For anyone who’s been living under a rock for the past 48 to 72 hours, the NBA’s annual trade deadline came and went and along with it a bevy of deals. In recent years the trade deadline has failed to live up to its hype. It has usually involved deals for role players that are meant to tune up the contenders and give them that one final missing piece or the teams that are out of contention shedding pay roll and trying to blow things up and start over. There’s also the small group of GM’s that don’t know what they’re doing and regularly make deals that leave everyone scratching their head for days, if not weeks. David Kahn and Chris Wallace anyone?
What we saw this year was absolutely insane and it all started with the trading of Carmello Anthony to the Knicks. After that, the dominoes began to fall and teams starting moving forward with plans B and C. So what exactly happened? How did we get from what many believed to be a quiet trade deadline to me getting off an air plane after an hour long flight and being immediately bombarded by text messages and tweets about everything that had gone down? A lot of it was desperation. In other instances it was paranoia. And like always there was the occasional they did what moment. So let’s take a look at everything that happened starting with Carmello Anthony.
Carmello Anthony to the Knicks
Did the Knicks give up too much? Maybe. Was it a risk worth taking? Absolutely. The Knicks needed to make a splash and land a superstar to team with Amare Stoudemire. They got that with Carmello Anthony. Yes, Danillo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, Raymond Felton, and Timofy Mosgov are nice pieces, but you probably aren’t winning a title with those players. Why take your chances on trying to sign a mega star player when you could just trade for him now and lock him up? That’s exactly what the Knicks decided to do. Besides, you can find complimentary pieces that are comparable to what they gave up. In addition they also acquired Chauncey Billups. He has a few years left in the tank and should be able to work wonders with Melo and Amare.
For the Nuggets it’s actually a win. They got some nice pieces and a draft pick in return for Anthony. That’s a lot better than what the Cavs received for Lebron James. They aren’t in the position to win the title this year, but they aren’t exactly barren of talent either. With a couple of moves and the right signings, the Nuggets could be right back in the mix of things especially when it appears that every western conference star is headed for the East. Good move by the Nuggets, not great…but good.
Deron Williams to the Nets
Holy out of nowhere, Batman! Hours after the Melo trade fell through the Nets came out of nowhere to steal Deron Williams from the Jazz for Derek Favors, Devin Harris and a future first round pick. The Nets got their superstar that they can now attempt to build around and the Jazz avoided Melo 2.0 with Williams’ pending free agency in 2012. What made it so good was the shock factor. No one saw this deal coming which is absolutely unheard of in today’s world of Twitter and leaked news stories. In addition to acquiring Wiliams, the Nets were able to send unhappy forward Troy Murphy to the Warriors for Brandon Wright and Dan Gadzuric. Murphy is expected to be bought out of his contract and expected to sign with either the Celtics or Heat. If Murphy knows what’s good for him, he’ll choose the Celtics.
Baron Davis to the Cavs
As i mentioned yesterday, don’t be fooled. This trade was made for the Clippers 2011 first round draft pick, not Baron Davis. The Clippers were desperate to dump Davis and the Cavs were desperate for another first round lottery pick. It was a classic case of each team doing the other a favor. In the process the Clippers upgraded to Mo Williams and future cap space with Jamario Moon’s expiring contract and the Cavs got an exciting player, when he cares, and a for sure 7-10 pick in the upcoming draft. Good move for both teams. Now let’s just keep Baron away from the buffet line and the Cavs might just have something here to build on.
Carl Landry to the Hornerts for Marcus Thornton
Thanks to the fact that I live in New Orleans, this is another situation that I’ve been paying close attention to. The Hornets needed to beef up their front line to help David West and Emeka Okafor. They also needed to acquire someone who can fill in for David West once he opts out of his contract and heads to a legit contender. With this trade they accomplished the rare feat of solving a short-term and long-term problem. Throw in the fact that they gave up very little to make this deal happen and it’s even better. Marcus Thornton had a great rookie season, but seemed to fall out of favor with new head coach Monty Williams from the start. It was clear he wasn’t in their plans. With Landry, they have another scoring option as well as a tenacious rebounder. Very solid move as well as a “Hey Chris Paul, we really are trying to compete. Please stay with us… as long as we aren’t moving ourselves.” The move also pissed off Mark Cuban something fierce so for comedic value this trade was amazing. Well done Kings and Hornets…well done.
The Houston Rockets… ummm what?
The Houston Rockets are typically one of the better trade deadline teams. They typically play their cards right and make smart moves. This time around I’m not so sure. They made two trades. The first was Shane Battier’s expiring contract to Memphis for Hasheem Thabeet. Yes the same Hasheem Thabeet who was drafted second overall for the sole reason that he’s over 7 feet tall. The same Hasheem Thabeet who has been one of the worst draft busts in recent history. You can understand the trade for the primary reason that he’s tall and maybe a change of scenery will do him well, but then again…Hasheem Thabeet? The trade is great for Memphis. It’s apparent they’re looking to make a push for the playoffs this year and are all in. Why else rent Shane Battier for the remainder of the season?
The second trade Houston made was sending point guard Aaron Brooks to the Suns for point guard Goran Dragic. This one is questionable at best. It points out two things. First, the Rockets wanted no part in paying Aaron Brooks big money in an extension and second, Steve Nash’s days in Phoenix are probably numbered. Aaron Brooks will be Nash’s heir apparent and Suns will probably trade him in the offseason so he can get his shot at a ring. Mark Cuban should be on the phone yesterday to try to work that deal out.
Gerald Wallace to the Trail Blazers
The Bobcats are waiving the white flag of surrender. The Blazers on the other hand are all in for this year and I love it. Gerald Wallace on a front line with Lamarcus Aldridge and Marcus Camby is absolutely unreal. No one is every getting another rebound. Mix in Nick Batum coming off the bench and I’m sold. They also have Brandon Roy coming back after surgery, but now that Aldridge has emerged as the elite player on the team he doesn’t have to be the man. That might help the Blazers get the most out of Roy as he won’t need to play 40 mins a game. I can’t emphasize how much I loved this trade. I was hoping the Cavs would go after Wallace with the trade exception after getting Baron Davis, but that’s ok.
Meanwhile, the Bocats should just give up. Does anyone even care about that team? Why did the NBA think it was a good idea to give them another team after the first one failed so miserably? In addition to trading away Gerald Wallace, they also traded center Nazr Mohammed to the Thunder for an over the hill Mo Petereson and D.J. White. In fact, nothing they got back in any of their trades was better than what they gave up. Whatever… Just send them away to Seattle and make everything right in the world.
Kirk Hinrich to the Hawks, Mike Bibby to the Hawks
This trade is a wash in my opinion. Did the Hawks really get better? Maybe. Does it really matter in the grand scheme of things? No. This team is destined for yet another first round playoff loss. They just don’t have the overall talent to get them past the Celtics, Heat, Bulls, Magic and now maybe not even the Knicks. So while yes this is a fun team to watch and a fun team to root for, they just don;t have enough and acquiring Kirk Hinrich is not the magic elixir to change that. For the Wizards… ya, thanks for playing. You’ve been great…or you know, not at all.
Cavs acquiring Luke Harangody and Semih Erden
This trade lacked the wow factor of a lot of the other trades that took place yesterday, but I still like it a lot from the Cavs perspective. They acquired two bog bodies and all they had to give up was a second round draft choice. Erden is a legit 7 foot center that has shown a great deal of upside. Harangody was the Big East player of the year at Notre Dame and was both a tremendous scorer and rebounder in college. Can he make an impact in the NBA? Who knows? He was only averaging 8 mins a game in Boston wasting away on the bench. On the Cavs he should get a shot along with Erden to be part of the plans for the future. Well done Chris Grant.
The OKC Thunder steal the show
Allow me a second to stand and applaud GM Sam Presti and the Oklahoma City Thunder. After repeatedly saying that they were going to keep letting their guys mature and make a trade when they were ready to be a contender, Presti went ahead and turned the NBA on its head. The Thunder finally listened to reason, realized they were legit contenders now, and made a trade. In the process they may have put themselves over the hump. They lacked size and a physical presence inside so they went and stole Kendrick Perkins from the Celtics. Game. Set. Match. The Thunder are even scarier than they were 48 hours ago. Now that all of their key guys will be playing their natural positions they should be even better. Even Nate Robinson, who was also acquired in the trade, should help provide a scoring punch off of the bench behind Russell Westbrook. Well played, Sam Presti… Well Played.
Meanwhile, Boston… What are you doing? Kendrick Perkins might not have been the best player and more than likely can be replaced, but he was essential to their success. He was their enforcer and back bone in the middle. If you messed with one of the big four you had to answer to Perkins. Now all of that is gone and the Celtics will have to rely on the combo of Shaq, Jemaine O’neal, and Nenad Krstic. Ouch. Good luck with that. I understand wanting Jeff Green and the value he brings to the team backing up Paul Pierce. I just don’t understand why you give up such an important piece to do it. There may or may not have been an issue resigning him and yes he was an offensive liability at times, but he was a key cog. It more than likely didn’t help that the Celtics played so well without him earlier this year, but still… this one is a head scratcher. I hope they were right in making this move though because they are the one thing standing between the Heat and the Finals.
So stay tuned folks, the NBA season is about to end with one hell of a bang.