Sometimes it’s trading for a rotational piece. Other times it’s acquiring a legit starter. And other times still it was trading for heavily protected second-round picks that will never covey just to open up roster spots with which to attack the buyout market.
A lot of the time, however, it was doing nothing.
But every NBA trade deadline, all eyes point straight at the league’s top contenders to see what teams with championship aspirations are going to do to bolster their roster, if anything.
Just in the last five years, for example, three teams that went on to win championships those respective campaigns stood pat and didn’t do anything at the trade deadline.
The other two champions, though, picked up a top-notch starter – the Toronto Raptors trading for Marc Gasol at the 2018-19 trade deadline ring any bells? – and a key reserve – the Cleveland Cavaliers acquiring Channing Frye in 2015-16 – at the trade deadline, proving that champions can make franchise-altering moves midseason.
Below, check out what every eventual NBA champion from this century did at their respective trade deadlines.