Trade talks

Exploring the recent trades in the NBA and issues in basketball free agency

Samika Bhatkar and Mihir Vishwarupe

S: Welcome to Trade Talks, a show where we’ll be discussing the recent NBA trades. I’m Samika Bhatkar.

M: And I’m Mihir Vishwarupe.

S: I think the first trade which gained a lot of like traction and attention was the Kevin Durant trade. That was pretty crazy. I think like first it says how badly organized the nets franchise was. I mean, in less than two seasons, they fumbled Harden, Kyrie and now Durant and to me it seems a bit unfair that they’re building a super team in Phoenix; you’ve got Kevin Durant, Devin Booker, Chris Paul who has been not the best this season. But I still think a pretty large team in the West, while you’re trading more younger players towards the east, is really interesting to me!

M: Yeah, definitely. And I think that it’s a product of the large things that are happening in free agency right now. There’s a lot of new trades that are happening with a lot of superstars, and it’s pretty beneficial to one team but it could also ruin the chemistry of another team, especially if they were on the team for a long time.

S: I agree. I mean, over a weekend, we saw the Suns and the Mavs play each other, which is really interesting to see, you know the chemistry between Kevin Durant and Devin Booker. I think they both had over 30 points, so you can see they’re starting to click together. I think they need a little bit more practice to work on defense and everything before we can see their potential but I think there’s a pretty large chance that they can definitely clinch the Western playoffs.

M: Yeah, and we’ve seen this before to write like when Kevin Durant came to the Warriors. That was a huge trade that definitely helped the Warriors and eventually allowed them to win a championship. But you know, soon after Kevin Durant left to the Nets. So again, everything is unpredictable, but it still benefits a team to some extent.

S: I think some people also say that they think whenever you have a large super team, sometimes it doesn’t count; that ring doesn’t count because you have so many strong assets and so many strong players. It’s not like you’re really earning that championship or that ring. And I just wanted to know what were your thoughts on that?

M: Well, I mean, if we go back to the Kevin Durant trade to the Warriors, a lot of people argued that it wasn’t very deserved the ring that Kevin Durant got, but you know, at the same time, a lot of the Warriors fans thought it was actually a good trade and it actually did help them at the end. And as far as I can see, I don’t think there are many Warriors fans that actually think that Kevin Durant leaving the Warriors is such a bad thing. I’m pretty sure there are probably some people who are still mad about that, but ultimately it gave them a championship and that’s basically what a franchise wants.

S: Yeah, I agree. I mean, right now currently for the Nets team, they have a lot of young players. They’ve got Cam Thomas, who was playing really good whenever Kevin Durant was injured, and I believe he had 30 or 40 point games in a row. It was really showing his potential and although they had Kevin Durant, it was a huge asset to them as a player to help them win. I think now they kind of have to see how they’re gonna stand their ground if they really want to perform strongly in the playoffs. And they have a chance at it because, I mean, currently they’re ranked number six in the Eastern Conference. So they have a chance, but it’ll be tough. It means a new team with new chemistry.

M: Right. And I think one of the big advantages of that is that they have a lot of young rookies on the team that can also gain a lot of expertise from such elite players. And that can actually ultimately help a team’s chemistry, even if the player eventually decides to leave the team. It still kind of gives them good training.

S: Yeah, definitely. I mean, one of the other big trades that happened was the Kyrie trade. I mean, I was super surprised by that. I think everybody thought he was gonna go to the Lakers, and then for him to go to the Mavericks was quite interesting.

M: It was. And that was sort of the thing that Kyrie did before, where he left the Cavaliers to go to the Celtics and then from the Celtics, he went somewhere else and this has been sort of an ongoing thing.

S: My opinions on it are that you have two really strong offensive players — you have Luca and you have Kyrie so how are you gonna be able to balance out your offensive players while making sure you’re not really sacrificing your defense? And I think that’s something they’re gonna need to start to look into. Because I believe, Kyrie and Luca, they’ve had multiple games with each other so far, where both of them have had over 30 points, but they’ve still suffered some losses, although they’ve had some pretty high scoring, so I think they still need to evolve a bit more.

M: I kind of agree with that. But I also feel like recently in the games they have played, they’ve been doing pretty well. I think they’ve been able to coordinate correctly. Kyrie has been able to get some points off and then the same with Luca, and I can tell that they definitely have good chemistry with each other and that’s definitely important for the Mavs franchise going forward.

S: I think in general, it’s super important to make sure that coaches and players have strong chemistry with one another. I know in the Nets franchise, Kevin Durant had a lot of issues with Joe Tsai and I think having bad chemistry with your coaches and hiring people in positions on teams if you don’t get along with them kind of just sets the team off and doesn’t create a good look for them.

M: Yeah. And that’s definitely a thing that will impact their chances of getting into the playoffs and eventually winning the Finals. But you know, there are teams that don’t even have major Blockbuster trades that have been very impactful for them, such as the Pistons or the Magic. They haven’t had a recent blockbuster trade in so long and they’ve kind of been remaining at the bottom. So that’s something that definitely is a factor in these kinds of trades.

S: I agree. I think you can already start to see though with the trades that some players have started to improve. I mean, if you look at James Wiseman, he got traded from the Warriors to the Pistons, and he’s been playing pretty good. I think he’s already had a couple of 20-point games which I think is great for him because I don’t think his true potential was being shown on the Warriors where you see him in the G league with the Santa Cruz warriors. He had a lot of dunks and he was aggressive. And it seemed like going into the NBA. He just wasn’t ready; he just seemed to forget all of that. But now that we see him with the Pistons, you can actually see him start to evolve into this great player who has the potential.

M: Yeah, and we’ve seen this through a lot of players who maybe we thought weren’t even good at the original team. But then when they got traded, it’s like, wow! That’s a totally different player. We’ve seen this with Lauri Markkanen, and Wendell Carter, Jr. I mean, they’ve been traded to the Jazz and the Magic respectively, and they’ve done really well. I mean, Lauri Markkanen was selected for the All Star which is something that’s totally different from where he was on the Bulls.

S: Yeah, it’s been pretty insane this season so far. I think you can also see that with the Knicks: they got Josh Hart. I think when they got Josh Hart, they were 3-0, so it says a lot. I mean, there are also some, disappointing trades that people feel like just didn’t really live up to anything, like the Russell Westbrook trade.

M: Yeah. And I think going forward like you mentioned about the Kyrie trade: again, when we see these games, the Mavericks fans are really amped up about it. I mean, they get really excited. So again, this will help the Mavs franchise or any other franchise that has blockbuster trades, and you know, it could make them a good playoff contender.

S: Definitely. It seems crazy though. It seems like almost all the strong teams are on the West Coast this season, and if we compare that to last season, it was the complete opposite.

M: Yeah. So things can change a lot in the NBA. That’s all we have for Trade Talk. Thanks for joining us! 

S: Thank you!