The NBA’s annual trade deadline has come and gone, and as usual there was no shortage of deals to be had.
This year, some of the big names that were expected to move did just that. And of course, there were a handful of surprises thrown in the there, too.
Here are five takeaways from the 2014-15 NBA trade deadline:
Heat land the big fish
The biggest name available this winter was Suns point guard Goran Dragic. With both rebuilding teams in New York and Los Angeles showing interest, naturally Dragic was dealt to South Beach.
The Heat sent Danny Granger, John Salmons and a pair of first-rounders to Phoenix for Dragic in a three-team deal, finally solidifying the point guard position that has been void since LeBron James was in town.
The biggest get of the trade deadline, this certainly bolsters Miami’s record for the stretch run. With Dragic manning the point, the Heat are poised to climb out of the No. 8 spot in the Eastern Conference standings to avoid a first-round tilt with Atlanta.
Aggressive Suns net numerous assets
In addition to Granger, Salmons and draft picks, the Suns also acquired Brandon Knight, Miles Plumlee and Tyler Ennis from Milwaukee, as well as Marcus Thornton from Boston. That, plus a wealth of future first-round picks.
Knight was a bonafide All-Star snub this season and is as good of a Dragic replacement as the team could have landed. They now boast a backcourt of Knight and Eric Bledsoe, which could completely change the course of the Western Conference playoffs.
The Suns also added shooting depth with Thornton and Granger, while bolstering their frontcourt with Plumlee. Without question, they won the trade deadline.
A Twin Cities homecoming
In no way, shape or form is Minnesota getting the Kevin Garnett that was a million-time All-Star a decade ago, but this trade just warms the heart.
Garnett is returning to the Timberwolves, the team and city where he made a name for himself as one of the baddest NBA stars in league history. He’s still a solid veteran role player, and more importantly could add a proven locker room presence for a young team.
The Nets wound up snatching Thaddeus Young in the deal. Young has averaged 14.3 points and 5.1 rebounds per game for the Timberwolves. He’s a difference-maker right now for the team, and also holds an early termination option for next season.
Thunder shake things up
Kantes was disgruntled out in Utah. As was Jackson in Oklahoma City. So the swap made too much sense.
In terms of basketball fits, Kanter has a chance to play alongside Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant, while Augustin and Kyle Singler are quality pieces to insert around the two All-Stars. Kanter helps fill the void left by the injured Steven Adams and adds a strong offensive game to the Thunder frontcourt.
It’s certainly a win-now move for Oklahoma City. They’ve re-tooled for the the final weeks of the season looking to finally earn that NBA title.
Sixers continue to deal
You can pretty much count on the 76ers to be active come mid-February every year nowadays. This season the trend continued.
After trading Jrue Holiday in 2013, the Sixers outdid themselves by sending reigning NBA Rookie of the Year Michael Carter-Williams and rookie surprise K.J. McDaniels to the Bucks and Rockets, respectively.
Philly nabbed two 2015 first-round picks and a future second-rounder as the organization continues to ship off its best talent in exchange for building blocks. The question is how long this rebuilding process is going to last.
Without two of their best weapons, the Sixers are doomed to fall even deeper in the standings. So tanking won’t even be necessary as they jockey for draft position.