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5 best NBA trade deadline deals of the past five years

NBA trade deadline: Kevin Durant, Aaron Gordon

Not all deals that happen before the trade deadline make headlines. A lot of times, a good team picks up insurance for a deep playoff run, or bad teams just dump salaries.

But some deals have long-term implications. Some have franchise-altering implications. We look at some of the biggest deals made in the past five NBA trade deadline moves.

We certainly could have included the Pascal Siakam trade the Indiana Pacers just pulled off, but that will probably be in next year’s list.

Related: Who is the MVP, MIP, or Coach of the Year, and who will win the Finals?

Indiana Pacers and Sacramento Kings made win-win NBA trade deadline deal in 2022

NBA: Boston Celtics at Indiana Pacers
Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
  • Indiana Pacers get: Tyrese Haliburton, Buddy Hield, Tristan Thompson
  • Sacramento Kings get: Domantas Sabonis, Justin Holiday, Jeremy Lamb, 2023 second-round draft pick

Tyrese Haliburton is a star and has been on a meteoric rise since coming to the Pacers. Because they have him, Indiana is making moves toward being an NBA Finals contender, with the latest being the trade for Pascal Siakam this week.

Domantas Sabonis helped the Kings finish third in the Western Conference last season and is part of the reason they’re positioned to be competitive again this season.

Related: Pacers get Pascal Siakam in shocking deal

Denver Nuggets make NBA trade deadline deal that puts them on road for 2021 title

NBA: Denver Nuggets at Utah Jazz
Credit: Christopher Creveling-USA TODAY Sports
  • Denver Nuggets get: Aaron Gordon, Gary Clark
  • Orlando Magic gets: R.J. Hampton, Gary Harris, 2025 first-round draft pick (protected)

Bringing Aaron Gordon in was the piece that put the Nuggets on the course that won them the NBA title last season. He was the missing piece to go with Nikola Jokic and xxxx.

The Magic didn’t come out so well in the trade, Harris is only giving them about seven points per game off the bench and the pick will be late in the first round.

Related: NBA trade rumors

Golden State Warriors get a piece they didn’t know they needed in 2020

NBA: Finals-Golden State Warriors at Boston Celtics
Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
  • Golden State Warriors get: Andrew Wiggins, 2021 first round pick (Jonathan Kuminga), 2022 second round pick
  • Minnesota Timberwolves get: D’Angelo Russell, Jacob Evans III, Omari Spellman

Even though the Warriors were still a very good team in 2020, this trade was the big reason they won their xx title. In the NBA Finals against the Boston Celtics, Wiggins averaged 18.3 points and 8.8 rebounds. He was huge in the series, taking pressure off Steph Curry and Klay Thompson.

The Timberwolves traded Russell in a deal that got them Mike Conley before the deadline last season, which would probably rank pretty high for T’Wolves fans in a ranking of in-season trades.

Related: Highest-paid NBA players

The great Kevin Durant blockbuster of 2023

NBA: Sacramento Kings at Phoenix Suns
Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
  • Phoenix Suns get: Kevin Durant, T.J. Warren
  • Brooklyn Nets get: Mikal Bridges, Cameron Johnson, Juan Pablo Vaulet, 2023 first-round pick, 2025 first-round pick, 2027 first-round pick, 2029 first-round pick, 2028 second-round pick and 2029 second-round pick and a 2028 pick swap
  • Milwaukee Bucks get: Jae Crowder
  • Indiana Pacers get: George Hill, Serge Ibaka, Jordan Nwora, cash from Brooklyn, 2023 second-round pick from Milwaukee, 2024 second-round pick from Milwaukee, 2025 second-round pick from Milwaukee

The impact of this trade was “Wow.” And it happened right before the 3 p.m. ET trade deadline. In the grand scheme, it hasn’t had the impact on the floor that we all thought because Durant hasn’t played with a fully healthy Suns team since he has been there.

Phoenix owner Mat Ishbia had just bought the team and wanted to make a splash. Boy, did he. It might have helped the Nets even more, since they ended up getting a ton of draft picks to make up for those they had traded away in Durant, James Harden and Kyrie Irving debacle.

Related: Best second-round picks in NBA history

Did New Orleans position itself for a long run after 2023 deal?

NBA: Phoenix Suns at New Orleans Pelicans
Credit: Andrew Wevers-USA TODAY Sports
  • New Orleans Pelicans get: CJ McCollum, Larry Nance Jr., Tony Snell
  • Portland Trail Blazers get: Nikeil Alexander-Walker, Josh Hart, Didi Louzda, Tomas Storansky, 2022 first-round pick (Shaedon Sharpe), 2026 second-round pick, 2027 second-round pick

This was a move that made it look like the Pelicans have gone all-in on the Zion Williamson/Brandon Ingram group as they moved a few of the picks they got a few years back in the Anthony Davis trade to the Lakers. It seems to be paying dividends this season, if everyone stays healthy.

Portland took a big step toward its rebuild with the move, sending McCollum away. He had been a mainstay with Damian Lillard in the backcourt for some great seasons.

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