2023 brought us one the wildest NBA trade deadlines in recent memory. Multiple superstar players are now playing in different cities, including Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant. Several teams also made drastic changes and completely retooled their rosters.

In this article, I share my 2023 NBA trade deadline grades and talk about the biggest winners and losers. Are the Suns now in the best position to win an NBA championship? Is Kyrie Irving a good fit for Dallas? Let’s find out!

Basketball Phoenix Suns – Grade: A

  • Departing Players: Mikal Bridges, Jae Crowder, Cameron Johnson
  • Arriving Players: Kevin Durant, T.J. Warren, Darius Bazley, Dario Saric
  • Assets Lost: Four First-Round Picks, 2029 Second-Round Pick, Cash Considerations
  • Assets Gained: 2028 Draft Pick

The Suns pulled off the biggest blockbuster trade of the year and acquired Kevin Durant from the Nets. The team gave up a lot of draft capital to get him, but the roster is now loaded with talent. Durant, who previously indicated that he would prefer to play in Phoenix, is also a great fit for the team.

The pairing of Devin Booker and Durant should pay off big time. These can shoot and create, so Chris Paul won’t have so much to do in terms of playmaking. The Suns ultimately made one of the best deals that positions them to be a contender in the postseason.

It’s also worth mentioning that Phoenix was able to retain Deandre Ayton. When healthy, the Suns have one of the most exciting rosters as well as an unstoppable offense. The addition of Durant, however, makes them a lot more dangerous in the West.

Let’s be honest – the championship window was beginning to slip away from Phoenix. Acquiring Durant changes the narrative big time. He’s one of the top NBA players and a proven winner, so this team will fight for the title.

Basketball Brooklyn Nets – Grade: D-

  • Departing Players: Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, T.J. Warren, Jae Crowder, Markieff Morris, Kessler Edwards
  • Arriving Players: Spencer Dinwiddie, Dorian Finney-Smith, Mikal Bridges, Cameron Johnson
  • Assets Lost: Cash Considerations
  • Assets Gained: Four Second-Round Picks, Five First-Round Picks, Draft Rights to David Michineau

Where do I begin with this one? The Nets are receiving one of the worst NBA trade deadline grades from me. Brooklyn is arguably one of the greatest underachievers in modern sports, and now the team is back to square one.

The only thing the Nets did well was recouping draft compensation at the deadline. The team also has two solid wings now in Mikal Bridges and Cameron Johnson. Still, I can’t help but feel disappointed with the way Brooklyn handled things.

Here’s my biggest issue with the Nets. When you trade away multiple top-10 players, you need to get an All-Star in return at the very least. Landing Bridges was pretty huge for Brooklyn, but ultimately, the team won’t be contending for a title.

A lot of questions are surrounding the Nets now they’ve traded away two generational players. They had three years with Irving and Durant on the roster, but they’re now back to square one.

Also, Brooklyn fired head coach Steve Nash just seven games into the season, which doesn’t make sense based on what happened at the trade deadline.

My grade might seem somewhat harsh because the returns for Durant and Irving aren’t that bad, but the lack of direction is the real issue here. The franchise simply can’t improve enough to contend no matter what.

Basketball Los Angeles Lakers – Grade: A-

  • Departing Players: Russell Westbrook, Patrick Beverley, Juan Toscano-Anderson, Damian Jones, Thomas Bryant
  • Arriving Players: D’Angelo Russell, Mo Bamba, Malik Beasley, Jarred Vanderbilt, Rui Hachimura, Davon Reed
  • Assets Lost: Four Second-Round Picks, 2027 First-Round Pick
  • Assets Gained: Three Second-Round Picks

I also have to include the Lakers in my grades for the 2023 NBA trade deadline. Los Angeles made some big moves and shipped around a few notable players. They moved on from former MVP Russell Westbrook and acquired former Laker D’Angelo Russell.

The trade for Russell could be crucial in terms of rejuvenating the Lakers. He brings more depth to a roster that was desperately lacking playmakers. The Lakers also upgraded their rebounding and shooting with Mo Bamba and Malik Beasley.

The upgrades are not that big, but adding depth to this team and offloading Westbrook’s insane salary are enough to give them a good grade.

The big question is – are the Lakers a championship contender? I certainly believe that they could make the playoffs now after the trade deadline. They did everything they could to improve their chances of competing this season without sacrificing too much.

The problem is that at least several teams in the West look much stronger now, and the Lakers will start the Playoffs from a low seed. One surprise might be possible, but I don’t see them reaching the NBA Finals this year.

Basketball Golden State Warriors – Grade: D+

  • Departing Players: James Wiseman
  • Arriving Players: Gary Payton II
  • Assets Lost: Five Second-Round Picks
  • Assets Gained: N/A

The Warriors had me scratching my head with the deal that they made. I’m also giving them one of my worst trade deadline grades out of every NBA team. The defending champions are already departing with James Wiseman, the former No. 2 overall pick in 2020.

By trading Wiseman, you would also expect the Warriors to acquire a solid rotation player. What they got was Gary Payton II, which is why the move feels pretty pointless to me. But let’s be honest, the deal was made to save money on their massive luxury tax bill.

Moving on from Wiseman also shows that the Warriors got it completely wrong in the 2020 NBA Draft. Payton II knows the system well and will make an impact immediately. However, I can’t help but feel that this was a lost opportunity for Golden State.

The other reason why I don’t like the trade for Payton II is that the Warriors gave up a ton of draft capital. Five future second-round picks doesn’t seem justifiable to me. NBA teams obviously don’t value these nowadays, but it’s still too much.

Basketball Dallas Mavericks – Grade: A-

  • Departing Players: Spencer Dinwiddie, Dorian Finney-Smith
  • Arriving Players: Kyrie Irving, Markieff Morris
  • Assets Lost: 2029 First-Round Pick, Two Second-Round Picks
  • Assets Gained: N/A

When it comes to the NBA trade deadline 2023 winners and losers, I’d say the Mavericks did pretty well in the short term. The team landed Kyrie Irving and will pair him with MVP candidate Luka Doncic. The combination of these two players makes Dallas a legitimate contender in the West.

The Mavericks should be unstoppable on offense as the season progresses. Both Doncic and Irving are averaging more than 27 points per game. There are two question marks over this deal, though.

The first one is related to the team’s defense. The Mavs have been poor this season, and they traded a defensive beast like Dorian Finney-Smith. They will allow way too many points, which will be a problem in the postseason.

Here’s my other problem with the trade: the team has Irving for only the rest of the current season. He will become a free agent in the summer and could take his talents anywhere in the NBA.

Irving is also no stranger to drama, having embroiled himself in multiple recent controversies. The guard could easily leave for nothing in the summer, so the Mavericks need to achieve this season.

Basketball Toronto Raptors – Grade: D+

  • Departing Players: Khem Birch
  • Arriving Players: Jakob Poeltl
  • Assets Lost: 2024 First-Round Pick, Two Second-Round Picks
  • Assets Gained: N/A

The Raptors never seem to get it right during the trade deadline, and this year was no different. The team is unable to find the right deals for some reason. Toronto made only a single trade and didn’t get much better overall.

The Raptors are now reunited with Jakob Poeltl (the team drafted him back in 2016). However, they also gave up a first-round draft pick to get him. Was Poeltl worth it? Not really. He’s a decent player who could help a contender, but not a Play-in team.

The Raptors aren’t very good on offense and need as much help as they can get. Unfortunately, they gave up a lot for a player who can’t shoot from deep and struggles to convert free throws. This just doesn’t appear to be smart trade for Toronto in the long run.

Poeltl is a strong defender, but that’s not enough. Giving up a first-round draft pick was a steep price to pay. Furthermore, it appears that the Raptors may have to rebuild the roster once the season ends.

There’s one other reason why I’m giving Toronto a bad grade. The team was rumored to be in the mix for multiple trades leading up to the deadline but failed to find a good deal that would either improve the roster significantly now or pave the way for a rebuild in the summer.

Denver Nuggets – Grade: C-

  • Departing Players: Davon Reed
  • Arriving Players: Thomas Bryant
  • Assets Lost: 2024 Second-Round Pick
  • Assets Gained: N/A

Again, here’s another team that just didn’t do enough to improve its roster at the trade deadline. Denver’s biggest acquisition was Thomas Bryant from the Lakers, who’s had his struggles this season. He’s pretty flat-footed defensively and can’t really guard people in open space.

The Nuggets desperately needed someone to back up MVP candidate Nikola Jokic. They ended up landing the player they wanted without having to give up too much to get him. Bryant is also good enough of a finisher at the rim to fit in with Denver’s offense.

You could argue that anyone would’ve been an upgrade for the Nuggets as a backup center. Ultimately, Bryant has the offensive skills to excel in his new role. The big issue here though is that Denver didn’t do enough to improve while other teams in the West did.

Basketball Boston Celtics – Grade: A-

  • Departing Players: Justin Jackson, Noah Vonleh
  • Arriving Players: Mike Muscala
  • Assets Lost: Two Second-Round Picks, Cash Considerations
  • Assets Gained: Conditional Future Second-Round Pick

The Celtics are arguably the best team in the NBA with one of the most talented rosters all around. Although the team didn’t do much at the trade deadline, they were able to acquire Mike Muscala. The veteran center is a huge upgrade over backup Luke Kornet.

I like the Muscala acquisition because he’s a perfect fit for Boston. He’s a player who can stretch the floor and score plenty of points from the perimeter. Muscala is shooting 39% on more than 140 attempts from deep this season, which is pretty darn good.

The Celtics are also big winners because no other contender in the East did much to improve at the trade deadline. Brooklyn furloughed their best players and the Bucks only got Jae Crowder in exchange for five draft picks. Miami and Cleveland didn’t make any major moves either.

San Antonio Spurs – Grade: B+

  • Departing Players: Josh Richardson, Jakob Poeltl
  • Arriving Players: Devonte’ Graham, Khem Birch, Dewayne Dedmon
  • Assets Lost: Cash considerations
  • Assets Gained: Seven Second-Round Picks, 2024 First-Round Pick

The Spurs also deserve one of my better grades for the NBA trade deadline in 2023. The team actually made an effort to improve and rebuild its roster. Acquiring future assets isn’t necessarily a bad thing when you’re already out of contention for an NBA title.

The truth is that San Antonio stinks at the moment. The Spurs are at the very bottom of the NBA and need to focus on rebuilding. The ultimate goal is to maximize their chances of landing a lottery pick in the future.

Basketball Who Will Win the NBA 2023 Title?

My NBA trade deadline 2023 grades should give you an idea of which teams are legitimate contenders. Remember, a major mid-season trade could also propel a championship run. The Suns, Lakers, and Mavericks all have rosters that are now greatly improved.

If you want to follow your predictions with a pick, you should best basketball gambling sites. They offer excellent odds on all sorts of NBA markets, including lines on who will win the title in 2023.

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