Deadline winners and losers: East contenders load up, Lakers in limbo
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A look at who's up and who's down after the NBA trade deadline.

Winner: Toronto Raptors and Milwaukee Bucks

The Eastern Conference may ultimately be decided by which stretch-five can hit more open threes after Milwaukee and Toronto both made win-now moves.

The Bucks acted first by flipping four second-round picks for Nikola Mirotic. He will immediately replace Ersan Ilyasova in the rotation and allow Milwaukee to have the floor spaced on Giannis Antetokounmpo's drives. Mirotic is a lethal pick-and-pop player - especially on above-the-break threes - and he can even log minutes as a backup five against select matchups.

Toronto responded by converting Jonas Valanciunas, Delon Wright, and C.J. Miles into Marc Gasol. The Raptors still need to fill out the roster with buyout players after dropping to 10 following the deadline, but they have evidently upgraded their playoff rotation. Gasol gives Toronto a reliable scorer, a pick-and-pop threat along with Serge Ibaka, and a better team defender than Valanciunas. - William Lou

Loser: Los Angeles Lakers

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The day started with faint hopes of re-engaging the New Orleans Pelicans for Anthony Davis, and it finished with reports of the Lakers signing Carmelo Anthony.

Lost in the madness: LeBron James stated publicly he feels no pressure to win another title, intriguing prospects Ivica Zubac and Svi Mykhailiuk turned into low-ceiling win-now players Mike Muscala and Reggie Bullock, and worst of all, LaVar Ball broke his silence by trash talking James.

What remains is a massive mess for the Lakers to clean up. Everyone on the roster - outside of James - was openly dangled in trade talks, and now they need to rebuild team chemistry while integrating new pieces amid a heated playoff race. - Lou

Winner: Los Angeles Clippers

In dealing Tobias Harris, the Clippers sent a clear message that the remainder of the 2018-19 season means little to them. The Western Conference’s current 8-seed is pinning its hopes on landing multiple superstars this summer, and while we can’t call that a success until they get the job done, Jerry West has succeeded in giving L.A. a great shot.

The Clippers, already thought to be a potential landing spot for star free agent Kawhi Leonard, now have somewhere in the neighborhood of $60 million in cap space this summer. Perhaps more importantly, based on their deadline-week moves, L.A. can put together a potential trade package involving names like Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Montrezl Harrell, Zubac, and Landry Shamet, in addition to a boatload of extra draft picks that include Miami’s unprotected 2021 first-rounder.

For a team valuing July rather than April, this was an excellent week. - Joseph Casciaro

Losers: Anthony Davis and the Pelicans

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Some may see the Pelicans holding on to Davis as a win after sticking it to the Lakers (and Rich Paul) and allowing the Boston Celtics to enter the bidding, but that misses the point. The Pelicans are a small-market team dealing with the embarrassing fallout of their franchise player after he requested a trade with more than a year left on his contract. There is no winning in that. Everything about the last couple of weeks has been a devastating blow to the Pels, and things can only get worse with him still in New Orleans.

As for Davis, he tried to take control of the situation and reportedly force himself to the Lakers. Instead, he’s now forced to play out another lost season on a team he has no interest in representing, and his next landing spot is now more likely to be...a team he has no interest in representing. - Casciaro

Winner: Philadelphia 76ers

There are obvious risks associated with trading four draft picks, including two first-rounders, for a potential rental in Harris. In addition, the end of Markelle Fultz’s tumultuous time in Philly resulted in the Sixers turning the 2017 No. 1 overall selection into Jonathon Simmons and a pair of picks. Strip away future concerns and Fultz-related hindsight, however, and it’s tough to see the Sixers as anything but winners this week.

In Harris, Philadelphia acquired a do-it-all offensive force that will help unlock the ill-fitting trio of Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, and Jimmy Butler. He also provides potential insurance in the event Butler walks as a free agent come July. The acquisition of James Ennis also gives Philly a needed boost of 3-and-D wing depth behind a starting lineup that can now play with any team in the Association.

When it comes to Fultz, the Sixers turned an enigma of a young player - one who has played in 33 games through two years with little evidence to suggest he will ever be an NBA difference-maker - into multiple draft picks, including a first-rounder. - Casciaro

Loser: Washington Wizards

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So, after insisting they had no intention to tank or trade any of their best assets, the Wizards were swayed by Bobby Portis and the promise of financial relief. After dealing Otto Porter for him, they’re basically pot committed on Portis, who is about to become a restricted free agent and is reportedly looking to sign a deal worth $16 million annually. Portis is a fine player with some upside, but if that’s the best the Wizards could do for Porter, they should have kept him.

Following the deal, Washington could’ve committed to stripping things down and recouping assets for anyone left on the roster with trade value. Half the league seemed to be interested in Trevor Ariza, a 33-year-old impending free agent who has no place on a rebuilding team; Jeff Green, a 32-year-old impending free agent, is having his best season in years. The Wizards decided to keep both of them. If there’s any kind of plan behind these moves, it’s an inscrutable one. - Joe Wolfond

Winner: Dallas Mavericks

Not only did Dallas find a worthy co-star for Luka Doncic in Kristaps Porzingis, the team also managed to put themselves back in the 2019 free-agency mix by dealing Harrison Barnes, who has a $25-million player option for next season.

The Barnes trade wasn’t a straight salary dump, either; the Mavs picked up second-year wing Justin Jackson from the Kings in the deal, and while Jackson's a bit old for a sophomore, he’s got an intriguing skill set and great size for his position. Given the risks involved and the draft capital Dallas surrendered, their future looks a lot brighter than it did a week ago. - Wolfond

Loser: Charlotte Hornets

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An under-the-radar loser, the explanation here is simple.

The Hornets went from reportedly closing in on a deal for Marc Gasol, while also being linked to Barnes, to ending up with neither. UFA Kemba Walker will report to the same underwhelming, ever-mediocre Hornets team the next time 26-28 Charlotte takes the floor. - Casciaro

Winner: Sacramento Kings

With the Clippers seemingly punting on their playoff chase and the Lakers in disarray, the surprising Kings are looking to seize the moment and end what has become a 13-year postseason drought. Acquiring Barnes should help them do that.

The Kings have been the feel-good story of the year behind their youngsters, and Sacramento managed to land Barnes without giving up any of those core pieces, the shooters that surround them, or future assets. They got better today without sacrificing tomorrow, and whether Barnes picks up his $25-million option for next season or opts for free agency, it sounds like Sacramento might be in his long-term plans. - Casciaro

Loser: Portland Trail Blazers

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Thinking Portland could’ve gotten into the mix for Davis was always a bit fanciful, but for them to come up basically empty-handed at the deadline is super disappointing.

There were plenty of realistic targets that could’ve helped put their recent playoff fiasco behind them, and Rodney Hood and Skal Labissiere won't cut it. The Blazers were reportedly in on Mirotic, who would’ve been a wonderful fit. Based on what the Bucks acquired him for, a protected first-rounder would’ve gotten it done. Same goes for Porter. This team is good, and they might win a playoff series anyway, but adding a significant piece would have put them in the conference finals mix. This felt like a missed opportunity. - Wolfond

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Deadline winners and losers: East contenders load up, Lakers in limbo
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