The 2011 NBA trade deadline has come and gone and like every year we go down to the 11th hour before all the deals are done. The Carmelo Anthony move to The Knicks stole the early week headlines but there was plenty of movement going on by Thursday. The theme of this year’s deadline I would say is “shock and awe,” as in I can’t believe those trades were made. There were a lot of “WTF” moments on Thursday night after the dust settled. With no further ado let’s take a look at what transpired.
This was the biggest head scratcher for me. The Celtics spent much of the season saying how good they’d be once center Kendrick Perkins fully recovered from knee surgery and how if he was healthy in Game 7 of the 2010 NBA Finals it would be the Celtics celebrating two championships in three years instead of the Lakers, yet they shipped him off to the Thunder along with guard Nate Robinson in exchange for forward Jeff Green and center Nenad Krstic. Boston gets more offense, but now seemingly will have more trouble handling the Lakers’ size if they meet in the Finals. This deal is hard to figure out since Shaquille O’Neal has been unable to stay on the court with a myriad of injuries and Jermaine O’Neal is stealing money right now on injured reserve.
Not to worry, they still have backup center and key contributor Semih Erden right? You would be wrong. In another move, Boston gets rid of Erden and fellow big man Luke Harangody in exchange for Cleveland’s second-round pick in 2012. The Thunder get better equipped to take on the Lakers in the middle with Perkins. The Thunder also received center Nazr Mohammed from the Charlotte Bobcats for Morris Peterson and DJ White.
Asked about this peculiar move GM Danny Ainge said they were not sure they would be able to resign Perkins after this year. Really? After the Celtics lost to the Nuggets late Thursday night the locker room looked like a funeral parlor. Kevin Garnett couldn’t look at the camera when asked about Perkins and Paul Pierce was visibly distraught when talking about the big man he spent the last eight years with. According to Nate Robinson Perkins was “crying” when he learned he was being shipped out.
Doesn’t sound like someone that would not re-sign with the only team he has played with and won a championship with. Boston has effectively allowed the Miami Heat, and the rest of the Eastern Conference elite to catch up to them. SMH.
In another move that has me scratching my chin, The Clippers ship point guard Baron Davis to the NBA equivalent of Alcatraz along with their 2011 first-round pick, which could be a lottery selection. The Clippers get forward Jamario Moon and guard Mo Williams, who waived the opt-out clause in his contract, guaranteeing he’ll be in place through 2012-13.
With the chemistry between Davis and rookie phenom Blake Griffin the question has to be asked why would Clippers management separate the two? Well according to ESPN reports the Clippers are overjoyed that they were able to move Davis’ mammoth contract, in the past seen as an immovable object. It was also said that the Clippers wanted to establish Griffin as the marquee star of the team and Davis’ personality would not allow that to happen. Huh? Davis threw an alley-oop pass to Griffin out of the sun roof of a Kia Optima. Why would you upset that connection and possibly aggravate Griffin in the process. Mo Williams, arguably one of the reasons LeBron James left town due to his disappearing act in the postseason, is not going to move the franchise forward.
On the Cleveland side, they made this move strictly for the draft pick. As they look to try to catch lightning in a bottle again they have two top ten picks in the upcoming draft to try to get back what they lost with James. Davis is reportedly not happy with this trade (shocker) as he had interests in the Los Angeles area outside of basketball. Plus L.A. is near his hometown of Oakland. I am not a betting man, but I would be stunned if Davis puts on a Cavaliers jersey this season.
The Jazz got 6-10 rookie forward Derrick Favors (6.3 points, 5.3 rebounds), point guard Devin Harris (15 points, 7.6 assists) and two first-round draft picks, for 2011 and 2012, plus $3 million. Favors was the No. 3 overall pick in last year’s draft. Harris turns 28 on Sunday. The 2011 draft class is expected to be a weak one, but the jury is still out on 2012. The 2011 pick is unprotected and the 2012 one is a top-seven protected pick (from Golden State).
The Nets got two-time All-Star point guard Deron Williams, who has been the NBA’s second-ranked assist man in three of the four previous seasons. He is averaging a career-high 21.3 points. Williams’ contract expires after the 2011-12 season and the jury is out on if he will sign an extension because truthfully the Nets can’t sell him on Brooklyn because they won’t be there until the beginning of the 2012-13 season.
This deal only surprises me because no one knew Deron Williams was available, but then again if you are blamed for the resignation of the longest tenured coach in all of sports in Jerry Sloan, an icon in Utah, then your days are probably numbered. Devin Harris was mentioned in every possible trade package the Nets put together beginning last summer so it is safe to say that coach Avery Johnson did not want him around. The Nets succeeded in stealing a little thunder back from the New York Knicks, which was really why this deal was done–let’s be real. It doesn’t change the fact that billionaire Mikhail Prokorov and minorityowner Jay-Z have not produced the results worthy of the towering “Blueprint for Success” billboard hovering over Madison Square Garden.
The Hawks sent point guard Mike Bibby, rookie Jordan Crawford and Maurice Evans to Washington for Kirk Hinrich and Hilton Armstrong. This was a decent move for the Hawks because Bibby is past his heyday in Sacramento and with Hinrich you keep the three-point threat of Bibby and add someone who is more athletic, can get to the basket and defend his position.
Houston – Pheonix – Memphis
The Rockets shipped point guard Aaron Brooks, a proven 20 point per game scorer and their best player once Yao went down, to Pheonix straight up for backup Goran Dragic and a future first round pick. Vince Carter is starting at shooting guard for the Suns last I checked and Steve Nash is an all-world point guard, so you’re gonna bring Brooks off the bench? Wow. Who’s going to start at point for Houston: Kyle Lowry?? The logic, if there is any, behind this move is that Brooks’ contract is up at the end of the year and Houston probably believes they won’t be able to re-sign him. This move helps relieve pressure off of Nash and gives the Suns a better chance to grab a playoff spot.
Houston also jettisoned Shane Battier to Memphis for Hasheem Thabeet and a future first round pick. The only reason I could give for Houston sending one of the better defenders in the entire league to Memphis for the biggest highly drafted big-man bust this side of Greg Oden is because Thabeet is 7’3″ and clogs the middle in the absence of Yao. To accomplish this Thabeet has to actually play, something he did not do in Memphis even though he was healthy.
High flying Gerald Wallace was sent to Portland for Joel Pryzbilla. Pryzbilla, a target of the Knicks, gives Charlotte the body in the middle they need to make a push for the final playoff spot in the East while the Trailblazers get more athletic. What, Charlotte wasn’t satisfied with Kwame Brown up front??
Other ancillary moves the Nets finally shipped Troy Murphy to Golden State for Brandon Wright and Dan Gadzuric, Kings forward Carl Landry lands in New Orleans for sharp shooter Marcus Thorton, in a move to help the Hornets’ front court in center Emeka Okafor’s absence, and the Celtics send another big guy… just kidding… swingman Marquise Daniels and his suspect spine to Sacramento for a future draft pick.
The NBA landscape is completely different today with a bunch of new faces in new places. The only teams that got better to me are the Thunder, Nets (they couldn’t get worse), Memphis Grizzlies (Battier is a stud), and Phoenix. It is going to be an interesting six weeks. Enjoy!