I wasn’t planning on writing this column. I didn’t think I was gonna have to. Of course, I expected some moves to be made on Thursday, but not any that would be monumental.
After Thursday, everything I know about basketball seems to be gone. Everything. It’s obliterated. Yet, I still wrote close to 2,900 words about it.
17 teams made moves. 39 players changed teams. That’s 10% of the league’s players.
Thursday is the day where teams are supposed to gear up for a playoff run. Teams are supposed to finalize their rosters. They did just that yesterday. It was madness. Absolute madness. More madness than the MLB’s past deadline. How? Because most of what went down happened within the final 20 minutes before the deadline, just adding to the madness.
I’m going through every trade that took place yesterday. Let’s do it:
The 13 Trades:
Denver gets: Will Barton, Victor Claver, Thomas Robinson, Portland’s upcoming pick, 2nd round pick
Portland gets: Arron Afflalo, Alonzo Gee
Thoughts: I wasn’t impressed with this at first. What was proven to me though, is that Portland is going all in. They know what conference they play in, and know that they needed more. The Trail Blazers lacked depth at guard, and grabbing Arron Affalo will solidify that. My main problem with this trade is that Portland won’t be able to play Affalo in crunch time. I don’t believe him and Damian Lillard will mesh. They’ll have to play separately. Portland gave up a lot of depth for Affalo. They better hope he’s part of their future plans.
As for Denver, I predicted them to be a fire-sale at the deadline. Everyone was supposed to on the block. That was true, but Denver was quite through the rest of the day. Denver wants picks, and that’s what they got from the Trail Blazers. With Affalo not in Denver’s plans, I don’t think they care to much about what they get back. The package Denver got back is mostly bench players, who’ll eventually turn into assets.
This trade might be a wait and see. Watching Portland with Affalo might be the key to figuring out who won it. We may have to wait until Portland is in the playoffs, and see how it helps them when it really matters.
Thomas Robinson has been bought out by the Nuggets and is a free agent. I’m sure he’ll get picked up.
Sacramento gets: Andre Miller
Washington gets: Ramon Sessions
Thoughts: George Karl gets hired by the Kings and does what? Goes and gets a player who he’s had before, and who he’s also butted heads with. While Andre Miller was in Denver, George Karl was his coach. Miller was never happy with his role, and it led to many disagreements between the two. However, Karl has a thing for Miller’s game. My guess is Karl pushed for the trade, and Sacramento allowed him to have some control. It’s about time they let a coach have some power.
In return, the Wizards got a backup guard, who’ll be decent enough to backup John Wall. Ramon Sessions is simply decent. He can come in and play well, but Washington shouldn’t expect a ton from him. Overall, this is a good sign if you’re Kings fan. Your owner has started to chill out a bit.
Brooklyn gets: Thaddeus Young
Minnesota gets: Kevin Garnett
Thoughts: I walked into Advisory class Thursday morning and broke the news that Minnesota was looking at Kevin Garnett. Immediately, the whole classroom was stunned. They couldn’t believe it. Garrett is a hero in the Twin Cities (I live there). He’s the best player who’s ever played for the Timberwolves. Everyone loves him. I warned though, that this may not have anything to do with basketball.
This is strictly about Garnett’s life after basketball. With this trade, I expect Garnett to finish his career with the Timberwolves, and retire after the season. The reward? A stake in the team’s ownership. That’s this was about.
For now, Timberwolves fans get back their hero. For two months, fans get to watch the greatest player ever in Minnesota basketball history. That’s what this is about.
Denver gets: Nothing
Philadelphia gets: JaVale McGee, pick
Thoughts: LOL. Denver paid Philly to take JaVale McGee. What a conundrum.
Miami gets: Goran Dragic, Zoran Dragic
New Orleans gets: Norris Cole, Shawne Williams
Phoenix gets: Danny Granger, Justin Hamilton, John Salmons, 2 1st round picks
Thoughts: Man. The whole Goran Dragic things changed within just a couple days. Dragic had gone from one of the most fun to watch point guards and backcourts in the league to just another player getting traded. The way he came after the Suns was quite surprising, as he publicly stated he wouldn’t re-sign this coming Summer. Then, he called out the front office, which kinda made no sense. It was unnecessary.
Knowing this, the Suns knew that losing Dragic for nothing wouldn’t be fun. So, why not get something back?
When the news was released, tons of teams popped up. Some teams that were in contention, some that weren’t. The Kings, Lakers and Celtics were all interested, but pulled out. Why? Because the team that traded for Dragic needed to know he would re-sign. Dragic didn’t want to sign with a bad team. When the three teams listed above found that out, they pulled out. Giving up a lot for a two moth rental would be a disaster. Ask the A’s.
That narrowed the teams. As the morning broke Thursday, Miami eventually emerged as favorite. I was skeptical of Miami’s pursuit. The fit would have been great, but Miami had no assets to trade back. That was my issue. The Heat though, didn’t care and got the deal done.
Perhaps the funniest thing about this trade had to do with Dragic’s brother, Zoran. Phoenix sent him to Miami too. In return, they got three bench guys who’ll provide size and shots. Danny Granger is one of most interesting stories in the league, as he went from face of the Pacers to a bench guy. He’s alright, but can shoot decently. John Salmons is solid bench guy, who provides size, which is what Phoenix needs.
The biggest impact in this trade is how perfect this fit is for Miami. Their guard play all year hasn’t been great. Injuries and youth has plagued them. The Heat sent Norris Cole to New Orleans, clearing space for Dragic.
The fit for Dragic couldn’t be better. He’s a perfect compliment to Dwayne Wade, and will run great pick and rolls with Chris Bosh. This is what Miami needed. This lifts them from the dust. They needed someone to command the court, and with the rise of Hassan Whiteside, this team is now set. This is now a scary team, and whoever ends up playing them in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs better be scared.
Houston gets: K.J. McDaniels
Philadelphia gets: Isaiah Canaan, 2nd round pick
Thoughts: This was part 1 of ‘What is Philly doing?’ Seriously. I don’t know what they’re doing. K.J. McDaniels has been one of the best rookies this year. Though he’s super raw, his paint skills are incredible, and he blocks almost every shot there is. He’s really good, and only signed a one year deal. He’ll be making some big money as a second year player. So why did Philly trade him?
My best guess on this is, well…
I hate to be this way, but there’s no other way! Nobody else would have traded K.J. McDaniels. Plus, the return they got back is super lackluster. Isaiah Canaan is still young, but hasn’t done a whole lot in the league. Perhaps playing for a bad team could boost him, as he was on Houston. If I’m the Rockets, I’m playing McDaniels a lot. The kid has a ton of potential, and I’d definitely want to re-sign come summer, no matter how he plays the rest of the year.
Part 2 of Philly’s tank-a-thon coming later…
The following trades took place in the final 10 minutes before the deadline. It was madness, and I could barely control myself in English class.
Houston gets: Pablo Prigioni
New York gets: Alexey Shved, two 2nd round picks
Thoughts: It seems that Houston’s goal this deadline was to acquire depth, so that’s what they did. What they gave up for Pablo Prigioni seems like a lot, but Alexey Shved seems to a pinball. He’s just another dude on the Knicks for now. Pablo is gonna do some dishing, and can defend a typical point guard. He’s not great, but is a very solid bench guy. He’s not someone who will largely contribute though to the Rockets.
Boston gets: Luigi Datome, Jonas Jerebko
Detroit gets: Tayshaun Prince
Thoughts: Poor Tayshaun Prince. The guy has played pretty well this season and has been traded twice in two months. He was exchanged for Jeff Green, and put on a lowly Celtics team. Now, he’s playing for the team who drafted him and who he spent 11 years with. It’s a great story. Detroit seems determined to make the playoffs after letting Josh Smith go, and as I’ll get to later, has made other moves. Prince will shoot some threes, giving some pop to Detroit’s offense. His shooting decisions though need work, but with Stan Van Gundy as coach, that should be able to change pretty quickly.
Detroit gets: Reggie Jackson
Oklahoma City gets: D.J. Augustin, Enes Kanter, Steve Novak, Kyle Singler
Utah gets: Grant Jerrett, Kendrick Perkins, Oklahoma City’s pick, 2nd round pick
Thoughts: This monster went down three minutes before the clock hit 2 PM CST. Overall, this is a great trade in all ways. Oklahoma City deals away Reggie Jackson, who was benching himself because he wanted to be traded. Jackson is an expiring, and was gonna leave the Thunder anyways. For him, they get D.J. Augustin, a really dicey point guard who shined in last year’s playoffs with Chicago. Augustin will come off the bench for the Thunder, but that’s all they really need. They also get Kyle Singler, a good shooting forward who’ll play decent minutes. Singler also has a future, as he was drafted 2011. OKC might want to keep him awhile.
In addition, OKC flipped Kendrick Perkins for Enes Kanter and Steve Novak. Kanter is exactly the guy they needed, but it didn’t seem like they were gonna head that direction (more on that later). Perkins, ugh, he’s so tough to talk about. His ups&downs are constant, giving him an inconsistent vibe, which is something no one likes. This trade basically solidified the idea that Utah doesn’t care about winning. Say what you want about Enes Kanter, but he’s young, and so is Utah. It seemed a tad strange that they would give up on him. Though, Kanter is an expiring contract, and Utah probably didn’t see him coming back. Perhaps OKC likes him so much they keep him.
Overall, OKC rebuilt their bench in one trade, and it’s a marvelous job by Sam Presti. They’re ready to start passing teams for a playoff spot.
Detroit seems determined to make the playoffs. Though they only made two trades, and got Tayshaun Prince and Reggie Jackson, pretty much the same guy, they got depth, and that’s what you need in the playoffs.
At this point, who knows what’s up with Utah. Bad teams are so hard to figure out.
Boston gets: Isaiah Thomas
Phoenix gets: Marcus Thornton, CLE pick
Thoughts: Phoenix was one of the biggest players in this deadline. After trading Goran Dragic to Miami, the Suns decided to clean house at point guard and ship Isaiah Thomas to Boston. The Suns had just signed Thomas this past summer, and he played the 3rd point guard role the Suns experimented with. Turns out, as much fun as it was to watch, it didn’t work.
So yeah, I’m bummed. Phoenix has been known for their chemistry this year, and blowing it up seems a little risky. I’ll get into that more later. They (kinda) made up for it though (more no that later too).
Boston gets Isaiah Thomas, as he automatically becomes the best player on that Celtics squad. Thomas wasn’t featured in Sacramento or Phoenix. The Celtics give him that role. He’ll enjoy it.
Adding Marcus Thornton will help Phoenix fill the lack of big men, as that seems like their goal at this deadline. Thornton is a great big man, and continues to be a pinball, which is sometimes a good thing. In Marcus Thornton’s case, it is.
Milwaukee gets: Michael Carter-Williams, Tyler Ennis, Miles Plumlee
Philadelphia gets: Lakers pick (protected)
Phoenix gets: Brandon Knight, Kendall Marshall
Thoughts: My first reaction to this was “Oh my god, Philly doesn’t want to win whatsoever”. That point has already been made, but this just capitalized it. I mean, good lord! The 76ers gave up Michael Carter-Williams, who they spent their 11th overall pick on in 2013. Williams was also, by the way, the Rookie of the Year that year.
It seems that Philly had already given up on him, and just wanted to dump him somewhere else. Them being Philly, they could easily do that. However, the return actually made sense.
To get the deal done, Phoenix jumped in, and sent Miles Plumlee and Tyler Ennis to the Bucks. In return, Milwaukee sent Brandon Knight to Phoenix, who’s had the best season of his career.
The biggest bummer out of all of this? The Suns sent the Lakers pick they own to Philly. So that’s great. With this, unless the Lakers end up in the top five of the lottery, Philly will have TWO top ten picks. Their own and the Lakers (again, possibly).
This creates one big mess, with no true winner. The easiest case is for Phoenix, who basically replaced Dragic with Knight. With him in the best season of his career, the Bucks got heavily criticized for it. I understand why. I have no idea why they did it. But I’ll take it!
The pick Philly got could turn out huge down the stretch. That’s simply a wait and see.
As for Phoenix, check it:
What Are They Doing?:
Phoenix: Knowing Dragic was leaving, they shipped him out of town while also cleaning up the left overs. There was no way Eric Bledsoe was getting moved, leaving Isaiah Thomas. Shipping him out gave them a bench big (Thornton) and a future pick. It seems like they know they’re taking a risk. Here’s that case:
Possibly Phoenix knew that this team isn’t last years’. They know that the conference got better, and that they were holding on to their playoff lives. With OKC now ahead of the Suns, maybe they have realized that this may not be the year, again. So, they break up the chemistry, rebuild it, and wait and hope that it comes together. Maybe it’s not this year. Throw this year away, and stride toward next season.
Milwaukee: Opposite from Phoenix, Milwaukee can easily make the playoffs this year. They’re sitting at sixth right now, and would have to truly tank not to make it. The Bucks knew this, and took a chance trading away one of their best players. The return is the reward, however: Good, solid players who give you a future. Miles Plumlee, MCW, and Tyler Ennis are all young. That’s three solid young players. It’s a win-now, yet a plan for the future move.
Denver: I expected them to be a fire-sale. Everyone of their roster was supposed to be on the block, yet they made two moves. Can you only imagine what Ty Lawson or Kenneth Faried would mean to a playoff team?
What Could Have Been:
Blockerbuster: Reportedly, OKC, Brookyln, Minnesota, and Philly had a deal in place all day that would’ve sent Brook Lopez to OKC and Reggie Jackson to Brooklyn. Then, Kevin Garnett would have gone Minnesota (which did obviously happen) (separate trade) and Thaddeus Young would have gone back to Philly.
This monster sat there all day, and kinda held the league hostage. Nothing happened until Denver sent Aaron Affalo to Portland. Then, the monster deal fell apart. What happened? OKC screwed Brooklyn over, and went with Enes Kanter instead of Brook Lopez. Then KG went to Minnesota separately. This thing was that close to happening.
Every trade deadline, in any sport, there’s someone who has all the trades before anyone else. This deadline, it was Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski. The dude had every trade. This is the stuff he gets paid for.
When the final ten minutes approached, and final five trades went through (“final” in reference to the order in the column), Adrian got a little overwhelmed. This sums up the whole day.
I was in English class when this was posted. It’s exactly how I felt.
This was every GM in the league Thursday, or at least 17 of them.