It goes without saying that the 2024 NBA trade deadline was one of the more quiet ones in recent memory. The real action took place weeks before the deadline as the Toronto Raptors set the rebuild in motion just before the end of year. As we know, front office dealt OG Anunoby to the New York Knicks, shortly followed by the Pascal Siakam deal to the Indiana Pacers, which would turn out to be the biggest headlines before February 8th.
The Raptors didn’t stop there, as they continued to clean house by swapping Dennis Schroder and Thaddeus Young to Brooklyn for Spencer Dinwiddie (who would later be waived) and acquiring Kelly Olynyk and Ochai Agbaji for Otto Porter Jr, Kira Lewis and a first round pick. While other teams like the Charlotte Hornets and Detroit Pistons that are clearly in rebuild mode (or whatever mode the Pistons are in) cleared cap space and lingering contracts, teams within the play-in tournament realm remained shockingly quiet.
The Orlando Magic were one of the teams that did no make a move, which makes sense for a team that has a young core to build on in the play-in tournament and beyond. It’s teams like the Atlanta Hawks and Chicago Bulls that leave their fans scratching their heads.
It’s safe to say that the Dejounte Murray experiment has failed in Atlanta as the Hawks have to worry about retaining their superstar in Trae Young while figuring out a direction this team needs to head in, which should be the tank direction.
Same goes for the Bulls. What was once a really exciting squad compiled of Lonzo Ball, Zach Lavine, DeMar DeRozan and Nicola Vucevic has simply not been able to stay healthy. With Ball who hasn’t played in two years and Lavine out for the remainder of the season, the Bulls should have looked at the deadline as an opportunity to deal expiring contracts and begin the rebuild. After heading into the teardown direction, front office last minute decided to stand pat with their squad making it the 3rd straight year in a row where the Bulls were inactive at the deadline.
Perhaps these teams have realized their actual potential for this year – a play-in birth and a first round exit. Being in the middle of this pack is always a tough position to be in; too good to bomb but not good enough to win. For teams like the Magic, the play-in tournament is a great opportunity to build confidence, whereas teams like the Bulls and Hawks are receiving their death sentence.
Follow along for more as the Down By Two team travels to Orlando to bring you live coverage of Saturday’s matchup between the Bulls and Magic.
Touring stand-up comic with Yuk Yuk’s. Host of the ‘Down By Two’ Podcast and ‘DB2 Bets.’ Take him on the over.