Hardwood Hypothesis Week 18: Who won the KD trade? 

Crazy trade deadline,



Erick’s Hardwood Hypothesis digs in to the best NBA storylines every week.

ERICK AGUILAR, Evergreen reporter

This last week saw MAJOR headlines all across the league given the end of the trade deadline and I am so excited to dissect it all. 

Thus far, I would have to say this last week was the most interesting of the season and I am curious how these headlines will age. 

Enough chitchat, there is so much to talk about. Hardwood hypothesis, Week 18. Go!

Trade Deadline

A few weeks ago, Charles Barkley predicted this season’s trade deadline to be the biggest ever. No doubt, his comment aged extremely well.

Just so everyone is on the same page, here is a very quick rundown of the major trades in the last week with my thoughts. 

  • D’Angelo Russell to the Lakers. Oh? Could be cool to see. This is easily Rob Pelinka’s best move yet, but it is also Rob Pelinka, so it could also be more white noise. Mo Bamba to the Lakers. You mean the huge bust out of Texas in 2018? Not impressed. Rui Hachimura is a great team asset. And Malik Beasley brings a great play to any team.
  • James Wiseman to the Pistons. I really like that move from Detroit, this could be very fun to watch in the future. 
  • Josh Hart to the Knicks. Great move from the Knicks, not wanting to waste the primes of Julius Randle, Jalen Brunson and RJ Barrett. 
  • Cam Reddish to the Trail Blazers. I scratch my head a bit, but if there is an offensive scheme where Reddish would shine it would be in Portland so I am not too upset. 
  • Mike Conley Jr. to the Timberwolves. Horrible move by the Jazz. Yes, I am aware they get Russell Westbrook (three-way trade). Great move from the wolves to solidify their supporting cast.
  • Jae Crowder to the Bucks is a HUGE move. We have seen the Bucks reinforce their roster time and time again to keep them playoff ready and deadly. First with PJ Tucker then Jrue Holiday and now Crowder. I cannot express how much I love this move from the Bucks.
  • Eric Gordon and Mason Plumlee to the Clippers: Two decent players, although we will not know how good of a trade this is until we see them in the playoffs.
  • Gary Payton II to the Warriors is a great pickup from Golden State. 

New Scoring Record 

Well, I am sure you have seen this all over your social media, regardless if you follow sports or not, but it would only be right for me to bring it up here. 

LeBron James passed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and is now the leading scorer in the history of the NBA with 38,390 career points and counting.

It happened on Tuesday against the Thunder and even though he said he would not cry … James did indeed cry. 

In case you were unaware, here are the top 5 scorers in league history: 

  1. LeBron James 38,390 …
  2. Kareem Abdul-Jabar 38,387
  3. Karl Malone 36,928
  4. Kobe Bryant 33,643
  5. Michael Jordan 32,292

Slim-Reaper to the Suns 

It is very clear what the Suns are trying to do here: Phoenix wants a ring, and it is now or never to get one. 

Mikal Bridges, Cam Johnson and Jae Crowder were sent to Brooklyn in addition to four first-round picks and a 2028 pick swap. I’m telling you right now, the Brooklyn Nets won that trade, but we will talk about that later. 

Let me get to it … Chris Paul, Kevin Durant and Devin Booker. Can they win a ring? 

Short answer, yes. I truly believe so. This season is ring or bust for Phoenix.

This team went to the finals in 2021, where they lost to the Bucks. And last year they lost to the Mavericks in the conference Semifinals. 

Kevin Durant definitely has the ability to get this team to the promised land, but they lost vital parts of their bench, which will make any longer playoff series challenging. 

With this recent acquisition, anything short of a finals appearance is a waste. With that said, I think the Bucks and 76ers are the only teams that can beat this team in the finals. 

Yes, the loss of Bridges, Johnson and Crowder is significant. But I still believe Deandre Ayton, Cameron Payne and Landry Shamet can be the support for this team. 

The smartest GM 

Sean Marks is a genius; he is the Red Auerbach of our time. The Nets general manager was hired in 2016, acquiring the deepest roster in the league. Three years later, he brought in the big three of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and James Harden. It is now 2023, he realized his big three are going nowhere fast. 

We just witnessed Marks’ clean house and give himself a bunch of future assets to remain competitive in the seasons to come. 

With Marks at the helm, a ring is in the Nets’ future. It is simply a matter of time. 

Player of the week 

This week my eye was captivated by the Detroit Piston, Jalen Duren. Duren had a huge Friday night performance in a 138-131 double-overtime win against the Spurs. 

The rookie out of Memphis had 30 points, 17 rebounds, three assists, a steal and four blocks. Duren’s 30 points and four blocks are career highs for him in his young career. 

Duren exhibited a show of force all night on the low block, often being the last-minute dish from a teammate leading to a Pistons’ slam.

Duren has a sleeker and more athletic frame compared to the classical image of a center, allowing him to really flow into the paint and always be in the right spot at the right time for his team. 

I am intoxicated with all the new NBA headlines and cannot wait to talk about how they age going forward.