Diehlman at Halftime: An NBA Weekly Column

Logo for Diehlman at Halftime column. - Graphics Editor / Julia Quennessen

The NBA trade deadline is such a busy time of year that it makes Black Friday look modest in comparison. The 2022 season did not disappoint.

This is a special edition of Diehlman at Halftime! Instead of “Highlight, Lowlight, and Random Stat,” we’ll discuss the top five trades of last Thursday’s deadline.

Most of these were briefly mentioned in last week’s article. (Highlight, Lowlight, and Random Stat” will return next week). Before my analysis, though, I threw in an honorable mention. The trades are in reverse order from pretty good to super important.

Note: Please excuse my bias on number one.

Top 5 Trades

Honorable Mention

The Dallas Mavericks and Washington Wizards made a small, yet fairtrade on Thursday. The Mavericks got Spencer Dinwiddie and Dāvis Bertāns for Kristaps Porziņģis and a second-round pick.

Washington could use another big man in Porziņģis, since the Wizards are on the outside of the play-in tournament looking in, having someone to carry a load in the absence of Bradley Beal will help.

Meanwhile, the Mavericks get a playmaker and sharpshooter in Dinwiddie and Bertāns, respectively. I’m not sure why Bertāns has seen a severe minutes decrease this season, but hopefully, that will change as he plays alongside Luka Dončić.

5. Portland’s Firesale: Part I

Wow! I think the Portland Trail Blazers finally realize they need to blow up the roster.

The Los Angeles Clippers traded Eric Bledsoe, Justise Winslow, Keon Johnson and a 2025 second-round pick to Portland for Robert Covington and Norman Powell.

Covington’s defense will be especially useful when Kawhi Leonard and Paul George return.

Powell is already under a five-year contract after being extended by the Blazers in August.  He’s primarily a scorer and has championship experience from his Toronto Raptors’ days.

This was the beginning of the Trail Blazers’ clearance sale.

4. Caris LeVert

The Cleveland Cavaliers and Indiana Pacers have opposite goals this year. Cleveland wants to obtain a top-four seed (those seeds host at least one playoff series). Indiana wants to… well, not be the worst bottomfeeder in the league.

Caris LeVert was the focal point in this trade, as Ricky Rubio, who was having a solid year, gets sent to Indy. Rubio is out for the season and will be an unrestricted free agent afterward.

Cleveland’s Darius Garland said LeVert is the “missing piece” the Cavs need as they continue to put the league on notice. Pairing LeVert with Garland, Evan Mobley, and Jarrett Allen could be a legit problem for opponents.

3. Portland’s Firesale: Part II

It’s the end of an era. Portland has split up the duo of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum.

Portland traded McCollum, Larry Nance Jr., and Tony Snell to the New Orleans Pelicans for Josh Hart, Tomáš Satoranský, Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Didi Louzada, a 2022 first-round pick, and two second-round picks.

This swap is nice for the Pelicans. Getting a proven veteran in McCollum to pair with Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram should give the squad a boost.

Obviously, Williamson has to get healthy first. The 2019 number one overall pick hasn’t played this season due to a foot issue.

And I don’t know if I should feel sorry for Portland or laugh at them. Portland gets some rotational pieces as part of their “rebuild,” but they got rid of the wrong man.

Lillard has too much loyalty to leave, even though his team is a dumpster fire. Get Lillard some help or ship him to greener pastures.

2. Tyrese Haliburton

This one was a shocker. Indiana sent Domantas Sabonis, Jeremy Lamb, and Justin Holiday to the Sacramento Kings for Tyrese Haliburton, Buddy Hield, and Tristan Thompson.

At this point, I have no idea what the Kings are trying to accomplish. The front office is seemingly just as clueless.

A few weeks ago, Haliburton said he would help change the culture of the Kings. Now, he’s a member of the Pacers. Oops.

Reports said Haliburton was in tears when he found out about the trade. He and Hield will now be nice additions to assist the struggling Pacers.

Although Sacramento receiving Sabonis will be beneficial for De’Aaron Fox in the future, what’s the point if the team is running around like a headless chicken?

Let it be written: Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2022. I would like to make my initial offer to buy the Sacramento Kings.

1. James Harden

The Beard and the Process.

This trade is going to make Philadelphia a serious problem for the next few seasons.

As a 76ers fan, having James Harden and Joel Embiid on the same roster brings me so much happiness. The pick-and-roll duo will be lethal.

Since both are amazing isolation players, who do you guard? Do you double-team Harden and pray Embiid misses a layup/midrange shot? Or do you double-team Embiid and pray Harden misses a three-pointer?

It’s a lose-lose situation for defenses.

76ers’ President of Basketball Operations Daryl Morey somehow didn’t give up Tyrese Maxey or Matisse Thybulle. Trading away Seth Curry, Andre Drummond, and two first-round picks may be hard, but Ben Simmons is gone.

The 76ers host the Nets on March 10. Simmons might want to bring earplugs because the fans are going to boo him… a lot.

For comments/questions about this story tweet @TheWhitSports.