Philadelphia 76ers: Nik Stauskas had the weirdest trade deadline ever

(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

After seemingly finding a home in Portland, ex-Philadelphia 76ers guard Nik Stauskas was a part of three separate trades before Thursday’s deadline.

The NBA deadline can be a tough time for players in the NBA.

Whether a front office decides to swap out a third of their players to bolster the depth chart for a deep playoff run like the Philadelphia 76ers accomplished in the Tobias Harris deal, or a player is traded mid-game a la Harrison Barnes in Dallas, there isn’t a player in the league who isn’t affected by a trade one way or another.

And then there’s Nik Stauskas.

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Stauskas, or as he’s affectionately known in the 215, Sauce Castillo, finally looked like he’d found a home as a member of the Portland Trail Blazers following a tumultuous start to his career, but just as quickly as things started to come together, they quickly fell apart.

After opening the season with a career-high 24 point performance (5-8 from 3) against the Los Angeles Lakers, and following it up with a very solid month of October where he averaged 10.1 points on an insane 46.4 shooting percentage from downtown, Stauskas fell back to earth considerably, dropping below his career average numbers over his final 37 games in the PNW.

Averaging about 5.1 points while shooting 31 percent from 3-point range, Stauskas started racking up DNPs with regularity before being traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers alongside Wade Baldwin and a pair of second round picks for oft-traded guard/forward Rodney Hood, another player on his third team in as many years.

And just like that, Stauskas’ trade deadline was over, right? I mean, it’s a bummer going from a surefire playoff contender to arguably the worst team in the league, but at least Stauskas would have an opportunity to receive extended playing time and re-launch his career moving forward, right?


One game into his Cavs tenure, Stauskas, and Baldwin were traded again, this time to the Houston Rockets as part of a 3-team deal that also included Alec Burks, Brandon Knight, Marquese Chriss, and former Clevelander Iman Shumpert.

Ok, fair. While Stauskas obviously will be forced to accept a smaller role on the Rockets, his fire-at-will style should work well alongside James Harden, especially after the team shipped their reserve three, James Ennis, to the Sixers for the right to swap second-round picks in 2021 (more on his fit in Philly here).

‘Rocket Sauce’ Castillo? That kind of has a nice ring to it. Ok, well Nik, good luck in Houston we’re all rooting for you.

Wait… what? Not again!

Ok, so like an hour after Stauskas and Baldwin had been traded to Houston, the duo were flipped again, this time alongside a 2021 second round pick to the Indiana Pacers for cash considerations, marking the pair’s third team in as many days.

And pretty soon, that number will rise to four.

While it seemed like a longshot that either player would become fixtures in Indiana, even after the team lost Victor Oladipo for the season with a ruptured quad, that decision was expedited when the New York Knicks opted to buy out the rest of Wesley Matthews contract after failing to land a trade, giving the Pacers an immediate contributor at shooting guard for the remainder of the season.

Stauskas and Baldwin? They’re heading to the waiver wire where some squad could claim their contracts before they officially hit the open market as unrestricted free agents.

Who knows, maybe the Atlanta Hawks could kick the tires on Stauskas, as Lloyd Pierce did coach the former Michigan Wolverine over their share Sixers tenure.

Speaking of your hometown 76ers, is there a chance Elton Brand could take a shot on his former teammate and bring the Sauce back to the City of Brotherly Love?

I kind of doubt it.

Don’t get me wrong; I like Stauskas as much as the next guy, but he’s just not a consistent enough shooter to serve the team’s second unit well, even if they could use a new, young sharpshooter following Landry Shamet‘s exit to La La Land.

No, if Stauskas is finally going to find a home in the NBA, it will need to be with a bad-ish team attempting to get good, where his contributions could lead to a more significant role down the road. Philly is firmly in win-now mode, and will instead look to acquire a veteran scorer if they opt to explore the buyout market at all.

Next. Acquisition of James Ennis is a sneaky good move. dark

So here’s to you Nik Stauskas. While these last few days have undoubtedly been a whirlwind, your jersey collection has all but doubled, and that is an accomplishment in its own right. Hopefully, you’ll stay put in your next one for more than a few hours.