NBA Trade Deadline Reactions

With numerous trades happening right up until the deadline, two of our writers, Tom McCarthy and Vinny Ginardi give their opinion on the trades they liked and didn’t like.


The Pacers hope Leandro Barbosa can help them in the playoffs.

Indiana Pacers Receive: Leandro Barbosa

Toronto Raptors Receive:Second-round pick

VG: Good trade for Indiana. It looks like the Pacers will probably end up with the three, four, or five seed in the East, and this move makes a deep team even deeper. With Barbosa, the Pacers now have a solid four man guard rotation of Darren Collison, Paul George, George Hill, and Barbosa.  Throughout his career, Barbosa has brought great energy of the bench and he is the type of player who can single-handily swing a playoff game or two.

TM: Indiana uses its mountain of cap space to get a player for free. Although the Pacers were one of the teams looking at Kaman, once it became clear that he was going to be bought out, they grabbed one of the better rentals on the market. Barbosa won’t play as much as he did in Toronto, but can bring a spark to the offense, and he comes off the books after this year. The Raps clear up playing time for Gary Forbes and Jerryd Bayless, save some cash, and get a second round pick, but the best thing that happens in this trade is increasing their chances of winning the Anthony Davis sweepstakes.


New Jersey Nets Receive: Gerald Wallace

Portland Trailblazers Receive:Mehmet Okur, Shawne Williams, top-three protected first-pick

VG: Here the Nets are clearly making a move just to try and keep Deron Williams past this season. Will it work? I don’t think so (with Dwight Howard now staying in Orlando, Williams seems destined for Dallas), but the Nets had to take the chance in case the star point guard does decide to stay.

Is Gerald Wallace the key to the Nets' future plans?

As for the Blazers, the real prize here is that first round pick. Chances are New Jersey will land outside of the top-three selections giving Portland a very valuable lottery pick.

TM: Pretty crappy trade by the Nets here. They give up their first round pick in a loaded draft for the chance to take on an aging swingman that might not be there after this year. It’s a gamble on two fronts. The Nets are hoping that they can still get Dwight after the season, during the draft and before Williams opts out. The Magic like Wallace, so if the Magic bow out early and Dwight isn’t happy, then the Nets are sitting there with Brook Lopez and Wallace. If they can’t get him, then the Nets hope that a core of MarShon Brooks, Wallace, Kris Humphries and Lopez will entice D-Will to stay. Fat chance of that happening with Dirk and tons of cap space calling in his home town.

The Blazers unload a player that would have screwed up their cap situation next year had he opted in, create more playing time for players that will be part of their core going forward, and get a high lottery pick for their troubles. Okur will be gone after this year, and Shawne Williams can provide some value as a stretch four (where he succeeded in New York last year). Great trade for the Blazers here, who recognized quickly the need to rebuild and didn’t hesitate.


Houston Rockets Receive:  Marcus Camby

Portland Trailblazers Receive: Hasheem Thabeet, Jonny Flynn, and a second-round pick

VG: This trade makes a lot of sense for the Rockets. They are making a push for the playoffs, and while they are an incredibly deep team, center is their weakest position, so getting Camby is an upgrade. And if they don’t make the playoffs, or Camby doesn’t work out, his contract is up at the end of the year.

The Blazers continue their makeover by dealing Camby to the Rockets.

At first I didn’t see how this made sense for Portland, but I do now. Thabeet and Flynn are both young and are both expiring contracts. Portland is clearly giving up on this season and by obtaining Thabeet and Flynn, the Blazers can see what kind of potential they have. If they don’t like what they see, they can let them both go and they still got a second-round pick out of the deal. And who knows? Maybe Thabeet or Flynn will finally prove why they were worthy of such high draft selections.

TM: Another rebuilding move for the Trailblazers. They give up Marcus Camby, a player who was not part of the future, for two young players and a second rounder. Personally, I don’t think there is any shot either Flynn or Thabeet will turn out to be a useful player, but you never know, and it’s not like they were overflowing with quality depth at those two positions. The Blazers also have a bigger excuse to go to their most effective lineup, with Aldridge at the 5.

The Rockets didn’t make the huge trade they wanted to, but get a valuable backup center for next to nothing. Camby is much better suited coming off the bench for 20 minutes a game than starting, and combined in a strong defensive center rotation with Samuel Dalembert (which, coincidentally, is the rotation I always trade for in NBA 2k12), they complement the low post scoring of Luis Scola. Also, his contract is up after this year, so the Rockets don’t give up cap space to get a good rotation player for the stretch run.


Los Angeles Lakers Receive: Ramon Sessions, Christian Eyenga

Cleveland Cavaliers Receive: Luke Walton, Jason Kapono, and a first-round pick

VG: Although the talks of obtaining Michael Beasley collapsed, the Lakers addressed their biggest weakness by upgrading at the point guard position. In Sessions, the Lakers receive a player who is still young (only 25), but has proven throughout his career that he can has a good balance of scoring, distributing, and defense. While he’s not a huge name, Sessions fills what was the Laker’s biggest void.

The Lakers are hoping Sessions solves their PG woes.

TM: The Lakers win big here, managing to grab Ramon Sessions without dipping into their trade exception. Although that never translated to getting Beasley as well, it was a great move at the time. Sessions will fill the gaping hole of crap that the Lakers were throwing out there at the PG position, at a very affordable price this year and the next. The pick was going to be late in the first round anyway, and the Lakers are looking to win now. When Kobe is out, I think Sessions is really going to shine running the offense through the pick and roll.

The Cavs, meanwhile, continue to show that they are absolutely inept in managing an organization. I know, that sounds harsh, but there is absolutely no explanation to me for the Cavs taking on Luke Walton’s contract in this deal. Walton was already making more than Sessions, and his contract had a trade kicker which pushes his deal over $5 million next year. Unless a buyout is coming, the Cavs took on additional money for a MUCH worse player, in a year in which they are actually threatening to make the playoffs. The first round pick is nothing special, even in this draft, because its so far down in the first round. Finally, the Lakers can switch first round picks with Miami in 2013 (which the Cavs had the rights to), something that may turn into a big value if one of Miami’s Big Three goes down with an injury next year. All around awful for the Cavs.

(Eds. Note: I was incorrect in saying that the Lakers retain the right to swap, when in fact the Cavs get that right. This means that they probably improve the second first rounder they have next year from 29-30 to the mid to late 20s. Sorry for that, but it doesn’t change the fact that the Cavs got worked in this trade.)


Los Angeles Lakers Receive: Jordan Hill

The Derek Fisher Era is over in LA.

Houston Rockets Receive: Derek Fisher, 2012 first-round pick

VG: I see this trade as a win for both teams.

Let’s be honest, Derek Fisher has been awful all season long, and with the Lakers obtaining Sessions, there just wasn’t any room for him. This trade was good for the Lakers even if it means that Mike Brown won’t feel obligated to play the longtime Laker point guard. The Lakers also received Jordan Hill, who will help give them some needed center depth off the bench.

The Rockets get a first round pick out of the deal, which is good for a team that is playing for now but still looking forward. Also, while Fisher’s play has certainly decline, he gives them some point guard help while Houston waits for Kyle Lowry to return from injury.

TM: After a great trade by the Lake Show, they follow it up with a straight salary dump. They get some big man depth and get a look at Jordan Hill to see if they want to retain him next year. They also get out of Fisher’s contract, which saves them over $3 million next year if Fisher had decided not to retire (which it might be time for him to do). It would have been much better if they could have used that pick to get Beasley, but again, the pick probably won’t amount to much. The Rockets get a pick and replace Flynn on the depth chart for a player that was not going to see the floor after Camby came over. Not bad, but unless they buy him out, paying anything for Derek Fisher next year is too much.


Golden State Warriors Receive: Richard Jefferson, future first-round pick

San Antonio Spurs Receive: Stephen Jackson

VG: Well, Stephen Jackson’s stay in Golden State didn’t last long. I know Tom is waiting to rant about this trade so I will keep my post short:

This trade doesn’t make sense for the Warriors. They trade away a bad contract in Jackson for a worse, potentially longer contract in Richard Jefferson.

This trade makes some sense for the Spurs as they receive a proven (but old) scorer in Jackson, while ridding themselves of Jefferson and allowing more playing time for promising youngster Kawhi Leonard.

TM: Holy balls is this trade awful for the Warriors. I cannot explain how terrible it is. Here’s what the Warriors GM apparently said to himself:

Hey… we just took on Stephen Jackson’s bad contract that we can’t amnesty so we could turn one of the better scoring wings in the league into the oft-injured Andrew Bogut. We should turn that into Richard Jefferson’s WORSE contract that we can’t amnesty! Yeah! That will make up for not getting Dwight!

Captain Jack brings the crazy back to the Spurs.

Regardless of what you think about the Bucks trade, this deal does not help them at all. Richard Jefferson is a slightly better version of Stephen Jackson: an aging wing that can score once in a while, but who is rapidly losing athleticism and is definitely not a piece for the future. Yes, he shoots the three ball well, but in case you didn’t notice, the last thing the Warriors need is a wing player who can shoot threes but can’t play defense. Also, the Warriors should be trying to LOSE for the rest of the season to get a better pick.

But undoubtedly the worst part of the deal is that the Warriors took on a player with a longer contract than the guy they shipped out. Richard Jefferson will be making over $11 millionin the 2013-14 season, when he will be even worse than he is now. Combine this with the contracts of Bogut, Biedrins and David Lee, along with the extension Steph Curry will get, and you are looking at a luxury tax team that likely won’t be in the top 4 of the West. And what do they get for all of this? A first rounder from a team that currently has the 4th best record in the NBA and is consistently one of the better teams in the league. Worst move of the deadline, by far.

The Spurs continue to show that they are one of the best front offices in the league. They give up a late first rounder to get out of the last year of Jefferson’s deal, and take a chance that Jackson can show something as a secondary offensive option. Jackson has never been afraid of the pressure moments, and is much more useful for a playoff caliber team than he is as one of the best players on a lottery squad. If he doesn’t pan out, they save $11 million more during the offseason that Ginobili comes off the books, and can retool then.


Los Angeles Clippers Receive: Nick Young

Denver Nuggets Receive: Javale McGee, Ronny Turiaf

Washington Wizards Receive: Nene, Brian Cook, future second-round pick (from Clippers)

VG: This trade is still confusing me.

This trade would make sense for the Wizards if they were a playoff of team, or a near-playoff team. Will this trade make them better? Certainly. They get one of the more reliable big-men in the league in Nene. But that’s all he is. He’s not a franchise player, but his contract pays him like one ($13 mil/year thru 2015). If anything, unless John Wall takes  huge leap in the coming years, this trade will keep the Wizards as fringe playoff team at best with not much room to sign other players.

The Clippers get a player in Nick Young who could either helpthem or haunt them. He’s notorious for shooting wayyyy too much but part of me believes that now that he is in a better situation and with a no-nonsense point guard in Chris Paul he will be a bit more under control. The Clippers lacked a streaky shooter like Young, and his addition makes them a more complete team. Also, they didn’t give up much for him, so this was a good deal for the Clippers.

For Denver, they are pretty much admitting that they signed Nene for too much (which they did). Nene’s and Arron Afflalo’s contracts (7.5 mil/year) tied the team up financially going forward, and although they are in the playoff hunt, they are nowhere near title contention. Javale McGee has plenty of potential, and is on a cheap contract, but the Nuggets will have to keep his head straight going forward to receive a full pay-off from this trade.

The Nuggets are hoping they can cut down the number of times Javale McGee makes this face in games.

TM: I actually don’t hate this trade for the Wiz. It is true that Nene costs too much. Denver obviously regretted the deal as soon as it was signed, but he is a good offensive pivot and can complement John Wall in the pick and roll game. He can also help facilitate the offense from the high post, something McGee was NEVER going to be able to do. McGee is going to be a restricted free agent this summer, and even if his agent was throwing out some big figures in terms of the deal they wanted, we just saw DeAndre Jordan get $10 million per year from the Clips. Are there two players that are more similar in the NBA than those guys? And with Dwight Howard off the market, he might be the best center available this summer. So we’re talking about a $3-4 million difference… not so bad anymore. The dream scenario is for the Wiz to win the Anthony Davis sweepstakes this summer, and then to amnesty Rashard Lewis’s mammoth deal. Suddenly, you have a core of Wall, Davis and Nene with a lot of cap room. Not bad, right? They also get rid of Nick Young, a gunner that was feeding into the terrible atmosphere in D.C., and who was never going to be coming back.

That being said, the Nuggets make out well too. They get rid of Nene’s deal, and the money difference is much more impactful for them as a team that is over the cap. They replace Nene with a defensive center with loads of potential, and their offense was running just fine with Nene out recently. Turiaf comes off the books after this year, and the Nuggets can either let McGee walk or sign him to an offer sheet if it isn’t too crazy.

The Clippers are probably the biggest winners here. They get some much-needed size and floor spacing ability at the 2-guard, and I assure you that Chris Paul will put Young in his place. He will be much better when the team is not depending on him for 15 points per game, and he basically comes to them for free. Unfortunately, they don’t get his bird rights, so he might be gone after this year, but it’s a great rental and makes the Clips that much more dangerous in the playoffs.


Dwight stays as Orlando's Superman for one more year.

Orlando Magic Receive: Dwight Howard for one more year

VG: Okay, not a trade, but as a Magic fan I had to comment. I am extremely relieved that Orlando did not panic trade Dwight Howard and somehow got him to waive his ability to become a free agent at the end of the year. These past few weeks, even with his constant wavering, Howard seemed like his old fun-loving self, not the emotionless zombie he had been the past few months.

That being said, I’m still nervous that next year is going to be exactly the same as this one, with the question of “Is Dwight leaving?” hovering over the team like an ominous cloud. But the fact that he will be with the team through next season means he’s more incline to stay long-term, right? Right? RIGHT?

TM: As a Knicks fan, I don’t like this. I was really hoping he could be had for Melo and Tyson, which would have probably been the best haul the Magic could have asked for. It also would have set up a potential monster match-up in the first round of the playoffs in the East. Oh well… maybe next year.