The NBA trade deadline in 2023 did not disappoint, with lots of key players changing teams as the playoff race begins to heat up. The biggest move by far was the Brooklyn Nets sending Kevin Durant to the Phoenix Suns at 1 a.m. ET on Thursday. Durant had tried to go to the Suns last offseason but ultimately came back to Brooklyn. Once Kyrie Irving got traded, it felt like the wheels were in motion for Durant to make a move.
The Suns did have to give up Mikal Bridges and Cam Johnson, but they managed to keep Deandre Ayton out of the trade. Phoenix has four great starters in Chris Paul, Devin Booker, Durant and Ayton. Landry Shamet, Damion Lee, Torrey Craig and a handful of buyout players will round out what should be a championship-caliber roster. Now, Durant is still hurt and will need some time to get back to 100%. However, this team just became the favorite in the West for a good reason.
The Los Angeles Lakers also made key moves around the roster, changing up nearly the entire rotation to give LeBron James and Anthony Davis more help. The Lakers will have to hope James’ ankle injury isn’t as serious as many insiders believe it is, but this team got better without giving up too much.
The Boston Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks and Denver Nuggets remain the top three teams in the power rankings. The Bucks are on a massive winning streak, while the Nuggets have built a sizable cushion in the West. The Celtics took down the Grizzlies Sunday despite missing both Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown. When those two get back, it’ll be hard to beat this unit four times in a playoff series.
Here’s a look at the updated power rankings for the 2022-23 season.
NBA Power Rankings: Week 18
|Los Angeles Clippers||7||6|
|New Orleans Pelicans||12||13|
|New York Knicks||13||10|
|Portland Trail Blazers||17||18|
|Los Angeles Lakers||18||23|
|Golden State Warriors||19||15|
|Oklahoma City Thunder||25||25|
|San Antonio Spurs||30||30|