The 2023 NBA Trade Deadline was one last chance for intrepid NBA contenders to separate themselves from the pack and for a select group of sluggish teams to stow a stimulant onto their rosters. Unless you’re John Collins still stuck on the runway in Atlanta, it didn’t disappoint. The relative parity throughout the league gave this year’s annual NBA realignment an extra oomph. The NBA’s axis tilted right as the clock turned to midnight on the East Coast as Phoenix edged back into the title discussion, Brooklyn re-designed its roster on the fly and Los Angeles shuffled the chairs on its Titanic.
Dealing second-rounders became all the rage at the deadline as trades involving Jae Crowder, Gary Payton II, and Devonte’ Graham netted 14 of them. This many second-rounders being exchanged so casually was a bit disorienting. Miami didn’t make a single trade amid the flurry of moves, which is especially surprising given how much value they’ve derived from obscure picks in the last decade. Here’s how the deadline set the stage for the final frame of the season.