It’s safe to say that after the events of January 29th, 2018, this NBA season and the previous offseason has been one of the most entertaining periods we’ve ever seen from the NBA, perhaps ever.
With the amount of player movement that has occurred since the Golden State Warriors won the 2017 NBA championship in June of last year, the entire landscape of the league changed over a period of a few short months, leading to one of the most drama-filled regular seasons in living memory.
Obviously, some trades were more impactful than others, and today, we’ll be counting down four of the most stunning trades to go down since Durant and the Warriors lifted the Larry O’Brien trophy back in June.
4. Paul George To Oklahoma City
The PG trade to OKC comes in at number four on our list, as almost everyone was expecting Paul George to be traded after his free agency intentions were made public.
While playing for Indiana, George informed the front office he’d be testing FA regardless of how well the Pacers did that season, and after barely scraping into the playoffs as the seventh seed the year prior, the Pacers bit the bullet and decided to ship George off to Oklahoma City on July 2nd in exchange for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis.
So far, the trade has surprisingly worked out for both teams, as Victor Oladipo as flourished into an All-Star reserve as the leader of Indiana, whereas George, alongside Carmelo Anthony and Russell Westbrook, currently sit fifth in the West with a 30-20 record, with PG leading the Defensive Player of the Year race in many fans eyes.
3. Chris Paul To Houston
This trade was a bit more surprising compared to the Paul George deal, as many thought the Clippers would be looking to compete coming into this season.
CP3 opted into the final year of his deal with the Clippers so he could be traded to the Rockets, joining forces with James Harden in Houston on June 28th.
Paul was sent to Houston for a small fortune worth of players — illustrating just how valuable Paul was considered — including Patrick Beverley, Lou Williams, Sam Dekker, Montrezl Harrell, Darrun Hilliard, DeAndre Liggins, Kyle Wiltjer, a protected first-round pick next year and cash considerations.
As many expected, the departure of one of the best point guards in the league was going to have dire effects on the Clippers, and even though they defied expectations to start the season, it wasn’t to last, as the injury bug ran rampant over the Clippers’ roster, leading them to completely blow up the season a few months later.
For the Rockets, however, Chris Paul has been a godsend, somehow improving Daryl Morey and Mike D’Antoni’s offense, leading the Rockets to a 35-13 record, only losing one game out of every game he’s been on the court for Houston.
2. Kyrie Irving To Boston
This was the trade that dominated headlines for much of the NBA offseason, as the combination of teams and talent involved, the storylines surrounding the players, and the sheer surprise of it all led to it being the most-talked-about trade last year.
After citing differences with the team, and wanting to lead his own team to a championship after three years playing behind LeBron James — leading to one title in 2016 and two Finals losses in 2015 and 2017 — Kyrie Irving requested a trade out of Cleveland, and the request was promptly granted as Irving was shipped off to Boston on August 24th in exchange for point guard Isaiah Thomas, forward Jae Crowder, center Ante Zizic, and Brooklyn’s 2018 unprotected first-round pick, which was considered the crown jewel in the trade when it first went down.
Since arriving in Boston, Kyrie has led the team to the top spot in the East with a 36-15 record, even after fellow All-Star Gordon Hayward went down with a season-ending ankle injury.
On the flip side, Cleveland has been struggling by their standards without Irving, sitting third in the East after a major January slump and constant drama emanating from the Cavs’ locker room, mainly surrounding Isaiah Thomas and Kevin Love, which has not helped team chemistry.
1. Blake Griffin To Detroit
Absolutely no one saw this trade coming, and many fans questioned the validity of reports even after the trade had gone down.
Why else would the Clippers trade their franchise centerpiece, who has been extremely loyal to the team his whole career, even after signing him to a max contract not even six months prior?
In a move that left most of the NBA world’s mouths gaping wide open, Los Angeles Clippers power forward Blake Griffin was suddenly traded on January 30th, 2018 to the Detroit Pistons in exchange for Tobias Harris, Avery Bradley, Boban Marjanovic, and a first- and second-round draft pick. The Clippers also sent Brice Johnson and Willie Reed to Detroit alongside Griffin.
Many analysts are still trying to figure out the actual motives behind the blockbuster move, but many have pointed to the fact that the Clipper have decided to blow up everything to start a fresh rebuild this season, and also in an attempt to free up cap space to pursue the likes of LeBron James and Paul George in free agency this year.
It’s currently unknown how both teams will fare after this trade, but it’s assumed that the Clippers will either try to compete for fringe playoffs spots behind DeAndre Jordan, or ship him off to start tanking, while Detroit, who strengthen their frontcourt tenfold should be competing for a top 5 spot in the East.