By Mike Ferris
Boston – D – The Celtics are contenders in the East right now, but not really. Standing-wise you can’t argue that they’re in second place but talent-wise and personnel-wise its Cleveland’s conference and no one is knocking them off. That all could’ve changed if Boston would’ve just made a move to secure a piece that would have made them legitimate contenders like Jimmy Butler or Paul George. It isn’t like the Celtics don’t have the assets to do it. My question is, why is Danny Ainge so scared to trade that Nets pick? His organization is in a position to be a win-now team but he’s still treating the Celtics like a rebuild team.
Indiana – C – Another team that made no moves at the deadline, the Pacers have to get an average grade. They aren’t true threats in the East and won’t be as they made no additions at the deadline. The question for Indiana became whether or not trading its superstar, Paul George, was worth it. Indiana has a legitimate shot to resign George in the offseason; however, reports are indicating it’s more and more likely that PG13 will wind up in Los Angeles next year. Larry Bird and the Pacers’ organization had to delicately balance the risky fact that they needed to get a huge return for George as he’s their future but also could wind up getting nothing for him if he walks.
Los Angeles – B – Magic Johnson endured his first trade deadline as the new Lakers’ president of basketball operations. Johnson understands the position the Lakers are in, they aren’t winning right now and that’s that. He sent Louis Williams on his way in exchange for a first-round pick and Magic and the Lakers are just sitting on assets now. If he wants to make a move come the offseason he has a pick and young assets to try and bring in a superstar. He also made a brilliant move in not trading for Paul George. George would have begged a price of the first-round pick and one of their young guys who has potential to be a star. With the growing buzz that George will sign in L.A. anyways this summer, Magic could end making out with Paul George and all of his assets to try and bring someone in with George.
New Orleans – A – The Pelicans made out like bandits. The organization brought in the eventual biggest prize of the trade deadline in DeMarcus Cousins. They flat out ripped the Kings off giving up Buddy Hield, a couple of picks and a few other minor names. Cousins allows the Pelicans to play Anthony Davis, arguably the best power forward in the league at power forward full-time, instead of switching back and forth between center and power forward. Not only that but it gives them the best front-line in the league and not only allows them to make a run at the eighth spot in the West, but gives them a chance to avoid Golden State in the first round and climb even higher.