1. The Ben Simmons/James Harden trade
We have to start with one of the biggest in-season trades ever as the two All-Stars headlined a deal between Brooklyn and Philadelphia that sees Ben Simmons, Seth Curry and Andre Drummond joining the Nets, while James Harden and Paul Millsap join the Sixers.
🚨Full breakdown of the Harden-Simmons deal between the Sixers & Nets 🚨
— NBA TV (@NBATV) February 10, 2022
Harden reunites with former Houston GM Daryl Morey and gets to team with Kia MVP candidate Joel Embiid as the Sixers look to win their first NBA title since 1983. Meanwhile, Simmons gets the change of scenery he needed and will hopefully make his season debut soon for the Nets, who ended Week 17 on an 11-game losing streak.
2. Full trade deadline roundup
Of course, the Simmons/Harden trade was not the only deal that was done on Wednesday as a flurry of trades shook up a number of rosters just a week before the All-Star break. Check out the Trade Tracker for every deal that was done, including these standouts:
- Mavericks trade Kristaps Porzingis and a draft pick to Washington for Spencer Dinwiddie and Davis Bertans
- Bucks add Serge Ibaka as part of a four-team trade with the LA Clippers, Sacramento Kings and Detroit Pistons
- Blazers trade CJ McCollum, Larry Nance Jr. and Tony Snell to New Orleans for Josh Hart, Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Tomas Satoransky, Did Louzada and draft picks; Alexander-Walker and Satoransky were later traded
- Kings trade Tyrese Haliburton, Buddy Hield and Tristan Thompson to Indiana for Domantas Sabonis, Justin Holiday, Jeremy Lamb and a draft pick
- Cavaliers acquire Caris LeVert and a draft pick from Indiana for Ricky Rubio and draft picks
3. All-Star Draft results
As if Thursday wasn’t busy enough with the trade deadline, a few hours after the deadline clock struck zeros, LeBron James and Kevin Durant joined the Inside the NBA crew on TNT for the fifth annual All-Star Draft. It was the second straight year that it was LeBron vs. Durant as the two captains traded picks to round out their respective rosters.
4. All-Star Saturday participants announced
This week also brought us the participants in the All-Star Saturday Night festivities:
The AT&T Slam Dunk features New York’s Obi Toppin, Houston rookie Jalen Green, Orlando’s Cole Anthony and Golden State’s Juan Toscano-Anderson
A new Mountain Dew 3-Point Contest winner will be crowned as 2021 champion Stephen Curry is not among the eight participants, which include: Atlanta’s Trae Young, Toronto’s Fred VanVleet, Minnesota’s Karl-Anthony Towns, Brooklyn’s Patty Mills, New Orleans’ CJ McCollum, Chicago’s Zach LaVine, LA’s Luke Kennard and Memphis’ Desmond Bane.
The Taco Bell Skills Challenge has a new format and will be competed among three teams: the Antetokounmpos (Giannis, Thanasis and Alex), the Cavaliers (Jarrett Allen, Darius Garland and Evan Mobley) and the rookies (Scottie Barnes, Cade Cunningham and Josh Giddey).
5. Another milestone for LeBron
No player in NBA history has scored more points in games that count than LeBron James. He is already the all-time leader in playoff scoring (7,631) and ranks third in regular-season scoring (36,526), but his 44,157 combined points between the regular season and playoffs has not topped Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the most ever.
While we’re looking at LeBron’s scoring, both LeBron and Joel Embiid have kept their 25+ point streaks alive as Embiid closed Week 17 at 23 straight games and LeBron at 22 straight games. And two of Embiid’s points this week came on this candidate for poster dunk of the year.
6. Top 15 Coaches of All-Time announced
In addition to honoring the greatest players in NBA history as part of the league’s 75th anniversary season, the top 15 coaches in league history were announced.
— NBA (@NBA) February 9, 2022
The 15 honorees have collectively won more than 14,000 regular-season games, guided teams to 45 NBA championships and earned 16 NBA Coach of the Year awards across more than 300 head coaching seasons.
Among the top 15 are four active coaches: Steve Kerr, Erik Spoelstra, Doc Rivers and Gregg Popovich. With San Antonio’s win over New Orleans on Saturday, Popovich tied Lenny Wikens for second place in all-time coaching wins with 1,332. Popovich is now four win shy of passing Don Nelson (1,335) for the most regular season wins in NBA history.
7. Look back at NBA at 50
If you haven’t seen this behind-the-scenes access from the NBA at 50 celebration back in 1997, do yourself a favor and check this out.
8. Celtics hot, Nets not
While the Miami Heat continue to hold the No. 1 spot in the Eastern Conference standings – and closed Week 17 on a five-game win streak – the hottest team in the East is the Boston Celtics, who defeated the Hawks on Sunday for their eighth consecutive win – the longest active streak of any team in the league.
— 8 straight wins
— 7-0 since Jaylen tweeted "the energy is about to shift"
— 6th in the East
— 12-1 in the last 13 games with Smart
— 2nd in defensive rating this season
— 1st in NetRtg and DRtg in 2022
Hottest team right now. pic.twitter.com/LB656aUMrX
— StatMuse (@statmuse) February 13, 2022
Meanwhile, the Brooklyn Nets have the longest active losing streak in the league as they have dropped 11 straight games dating back to Jan. 23. The Nets have three games prior to the All-Star break and will be shorthanded for all three.
Kevin Durant remains out with a sprained left MCL and while he’s starting to do some on-court work, there remains no timetable for his return. The Nets traded James Harden at the deadline and have not announced when Ben Simmons will be available to make his season debut. And Kyrie Irving will miss all three games as they are all being played in New York City.
9. Stats leaders from Week 17
For games played between Feb. 7-13 with a minimum of two games played.
- Points: Luka Doncic: 43.0 ppg over three games (DAL 2-1); Doncic recorded the seventh 50+ point game of the 2021-22 NBA season as he scored a career-best 51 points in Dallas’ win over the Clippers on Thursday.
- Rebounds: Joel Embiid: 15.0 rpg over three games (PHI 2-1)
- Assists: Chris Paul: 14.3 apg over four games (PHX 4-0); there have been four games across the NBA this season in which a player recorded at least 18 assists – CP3 has three of them, including both 19 assist games.
- Steals: Dennis Smith Jr.: 4.0 spg over two games (POR 1-1)
- Blocks: Anthony Davis: 3.7 bpg over three games (LAL 0-3)
- 3-pointers made: Kevin Porter Jr.: 6.5 3pm over two games (HOU 0-2), Porter shot 13-21 (61.9%) from beyond the arc this week.