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By Travis Politakis

The 2019 NBA trade deadline has proved to be one of the most intense in league history. As the Golden State Warriors continue to reign, teams are looking to add players to help knock off the Warriors dynasty. The Eastern Conference made that possible with some of the most impactful trades as we head towards the 2019 season.

. The Philadelphia Sixers are going into the season as one of its strongest teams,  being ranked fourth in the Eastern Conference standings. The “trifecta” of Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, and Jimmy Butler are making Philly one of the most respected franchise out of the East. Sixers general manager Elton Brand was able to add to their starting lineup as they acquired skilled forward Tobias Harris from the Los Angeles Clippers in exchange for Landry Shamet, Wilson Chandler and Mike Muscala. The Clippers also threw in center Boban Marjanovic and forward  Mike Scott.

Tobias Harris may prove to be the most important player they pick-up this season, who has the ability to single handedly bring them to the finals. Harris is a double-threat, being a stellar three-point shooter and an elite defender with a massive wingspan. Harris is averaging 20 points per game on 49 percent shooting.

“Tobias is one of the best three-point shooters in the NBA and possesses an innate ability to impact the game on both ends of the floor,” said general manager Elton Brand. “All three players bring high character to our locker room and we are excited about their fit alongside Joel, Ben, Jimmy and our entire roster.”

Philly was also able to trade away former number one overall pick Markelle Fultz to the Orlando Magic for forward Jonathon Simmons and several future draft picks. Fultz was a highly sought after prospect coming out of the University of Washington, but struggled early on due to injuries and poor shooting.

“It can be tough getting rid of guys like that, but that’s just part of the business. We wish Markelle all the best in his career. Once a Sixer always a Sixer” said Brand.

The Sixers were not the only team that made big moves at the deadline. The Toronto Raptors were able to acquire star center Marc Gasol from the Memphis Grizzlies in exchange for center Jonas Valanciunas, point guard Delon Wright and forward CJ Miles.. Gasol, a three time All-Star, is a versatile center who has  great shooting ability and tough defense. Gasol is still managing to put up big numbers in his eleventh season, averaging 15 points per game and 8 rebounds per game in 2019.

“Marc brings significant playoff experience to our team, which along with his savviness and leadership skills really helps position us for our ultimate postseason goal,” said Raptors president Masai Ujiri.

Gasol fits in perfectly with the dynamic duo of Kyle Lowry and Kawhi Leonard on Toronto. Toronto is a very talented team with depth on their bench. Players like Danny Green, Fred Vanvleet and Pascal Siakam have helped Toronto become the number two seed in the Eastern Conference.

The Milwaukee Bucks took advantage of the Eastern Conference to boost its offensive ability. . Milwaukee was able to acquire forward Nikola Mirotic from the New Orleans Pelicans in exchange for Stanley Johnson, Jason Smith, Thon Maker and four second-round draft picks. Mirotic is one of the most underrated players in the NBA this season, averaging 16 points per game and eight rebounds per game. Mirotic will fit in perfectly with the Bucks alongside MVP candidate Giannis Antetokounmpo, All-Star Khris Middleton and versatile point guard Eric Bledsoe.

“He is a skilled, two-way player who fits extremely well into our system. He shoots at a high percentage from beyond the arc, rebounds and defends at his position and provides depth to our frontcourt” said Bucks general manager Jon Horst.

The Bucks are already the number one ranked team in the Eastern Conference and this move makes them even stronger. Mirotic’s shooting ability fits in well with the Bucks as they currently shoot the second most three-pointers per game in the NBA at 13.3. The Bucks are hoping this move will help them get over the hump and help them succeed come playoffs.

Travis Politakis can be reached at travis.politakis@theminaretonline.com

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