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PJ Tucker, Nerlens Noel Highlight Trade Deadline Moves - This Is Sports Zone

While Paul George, Jimmy Butler, Carmelo Anthony, Derrick Rose and Ricky Rubio all wound up staying put after much speculation, the NBA trade deadline did produce a number of deals that are likely to have an impact over the rest of the season, with the Toronto Raptors adding yet another piece as they look to make their run in the Eastern Conference, while the Dallas Mavericks added a player who could be a big part of their future. The Raptors, who lost some depth at their wing positions when they traded Terrance Ross for Serge Ibaka, filled that position when they added PJ Tucker from the Phoenix Suns for failed offseason signing Jared Sullinger and second round picks in 2017 and 2018. The Mavericks landed big man Nerlens Noel from the Philadelphia 76ers for swingman Justin Anderson, center Andrew Bogut, and a top-18 protected 2017 first-round draft pick, which will become second round picks in 2017 and 2018 when it likely doesn’t convey.

The Suns had been shopping Tucker for much of the last month, with their asking price thought to be a first round pick for the sixth-year pro, who actually began his career as a second-round pick of Toronto in 2006 before spending five years overseas until his return to the NBA in 2012. Their return is significantly less than what they had hoped for, as Sullinger’s season has been marred by an injury suffered in Toronto’s preseason opener, which saw him miss the first three months of the season, returning on January 18th and only playing in 11 games since.

As for the Raptors, they get a player in Tucker who is known for his defense, which the Raptors will need as they hope to compete with Cleveland late into the postseason. While Tucker has only averaged seven points a game this season, it has come mostly in a bench role for the Suns, where he only started 17 games. He figures to go right into the starting lineup for Toronto, playing at small forward with Ibaka and Jonas Valanciunas up front and Kyle Lowry and Demar Derozan in the backcourt, creating potential one of the most solid starting lineups in the East.

The Sixers have spent the majority of the season trying to trade Jahlil Okafor in an effort to turn their abundance of frontcourt players into assets for the rest of their roster. So it was a bit surprising to see them move Noel, who was on the trading block over the summer but had faded into the background given the noise around Okafor. Their return is still a little lackluster considering that at 23, Noel is an athletic, defensive-minded rim-protecter, who is also shooting a career high .611 percent from the floor.

Anderson, also 23, is considered a 3-and-D player, who is actually averaging 16.7 points per 36 minutes this season, and comes to a team desperate for wing players. Outside of Robert Covington, the team did need help in their backcourt, and if Anderson can turn into a long-term starter for the team, than this trade does accomplish the goal of dealing from strength to address a weakness. However, Bogut was only taken to get the team above the salary cap floor and will be released in the next 24 hours, and the ‘first round pick’ isn’t really a first round pick considering the Mavericks do not have a realistic chance of making the playoffs. So it’s all about how head coach Brett Brown can develop Anderson for the Sixers. If he fails to become a starter, than it’s a wasted use of a major asset.

For the Mavericks, this trade can become the lone bright spot of a wasted season. In acquiring Noel, Dallas has a piece it can pair with Harrison Barnes to become the cornerstones of the franchise after Dirk Nowitzki retires, which will likely be soon. The Mavericks finally have pieces it can build around, and while Noel will be a restricted free agent this summer, it seems like a formality that owner Mark Cuban will opt to pay him to ensure that his team’s rebuilding effort gets off on the right foot. The fact that they were able to acquire him, shed Bogut’s salary, and keep their draft pick in the likely event that they are a lottery team, makes this trade an absolute winner for the Mavericks.

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