NBA

Durant, Lakers, Warriors – Big questions ahead of NBA trade deadline

By Sports Desk February 06, 2023

The latest Kyrie Irving saga is over with time to spare before the trade deadline, but how will it impact the rest of the NBA?

The Dallas Mavericks agreed a trade for Irving and Markieff Morris on Sunday, sending Dorian Finney-Smith, Spencer Dinwiddie, an unprotected 2029 first-round pick and second-round picks in 2027 and 2029 to the Brooklyn Nets.

That shake-up had been anticipated as Irving pursued a trade, yet it leaves plenty to ponder ahead of Thursday's deadline.

Stats Perform considers the week's key questions as those hoping to be in contention respond to the Mavs' big move.

How does Durant react?

Irving and Kevin Durant arrived in Brooklyn together in 2019 but, for myriad reasons, the Nets never saw the best of them as a pair as they started only 71 regular season games together.

Durant repeatedly stood by Irving as various controversies threatened to derail the team, yet he has now been left behind.

While the package the Nets received from the Mavs should ensure they have enough to put around Durant and remain competitive, what does the two-time Finals MVP want for himself?

The suggestion over the weekend was the Phoenix Suns – under new ownership – would be keen on making a move for Durant if he became available, and there would be other potential contenders who would see the attraction of a genuine superstar to get them over the line.

Durant has failed previously to force his way out of Brooklyn, but his situation is certainly worth watching.

What now for the Lakers?

If not the Mavs, the Los Angeles Lakers seemed the most likely destination for Irving, with Russell Westbrook and two unprotected first-round picks said to make up the package offered to the Nets.

The Nets were understandably unconvinced by Westbrook's ability to have an impact in 2023, however, and now the Lakers must regroup.

Superstar LeBron James could be forgiven for being far from impressed with the team's inability to secure a trade he had pushed for, and his cryptic Twitter posts as news broke of the Mavs deal would suggest that is the case.

It is expected the Lakers will remain active ahead of the deadline, but Rob Pelinka's promise to only use the team's draft picks in "a move that puts us as a front-runner to get another championship" somewhat limits their potential moves.

The Utah Jazz and the Toronto Raptors have plenty of players they could move, yet none that fall into that category. Someone like Bradley Beal could perhaps be a possibility if the Lakers are determined to go all-in on helping James.

Do the Warriors have a move?

As the Mavs moved for Irving, news elsewhere indicated another shift in the Western Conference: Stephen Curry's leg injury is set to see him miss multiple weeks.

The Golden State Warriors are the defending champions but also cannot afford to be without Curry, given their middling 27-26 record.

This team looked set up to succeed long term, balancing the veteran brilliance of Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green with a cast of exciting young talents, led by Jordan Poole.

But between the drama of a clash between Green and Poole, Curry's repeated fitness issues and the Warriors' generally middling form, there was already no room for error before the reigning Finals MVP went down again.

With an upturn required and Curry missing, Golden State may have to deal some of their young prospects – former number two pick James Wiseman being an obvious candidate – in order to improve their roster.

Is Anunoby as big as it gets?

With the Raptors seen as willing sellers, O.G. Anunoby has been popular in trade rumours for weeks now. As the deadline nears, it seems inevitable he will move.

A number of teams with designs on winning the title would benefit from the versatile Anunoby and his ability on both ends of the floor, averaging 16.9 points and 2.1 steals per game.

The New Orleans Pelicans and the Memphis Grizzlies appear to provide the most likely landing grounds.

But will that be it? If Durant stays put, will Anunoby be the most significant mover of the final days before the deadline?

After the Irving trade, that seems very low key, but the NBA always has the facility to surprise...

Related items

  • Edwards credits Towns as bounce-back performance keeps Timberwolves alive Edwards credits Towns as bounce-back performance keeps Timberwolves alive

    Anthony Edwards credited Karl-Anthony Towns after he halted his slump to keep the Minnesota Timberwolves alive in their Western Conference finals series against the Dallas Mavericks.

    Towns scored 20 of his 25 points in the second half as Minnesota held off a late Dallas rally for a 105-100 road win, forcing a Game 5 in Minneapolis on Thursday.

    That came after a difficult start to the series for the four-time All-Star, with coach Chris Finch saying it was "hard to watch" his struggles in Game 3.

    Towns shot just 27.8 per cent in the series' first three games, but was 9 of 13 from the floor and made 4 of 5 from 3-point range on Tuesday.

    Edwards, who narrowly missed out on a triple-double with 29 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists, said Towns was the primary reason the Timberwolves retained hope of an NBA Finals berth. 

    "Everything came together for him; he was super confident," Edwards said of Towns. 

    "He played exceptionally well, and he came through big-time. He was the reason we won tonight."

    Finch echoed Edwards' praise, saying: "KAT's a great player. His struggles were not going to last forever. He got himself going. 

    "Even when he got deep in foul trouble, we left him out there, just let him roll, and he played smart, played under control, rebounded really well for us, executed defensively. We're really proud of him. Tonight was a great step for him."

    While it was Towns' efforts that gave Minnesota a lead to defend, it was Edwards who made certain of the victory with a mid-range jumper after the Mavs pulled within three points just over a minute before the buzzer. 

    Towns, who fouled out with one minute and 38 seconds on the clock, said of his team-mate's game-sealing shot: "I was on the bench and had a front-row seat. I feel like he was visualising that make and he got to exactly the spot he wanted to.

    "I'm honoured to be playing with my brother here, seeing him every day put the work in, and I knew when he got to that shot it was a high likelihood he was going to make that."

  • NBA: Timberwolves hold off Mavericks to force Game 5 NBA: Timberwolves hold off Mavericks to force Game 5

    Anthony Edwards just missed a triple-double, Karl-Anthony Towns scored 20 of his 25 points in the second half and the Minnesota Timberwolves held on to beat the Dallas Mavericks 105-100 on Tuesday to avoid being swept in the Western Conference finals.

    Facing a 3-0 series deficit on the road, the Wolves conjured their best defensive game of the series to force a Game 5 on Thursday night in Minneapolis.

    Dallas' Luka Doncic finished with 28 points, 15 rebounds and 10 assists but was held to 7-for-21 shooting. Kyrie Irving shot 6 of 18 from the field to finish with 16 points.

    "That game's on me. Just didn't give enough energy," Doncic told reporters after the game. "They won one game. We've just got to focus on the next one."

    Towns, who shot 27.8 per cent in the series' first three games, was 9 of 13 from the floor and made 4 of 5 from 3-point range. Despite his redemptive performance on offense, Towns fouled out with 1:38 remaining after falling for a Doncic pump fake at the 3-point line.

    Edwards was assertive from the opening tip, scoring 14 points in the first quarter, and finished with 29 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists.

    The Mavs pulled to within 100-97 with just over a minute remaining before Edwards hit a mid-range jumper to extend the Minnesota lead. On Dallas' following possession, Kyle Anderson stole the ball from Irving to extinguish the threat.

    The Mavericks played without standout rookie center Dereck Lively II due to a neck sprain after taking a rough fall in Game 3.

    No team has ever come back from a 3-0 series lead, but the Wolves will hope to keep the pressure on Dallas in Game 5.

     

  • Timberwolves hold off Mavericks to force Game 5 Timberwolves hold off Mavericks to force Game 5

    Anthony Edwards just missed a triple-double, Karl-Anthony Towns scored 20 of his 25 points in the second half and the Minnesota Timberwolves held on to beat the Dallas Mavericks 105-100 on Tuesday to avoid being swept in the Western Conference finals.

    Facing a 3-0 series deficit on the road, the Wolves conjured their best defensive game of the series to force a Game 5 on Thursday night in Minneapolis.

    Dallas’ Luka Dončić finished with 28 points, 15 rebounds and 10 assists but was held to 7-for-21 shooting. Kyrie Irving shot 6 of 18 from the field to finish with 16 points.

    “That game's on me. Just didn't give enough energy,” Dončić told reporters after the game. “They won one game. We've just got to focus on the next one.”

    Towns, who shot 27.8 percent in the series’ first three games, was 9 of 13 from the floor and made 4 of 5 from 3-point range. Despite his redemptive performance on offence, Towns fouled out with 1:38 remaining after falling for a Dončić pump fake at the 3-point line.

    Edwards was assertive from the opening tip, scoring 14 points in the first quarter, and finished with 29 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists.

    The Mavs pulled to within 100-97 with just over a minute remaining before Edwards hit a mid-range jumper to extend the Minnesota lead. On Dallas’ following possession, Kyle Anderson stole the ball from Irving to extinguish the threat.

    The Mavericks played without standout rookie center Dereck Lively II due to a neck sprain after taking a rough fall in Game 3.

    No team has ever come back from a 3-0 series lead, but the Wolves will hope to keep the pressure on Dallas in Game 5.

     

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.