NBA Trade Deadline: Winners and Losers
With a strong upcoming Free Agent class, a potentially historic draft class (with certain franchises in pure tank mode) and some teams underachieving; this year’s NBA trade deadline has been one of the most anticipated in quite some time. Anticipation leads to expectations, and whilst there wasn’t any earth shattering Dwight Howard for Carmelo Anthony deals, certain contenders made some significant trades that could impact what we see in the NBA Playoffs. So without further ado, let’s look at the Winners and Losers of the NBA Trade Deadline!
Lakers trade Steve Blake to Golden State for Marshon Brooks and Kent Bazemore
Winners: Both teams. Yes, this sounds like a cop out, but both teams benefit from this deal. The Lakers get Marshon Brooks, who showed legitimate promise as a scorer in his rookie season as a Net (averaging 12 points, 4 rebounds and 2 assists per game) before he started to decline. Provided that he stays healthy, he will get his first shot at decent playing time since his first season. The trading of Blake means The Laker new rotation could be Marshall, Brooks, Henry, Johnson and Gasol; which is a lot more balanced than what we saw before. Golden State landed a gem though. Blake developed into a leader for Los Angeles the past two seasons, and more importantly, he is a point guard. The biggest thing the Warriors have been missing this season has been someone to fill the void left by Jarrett Jack, and Steve Blake can fit that role. This also allows Steph Curry to work away from the ball, and allow him to catch and shoot rather than have to create shots for himself and everyone else. This could easily be the trade with the biggest impact in the playoffs.
Losers: Delusional Laker fans who expect Los Angeles to win every game. As I said in December, the Lakers need to shut this season down and build for next year. Bitter Laker fans won’t accept that and expect a barrage of condescending comments relating to other players and franchises the rest of the season. It’s going to be even more painful to watch them hold on to this hope that their team is still relevant than The Lakers play on the court, and that’s saying something.
Pacers trade Danny Granger to Philly for Evan Turner
Winners: The Miami Heat. Yep, that was not a typo. Indy is sitting on top of the East with the best record in the NBA, and they made a pretty big trade. This reminds me of when Phoenix was on top of the West in 2008 and they traded Marion for Shaq, and then fell to the 6th seed before being bounced in the first round by The Spurs in 5 games. Now don’t get me wrong; I’m not predicting this to happen here. But what I’m sensing is some doubts from the Pacers that they can actually compete with Miami despite having the best record in the league, and that’s why they made that move. I could understand this trade if it was a team trying to move up and leapfrog other teams, but they’re at the top! They didn’t need to make this move. Miami is probably sitting back and watching this thinking “do they really think they can beat us”, and most of the time, in the playoffs, it comes down to who believes they can win a series.
Losers: Philly. I’m not ready to say the Pacers are a losers in this deal because I have no idea how Turner will fit in. He could easily be a brilliant scorer off the bench, but that isn’t what Indy’s identity as a team is. Granger is declining offensively, but he was their best physical defender on the perimeter. He was also able to guard the other team’s best offensive player for times which allowed Paul George to expend more energy on the offensive end. The more I think about it, the more I don’t like this trade at all for Indy. Evan Turner is a beast, no question, and had Philly had a better record, he would have been an all-star this season (averaging 17/6/4). But if he is the right fit is another question. There is, however, no doubt in my mind that Philly is the biggest loser in this deal. They should have built around Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Turner, but instead they pretty much gave him up for nothing. Philly fans deserve better than this.
Clippers send Antawn Jamison to the Clippers
Winners: Antwan Jamison and the Hawks. This might be surprising because The Clippers are a much better team than The Hawks, but considering how weak the East is, I think Atlanta has the better chance to advance to at least the second round than L.A. does. Jamison will also get a better opportunity of playing time in Atlanta than what he was getting for the Clippers
Losers: The Clippers. Sure, they save money by getting under the luxury tax threshold, but I couldn’t care less about the finances of teams. I care about them building towards contending for a championship. They gave up on a veteran leader and good presence in the locker room to save some money when they are selling out Staples every night. I’d laugh if Jared Dudley craps himself in the playoffs and they’re stuck trying to win a playoff series with Matt Barnes playing 40 minutes a game at small forward.
Denver Nuggets ship Jordan Hamilton to the Rockets for Aaron Brooks
Winners: Jeremy Lin. With Brooks now in Denver, Lin doesn’t have to look over his shoulder for Aaron Brooks taking his minutes in the playoffs like last season.
Losers: Nuggets and Rockets. This is tough to say, because in the long run, Houston is actually a winner in this deal. But like The Clippers, why are they looking to the future? This team is meant to be contending now! I get that they need scoring, but Brooks is a great insurance policy at PG, and Hamilton is a rookie. I don’t expect him to do anything significant in this year’s playoff run. Denver also loses, because despite filling a need at backup point guard, they gave up a decent young player for their future when they probably won’t even make the playoffs. It’s almost like these teams are confused with each other: Houston is concerned with their future despite being on the cusp of contending, and Denver is focused with improving their roster right now despite having a mediocre team in the West.
Nuggets trade Andre Miller to the Wizards
Winners: Washington. This was actually a three team trade, with Philly getting involved to make it work (they received Eric Maynor from the Wizards), but the centrepiece of the trade was Miller. He was suspended for a verbal altercation with Nuggets head coach Brian Shaw earlier in the season, so Denver really didn’t give up much, but the Wizards gained a lot. His leadership will be crucial as The Wizards (who have established themselves as probably the third best team in the East) make a push into the playoffs
Losers: No one really. I guess you could say the Nuggets because they ended up getting nothing for Miller, but he wasn’t playing anyway.
Bucks trade Neal and Ridnour to Charlotte for Sessions and Adrien
Winners: Both teams. Neal is a more consistent scorer than Sessions, and the throw in of Ridnour can help create versatility in the backcourt and shifting Kemba Walker at times to the shooting guard and allowing him to score. Milwaukee benefits because they’ve unloaded Ridnour’s contract as they look to clean house and rebuild.
Losers: Ramon Sessions. He was actually playing fairly well for a young and improving Bobcats squad that is fighting for the final playoff squad, but now finds himself on the worst team in the NBA. He has skills and could help a good team if the fit is right. Maybe he will get his contract bought out and find himself on a new team before the end of the season.
Kings send Marcus Thornton to Brooklyn for Jason Terry and Reggie Evans
Winners: The Nets. Despite their hot start to the calendar year, Brooklyn’s record this season has not lived up to preseason expectations. In this trade, they get bigger and younger, and with coupled with Shaun Livingston, could present a nice bench backcourt behind Williams and Johnson. Thornton has been inconsistent in Sacramento, but with reduced minutes and expectations, he can contribute to one last push for a playoff spot for The Nets. Sacramento also wins by getting rid of Thornton’s fairly large contract and freeing up playing time for McLemore.
Loser: Jason Terry. This is assuming Sacramento doesn’t buy out his contract, but he’s gone from a team with half a chance to making the playoffs to a team with no chance or intentions to get there. If he doesn’t get bought out, this would be a good time for him to start developing his coaching skills with Thomas and McLemore.