The Sixers made a blockbuster move on Wednesday and the East's top two teams responded.
The Bucks on Thursday added Nikola Mirotic and the Raptors acquired Marc Gasol, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.
Milwaukee will send Jason Smith and Stanley Johnson - who was just acquired Wednesday from the Pistons for Thon Maker - to New Orleans for the veteran power forward. Detroit is also involved in the deal and the Pelicans will reportedly receive multiple second-round picks as well.
Toronto will trade Jonas Valanciunas, Delon Wright, C.J. Milles and a 2024 second-round pick to the Grizzlies.
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This is an excellent move for the Bucks.
That Mirotic trade is a BIG deal. Bucks' chances of winning the title almost double, up to 14% from 8% pre-trade. https://t.co/bOCTj2Jpvo pic.twitter.com/hqskYUH3Vc — Nate Silver (@NateSilver538) February 7, 2019
They're in constant search of shooters and scorers to surround Giannis Antetokounmpo. Mirotic is shooting 37 percent from three this season and is a capable post scorer, averaging 16.7 points a game. He's also averaging 8.3 rebounds. The Bucks are already the best scoring and rebounding team in the NBA. Milwaukee's starting five should vastly improve with Mirotic sliding into the four spot and guard Malcolm Brogdon likely becoming the team's sixth man.
While the starting lineup of Eric Bledsoe, Khris Middleton, Antetokounmpo, Mirotic and Brook Lopez still wouldn't be on par with the Sixers', it's certainly formidable. When you factor in Milwaukee's bench, which features incredibly useful players like D.J. Wilson, George Hill and former Sixer Ersan Ilyasova, this is a very strong and deep basketball team.
Mirotic is an unrestricted free agent this summer.
Gasol is also an intriguing move for Toronto, who sits in the second seed right behind Milwaukee. It likely slides Serge Ibaka over to the four and Danny Green to the bench. Like the Bucks, the Raptors' strengh is depth beyond their superstar (Kawhi Leonard). Their starting five is also likely a notch below the Sixers', but Toronto just has far more depth.
Gasol has a $25,595,700 player option for 2019-20.
The competition at the top of the Eastern Conference is insane. This flurry of moves makes it even crazier.
We still have time before the 3 p.m. deadline so all of these teams have a chance to make another move.
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