For those who follow the NBA extra closely, Thursday is the absolute best day of the NBA season, and nothing else even comes close. Yes, even the Christmas quintuple-header.

That is because Thursday at 3 p.m. is the NBA’s trade deadline, which means players are going to be on the move. At least one or two fringe contenders should emerge looking much improved, and everyone will have clarity on who is truly poised to knock off the Denver Nuggets as reigning champions as the home stretch of the 82-game season gets underway.

If you are a person who likes to monitor ‘X-slash-Twitter’ for NBA trade rumors, the 2-to-3 p.m. window on Thursday will bring mandatory monitoring of the feeds of Adrian Wojnarowski (ESPN), Shams Charania (Athletic) and Michael Scotto (HoopsHype), the top three news breakers in the NBA journalism industry.

Teams looking to put themselves over the top with NBA trade deadline deals include the New York Knicks, Sacramento Kings and Dallas Mavericks. After LeBron James tweeted an hourglass emoji last week amid the Lakers’ recent struggles, everyone in Lakers Nation is wondering who is going out the door and who is coming in as the front office tries to placate their superstar and help El Lay climb out of their ninth-place hole in the standings.

Big deals are a big deal, and many have been made at the early February trade deadline before. Below is our Top 10.

When is the NBA Trade Deadline?

It is at 3 p.m. Eastern time, and teams wanting to make a trade are required to call the league office trade hotline and get into queue by 2:59 p.m. in order for deals to be approved. Some years, it is not uncommon for 8 to 10 deals to be waiting to be processed by NBA attorneys by the time the clock strikes 3 p.m.

Ranking the 10 biggest trade deadline deals in NBA History

  1. Miami acquired Goran Dragic, Zoran Dragic in a three-team trade that landed Danny Granger, John Salmons and two first-round picks in Phoenix, with Norris Cole, Justin Hamilton and Shawne Williams going to New Orleans.

After being traded to the Heat, Goran Dragic spent parts of seven seasons with the team. He was consistently a solid player with the team and went to one All-Star Game as a member of the Heat. Dragic averaged 16.2 points per game for Miami and appeared in the NBA Finals for the team.

  1. Marc Gasol from Memphis to Toronto in 2019 for Jonas Valanciunas, Delon Wright, CJ Miles and a 2024 second-round pick.

At the time, then Raptors coach Nick Nurse hoped the big man would provide the squad with “a settling force” when it reached the postseason. Despite coming off the bench to start his tenure, Gasol started all 24 games of the Raptors’ championship run, averaging 9.4 points, 6.4 rebounds and 1.1 blocks. He boosted his production with 12 points per game and 7.3 rebounds per game in the Finals, posting a personal postseason-high with 20 points in Game 1.

  1. Andrew Wiggins from Minnesota to Golden State at the deadline in 2020 for D’Angelo Russell, Jacob Evans, Omari Spellman and a 2021 first-round pick.

Wiggins started 71 games for Golden State in his first full season (2020-21) with the team before putting together a breakthrough campaign in 2021-22 that led to the forward earning his first and only All-Star nod. During Golden State’s title run in 2022, Wiggins ranked second on the team in minutes and fourth in points, and he often took on the toughest perimeter defensive assignments.

  1. Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. went to the Cavaliers from the Lakers for Channing Frye, Isaiah Thomas and a first-round pick.

With the potential for LeBron James to leave in the ensuing offseason, the Cavaliers had a busy trade deadline in 2018 with the goal of winning one more championship. The team wasn't able to do that, but they came close by reaching the finals before being swept by Golden State. The acquisitions of Clarkson and Nance Jr. were keys to their postseason success during the Eastern Conference playoffs.

  1. Aaron Gordon from Magic to Nuggets in 2021 for Gary Harris, R.J. Hampton and a first-round pick.

Once a do-it-all forward for the Magic, the high-flying Gordon could take on a more defined role in Denver alongside Nikola Jokic and All-Star point guard Jamal Murray. Gordon started 75 games in his first full season with Denver (2021-22), which ended in the first round of the playoffs against Golden State. But year two brought a championship, with Gordon averaging 13.3 points, 6.0 rebounds and 2.6 assists in 20 postseason games last season.

  1. Nikola Vucevic, Al-Farouq Aminu from Orlando to Chicago for Wendell Carter Jr., Otto Porter Jr., and two first-round picks.

When the Chicago Bulls traded for Vucevic, they added another piece for what they thought could form an eventual championship-contending big three along with DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine. It hasn’t panned out that way, but Vucevic has been productive in Chicago and likely will not be moved Thursday. Carter Jr. has been great for the Magic defensively, and the picks turned into Franz Wagner and Jett Howard. Wagner looks like a future All-Star, and while Howard hasn't played much as a rookie, he does provide 3-point shooting, which will be vital going forward for a team that struggles in that area.

  1. James Harden and Paul Millsap from to Philadelphia to Brooklyn for Ben Simmons, Seth Curry, Andre Drummond and two first-round picks.

Similar to how the Nets needed to move on from Harden after he requested a trade, the 76ers were ready to part ways with Simmons. Swapping the two stars made perfect sense, but the trade hasn't worked out the way either team thought it would. Simmons has continued to deal with injury problems, and Harden’s time in Philly was brief and did not include any postseason success. Harden was subsequently dealt again, this time to the Los Angeles Clippers.

  1. D'Angelo Russell, Malik Beasley, Jarred Vanderbilt to Los Angeles in a three-team trade in which Utah received Russell Westbrook, Juan Toscano-Anderson and Damian Jones and Minnesota getting Mike Conley, Nickeil Alexander-Walker and three second-round picks.

The results of this deal last year are still playing out as Russell and Vanderbilt have been starting for the Lakers. Conley has been a rock at point guard for the Timberwolves, whose tenure as the top team in the West has ended with the Los Angeles Clippers (who signed Westbrook after the Jazz bought him out) having won four in a row and nine of 10. Russell, who helped the Lakers reach the Western Conference finals last spring, is one Lakers player mentioned often in trade rumors this February.

  1. Carmelo Anthony, Chauncey Billups, Anthony Carter, Renaldo Balkman, Shelden Williams and Ray Felton to the New York Knicks, with Wilson Chandler, Danilo Gallinari, Timofey Mozgov, a first-round pick and two second-rounders being sent to the Denver Nuggets.

At the 2011 trade deadline, the New York Knicks were able to land the franchise player they had coveted for years. Anthony performed magnificently, averaging 26.3 points and 6.0 rebounds for the rest of that campaign. The New York native helped guide them to the playoffs that year and for the three seasons after that. It was a superstar acquisition that made the Knicks relevant again, even though it failed to bring them their first championship since 1993.

  1. Kevin Durant and T.J. Warren to Phoenix in a four-team deal that sent Mikal Bridges, Cam Johnson, four first-round picks and two second-round picks to Brooklyn, with Indiana acquiring Jordan Nwora, Serge Ibaka, George Hill and three second-round picks, and the Bucks getting Jae Crowder.

This trade one year ago came shortly after Mat Ishbia had purchased the Suns and signaled that they were going all-in for a championship this season, which they showed even more when they later acquired Bradley Beal from Washington. Brooklyn got back a key building block in Bridges and replenished its stock of draft picks. The Pacers got Nwora, who was one of the pieces they subsequently used to acquire Paskal Siakam, a player who has helped lead them to their current sixth place standing in the East.

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