven necessary for mid-season maneuvering.