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Skyforce Lose Jarnell Stokes, Reportedly Lose Tre Kelley

The day after a convincing win to kick off the season's unofficial second half, the Sioux Falls Skyforce took a major blow on Thursday.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Sioux Falls Skyforce had the most selections in the D-League All-Star game with four. Just four days after the All-Star game, and two of those four players have suited up for the Skyforce for the final time.

The NBA trade deadline passed on Thursday afternoon with little fanfare, but the Miami Heat made some moves to get under the luxury tax. In one of those deals, the Heat sent center Jarnell Stokes to the New Orleans Pelicans. Stokes played in 16 of the Skyforce's 31 contests, and the team went 14-2 with him in uniform.

That might not be the biggest loss Sioux Falls suffered on Thursday. Chris Reichert of Upside & Motor tweeted Thursday evening that the Skyforce waived starting point guard Tre Kelley.

The news of Kelley's waiving come as a shock to anyone outside the Skyforce organization. Kelley was the absolute heart of that team, and Sioux Falls is going to have to replace a lot more than just his on-court production. For now, look for Bubu Palo and Briante Weber to tag team the point guard duties for the rest of the season (and both are more than capable).

The Skyforce, though, are going to need someone to step up as the new leader. Kelley's eight year career has taken him to 11 different countries, and at 30 years old, he was three years older than any other member of the team.

Sioux Falls has proven they can win without Stokes. It's played almost half of its games without Stokes, and the team has the D-League's best record to show for it. But Kelley has started in every game for Sioux Falls and was second in scoring to Stokes.

Now in the stretch run of the season, and with a target on its back as the best team in the league, the Skyforce are going to have to find a solution, fast.