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Matt Castillo (Mitch)

Big Moves at the NBA Deadline: How Does It Affect The Hierarchy of the League

Last Thursday was the NBA Deadline and it was a wild one with so many players on the move and not just mid-tier guys, but several big-name superstars such as Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, who were a part of blockbuster deals that sent Irving to Dallas and Durant to Phoenix. How much of an impact do these moves have on these teams and the rest of the league? Let’s take a look at that. 

First off, there is no doubt once again the Western Conference is completely stacked with superstar talent, Which is usually the case but the conference definitively became much deeper after the deadline deals. 

One of the big names heading out west was Kyrie Irving as he was traded to Dallas right before the trade deadline. The combination between Irving and Luka Doncic has a lot of potentials but did this deal turn the Mavericks into title contenders? 

They certainly in my eyes have jumped a few teams in the Western Conference and they will be a tough team to beat but, I don’t see them reaching the Finals. The Mavericks certainly had to do something because before Irving got there it was a whole lot of Doncic putting up ridiculous numbers but the supporting cast was inconsistent. 

I still look at their roster as a whole and don’t think it’s the deepest. Also, it will take some time for Irivng and Doncic to coexist with each other. They are both ball-dominant players and everyone knows that Irving can be a diva and difficult to play with. It’s not a question about the talent that is for sure, because he is one of the best to ever play the game, but we have seen the last few years that he is a loose cannon. On paper, these two names look really good and it certainly will give us some exciting basketball to watch but in the end, I just don’t see this move being enough for Dallas to win it all. 

The other big-name Superstar who was traded a few days after Irving was his teammate in Brooklyn and that is Kevin Durant as the Phoenix Suns acquired him in the trade, which has helped them create a big-four super team with Chris Paul, Devin Booker, DeAndre Ayton, and now Durant. 

Phoenix made it to the Finals with Paul, Booker, and Ayton a couple of years ago, and in last year’s playoffs, they fell in the conference semifinals to Dallas. So far this year, they have been dealing with some injuries and got off to a slow start but they have been rising in the standings and have gotten to the 4th seed before Durant touched the floor for them. 

The addition of Durant has certainly made them a top favorite to win it all. But will that be the case? On paper, this roster should win the NBA championship. They are absolutely loaded but there are a few things that can get in the way of that. 

The first thing is there is a lot of star power on this team and sacrifices will have to be made, and as always when you have that much star power it comes down to whose team is it or who is the closer. Booker has been the guy, but with Durant being there and Durant being the guy who always had the ball in his hands down the stretch of games. This was even the case when he was on the loaded warrior’s roster squad. So will that work will one be willing to concede to the other? 

In my opinion, Booker should pick his spots but ultimately the guy has to be Durant as he has been proven in that role. For them to win it I think they need to allow Durant to lead the way. 

The second thing is whether can they stay healthy. Paul has had a history of injuries and they usually occur at the worst time like in the playoffs. Booker has missed time this year with injuries, Ayton has missed time with injuries and Durant is out right now with an injury. 

If this team can stay healthy they will be tough to beat, no question about it, there is a reason why they are now the favorite to win it all and if all these things can come together they should be holding the trophy up at the end. 

Other teams got better as well from the deadline. The Lakers improved their team as well, but they still are not a true contender and have work to do just to make the playoffs. 

And moves are not done yet with guys like Russell Westbrook whose contract should be bought out from Utah after being traded by the Lakers he will be set to join any team he wishes and can help a team who is looking to make a run. 

One thing is for sure this was one of the most active and exciting deadlines and the second half of the NBA season will be fun to watch and follow. 

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