NBA Trade Deadline Winners and Losers: Ben Simmons and James Harden Get Their Wish, LeBron James Gets Left Hanging
The 2022 NBA trade deadline has come and gone, and the drama delivered yet again. The blockbuster of the week belonged to the Philadelphia 76ers and the Brooklyn Nets, as the two Eastern Conference contenders agreed to a Ben Simmons-James Harden swap at the final hour.
Many teams aside from the Sixers and Nets got better this week, but some got worse. Let’s check out the biggest winners and losers from a wild and wacky NBA trade deadline.
Winner: Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers
Joel Embiid is playing well enough to lead the 76ers to an NBA title this year, but he couldn’t do so with Simmons sitting out all season. Philadelphia needed to make a splash at the deadline if it wanted to leap into legitimate championship contention.
And that’s exactly what they did.
By pairing Embiid with Harden and getting rid of the biggest distraction in the league, the Sixers immediately become one of the most feared teams in the NBA. Now comes the hard part.
Winner: Ben Simmons and the Brooklyn Nets
It’s not often a blockbuster trade of this caliber is a win-win, but I really think that’s the case here. For Simmons, he finally gets out of Philadelphia’s shadow and can now get back on the court. As for the Nets, they got rid of a guy who clearly didn’t want to be there and wasn’t going to re-sign in the offseason, while adding an elite defender who pairs perfectly with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.
All we need now is a 76ers-Nets Eastern Conference Finals matchup.
Loser: LeBron James
The Los Angeles Lakers royally screwed up in the offseason by going all in for Russell Westbrook. It’s been clear through 56 games that the former MVP simply doesn’t fit alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis, and LA has no chance at competing for a title this year with its current roster.
The trade deadline was the time to change that, but the Lakers sat tight and didn’t make a single trade. Punting on one of the last seasons of LeBron’s prime sure is a bold move.
Winner: Indiana Pacers
When the Pacers decided to put Domantas Sabonis on the trading block earlier this year, they never could’ve imagined the haul they wound up getting. In exchange for Sabonis, Jeremy Lamb, Justin Holiday, and a second-round pick, the Sacramento Kings gifted Indiana Tyrese Haliburton, Buddy Hield, and Tristan Thompson.
Now that’s how you initiate a rebuild.
Loser: Adrian Wojnarowski
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski is regarded as the king of scoops in the NBA world, but 27-year-old Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium snatched the throne on deadline day by breaking 11 trades to Woj’s eight.
There’s a new sheriff in town.