Opinion: Why NBA should be happy with trade deadline deals

LOS ANGELES — LeBron James thinks it’s about him, and maybe he’s right.

“Everybody in the East thinks they can get to the Finals,” James told The Athletic, “because they ain’t gotta go through me.”

Maybe he’s right, maybe not. Either way, the wild merry-go-round of trade deadline activity has made the Eastern Conference the more interesting of the NBA’s two conferences, by a distance.

The struggle for supremacy is real and immediate. James’ departure from Cleveland did open things up and now there is breathing room for a new giant of the East to emerge, and no shortage of hungry teams elbowing each other for the opportunity.

Such bold efforts have generated non-stop intrigue, while the Western Conference, for all its swath of talent, often has the feel of a collective waiting room, with countless teams marking the days until the Golden State Warriors' dynasty fizzles out.

Not so on the other side of the country, where it is officially “go” time. Let’s remember what went down, because things got a bit hectic over the past week.

The Philadelphia 76ers officially blew time on The Process, adding Tobias Harris and other parts in a move that screamed “let’s win now.” If Harris was more of a celebrity name it would have made even more of a splash. Regardless, Philly got a guy who could count himself moderately unfortunate to have been jilted by the All-Star selectors and who unquestionably is a top-20 player in the league.

Toronto got busy by upgrading at center with Marc Gasol. Milwaukee is all about cohesiveness, but added a strong complementary piece in Nikola Mirotic, while Indiana landed Wesley Matthews to help offset the blow of losing Victor Oladipo for the season. And though Boston was idle, holding fire during the trade window served a purpose in itself.

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