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Move over Allen, AI stands for All In now.
In November, the 76ers sent a notice to the NBA that they were coming for the 2019 Eastern Conference crown by acquiring Justin Patton... Oh and Jimmy Butler. Apparently, the Bucks, Raptors, Celtics, and Pacers didn't get the memo, as they all sit ahead of Philly in the standings leading up to the trade deadline. In order to really drive home their point, the 76ers added Tobias Harris, Boban, and Mike Scott two days before the deadline. Getting James Ennis from Houston does little to generate headlines, but provides meaningful depth and experience. Much to the locker room attendant's relief, the revolving door stopped to kick Markelle Fultz to Orlando in exchange for a 1st (OKC), a future 2nd, and a guard with an actual jump shot—well kinda (Jonathon Simmons is 22.9% from 3 this year, but 31.2% for his career). Combine these transactions with Boston's underwhelming first half and Dipo's injury and the 76ers look likely to push up the standings. They're only 6.5 games out of first place. Despite Marc Gasol moving to The North, you'd be hard pressed to find a better starting 5 anywhere east of Oakland.
The Process goes 'Fresh Prince.'
The Clippers are playing for the long haul and I love it! The franchise has been a neverending underdog story; even in its Lob City heyday hopes of a title were unrealistic. Despite sitting in the 8th seed, Steve Ballmer, Jerry West, and Doc Rivers have decided to try building from the ground up. Trading Tobias Harris to Philly and picking up draft capital in 2020 (76ers, protected 1-14) and 2021 (Heat, unprotected) was a proactive move knowing Harris won't lead a team on a deep playoff run yet demands a much higher salary on the open market than he currently receives. Trading Avery Bradley to Memphis for Garrett Temple and JaMychal Green will clear nearly $13 million off the books at the end of the season. (Side note: congratulations to Garrett Temple for getting out of Memphis, that's no place for a man on a vegan diet!) To cap things off LA got Ivica Zubac and Michael Beasley from the Lakers. Zubac is 21-years-old, 7'1", and makes less than $2 million per year—that's already a steal, but he actually has potential to be a solid player. Beasley is a rare case of subtraction by addition. If the Clippers keep him, he can aid in their effort to fall into a top 14 pick and he's off the books after the season. Oh, and they waived Gortat to make minutes for Zubac and avoid any accidental wins. In the uber-competitive West, it shouldn't be difficult to tank into the 12th seed, guaranteeing they keep their 1st rounder. Much more importantly, though, the Clippers will have access to nearly $60 million in cap space (2019-2020 salary cap is $109 million), and they can offer the luxuries of LA without the stress of playing with LeBron in the Purple and Gold.
Nik Stauskas and Wade Baldwin are bonded for life.
In less than a week, the two guards moved from Portland to Cleveland to Houston and to Indianapolis—ESPN is reporting the Pacers will now waive them both. That has to be the second worst week in NBA history (Luke Ridnour was traded from Orlando to Memphis to Charlotte to OKC to Toronto in June 2015—he was also waived). At least Nik and Wade weren't alone in their seemingly endless pursuit to find an apartment to rent in the city in which they thought they'd be playing. Neither Stauskas nor Baldwin has garnered much attention as waiver wire candidates, so it's unclear where the pair will head next. Wherever they're headed, the two aren't likely to unpack their suitcases right away.