Breaking Down the Trade Deadline Bonanza

To say the trade deadline was eventful is an understatement. We had trades from all over the country, ones we expected and ones that came out of nowhere. I’m here to give my take on each and every significant move.

1. Dwight Stickin in Orlando

After months of anticipation and rumours Dwight Howard officially opted in with the Magic for the 2012-2013 season. This was a bad move for Dwight and a good move for the Magic. The Magic are playing great basketball as of now. They are going to make the playoffs and most likely the 2nd round. However, that’s where this season will end for them. Dwight wanted to wait out this season, and see what the organization could do to surround him with supporting guys this offseason. However, the Magic really don’t have much financial flexibility for this off-season. And not too many assets to send over in trades. All this extension gave the Magic was more time to figure out a way to improve the roster. On the other hand I don’t think Dwight really thought this over. This team won’t be changing too drastically from now until the next trade deadline next season. We’re in for dejavu.

2. Nene to Washington

This trade came out of nowhere. Nobody even saw Nene as a trade piece for the Nuggets this season. However, he’ll now be paired up with the electrifying speed and talent of John Wall. The Wizards received Brian Cook from the Clippers and a future second round pick, and Nene from the Nuggets. The Clippers received Nick Young. And the Nuggets received Javale McGee and Ronny Turiaf. In this trade I see three winners. The Clippers were desperately looking for a shooting guard after Chauncey Billups got injured earlier this season. Now they have Nick Young a young scorer who can make plays alongside guys like Chris Paul and Blake Griffin. He gives them an outside scoring presence. This season he is currently averaging around 17 points a game. The Wizards upgraded in this trade as well. One of the main problems for them as a team was the lack of maturity and the lack of veteran leaders. So by trading Javale McGee for a more experienced center in Nene was an upgrade. The only downside, is that Nene has a history of injuries and you can’t be certain if he will be healthy for long periods at a time. But when he is healthy he is one of the best centers in the West. The Nuggets may have upgraded the least in this trade. Nene like I said has a history of injuries, Javale McGee has no history of injuries. He is younger and can play more of the fast-break style that the Nuggets like to run. In terms of stats, the two are almost identical. Javale McGee is averaging 12 points and 9 rebounds. While Nene is averaging 13 points and 7 rebounds. What Denver did lose in this trade is an inside scoring presence. Javale McGee is more of a defensive stopper and crash the boards type of guy. He’s not someone you can throw it down to in the post and watch him put up two points. That’s an aspect of their game that is now gone. Which means the Nuggets are very much a perimeter team right now on the offensive end.

3. And end to an era

The Lakers made two significant trades yesterday. One that made us smile about the future. The other made us reminisce on the past. The first trade was sending Luke Walton, Jason Kapono, and a 1st round draft pick (lottery protected) to the Cavaliers for Christian Eyenga and Ramon Sessions. The Lakers kill two birds with one stone in this trade. Not only do they upgrade immensely at the point guard position but they shed the 6 million that they were paying Luke Walton. The Lakers biggest weakness was at the point guard position. Both Derrick Fisher and Steve Blake are seasoned veterans who can’t fast break, or keep up with the faster guards in the league. Now with 25 year old Ramon Sessions running the Lake Show, the Lakers have fresher legs, a deeper bench and a more consistent backcourt. The other trade they made was trading Derrick Fisher the 5 time NBA champion with the Lakers and a first round pick for Jordan Hill in Houston. It had to be done. After adding Ramon Sessions it seemed inevitable that one of the other point guards had to go. Derrick Fisher, who is 37 was the more sensible choice. He is way past his prime, he is retiring in a couple of seasons and Steve Blake is a more versatile guard who can play the 2 if he needs to. Although this trade makes us sad to see the end of the Derrick Fisher era in Los Angeles it’s a good move for the future and a good move for the Lakers.

4. Monta Ellis finally on the move

Monta Ellis’ name has been flying around trade rumours for a few years now. Finally, he has been traded. The Golden State Warriors traded Monta Ellis, Ekpe Udoh and Kwame Brown for Andrew Bogut and Stephen Jackson. This trade makes me think a few things. First, that the Warriors have given up on this season. Which may be the practical thing to do, but always the sad thing to see for a young team. By getting rid of Monta Ellis they lose a scoring threat. One of the best scoring threats in the league. They receive Andrew Bogut who won’t play again all season, and Stephen Jackson who is known for his off court antics more so then his on court prowess. Keep in mind Stephen Curry is currently injured. So the Golden State Warriors are pretty much out of the picture for the rest of the 23 game season. However, this trade wasn’t about the short term for them. This was about the longterm. By giving up on this season they will get a high draft pick in a young draft stacked with talent. So they pick up a top draft pick, they get a healthy Andrew Bogut down low and a healthy Stephen Curry at the point and you have yourself a very exciting team. Don’t forget the rookie Klay Thompson who is slowly developing into a lethal scorer on the court. For the Bucks, I think this trade was a very smart one. It’s no secret Scott Skiles and Stephen Jackson didn’t get along. So sending him away clears up the locker room and brings in some fresh air. And by giving away Andrew Bogut they can look toward the future and shed his salary. Not to mention his achy body. And bringing in Monta Ellis gives their backcourt a humongous boost on the scoring front. Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis playing side by side is something that needs to be watched. The only downside to this is their defense will take a hit. Monta Ellis is no Stephen Jackson and Ekpe Udoh is no Andrew Bogut but let’s focus on the positive for now.

5. Jackson Returns to San Antonio

Another good move for the Golden State Warriors was trading Stephen Jackson to the Spurs for T.J Ford, Richard Jefferson and a protected 1st round pick. The 1st round pick is lottery protected, which gives the Golden State Warriors another 1st round pick to go along with the one their bound to get when the rest of their season tanks. Another move made for the future. The Spurs on the other hand really improve their roster and bring back flashes of their 2003 NBA Championship run. They improve on their perimeter defense and now add another scoring punch alongside Ginobli, and Parker.

6. Pacers Add Depth with Barbosa

The Indiana Pacers season has been all about chemistry, hustle and depth. This team doesn’t have one superstar. They have several good players. Roy Hibbert was an all star this year. Danny Granger an all star last year. Paul George bound to be an all star in a couple of years. David West an all star a few seasons ago. Their roster is stacked with solid guys. Now by adding Leonardo Barbosa they improve their depth immensely. Barbosa was averaging 12 points off the bench in Toronto. The best thing about this trade, is that all the Pacers gave up was a 2nd round pick. Life is getting better in Indiana.

7. Wallace to the Nets.

With the Nets missing out on their potential blockbuster deal for Howard. The Nets needed something to try and persuade D-Will to sign an extension. So they brought in Gerald Wallace a guy averaging 13 points a game in Portland. An improvement? Definitely, but anything is an improvement for the Nets these days. Now we’re learning that it wasn’t even enough to keep D-Will interested, according to ESPN he says he will not opt in with the Nets but will test free agency this summer. But besides that, it was a good move for New Jersey who are slowly trying to build a team around a player who isn’t even the least bit interested.

8. Camby to Houston

This trade was a surprise, but as the day progressed players leaving Portland seemed like a common theme. Marcus Camby the defensive stopper was traded to Houston for Hasheem Thabeet, Jonny Flynn and a 2nd round pick. This move along with letting Gerald Wallace go and the firing of Nate McMillan implies the rebuilding stages for Portland who were stuck in groundhog day once again. The Blazers acquire expiring contracts and gain more financial flexibility for the next season. In Houston they are slowly putting together a better team. With Dalembert and Camby down low this team will be very difficult to score in down low. They have their own set of twin towers. This trade is a definite upgrade for Houston but not what they were looking for ideally when it came to the trade deadline. They were looking bigger, someone like Pau Gasol. But hey you get what you get and you don’t get upset. The Rockets are getting there, this move along with their flexibility this off season makes for exciting possibilities in the future.

Here We Go Again

The NBA is on it’s way, which means the trade rumours have already arrived. The curtain has dropped. The spotlight is on. The show has began. And with the show comes the drama.

Dallas Ditching Chandler?

On the first day that free agent contracts could be discussed, Tyson Chandler took away one thing from the day. He was getting traded. “I really think I’m going to be on a new team come training camp,” Chandler told ESPN.com on Wednesday. He believes Dallas won’t offer him the long term extension that he deserves. And he does deserve it. For three years in a row the Dallas Mavericks were 1st round dropouts. Disappointments to their city and to the NBA. But when Tyson Chandler came to town he changed the whole team. He brought height, he brought hustle and most of all motivated the team to play defense. It’s no coincidence that last year the Dallas Mavericks were 7th in points allowed per 100 posessions in 2010-2011 and were 12th, 15th and 17th the three years before that. He provided them with an inside presence in the finals and deserves a contract. His biggest worry is that Dallas may sign Nene over him. Nene and him are the two most coveted free agents this year.

Nene Fever:

The big man on the free agent campus this year is Nene. Teams from all over the league have shown interest in him. Dallas, Golden State, New Jersey, Denver, Houston, Indiana, Los Angeles (Clippers) and Portland were all teams who made contact with Nene’s agent on Wednesday. A perfect fit for Nene would be teams lacking an inside presence. Teams like Golden State, Denver and Houston. The Nets have shown interest in Nene due to Deron Williams’ statements that he would be far less inclined to re-sign a long-term deal with the Nets if they don’t immediately improve their roster.

Ron Artest…. I mean Metta World Peace:

It has been reported that the Los Angeles Lakers may waive Ron Artest….. I mean Metta World Peace’s over-priced contract. Although, the small forward is one of the best defenders in the league and filling the void later with other players is very difficult considering the type of defender he is. On the offensive side, he is in decline. Last season he averaged 8.5 points and it’s clear that his age may be taking a toll on his body and his speed. He doesn’t have the strength he once had (and I might regret this) but he’s become a  liability on offense. Letting go of his 3 year 21.5 million dollar contract would be a relief, causing the Lakers to save up to 27 million dollars in taxes and salary through 2013-2014.

Hollywood Wants Superman:

A minute doesn’t go by when we don’t wonder how many championships Shaq and Kobe could’ve won together had their problems not gotten in the way. Finally, years later Superman may be coming back to Hollywood. Not the one who has the superman logo on his bed. The one who wore the cape during his slam dunk performance. Jim Buss has said that he would trade Andrew Bynum “for the right deal.” The right deal or the deal that involves Dwight Howard? But Andrew Bynum may not be what the Magic are looking for in a replacement for Dwight and rumour has it that Andrew Bogut would be a better fit for them. I disagree but a three team deal has been circling, sending Dwight to the Lakers, Bogut to the Magic and Bynum to the Bucks. The Clippers also seem willing to do whatever it takes for Dwight. The Clippers have tons of young depth with players like Eric Gordon, DeAndre Jordan and Al-Farouq Aminu and can provide more assets in a trade with the Magic. Although, Dwight and Kobe together may look like a championship on paper. In reality they wouldn’t gel. Dwight loves the ball down in the post, he takes it in all day. And why wouldn’t you when you’re the most dominant player in the NBA. Then there is Kobe, who loves the ball on the perimeter and taking it to the hole. They are both types of players who demand the spotlight and I can’t see it working out.

Blazers and Brandon Roy:

A source had said that the TrailBlazers had waived Roy but team president Larry Miller firmly stated that, ”We have not, and regardless of what’s been said by John Canzano and others out there, (made a) decision on amnesty as of yet,” On January 17th of last season Brandon Roy underwent arthroscopic surgery on both knees. He returned to the lineup on February 25th and scored 18 points off the bench. The rest of the season was a quiet one for Roy, he came off the bench for the whole season and averaged 12.5 points as supposed to his career average of 19 points a game. His future looked grim, until the playoffs came around and  Portland needed someone to step up. Brandon Roy came off the bench in Game 3 against the Mavericks and scored 16 points in 23 minutes. Larry Miller added, ”With everything that Brandon has done for this organization, there’s no way we would make a decision like that without having conversation with him, without evaluating where he is.” I wouldn’t give up on Roy yet, his knees may let him down at times but he showed that in big situations he can shine. He knows how to win and he is a valuable piece on any team.

Celtics Discussing Rondo Trades:

Just to be clear, the Celtics don’t want to get rid of Rondo. He is the future of their organisation and will be their saviour once Pierce, Allen and Garnett are gone. However, the Celtics are exploring options in exchange for Rondo. Danny Ainge said, “I don’t make any comments on trade rumors. I’m just not commenting on any of it. Everybody knows how valuable Rondo is to our team. I’ll talk to Rondo, but I don’t want to talk about it publicly.” I sense insecurity in the Celtics front office. They realise that their Big Three aren’t big news anymore, they are getting older and soon they won’t be able to compete with the up and coming talent in the league. Additionally, they realise Rondo isn’t the best Point Guard out there and it makes sense for them to get better. Rumours have circulated that a Rondo for Paul deal may be developing, although they are very vague rumours.

Grizz and Gasol:

After last years semi-breakout season for Marc Gasol teams are showing more interest in him now that he’s a free agent. He provided Memphis with defense, hustle and a quick inside presence that Tim Duncan and the 1st place Spurs couldn’t handle. The Grizzlies organization have shown interest in keeping him. “Obviously, we want to sit down and try to make a deal with Marc,” Heisley said. “I’m committed to keeping him.” Gasol has made it clear that he would like to return to Memphis this season. However, they may not have enough money to satisfy Gasol after agreeing to contract extensions with Zach Randolph, Rudy Gay and Mike Conley. All we know now is that the Grizzlies want Gasol and Gasol wants the Grizzlies. Personally, I would love to see last year’s team come back stronger this year and make it back to the playoffs. Every time they stepped onto the floor, the game was bound to be exciting. They were the most energetic team in the NBA and it was a joy to watch them burst through the playoffs and surprise everybody.

Changes Needed: Magic

They were considered title contenders. Dwight Howard was in the running for the MVP. They were prepared, they thought the Hawks would be a piece of cake. Then they lost in 6. Dwight Howard may be a top 5 player in the league but he can’t win the NBA finals by himself. He can win the defensive player of the year 3 times in a row but he can’t defend a whole team. He needs help, if the Magic want to keep him in 2012 then they have to provide a roster around him that can win a championship.

They need perimeter defenders. Honestly their perimeter defense is horrible, the only reason their a good defensive team is because when the players blow by the perimeter defenders, they have Dwight Howard to block the shots. They need to change their identity. They can become the best defensive team in the league if they get some gritty perimeter defenders. Think about this defensive lineup for a second. Tony Allen, Shane Battier, Thabo Sefolosha, Brandon Bass and Dwight Howard. Good luck scoring on them. They just need some players who pride themselves in defense, they have none of those players playing the perimeter. They need to change their mindset. Just tweak it from a gunning offensive game to a lockdown defensive game. Their already a good defensive team but if they think about it more they can be much more successful. Then they need a clutch scorer. Jason Richardson isn’t a clutch scorer, he may have had one or two game winning shots but that’s inconsistency. Hedo Turkoglu isn’t good under pressure. Dwight Howard is too easy to stop in a clutch situation because they can double him in the post. They need a scorer, someone they can depend on, someone they know can bail them out in sticky situations.

The biggest necessity for the Magic is a backup point guard. Gilbert Arenas is a washed up player with a limited offensive game and not enough speed on defense. Jameer Nelson isn’t even that good of a starter and they don’t even have a solid backup. The point guard is the most important position in the game. They’re the closest version of the coach on the court. They call the plays, and generate the offense. They need fresh legs to operate the offense when Jameer is tired. What about a back up power forward. I guess they have Ryan Anderson but his game is from midrange and behind the three point line. They need a backup power forward who will play in the post and help Dwight protect the rim. Dwight Howard received 18 technical fouls this season. They need him, he is their best player, he can’t get into that trouble next season. Itgets him angry and isn’t good leadership for his teammates who look up to him to lead the way. His maturity has to improve. We all know he gets hit 8-10 times a game, but he’s 6’11, he is the most ripped guy in the NBA and he is playing a physical sport for a career. He can’t get so mad about guys hitting you, he should think of it as being unstoppable. His maturity must improve as well as his way of handling his anger.

They were the biggest disappointment of the whole season. The 4th seed losing in 6 games in the first round was hard to watch. They need to change, and fast. This team might need changes the most because they’re already elite so if they don’t adjust they could be kicked right out of the elite status. If they want Superman to stay in Orlando then they have to get it together. This is a must win season for the Magic.

Changes Are Needed: Knicks

I realize every NBA fan right now is caught up in the heat and excitement of the conference finals. I have been thinking more and more about the teams that havebeen eliminated from the playoffs so far this year. The Celtics, Knicks, Lakers, Grizzlies, 76ers, Spurs, Pacers, Magic, Nuggets, Trail Blazers, Hornets, and Hawks. Some of these teams were completely blown out of the postseason, but some of these teams, to peoples surprise were very close till the end of the series. I just feel like some of these teams were robbed of their spot in the postseason by injuries, or last second shots. I’m interested to see how these teams come out next season, and how there team has changed or hasn’t. I have a few suggestions for each team. I’ll begin with the Knicks, as they were the first team eliminated from the postseason.

The Knicks-Celtics series was highly anticipated, and the two games in Boston were won by a total of three points. The two in New York were blowouts from beginning till end. If the Knicks had executed in the last minute of the 4th quarters in those two games the series might have been different. Of course they have injuries to blame, Billups was injured in the end of game 1 and didn’t play the rest of the series. Amar’e Stoudemire injured his back by trying a stupid dunk in the pre-game shootarounds. He was shaken up for the rest of the series, and didn’t play the second half of game 2. I anticipate a big season for this team next year, they will have gelled for more than 30 or so games and their chemistry should be at 100%. What has to change for them in the postseason?

Defense. Defense, Defense, Defense. That’s what wins championships, their defense in the first two games was amazing. Then you have to look back at the 70 or so games where their defense was too atrocious to watch for 48 minutes. The defense can be blamed on everyone on the team. It all starts with Amar’e and Melo committing on defense. Melo played some great defense towards the end of the season but Amar’e didn’t put in enough effort. They’re the leaders of this team and of New York they need to show the rest of the team that defense is the most important part of basketball. That’s what they’re missing from their game. That’s what sets them apart from the elite group in the NBA. They have enough offensive fire power, more than a lot of the elite teams in the NBA. It’s the defense that will hold them back. They also need Mike D’antoni to stop being so stubborn and coach defense instead of his stupid 7 second offense. He has to be fired to begin next season if he can’t stress defense enough. Besides defense there is roster changes that need to be made. They need a shooting guard, Landry Fields was having an amazing rookie season until Melo came over. His confidence dropped like a bomb. If they can’t improve his confidence, or reboot his energy then they have to get a new shooting guard. They have to get a new one anyway, he would be a solid 6th man on any other team. They also need a defensive minded big man to man the middle with STAT. They’re inside men aren’t intimidating like the Magic or Thunder. They need a tough defensive minded 7 footer. Who will think only about the paint and protecting the rim. Point Guards aren’t afraid of getting into the New York paint because there is nobody who will challenge them, Amar’e is too scared of fouling out and Ronny Turiaf is good but he is foul prone. They need a player like Anderson Varejao, or Samuel Dalembert.

These are just suggestions for the Knicks to transform into an elite team next year. I expect a big season from the NY big 3, and the rest of the team. We’ll see.