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2011 NBA Trade Deadline Winners and Losers

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I originally had planned to write up each trade, but with over two-thirds of NBA teams making deadline moves, that just didn’t seem like the most efficient way to handle things. Instead, let’s take a look at which of the major movers and shakers got better and which didn’t do themselves any favors.

Winners:

Oklahoma City Thunder. Grade: A

While the Western Conference was getting weaker, no one seemed to inform the Thunder. In acquiring Kendrick Perkins and Nazr Mohammed the Thunder announced that they are ready to win right now. The Thunder were lacking the size to truly compete, but with these moves they not only got bigger, but also tougher. If Kevin Durant doesn’t turn to stone seeing Perkins’ face-contorting scowl 40 times a night, he will thrive even more than he currently does. The risk is that Perkins may leave in the offseason, but even if he does the Thunder have the cap space to replace him. Obviously they are hoping that he stays; making a deep playoff run would certainly help in convincing him. In acquiring Mohammad, the Thunder also lowered their cap by 2 million for next year and have his Bird rights. Nate Robinson came along with Perkins in the Boston deal and will be able to provide instant offense off the bench but anything more than that would be a bonus. That said, the Thunder got better right now, but also set themselves up to be a good team for a number of years.

Cleveland Cavs. Grade: A

Cavs owner Dan Gilbert is a man of his word who wants to ensure that he backs up his comic sans rant on the day of “The Decision.” He put his money where his mouth is in essentially buying a lottery pick from the Clippers for 12M dollars. Even if you feel this year’s draft class is weak, there is still quite a bit of talent and the Cavs now have two .50 caliber bullets to fire in order to infuse the team with talent. They also picked up Baron Davis in the process. Even though he is exceptionally talented, I don’t think many are expecting him to give 100% night in and night out. Truth be told, even if he did, the Cavs weren’t going to be contenders in 2011/12 anyway. Davis does provide a big expiring contract for when they are ready to ascend to the upper tier of the Eastern Conference. The Cavs were also able to acquire a big man they coveted in Semih Erden and another competent role-playing big in Luke Harangody more or less for free. The Cavs gave the Celtics a 2013 second-round selection and were able to hang onto Anthony Parker, one of the few players excited to be in Cleveland and interested in seeing the rebuilding process through. The Cavs also had a deal done with the Pistons to acquire Rip Hamilton and a first-rounder, but Rip refused to accept a buy-out and is now stuck on the bench for a losing team with no playing time in sight.

New Jersey Nets. Grade: A-

This would be an A if Deron Williams were able to re-sign, or made indications that he would. Otherwise it could turn out to be an extended rental at a moderately high cost. Sorry Chris Paul, but for my money, Deron Williams is the best point guard in the NBA. Anytime you can acquire the best of anything it has to be done, unless it’s the best impregnator, but Shawn Kemp is long since retired. My gut feeling says that Williams won’t re-sign with the Nets, which would turn this grade into an F, however I think Prokhorov will make Williams an offer he simply can’t refuse. The Nets made another trade in shipping Troy Murphy to the Warriors for Brandan Wright and throw-in Dan Gadzuric. Wright is the best player in this deal and should help to offset the loss of promising rookie Derrick Favors. Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov also gets an A for his gamesmanship in this deal. He didn’t become a billionaire by accident; he knows how to play the game. He expertly negotiated the Carmelo Anthony proceedings, knowing full well that he had no chance of landing him, but forcing the Knicks to bid against themselves and give up more than he’s worth. I’m not certain what Prokhorov likes more, winning or the Knicks losing, either way it will set up an exciting in-state rivalry.

Denver Nuggets. Grade: B

The Nuggets made the best out of a bad situation. With Anthony, they had an unhappy player that not only demanded a trade, but specified where he would go. Somehow, thanks to an assist from Mikhail Prokhorov, the Nuggets not only got value in return, but they got much more value than they gave up. In giving up Anthony, they lose a scorer… that’s it. Don’t confuse Carmelo with a superstar. Sure he will get numbers, but I can think of 15-20 players that I would rather have on my team instead. Not only did the deal get them under the luxury tax, but it also brought in  talented forwards, a young and promising big, and a younger point guard in addition to a first-rounder, two second-rounders and 3M in cold, hard cash. At first bringing in Felton seems a little odd, but it gives the Nuggets another bullet to use in order to acquire another pick or a promising frontcourt player. What surprised me was that Denver didn’t fully go into rebuild ode and dump Nene and JR Smith. It would’ve definitely sped up the process, but any thoughts of playoffs this season would’ve been out the window. If it was me, I’d focus on the greater good, building a quality contender is more important than getting shellacked in the first round this season. However, Denver is in a far better position for future success than most teams that lose their cornerstone.

Houston Rockets. Grade: B

The Rockets seem to see the writing on the wall and chose to be proactive at the deadline. It’s tough to give up the ultimate role player in Shane Battier, but he wasn’t going to be back anyway. They also let go of offensively-gifted, defensively-lacking Aaron Brooks, who has regressed this season to nothing more than a very good change-of-pace offensive bench option. In shipping Brooks to Phoenix, they not only got a first-round pick, but also the promising, but disappointing Goran Dragic. Being traded should increase Dragic’s value and he should once again be a solid contributor. In exchange for Battier, the Rockets got yet another future first round pick in addition to former 2nd pick overall in Hasheem Thabeet. Thabeet, nicknamed Thabust has been absolutely terrible as a pro, but it’s not easy to find 7’3, 280lb bodies, and he has the talent to be great, just maybe not the interest. He’s offensively limited, but his upside is that of Dikembe Mutombo…highly doubtful that he ever gets there, but if they take the time to develop him, he just might. A bonus of the deals is that the Rockets sneak below the luxury tax which certainly will please owner Leslie Alexander.

Losers:

Utah Jazz. Grade: C-

The Jazz must have seen the writing on the wall as they chose to trade one of the best players in the NBA a year and a half before his contract was up. Added to that, they did it only weeks after losing their hall-of-fame head coach Jerry Sloan. Deron Williams has made no statements that he is going to leave, but even if they thought he might want to with the uncertainty of the CBA and the NBA’s real problem with cowardly superstars taking the easy way out and teaming up, a franchise tag or hard cap might not be too far away. I can’t be too hard on the Jazz as they got a ton of value for Williams. Devin Harris is a talented point guard who was lost in New Jersey and Derrick Favors provides a lottery pick that will make his money on the defensive end. The Jazz also received two first-round picks and cash. The C- is more a testament to the timing and losing Sloan as well as Williams, but the Jazz could find themselves squarely in the playoff hunt as soon as next season, provided they draft right.

Boston Celtics. Grade C-

I don’t really have any idea what Danny Ainge was thinking in making the deals that he did. Had they stood pat, they were the odds on favorites to come out of the Eastern Conference and play for another title. Instead they let go of one of their key pieces in Kendrick Perkins, while nearly destroying their depth on the inside. Relying on Shaq and Jermaine O’Neal would’ve been a terrific plan 8 years ago, but now? It doesn’t make sense. On the surface, the Celtics needed wing help and Green will certainly help there, but if they run into the Magic in the postseason, the Celtics might find themselves headed home much earlier than they should. Had the Celtics stopped there, it wouldn’t have been awful, but then they went on and gave the Cavs two rookie bigs with talent. Regardless of your feelings on Erden, he at least is a healthy body to throw at Dwight Howard. Harangody isn’t more than a 4th big on a team, but he is dependable and can be counted on in that role. The Marquis Daniels trade was nothing more than a back-alley deal to circumvent NBA rules. Boston paid Sacramento to take Daniels. By doing so, they picked up a protected second-round pick and relieved some of their luxury tax burden while helping the Kings to get above the salary floor. The Celtics seem stuck in an identity crisis, their window is now, but they are less focused on the present as they are the future… and even so, these moves don’t do much for the future either.

New York Knicks. Grade: D+

Carmelo Anthony’s tantrum throwing got him what he wanted in a trade to the Knicks. Unfortunately, his toddler-like behavior won’t end in an NBA title. What is lunacy to me is that had the Knicks waited a few months, they would’ve had Anthony for the low-cost of Wilson Chandler’s restricted free agent status. Even if, by some remote chance that they couldn’t land Anthony, either by new CBA restrictions or otherwise, they could’ve landed a better player such as Deron Williams, Chris Paul, or maybe even Dwight Howard instead. Had they landed one of those three instead of the completely overrated Anthony, they would’ve had a player that does something interesting… actually plays defense. Neither of the Knicks two stars, Anthony and Amare Stoudemire have any interest in playing anything resembling defense. Last I checked, defense is what wins in the NBA. I understand Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni has never had much use for it, but he also has never even sniffed the NBA finals. What the Knicks gave up for Anthony is borderline laughable. They gave up the aforementioned Chandler, but also promising pieces in Danilo Gallinari and Timofey Mozgov. They also got eight years older at the PG position in a hurry bringing in Chauncey Billups and letting go of Raymond Felton. Also they swapped out prospect Anthony Randolph and took on Corey Brewer, who is defensively decent, but handicapped and inefficient offensively. He is a mid-range shooter without much touch and I don’t see how he fits into D’Antoni’s plan whatsoever.

Discussion

2 Responses to “2011 NBA Trade Deadline Winners and Losers”

  1. You didn’t grade the Clippers who got MO GOTTI!!!!!!!!!! Also, the Cavaliers should probably lose some points because they will no longer be able to play the “Mo Gotti” music after Mo Williams makes 3’s. In reality though…that wasn’t too often.

    Posted by Dubba | February 28, 2011, 4:05 pm
  2. In a bit of good news for Cleveland, they traded the Mo Gotti music along with Mo… They got “cash considerations” and a small leather pouch marked “magic beans” in return.

    Posted by Jason Marlo | March 3, 2011, 5:38 pm

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