The 2015 NBA Trade Deadline almost coasted by with only a glimmer of player movement. Every GM appeared constipated despite the upcoming TV-rights revenue that’s likely to alleviate any payrolls nudging uncomfortably close to the luxury tax line. But right before team’s lost any chance of trading unwanted players, jump-starting the rebuilding process, or plugging glaring holes in their rotation, things went cataclysmic in the last few minutes, as a bevy of activity changed the NBA landscape.
This is exactly what NBA Trade Machine savants love, and it’s what makes Deadline Day almost as chaotic as the moratorium beginning free agency with the July 1 − 10 swoon. We’ve sifted through the Twitter detritus to come up with the 10 trades that made the biggest impact. We evaluated them on how they affect teams right now, and moving forward. Since so much time will have elapsed before so many players change their address yet again, we’re primarily focused on what this trade means today, and for the rest of the 2014-15 season.
From a basketball perspective, this doesn’t move the needle for the ‘Wolves. Garnett is a far better defender than his trade counterpart, Thaddeus Young, and will always offer his unique blend of mentorship and maniacal intensity. The future Hall-of-Famer is one of the most beloved teammates in league history, and that counts for something on an impressionable young team like Minny.
But this is more about honoring a franchise legend and filling the empty seats of Target Center than anything else.
Flip Saunders traded a top-10 protected first-round pick to the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for Young as part of the Kevin Love-Andrew Wiggins deal. That he effectively chose 30 games of Garnett’s swan song over that selection is indicative of just how rocky his tenure as president – and now coach – of the ‘Wolves has been.
But that’s a realist’s take on KG’s return to his beloved ‘Sota, and this development seems nothing short of fantastical. It’s a story tailor-made for a sappy Hollywood movie, and will serve as a fitting end to the career of one of basketball’s best and most influential players.
Young’s trip to Minnesota only lasted a few months. He had toiled in Philadelphia for a depressing Sixers squad last season, then fell in the mix with the Bounce Brothers and only a few weeks of Ricky Rubio. We feel bad for Young, and we’re not sure his sojourn to Brooklyn will be that much better.