Exactly one month has passed since the 2023 NBA trade deadline, which can mean only one thing: Our phones, watches and freestanding antique timepieces are all, simultaneously, striking re-grade o’clock.
Bleacher Report resident NBA junkies Dan Favale and Grant Hughes were tapped to re-litigate the biggest, splashiest, most notable moves. It is a mission they took extremely seriously and one they completed while barricaded in an underground bunker, smack dab in the middle of nowhere, away from prying eyes and anyone who wished to tamper with their agonizingly unironic, top-secret thoughts.
These re-grades took into account every aspect of each deal: opportunity costs, player fits, team directions, short- and long-term implications and, of course, what’s happened to date on that sparkly rectangular floor.
For reference, if you’d like to peruse the initial live-reaction marks from deadline day, you can find those here.

(Kyrie Irving trade grades can be found here.) For further reference, if you have major issues with any of these re-renderings, please direct all rage romps to Bleacher Report associate NBA editor Bryant Knox since Dan and Grant have notoriously thin skins and even more delicate egos.
On to the land of red pens!

The Trade
Brooklyn Nets Receive: Mikal Bridges, Cameron Johnson, Juan Pablo Vaulet, 2023 first-round pick (unprotected), 2025 first-round pick (unprotected), 2027 first-round pick (unprotected), 2028 first-round swap (unprotected), 2028 second-round pick, 2029 first-round pick (unprotected), 2029 second-round pick
Phoenix Suns Receive: Kevin Durant, T.J. Warren
Nets: A
All the talk about how Mikal Bridges expanded his game with the Suns earlier this year feels quaint now. It’s true the former three-and-D wing was exploring the studio space a bit more with Devin Booker and Chris Paul missing time, but the couple of extra pick-and-rolls per game and the mild uptick in ball-handling responsibilities Bridges enjoyed with Phoenix pale in comparison to what he’s done with Brooklyn.
Bridges is averaging 26.5 points, 5.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists with a 52.6/48.1/92.2 shooting split—all well above the levels he reached with the Suns, and in fewer minutes per game. His free-throw attempts per game have more than doubled, his usage rate is up

to 27.3 percent from 19.2 percent, and he’s gone from having 60.2 percent of his two-point field goals assisted to just 46.9 percent. It turns out the Suns were right to entrust Bridges with more responsibility on offense, but they clearly didn’t push him far enough.
Though he won’t continue to shoot the rock like he’s Stephen Curry on a heater, Bridges has done enough in his short time with the Nets to graduate from being perhaps the league’s best role-playing wing. Now, he looks more like a first-option star…who happens to play some of the best perimeter defense on the planet. The Nets can work with that.
The emergence of Bridges, combined with that slew of highly valuable draft picks, means Brooklyn made the absolute best of a bad situation. Nobody wants to trade a superstar, but Durant wanted out, and the package the Nets got back looks even better a month after the deal went down.
Suns: A
It’s high marks all around on this one, as the Suns also earned a flat A for their side of the KD swap.
Unlike Bridges, who immediately became a different player upon his arrival with Brooklyn, Durant showed up with Phoenix exactly as advertised. And when you’re the smoothest, most scalable scorer in the NBA, meeting expectations is more than good enough.
Phoenix logged three straight road wins once Durant joined the lineup, and there was hardly a possession in which KD looked out of step with his new teammates. He ripped off 23 points on 10-of-15 shooting to help Phoenix cruise past the Charlotte Hornets on March 1, then added 20 more points on a 7-of-10 effort to sandblast the Chicago Bulls on Friday. Then came the 37-point outburst that downed former teammate Kyrie Irving and the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday, in which Durant hit 12 of his 17 attempts from the field.
That’d be a preposterously efficient three-game stretch for any high-volume scorer besides KD, who had already produced a trio of other streaks like this in 2022-23, in which he shot 60.0 percent or better from the field across at least three consecutive games.
Durant simply slotted in alongside Booker, Paul and Deandre Ayton, and everything just…worked. No adjustment period. No feeling-out process.
Durant-to-Phoenix was a no-bake recipe that produced a gourmet meal.
Phoenix became a theoretical contender from the moment it consummated this deal with Brooklyn. Everything we’ve seen since screams the Suns are a title threat. The cost of acquiring Durant was historically high, but the payoff could justify it.

The Trade
Brooklyn Nets Receive: Spencer Dinwiddie, Dorian Finney-Smith, 2027 second-round pick, 2029 first-round pick (unprotected), 2029 second-round pick
Dallas Mavericks Receive: Kyrie Irving, Markieff Morris
Nets: B+
It is tempting to dole out an A for the Nets. This deal certainly felt like that type of move in the moment. Brooklyn turned a player it didn’t want—who requested a trade with mere months remaining on his deal—into two rotation players, distant seconds and the mother of all assets: an unprotected first-round pick that conveys far enough into the future, post-dating Luka Dončić’s contract by at least two seasons, that the Mavericks could unravel.
Kevin Durant’s subsequent exit does demand recalibration. Should the Nets have prioritized more of a future-focused return? Maybe. But this presumes one was out there. In the aggregate, Brooklyn landed at least two first-round picks’ worth of value for a wildly talented player who had a limited market.
Who was going to outbid the Mavs for Irving? There’s no evidence the Los Angeles Lakers were prepared to offer their 2027 and 2029 first-rounders. And knowing they only needed to give up one, with protections, to reel in D’Angelo Russell, Malik Beasley and Jarred Vanderbilt suggests they never would have bankrupted their draft and asset pool. After them, the list of suitors brazen enough to both acquire Irving and fork over real value to do so verges on nonexistent.
Brooklyn still can’t get a perfect score. Dinwiddie apparently only drills threes in tidal waves if he’s wearing a Mavs jersey, and Finney-Smith has canned just 23.6 percent of his own triples since the move. Both players have contributed to the offense’s retreat into a slog—a minor blemish given the circumstances under which the Nets made this trade, but a blot of unanticipated instability all the same.
Mavericks: C
Handing out a C will no doubt rankle many in Mavs circles. Anyone disgruntled with what amounts to a passing grade can find solace in knowing I would have given them a D or F when this trade went down.
Dallas is gambling with its future—all of it, in its entirety, Dončić’s happiness included. That hasn’t changed. And if it were me, I still wouldn’t have tethered any part of my or my generational superstar’s competitive livelihood to the NBA’s most erratic player.
Irving is saying and doing all the right things—for now. But we’ve seen this movie before. All three of his exits have unfolded horribly. Even if the on-court product is dominant, Dallas has no assurances he won’t just up and leave over the summer. And while the Mavs might posture that they made this move preparing to consider him a rental, they would be lying.
You don’t trade an unprotected first-rounder that conveys seven drafts from now for a partial season’s worth of Irving. Dallas is committed, implicitly, to re-signing him. And from an asset perspective, that’s a good thing. He may have been suspended for eight games in November for promoting an antisemitic film on social media and then refusing to apologize for it and denounce antisemitism, but he clearly orchestrated his exit from Brooklyn to transfer his Bird rights and the highest-possible payday that comes with them.
Whether you feel good about the Mavs getting into the long-term Kyrie Irving business is a different story. I don’t. Many do. Both stances are reasonable.
Yet even skeptics such as myself have to feel at least a little better about this (on-court) marriage. There has been some crunch-time awkwardness between Dončić and Irving, and Dallas cannot get consistent stops if its life depended on it. But this team has flirted with juggernaut status when everything is humming. The Mavs are outscoring opponents by nearly 10 points per 100 possessions when Dončić and Irving share the court—despite their inherent limitations. And though a 2-5 record in clutch situations doesn’t scream success, playing teams such as the Suns and Denver Nuggets into higher-stakes moments counts as progress.
Treated as a one-season gambit, this deal is a gross miscalculation. Viewed as an opportunistic co-star addition that sustains beyond this year and precedes the complementary defensive acquisitions that should be gettable with Dallas’ remaining assets, the Irving deal is certifiably defensible—and potentially promising.

The Trade
Atlanta Hawks Receive: Saddiq Bey
Detroit Pistons Receive: James Wiseman
Golden State Warriors Receive: Gary Payton II, two second-round picks
Portland Trail Blazers Receive: Kevin Knox II, five second-round picks
Hawks: B
The Atlanta Hawks ranked 25th in the league in three-point accuracy prior to the trade deadline, so Saddiq Bey’s 51.2 percent hit rate from deep in his first eight games with the team is certainly addressing a key deficiency. Atlanta has handily outscored opponents with him on the floor, which tends to happen when a player cans more than half his threes and defends with solid effort across a couple of hundred possessions.
This version of Bey, who is a career 36.2 percent shooter from long range, won’t last. But it’s encouraging for Atlanta that the 23-year-old small forward is fitting in so well in the early going.
The issue with the Hawks’ side of this deal won’t arise until this summer, when Bey is extension-eligible. ESPN’s Jonathan Givony reported on The Lowe Post podcast (h/t RealGM) that Bey wants a deal like new teammate De’Andre Hunter’s, which runs for four years at a total of $90 million. That’s way too much for a reserve shooting specialist, even if he shoots 40.0 percent from deep going forward.
The Hawks only gave up a handful of second-rounders to get him, and they’re under no obligation to offer an extension with Bey under contract for $4.6 million next season ahead of his restricted free agency in 2024.
Pistons: B+
James Wiseman, the No. 2 pick in 2020, may never grasp defensive positioning, catch a basketball cleanly, high-point a rebound or develop any feel for how to function in an offense that features actual movement. The 21-year-old failed on all those fronts, showing no signs of improvement in two-and-a-half injury-riddled years with the Golden State Warriors.
And the Detroit Pistons were still completely justified in trading Bey and Kevin Knox II to get him.
Detroit is tied with the Houston Rockets for the fewest wins in the league and appears miles away from competitive relevance. Wiseman is precisely the kind of high-risk, high-upside talent a team in the Pistons’ position should covet. He’s a lottery ticket—perhaps one who’ll be discarded when the numbers don’t hit but one whose potential (albeit unlikely) payout could be massive.
Any talk of overlap with Jalen Duren, Isaiah Stewart or Marvin Bagley III is absurd. Just as teams near the top of the draft should almost never select for positional need, a squad such as Detroit can’t be choosy. The Pistons can’t pretend to know if any of their young bigs will pan out. Maybe Duren really is the future in the middle, but there’s no way to be certain about anything regarding teenaged rookies. If Wiseman shows flashes that eventually produce the young-center equivalent of a quarterback controversy, how would that possibly be a bad thing for Detroit?
Wiseman is committing most of the same positioning and shot-selection mistakes he made earlier in the year, and he’s actually averaging fewer points per 36 minutes on a lower field-goal percentage than he did with the Warriors. No matter. The Pistons need as many shots at elite talent as they can get. If Bey was never in their plans because of his contract demands, this is a zero-downside play that might take another year or two to be fully judged.
Warriors: D+
Trading Wiseman was an admission of failure, and it’s tough to separate that fact from the grading process. Golden State picked the wrong prospect, watched him rate as one of the most negatively impactful per-possession players in the league for a couple of truncated seasons and finally acknowledged he was a sunk cost by dealing him for Gary Payton II, whom they could have simply re-signed in the offseason.
That Payton has yet to play because of a controversy-sparking adductor injury only adds to the pain, even as Wiseman’s continued presence among the league’s most damaging players validates the Warriors’ decision to some degree.
Still, a win-now operation thought it was at least getting some help for the stretch run, which would have eased the sting of giving up on Wiseman’s future. So far, the Dubs have nothing to show for the trade. If Payton gets back on the floor and offers his unsurpassed defensive disruption to a team that badly needs it, this deal will look much better. For now, with Payton yet to return, Golden State has to take the L. Or D, actually.
Blazers: B-
In isolation, Portland’s exchanging Payton for Knox and five second-round picks elicits a “meh” response. Maybe it should be a little worse considering Payton was viewed as a key offseason acquisition who would, in theory, finally help the Blazers reverse their yearslong trend of never guarding anybody. Then again, Payton wasn’t at full health and struggled to find a regular rotation spot in the 15 games he played.
If you consider the Payton deal as part of the Blazers’ expanded deadline maneuvering, it makes a bit more sense. Portland added Matisse Thybulle in a separate deal, and he provides similar defensive value with the added bonus of impending restricted free agency. Portland may be able to keep him for less than it was paying Payton, and Thybulle is also rangier and younger.
A regular starter and stealmonger since coming aboard, Thybulle’s three-point shots are falling at a 45.0 percent clip. If he settles in as a moderate-volume shooter who can hit treys at league-average rates while causing tons of trouble on D, Thybulle is likely to outproduce Payton, who is injured and already 30, from this point forward.

The Trade
Los Angeles Lakers Receive: D’Angelo Russell, Malik Beasley, Jarred Vanderbilt
Minnesota Timberwolves Receive: Mike Conley, Nickeil Alexander-Walker, 2024 second-round pick, 2025 second-round pick, 2026 second-round pick
Utah Jazz Receive: Russell Westbrook, Juan Toscano-Anderson, Damian Jones, 2027 first-round pick
Lakers: A
Untimely injuries do not change the relative awesomeness of this deal for the Lakers. A sprained right ankle has limited D’Angelo Russell to just four appearances (really three). And the indefinite absence of LeBron James with a right foot injury changes so much about this season.
Here’s the thing: L.A. didn’t break bread with Utah and Minnesota strictly because of this season. The additions of DLo, Malik Beasley and Jarred Vanderbilt beefed up their depth and functional sensibility, rendering them more of a top-down threat should they crack the play-in tournament and playoffs. But this deal was also about optimizing the future.
DLo (free agent), Beasley (team option) and Vanderbilt (non-guaranteed) can all come off the books after this year. That allows the Lakers to go the not-max-but-still-a-boatload-of-cap-space route over the summer if they so please. In the event free agency isn’t their preferred place of operations, they have three players who loom as more valuable trade assets than the one player they gave up to get them.
Oh, there’s also the chance this core #justworks. The Lakers wanted for depth, athleticism, shot creation, outside accuracy and volume and complementary defense prior to the trade deadline. The arrivals of DLo, Beasley and Vando address nearly all those deficits. Los Angeles has the option of futzing and fiddling on the margins rather than exploring whole-sale transactions.
Even without a hefty everyone-is-available sample, this deal has already paid dividends. The Lakers are 7-4 since the deadline, with the league’s best defense. Their offense is still, frankly, crud. But that’s to be expected when they don’t have LeBron or DLo, their two best shot creators, shot makers and passers.
It is more notable that the Lakers are surviving these absences at all. Losing LeBron would have been a nonstarter beforehand. There is something to be said about increasing the roster’s structural coherence by shipping out Russell Westbrook. To do all this, while surrendering only one pick that’s safeguarded against disaster, is a demonstrative W.
Timberwolves: D-
Whenever you can trade a (then-)26-year-old playing some of the best basketball of his career for a 35-year-old, all in the name of optimizing a 30-year-old center you overpaid to acquire in the offseason, you absolutely have to do it.
Except you don’t.
DLo’s impending free agency must be factored into this return. If the Wolves believed he was on his way out or flat-out didn’t want to bankroll his next contract, they had little leverage and were smart to get something, anything, for his services.
That doesn’t make this a good deal. It is overcorrection to last summer’s overcorrection, when Minnesota moved heaven and earth and the rest of the universe to land Rudy Gobert. This move also came at a time when the team was rolling. It has been without Karl-Anthony Towns for most of the year, but it posted a 14-7 record while hovering around the top 10 in both offense and defense from Jan. 1 to the trade deadline.
Since moving DLo, though, the Wolves are 4-5 and rank outside the top 16 in both offensive and defensive efficiency. Conley has, as expected, acted like connective tissue and is draining 38.3 percent of his triples. But his 10.6 points and 4.9 assists per game don’t come close to supplanting DLo’s production, and the Minnesota offense lands in the 35th percentile when he soaks up time beside Gobert and Anthony Edwards.
Some level of judgment should be reserved until Towns rejoins the rotation. But the Wolves weren’t setting the world on fire at the time of his injury. His return could merely complicate an already convoluted product at the most critical juncture of the season.
Worse, there’s no guarantee Minnesota improved its outlook beyond this year by effectively swapping DLo for Conley, 15ish minutes per game of Nickeil Alexander-Walker and seconds. For now, this trade looks like a potential dud—one threatening to derail a team that seemed like it was on to something at the time of its completion.
Jazz: B-
Reflexive reactions largely criticized the Utah Jazz for not getting more while forking over three major rotation players. And where there wasn’t initial disdain, there was onset confusion. “This is all Beasley, Conley and Vanderbilt were worth?! And they took back a player the Lakers have been trying to trade since, like, the moment they acquired him?!”
It turns out this preliminary shock was half-warranted. On the one hand, Westbrook’s mammoth salary comes off the books after this season. Conley, meanwhile, wasn’t exactly an asset. He is guaranteed $14.3 million next season, which is a lot to pay when waiving a player, even if you’re stretching it over three years. But keeping him at his full number of $24.4 million would be similarly tough to stomach when he’ll be 36.
On the other hand, Vanderbilt has been a shot of adrenaline for the Lakers defense. And Beasley is hitting enough of his threes for Utah to miss him. It would have been nice to grab more than one protected first-rounder.
Still, the market is the market. The Jazz wouldn’t turn down noticeably better offers if they were available. And the protection on that Lakers pick is minimal (Nos. 1-4), a big friggin’ deal when it post-dates both James’ and Anthony Davis’ contracts.
Yes, this trade still looks a little worse one month later. It also needs to be viewed through the lens of Utah’s bigger picture. It didn’t need more first-rounders projected to convey later in the draft. It needs bigger bites at the apple. The Lakers’ 2027 first offers that opportunity, and it didn’t cost the Jazz anyone who profiled as a member of the roster beyond next season. (The 23-year-old Vanderbilt comes closest, but his offense fit beside Walker Kessler would’ve forever capped his role.)

The Trade
San Antonio Spurs Receive: Khem Birch, top-six-protected 2024 first-round pick, 2023 second-round pick, 2025 second-round pick
Toronto Raptors Receive: Jakob Poeltl
Spurs: A-
This is a pretty straightforward evaluation for the rebuilding Spurs, who determined it was better to get some draft capital for Poeltl while they still could. With the 27-year-old center headed for unrestricted free agency, San Antonio might have lost him for nothing this summer. Overpaying to keep a veteran who might grade out as an average starter at his position was an even less palatable scenario.
The 2024 draft class is widely considered to be weak, so the top-six-protected first-rounder that San Antonio got might not amount to much. That draft is a long way off, though, and a potentially lowered age limit could add a whole new crop of candidates to the pool.
Either way, the Spurs determined Poeltl wasn’t a part of their future and added an asset that might turn into a player who will be. There’s nothing wrong with that approach for a rebuilder.
Raptors: C
The Raptors may someday be vindicated as early adopters of the positionless revolution, but the results of their experiment weren’t great this season. The lack of a paint-protecting center let opponents get all they could eat at the rim prior to the trade deadline. Poeltl has remedied that.
Before Poeltl arrived, Toronto ranked 23rd leaguewide in the share of opponent shots that came at the rim. With Poeltl on the floor, Raptors opponents take 6.9 percent fewer shots at close range. Their 6-4 record in Poeltl’s first 10 games is decent proof that he’s made an immediate impact.
Unfortunately, the Raptors are on the hook for Poeltl’s next deal, which could creep into the range of $20 million per year, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic. Toronto needs what Poeltl brings, but it may not need it that badly, especially considering the higher-profile free agencies of Fred VanVleet and Gary Trent Jr. This Toronto team, which is still under .500 on the year, could get prohibitively expensive in a hurry.
It’s tempting to put an “incomplete” on this report card until we know what it costs the Raps to keep their new (old) big man. At the moment, the mere possibility that Toronto gave up a future first-rounder for either a rental or an overpaid non-stretch, non-switch center is genuinely concerning.

The Trade
New York Knicks Receive: Josh Hart
Portland Trail Blazers Receive: Ryan Arcidiacono, Svi Mykhailiuk, Cam Reddish, lottery-protected 2023 first-round pick
Knicks: A-
To all Knicks fans: I was mostly wrong about this trade when it went down. I’m sorry.
This deal goes from a “C” to almost an “A” in my book. Hart’s willingness to shoot threes now that he’s left Portland has been overstated; he’s drilling 60.9 percent of his looks beyond the arc but is still taking fewer than three per 36 minutes.
Everything else about the Hart experience has been properly portrayed though. He is a defensive workaholic who guards and rebounds like a big, and his motor and IQ inject the offense with pace and ball movement.
Bringing Hart off the bench is a luxury, and his partnership with Sixth Man of the Year co-favorite Immanuel Quickley is annihilatory. New York is obliterating opponents by 17.6 points per 100 possessions with both of its star reserves on the court. Head coach Tom Thibodeau has even been willing to pair Hart and Quickley with Jalen Brunson, and the results are largely drunk on domination.
This trade still could look foolish if Hart declines his $13 million player option for the 2023-24 season and leaves in free agency this summer. The Knicks can’t afford to burn late first-rounders on one-third-of-the-season rentals just yet. If he sticks around, though, the Knicks deepened what is already one of the league’s deepest rosters while inoculating themselves against topsy-turvy performances from RJ Barrett and Quentin Grimes. That’s a big deal.
The decision to go this route wasn’t a mindless venture. You need a level of self-assurance that you’re good enough to start game-planning around developmental stalls and hiccups. The Knicks front office deserves the ol’ ceremonial hair tussle for recognizing its team’s midseason ascent was more sustainable turnaround than transitive property.
Blazers: C+
Speaking of being incorrect, I gave the Blazers a “B+” during my first go-round of grades. I’m not quite ashamed of myself, but in hindsight, that was quite charitable.
Cam Reddish has delivered some nice moments on offense for Portland. For starters, he’s actually in the rotation. He’s also downing 55.6 percent of his twos and 39.3 percent of his threes while displaying less tunnel vision with the ball in his hands.
Picking up a 23-year-old, soon-to-be restricted free agent and what projects as a bottom-eight first-rounder for a player whom the Blazers likely would have let walk anyway is fair-weather value. It is not a home run.
Jokes about Hart’s reticence to shoot threes aside, do we just give Portland a pass for not wanting to pay him? Reddish will be cheaper if the Blazers keep him, which they might not. He’s also a much less well-rounded player who can’t hold a candle to Hart’s defense.
On a totally unrelated note, Portland is 27th in points allowed per possession since the trade deadline. Playing without Jusuf Nurkić has hurt. The Blazers are last in the share of opponent shots coming at the rim, and they cannot grab a defensive rebound to save their life. But both of those were issues in the first place, and Hart wasn’t a panacea for either of them. Reddish and Matisse Thybulle are even less of a solution.
Really, this deal oozes blandness because of what it says about the rest of the Blazers’ season: They don’t care that Damian Lillard is spitting out a career year. They elected to function more like sellers than buyers at the deadline, absent a concrete plan to parlay these lateral (if regressive) steps into progress over the offseason.
That Knicks first-rounder likely won’t be the difference between completing a big-time deal and sitting idle. A reluctance to actually swing for more than singles or doubles that now spans multiple front office regimes is the larger obstacle. And the best version of Lillard we’ve ever seen is wasting away because of it.

The Trade
Brooklyn Nets Receive: Two second-round picks
Indiana Pacers Receive: George Hill, Serge Ibaka, Jordan Nwora, three second-round picks
Milwaukee Bucks Receive: Jae Crowder
Nets: B+
You’ve got to hand it to the Nets on this one. They quickly flipped Crowder to a team that needed him for two second-rounders. Having added Mikal Bridges and Cam Johnson to a roster that also got Dorian Finney-Smith from the Dallas Mavericks, the Nets had virtually no use for Crowder and couldn’t have intended to re-sign him this offseason.
It isn’t an oversimplification to call this a nothing-for-something win for Brooklyn.
Pacers: B
Jordan Nwora has 14 double-digit scoring games on the season, five of which have come with the Pacers. Not only that, but the six assists and eight rebounds he amassed in a 17-point win over the Orlando Magic on Feb. 25 were both season highs.
Part of Nwora’s impressive start to his Pacers career owes to opportunity. But the 6’8″ wing is only playing about four-and-a-half more minutes per game than he was in Milwaukee, and he’s been more efficient as a shooter while cutting his turnover rate in half. The quantity and quality of his play are both trending up.
Indy should be excited about Nwora’s potential to stick in the rotation, and it has him under contract for only $3.2 million next season. The cap space Indiana had remaining after renegotiating and extending Myles Turner’s contract was burning a hole in its pocket, so taking on Serge Ibaka and George Hill was no problem. Toss in three second-rounders for their trouble, and the Pacers’ portion of the trade looks even better now than it did a month ago.
Bucks: C
Milwaukee’s side of this three-teamer is by far the most consequential. In search of someone who could fill the big-wing/combo-forward void and potentially close games deep in the playoffs, the Bucks tabbed Crowder, a frequent Finals participant and recent Suns holdout.
After missing the first several months of the season, the veteran appears to be ramping up slowly. Crowder is averaging 18.1 minutes per game and has looked a step behind on defense at times. His rate of 4.0 fouls per 36 minutes is a career high and suggests his legs may not be under him yet. When your feet aren’t moving, your hands tend to reach.
The Bucks should be concerned that this isn’t just Crowder knocking the rust off. At 32 and already showing signs of slippage last season, this might just be who he is now.
With that said, Milwaukee has won six of its seven games with Crowder in the rotation. The 32-year-old is also canning 38.1 percent of his threes with the Bucks.
Nwora may be the only part of the outgoing package that Milwaukee misses down the road. But he wasn’t going to help the Bucks win a title this year, and that’s all that matters to this group.

The Trade
Houston Rockets Receive: Danny Green, John Wall, 2023 first-round pick swap
L.A. Clippers Receive: Eric Gordon, 2024 second-round pick, 2024 second-round pick, 2027 second-round pick
Memphis Grizzlies Receive: Luke Kennard
Rockets: B-
Not much has changed from my initial analysis. The Rockets should have traded Gordon long before this year’s deadline, when they likely could have bagged a standalone first-rounder for his services. But they did scoop up a swap they will actually exercise, and jettisoning him in favor of two players whom they bought out has resulted in more court time for Tari Eason, Josh Christopher and TyTy Washington. (Kevin Porter Jr.’s left foot injury helped, too.)
None of this has made Houston a more coherent basketball product. But the value itself remains more than reasonable for a 34-year-old on what should be an expiring contract.
Clippers: B
I’m not sure how much to detract from L.A.’s initial grade of an “A.” But make no mistake, it needs to come down.
The opportunity cost here wasn’t huge. The Clippers actually became a net positive in the total picks department. Gordon, for his part, has been…fine. He’s downing nearly 52 percent of his twos and more than 39 percent of his triples, which is great. His defense has verged on atrocious, which is not so great.
Reconciling how much Gordon’s arrival warped the Clippers’ rotation is the real challenge. There is no world in which both he and Russell Westbrook should be averaging more minutes than Terance Mann, particularly in crunch-time situations. That has more to do with the Westbrook signing than the Gordon trade, but the latter is still part of the upside-down logic currently being championed in L.A.
Grizzlies: B
Most of the initial analysis on the Grizzlies’ side of things stands. They should have absolutely angled for a bigger swing. But they can’t be penalized for an eminently reasonable—albeit much less impressive—addition.
Kennard has drilled 50 percent of his treys since arriving in Memphis and adds a much-needed dose of outside volume and movement to the half-court offense. But the Grizzlies have not been good with him in the game.
It doesn’t help that so many of his minutes come without one or both of Dillon Brooks and Jaren Jackson Jr. Rival offenses are going after Kennard, and Memphis is coughing up 120.6 points per 100 possessions with him on the floor—a defensive rating that ranks in the 10th percentile leaguewide and fuels a net rating of minus-5.6.
This has more to do with the makeup of Memphis’ roster, which continues to navigate the absence of Steven Adams and, more recently, Ja Morant and Brandon Clarke. The Grizzlies’ overall logic, while annoyingly small-time, still tracks.
Folding Green’s expiring contract into the comparably digestible number Kennard is owed next season ($15.4 million) and in 2024-25 ($15.4 million team option) both bagged them an offensive upgrade while increasing their trade-asset optionality into the future. At some point, though, they need to hope the overarching product catches up to their line of thinking.
Unless otherwise noted, stats courtesy of NBA.com, Basketball Reference, Stathead or Cleaning the Glass and accurate entering Wednesday’s games. Salary information via Spotrac.
Follow Dan Favale ( @danfavale) and Grant Hughes (@gt_hughes) on Twitter, and subscribe to their podcast, Hardwood Knocks.




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