Your Illustrated Guide to the NBA Trade Deadline

More than eight percent of the players in the NBA were traded on Thursday. We asked our friend Corbin to put that crazy day into perspective using the power of art.

by Corbin Smith
Feb 20 2015, 4:50pm

All Illustrations by Corbin Smith

Yesterday's NBA trade deadline was expected to be fairly quiet. There have already been a handful of major trades this season, and GMs seemed to have gotten their wiggles out early. This was not the case. Nearly 40 players were traded on Thursday, which is something like eight percent of the players in the NBA. These were major pieces, vets, rookies, enigmas, any kind of player you could imagine. I will now take you through these trades with the magic of my drawing pen, getting into the deeper truth—the deepest truth—about the players who were shuffled through the NBA today.

Andre Miller, a mysterious older man who meditates on top of a mountain and loves to roller skate, was traded to the Kings. In return, the Wizards received Ramon Sessions, a point guard who has many good qualities but never quite seems to add up to a whole good player. He is portrayed here as 96 Cents, which is not quite a dollar. George Karl, the Kings' new coach, was almost certainly behind this move; he loves Andre Miller with a beautiful and complete sincerity.

Tayshaun Prince, a friendlier, longer armed version of the prince from Frozen, signed a four year contract with the Pistons in 2012. Then, he was traded to Memphis. Then, Memphis traded him to Boston. Yesterday, he was traded back to the Pistons. In exchange, Boston received two fringy European players: Gigi Datome, nominally a shooting forward who looks more than a little like the Western Visual Concept of Jesus Christ, has been placed in a beautiful stained glass window. Jonas Jerebko is a large Swede with very blonde hair and good hands, the sort that radiate a faint energy. None of these players seem like they are going to make a major impact on an NBA playoff series ever again.

Thad Young, a player who has many normal NBA Qualities and no extraordinary ones, was traded from the TImberwolves to the Nets. In exchange, the Wolves received...

...Kevin Garnett, a massive sea monster, who is seen here carrying two sticks on unlit dynamite! Garnett has been extremely bad this year. But the Wolves have absolutely no interest in winning, and Garnett is the greatest player in franchise history, a massive locker room presence who will probably make himself a mentor to the Wolves' young core. This trade is unique in that it was made for no tangible, on-court reason. The Wolves organization wants Garnett to retire with them. They thought it would be nice. They thought the fanbase, like the woman above who is admiring Garnett's sea monster glory, would appreciate it. They probably didn't have any interesting offers for Thad Young, he wasn't re-signing, Garnett is beloved, let's go with it! This is a production neutral move. You know who absolutely would never make a move like this?


Sam Hinkie! A boring man in a suit who casts an ominous red shadow. The Sixers GM is a private equity (BAIN CAPITAL) veteran. His GM strategy thus far has been as follows: gut everything, bottom out, blatantly treat players like assets, pursue financial flexibility above anything else. He also doesn't talk to media because he is afraid he will give away a shred of his own genius or proprietary life-algorithms, or something. He was active during the deadline, on the hunt for picks, which he values more than anything else, because they are not yet human beings.

For instance: KJ "The Cage" McDaniels was a burly, defensively minded shooting guard Hinkie picked in the second round. McDaniels wouldn't sign a cheap, long-term contract overloaded with team options, so Hinkie moved him to the Rockets for Isaiah Canaan, whose names are BOTH Biblical allusions and is therefore drawn like a monk, here. The 76ers also received a second round pick in the deal, which they will use on another wing who will be traded for another second sound pick and so on and so forth until the Sixers win a title and Sam learns that even when he achieves his ultimate goal, there is no pleasure to be had for him in this life, only the nagging chase.

Hinkieberry was also involved in a MASSIVE four team trade that sent all kinds of people all kinds of places.

The Suns received Brandon Knight from the Bucks. He is the one with a giant sword because that is what Knights carry. Moving to Phoenix from Boston is Marcus Thornton, a gunner who carries a bazooka. Thornton has already been traded in the last year and will probably spend the rest of his career getting traded on the regular. Knight has been very good for Milwaukee this year, a fringe All-Star candidate, and this trade was very odd on its face.

The Bucks received, from the 76ers, REIGNING ROOKIE OF THE YEAR Michael Carter-Williams, who the public FOOLISHLY assumed was a 76ers cornerstone. But Hinke does not build with stones, he builds with modern material blobs that he smooshes together in the assumption that they will someday form a glorious and well-appointed house. Williams is having an extensive existential crisis in the panel above, questioning his own ability, the existence of God, and reality itself. Miles Plumlee, a former Sun, is the Plumlee who has a young person haircut; this makes him "The Cool Plumlee." Tyler Ennis, also a Sun, is Canadian.

Isaiah Thomas has been productive everywhere he has played. He was traded from the Suns to the Celtics. There is a faint smell of burnt houses everywhere he goes. He swears he is not burning the houses.

Out of all of these trades, the Sixers managed to retrieve the Lakers' top-five protected pick. If that pick is not in the top five, the player Hinkie drafts with it might be better than Michael Carter Williams. He might even be the sun.

This pick, if it materializes, has infinite potential, unlike Williams, who can't shoot and is already 50 years old. Hinkie is a genius, which is something you cannot see because you are like a Timberwolves fan, tied down by your sentiment. Let it go. Burn down your warehouse and rezone the land. Be free and rich and successful.

The Sixers also took on wackily-bad-but-good-hearted giant-arm-man Javale McGee from the Nuggets so they could also acquire a protected first round guitar pick and a cool guitar named Chukwudiebere "Chu" Maduabum. The Sixers are going to learn to play this guitar and impress all of the girls at their school. In exchange, the Nuggets received the draft rights to Cenk Akyol, who plays in Europe and is approximately 43 years old.

The Portland Trail Blazers received an angel from the Nuggets with two wings, Arron Afflalo and Alonzo Gee. The Blazers have not had good backup wings in many years, and the angel's arrival was a celebrated blessing. Unfortunately, they had to send three of their enigmas to Denver Heaven in exchange: Will Barton, Thomas Robinson, and Victor Claver. They will be missed. The Blazers also sent a 2016 first rounder.

Pablo Prigioni has been given a HOUSTON ROCKET to fly away from New York. The Knicks received Alexey Shved, enjoying a bagel in the bagel shop above, as well as two second round picks.

John Salmons, a salmon, is traded from the Pelicans to the Heat for Norris Cole, a different kind of fish.

There was another multi-teamer yesterday...

...the Thunder received Enes (De)Kanter and Steve "No-Vac" from the Jazz, as well as Kyle "7-Inch Single"-er and DJ "August"-in from the Pistons...

...while an amped Reggie Jackson moved to Detroit to power the Pistons, as a Piston might move in a car..

...and famous scowling albatross Kendrick Perkins, seen frowning outside the Salt Lake LDS Temple, was sent to the Utah Jazz for the Thunder's first rounder and the Pistons' second rounder.

Finally, the Dragon Brothers, Goran and "Soarin" Zoran, were traded from the Suns to to the Heat for Danny Granger and Justin Hamilton, who now live in a giant cat sun that is wearing very cool sunglasses. Shawne Williams was also involved in this trade. He is on the Pelicans now. He only has four fingers.

Good luck, everybody!

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