Trade Deadline Day: the Knicks Took a Big Swing, and Some Shooters Are Now in the Playoff Race

Bojan Bogdanovic left Detroit to join a now even-more-formidable contender in New York. Gordon Hayward is leaving Charlotte for one of the league’s best surprise stories this season in Oklahoma City. Doug McDermott was once traded by Indiana to San Antonio, and now, the Spurs have traded him back to the Pacers.

None of those shooters were making playoff plans when Thursday started.

Trade deadline day in the NBA gave them and plenty of other players an entirely new outlook, plus may have even reshaped the start of the playoff push as well.

The Knicks made some big moves with eyes on contending in the Eastern Conference, Philadelphia added a sharpshooter in Buddy Hield with hopes that it can get back on track when — or if — reigning MVP Joel Embiid returns from injury, while Phoenix and Dallas added frontcourt depth. The Suns landed Royce O’Neale from Brooklyn and the Mavericks are bringing in P.J. Washington from Charlotte.

“Lots of people got better!!! That’s fun for competition…” Embiid wrote on social media.

Bogdanovic was averaging 20.2 points this season with the Pistons, who have the NBA’s worst record so far at 7-43. He and Alec Burks are headed to the Knicks, a team that entered Thursday a game out of the No. 2 spot in the East and managed to add without really subtracting — the price was Quentin Grimes, Evan Fournier and Ryan Arcidiacono.

Grimes began the year as a starter, then played off the bench. Fournier only appeared in three games and Arcidiacono made 20 appearances — without scoring a single point in any of them.

Hayward joins a Thunder team that started Thursday as the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference. They’re 35-16, entering the day with tiebreaker edges over two other teams — Minnesota and Denver — with the same record and a half-game up on the Los Angeles Clippers at 34-16.

Hield left Indiana in a trade to the 76ers, and the Pacers seemed to try and replace his shooting by bringing back McDermott in a move with San Antonio. McDermott spent three seasons, 2018 through 2021, with Indiana, so the trade was a homecoming of sorts.

Another homecoming: Kelly Olynyk is headed back to his native Canada, the veteran forward getting acquired by Toronto in a deal with Utah.

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