The winners and losers of a trade deadline are tough to determine just hours after the fact. The impact of the various deals for players and picks are not fully fleshed out for months, and sometimes years. Moves made at the deadline set up strategies for the draft and free agency, both now and in the future. It’s all a very complicated puzzle.
But there are, however, some things we can say with certainty at this juncture. For example, the Cleveland Cavaliers made some huge moves that greatly altered the shape of their roster. Additionally, in helping the Cavaliers blow it up and get rid of Isaiah Thomas, the Lakers showed they are gearing up for the future in a big way.
Magic Johnson says the team can still go after two big name free agents this summer, and while he didn’t mention them specifically, he could mean players the caliber of LeBron James and Paul George. If you ask Shaq, that’s enough to declare them the big winners of the deadline this year.