Early Season Grades of Three Blockbuster NBA Trades

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For many decades, the NBA would take a backseat in the sports consciousness once the last game of the Finals was played. While teams would strategically position themselves to improve during the offseason in the summer months, the anticipation about what could realistically happen was relatively muted.

By and large, fans would check back into basketball in September and October to catch up on the news they missed in July and August. Yet, that’s the not the case anymore. With a 24-hour news cycle and social media platforms available to perpetuate speculation, the NBA is on the minds of sports fans throughout the year. As a result, NBA betting online doesn’t tend to go through the dormant periods.

There were a few blockbuster trades that kept interest in the league steady before the games resumed, and we’ll take a look at how they’re unfolding.

Utah Jazz Trade Rudy Gobert to The Minnesota Timberwolves

Jazz Grade: B+

After years of making the postseason but not being able to make an NBA Finals run, the organization decided to shake up their roster. One of their monumental moves involved trading three-time All-Star center Rudy Gobert to the Minnesota Timberwolves. As great as Gobert has been in his career, it felt like he was not able to sustain his level of regular season effectiveness in the playoffs when teams went small.

When the trade was made, Utah didn’t necessarily have a specific idea of how they wanted to build their team in the future. They just wanted a trove of assets to increase their future flexibility. However, it seems like at least one of the pieces they acquired from Minnesota has the potential to be Gobert-lite.

Rookie Walker Kessler has been impressive in limited minutes, serving as a legitimate paint protector with his shot blocking ability.

Timberwolves Grade: C

Minnesota paid a steep price to acquire one of the most accomplished defensive centers in the game. While the move to acquire Gobert would give the Timberwolves one of the best frontlines on paper, there were questions about how he would fit next to Karl-Anthony Towns. Both players thrive in the low box and painted area, and their presence together, some thought, might clog the lane.

It remains a work in progress. It looks like Gobert is going to be the one who will stay close to the rim on offense and defense, cleaning up the glass and deterring penetration. Towns has spent more time on the perimeter, and has been a willing facilitator in the early stages of the season.

San Antonio Spurs Trade Dejounte Murray to The Atlanta Hawks

Spurs Grade: C+

Many around the league were very surprised that the Spurs would want to move on from one of the better young guards in the NBA. Dejounte Murray had continued to improve each and every season, culminating in his first All-Star appearance a year ago.

The trade of Murray to the Hawks signaled that they didn’t feel like they could contend anytime soon, and wanted to blow things up. San Antonio likely thought at that time that former lottery pick Joshua Primo would continue to develop and become a key cog for them, but was released by the team earlier this season.

If the Spurs are able to land a high pick in next year’s NBA Draft, the trading of Murray will have been well worth the short term sacrifice.

Hawks Grade: A-

Atlanta was excited to bring in someone of Murray’s caliber into the fold, since their team had largely been comprised of good but not great players around Trae Young. Of course, the two talented ballhandlers would need to find a way to play cohesively with one another.

It looks like the two players have embraced being teammates, dating back to their time together scrimmaging in the summer. The scoring ability and unselfishness of each player has opened things up in Atlanta in a major way. The Hawks may end up being a force to be reckoned with down the stretch.

Utah Jazz Trade Donovan Mitchell to The Cleveland Cavaliers

Jazz Grade: B

The second part of Utah’s makeover saw them send Donovan Mitchell to the Cavaliers in exchange for a bevy of young players. It wasn’t totally clear what their plans would be for Lauri Markannen and Collin Sexton, but both players have been impressive for the Jazz in the early portion of the year.

Markannen has been effective with increased offensive responsibility while remaining efficient. Sexton, whose NBA ceiling is uncertain at this point, appears healthy and figures to be a nightly contributor as a reserve.

Cavaliers Grade: A

After coming extremely close to making the playoffs last season, Cleveland wanted to move some of their chips to the middle of the table in order to capitalize on the ability of their exciting young core. Bringing Donovan Mitchell in next to Darius Garland was less of a risk for the Cavaliers, since they have young shot blockers like Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen to protect the paint.

Mitchell has been nothing short of fantastic so far in Cleveland. With a renewed sense of purpose and dedication, his tenacity to get to the rim and light up the scoreboard has made the Cavaliers a legitimate threat in the Eastern Conference.

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