The 2015 NBA trade deadline was one of the most hectic days in recent league history. By 3 p.m. ET on Thursday, 39 players changed teams, marking the most player movement in 25 years.
A few teams were especially active in the hours leading up to the deadline. The Phoenix Suns entered the day as the No.8 seed in the Western Conference, and they made more noise than anyone, trading two of their three top scorers. The Philadelphia 76ers also made a few moves, as they continue to rebuild the franchise. The Houston Rockets, Boston Celtics, Detroit Pistons and Denver Nuggets were involved in multiple deals, as well.
Below is a look at the best players that were traded on the day of the deadline, and recap of all the deals that went down.
The biggest name in trade rumors leading up to the deadline was dealt to one of his preferred destinations. After telling the Suns that he wouldn’t re-sign with them in the summer, Dragic reportedly wanted a trade to the Miami Heat, New York Knicks or Los Angeles Lakers. Hoping to sign him in the offseason, the Heat sent two first-round draft picks and Danny Granger to the Suns, in exchange for Goran Dragic and his brother Zoran Dragic. The New Orleans Pelicans were also part of the deal, sending John Salmons to Phoenix, and acquiring Norris Cole, Shawne Williams and Justin Hamilton from Miami.
Less than a year after signing Thomas, the Suns have completely changed the look of their backcourt. They sent the point guard to the Celtics for Marcus Thornton and the Cleveland Cavaliers’ 2016 first-round pick. Coming off the bench, Thomas is averaging 15.2 points and 3.7 assists per game. He joins a backcourt that includes Avery Bradley, James Young and Marcus Smart, who have an average age of just 21 years old.
Knight had been a major part of the Milwaukee Bucks’ turnaround from last year, leading them with 17.8 points and 5.4 assists per game. Now, he joins Eric Bledsoe in the Suns’ newly formed backcourt, after being traded in a five-player, three-team deal. The Bucks get Miles Plumlee and two former Syracuse point guards, Michael Carter-Williams and Tyler Ennis, while the 76ers get a first-round pick from Phoenix. The draft pick currently belongs to the Lakers, but it would go to Philadelphia if it’s not in the top five of the 2015 draft. If L.A. keeps the pick this year, the 76ers will own the Lakers' first-rounder in 2016, though it will be top-three protected. Carter-Williams, the 2013-2014 Rookie of the Year, was a major component of the trade.
In maybe the most interesting deal at the deadline, Garnett was sent back to the Minnesota Timberwolves by the Brooklyn Nets, in exchange for Thaddeus Young. Even though his production has significantly decreased in recent years, Minnesota is reportedly hoping to sign the big man to a two-year extension.
Jackson has been involved in trade rumors for weeks, and he was finally dealt at the deadline. In a three-team deal, the Pistons acquired Jackson, while the Oklahoma City Thunder received Enes Kanter, DJ Augustin, Kyle Singler, Steve Novak and a 2019 second-round pick. The Utah Jazz left the deal with Kendrick Perkins, Grant Jerrett, the rights to Tibor Pleiss and a protected 2017 first-rounder.
The center was dealt by the Denver Nuggets to the Philadelphia 76ers, giving the Nuggets an $11.2 million trade exception. In addition to taking on McGee’s $12 million salary for next year, the 76ers received Chukwudiebere Maduabum and the Thunder’s 2015 first-rounder, which is top-18 protected. Cenk Akyol went from Philadelphia to Denver, as well.
The Sacramento Kings took on Miller’s expiring contract in exchange for the Washington Wizards' Ramon Sessions. Washington Wizards had been looking for an upgrade at the backup point guard position, considering Miller is averaging career-lows of 3.6 points and 2.8 assists per game. Sessions has been slightly better in 2014-2015, averaging 5.4 points per contest.
The Nuggets traded away a few players on Thursday, but Arron Afflalo was the best asset that they dealt. It took the Portland Trail Blazers Thomas Robinson, Will Barton, Victor Claver and a lottery-protected first-round pick for them to acquire Afflalo and Alonzo Gee. Afflalo is averaging 14.5 points per game, with the option of becoming a free agent in the offseason.
It was a minor deal, but one that the Houston Rockets think can help them in the playoffs. They were unable to land Dragic, but the Rockets made an upgrade at point guard by sending Alexey Shved and two future second-round picks to the New York Knicks.
McDaniels isn’t nearly as good as some other players that were dealt, but it might have been one of the more surprising trades of the day. The Philadelphia 76ers sent the shooting guard to Houston, even though he’s been one of the best rookies this season. The Rockets sent Isaiah Cannan and a 2015 second-round pick to Philadelphia, for the 22-year-old, who is averaging 9.2 points per game.
Like Garnett, Prince was traded to the team with which he started his career. The Celtics sent Prince to the Pistons for Jonas Jerebko and Luigi Datome.