Huge names moved. Contenders were active. Even pretenders were buyers. The NBA trade deadline surpassed the considerable hype, 28 of the 30 teams making at least one move.
Below The Post’s Zach Braziller grades the most active teams:
Phoenix Suns – Grade: A
Kevin Durant is now a Sun, and Phoenix is a title contender, which could not have been said before the blockbuster move. Durant and Devin Booker will be an electric duo, and Phoenix still has stud center Deandre Ayton and veteran point guard Chris Paul. New owner Matt Ishbia works fast.
Los Angeles Clippers – Grade: A
Quietly, they had one of the best deadlines, picking up two potential difference-making guards in Eric Gordon and Bones Hyland and backup center Mason Plumlee without trading a first-round pick. The Clippers added offensive firepower and depth. This team is only getting better as Kawhi Leonard and Paul George have gotten healthy. Los Angeles wouldn’t be a bad futures play.
Los Angeles Lakers – Grade: A-
In acquiring Rui Hachimura, D’Angelo Russell, Jarred Vanderbilt, Malik Beasley and Mo Bamba while only trading one first-round pick (top-four protected in 2027), the Lakers improved their roster without giving up much at all and rid themselves of Russell Westbrook, who just didn’t fit. The frontcourt certainly got a boost with Hachimura, Vanderbilt and Bamba, and Beasley added much-needed shooting and athleticism on the wing. But the Lakers still aren’t a top team in the Western Conference and have to turn it on just to reach the play-in. They are currently 2 1/2 games behind the Trail Blazers for the 10th seed.
Dallas Mavericks – Grade: B+
Dallas needed another star to pair with Luka Doncic, and they opted for the mercurial Kyrie Irving. He is saying all the right things so far about his latest home, but just ask the Nets, Celtics and Cavaliers how long that will last. Distractions will arrive. He will spend time away from the game. Maybe not this year, as he tries to land a max contract by being on his best behavior. The Mavericks are clearly a contender in the Western Conference now, although good luck on the defensive end against the best teams after dealing their top defender, Dorian Finney-Smith, to land Irving.
New York Knicks – Grade: B+
Team president Leon Rose accomplished what he sought out to do: He improved the Knicks’ depth without going too deep into his treasure trove of assets. Josh Hart, acquired from the Trail Blazers for a lottery-protected 2023 first-round pick and Cam Reddish, is the kind of selfless, two-way player coach Tom Thibodeau would create in a lab.
Atlanta Hawks – Grade: B
The Hawks landed one of the top players to switch teams in 3-and-D wing Saddiq Bey in a three-team deal with the Pistons and Warriors. Bey is only shooting 34.5 percent from deep, but he is a quality all-around player and should benefit from an upgrade in talent around him. The inconsistent Hawks are one streak away from getting into the mix for the sixth seed, and the 6-foot-7 Bey certainly should help them at both ends of the floor.
Boston Celtics – Grade: B
Sharpshooting center Mike Muscala provides depth and insurance in the middle for the team with the best record in the NBA. Just as importantly, the teams right behind the Celtics didn’t improve, and the Nets are no longer a contender. That makes this deadline a major win for the Celtics.
Brooklyn Nets — Grade: B-
The Nets weren’t going to do better than what they ended up with for Irving and Durant: five first-round draft picks and quality young wings Cam Johnson and Mikal Bridges. Still, to end up with just one playoff series victory after all the hoops they had to jump through for these two diva superstars the Irving/Durant era can only be classified as an unmitigated failure, particularly after all the picks general manager Sean Marks gave Houston in the ill-fated James Harden deal.
Toronto Raptors – Grade: D
After all that talk, all the rumors, the Raptors not only didn’t move anyone, they added center Jakob Poeltl from the Spurs. Toronto has been one of the more disappointing teams in the league, sitting four games below .500, and rather than recoup assets for OG Anunoby or Pascal Siakam, it went all in with the belief this team can turn it on. But it will take a lot for them to avoid the play-in, needing to make up significant ground and leap over several teams, and with so many key players up for free agency in the next two years, this could wind up hurting Toronto in the long run.
Golden State Warriors – Grade: D
The Warriors only marginally improved by bringing back Gary Payton II, and ended up admitting the colossal mistake that was drafting James Wiseman. This team, just a game over .500, needed more help than Payton and some luxury tax savings, particularly when so many teams out west improved considerably.