Last Minute Deals:
Phoenix, Dallas, Houston, anybody else?
Gotta feel for Danny Granger. He’s made the long road back to being a solid 6th/7th man but he can’t help his super duper valuable $14 million dollar expiring contract. The 76ers are engulfed in tankapalooza and sent 2010′s 2nd overall pick Evan Turner as well as Lavoy Allen, a very league average big who can give you some productive minutes for Granger and his salary. Pacers = all in. 76ers = all out (or in just for opposite reasons)
The Clippers continue to cost-cut big men that have not lived up to ‘serviceable backup’ expectations, Antawn Jamison and now Byron Mullens. Mullens was very productive the past two seasons in Charlotte, averaging 9.9 points, 5.6 rebounds in the two-year span. Last season he showed off a much improved 3-point jumper, sinking 1.2 a game. With Spencer Hawes gone, Mullens has a chance to regain some value with a lot of minutes and little competition.
This two-man salary dump by the Clippers brings back 2013 deadline memories with the Golden State Warriors shedding tidbits of cap by trading Charles Jenkins to the Hawks (Jamison’s new home) and Jeremy Tyler to the 76ers (Mullens’ new home) for a 2nd round pick each. Ahhh, memories.
I’ve always been a fan among few of former Gonzaga Bulldog Austin Daye. He’s versatile, athletic and long but has never been able to wrap his head around the ball-in-the-cup method. It’s unlikely he has much of a role in San Antonio but maybe being surrounded by so many positive influences is the career move he needed. As for de Colo, the Spurs certainly liked him and used several D-League trips to try and develop him but at 26, he’s fallen behind Cory Joseph and Patrick Mills in the rotation. Even with Tony Parker out indefinitely, the Spurs elected to invest in Daye over de Colo. Toronto doesn’t really have a spot for either player, but an injury somewhere could open the door. An uneventful deal at so far, an uneventful deadline.
The Hawks are rebuilding but still are well coached and balanced enough that they find themselves in the Eastern Conference playoff race. However, they lost Al Horford for the season before the calendar turned to 2014. This year’s Chris Copeland, 31-year old rookie Pero Antic stepped in admirably, but he too got hurt. Elton Brand is always hurt. The Clippers weren’t using Jamison or even thinking about it and he still has a little bit left in probably his last season to give the Hawks a breathing body in their depleted front court. They also clear a roster spot for a potential deal that has yet to be reported or Lamar Odom (ugh) or just some nice $1.4 million dollar savings.
I understand I am late on trade deadline coverage, but I still have class to go to and paychecks not to collect.
The NBA Trade Deadline expires at 3 P.M. EST but deals will be announced until around two hours later.
There has yet to be a blockbuster deal. Involving say Rajon Rondo, who wants to pick his destination, or perhaps Pau Gasol, who at the very least could net the Lakers the Suns projected late first round pick via Indiana, but the Lakers have the leave-in-free-agency-and-get-nothing-back thing down pat, as seen last night as they hosted Dwight Howard the Rockets. Kevin Love is going nowhere this year unless somebody gives up their whole team…because the guy is worth it.
But there have been a number of deals already commenced and hopefully a few more – with some excitement attached. Cause that’d be neat. Let’s recap so far.
The ball got rolling yesterday as Mikhail Prokhorov continues to laugh at our American luxury tax, sending little-used reserves Terry and Evans for Marcus Thornton. Selected 43rd overall in 2009 by Miami and then sent to New Orleans, it seemed this was quite the find in round two. Flipped to the Kings for Carl Landry at the 2011 deadline, Thornton then signed a lucrative contract worth about $31 million over four seasons. From 2011-2013 he was a productive player, scoring 19 PPG with very respectable efficiency. 2013-2014 has not been a great year for the 26-year old. Only since Rudy Gay was acquired back in December was Thornton no longer the Kings highest paid player. His contract added to his shooting woes for a guy who does nothing but shoot. He shot 38% from the field, 32% from 3 and was scoring just 8.3 PPG. An underachieving bad contract? Well, Mikhail Prokhorov just had to have this.
Since playing a crucial role in the Dallas Mavericks 2011 title run, Jason Terry has been a number. Not a jersey number but a cap number, bouncing from Boston to Brooklyn to now Sacramento. An unfortunate ending to a local hero’s career. Reggie Evans is in year two of a modest three year deal. He can absolutely help a contender. Whether the Jet still can is unlikely. But the Kings are big winners for getting rid of a bad salary that doesn’t expire until after next season, and they expect to be big players in this off-season’s market, regarding Rudy Gay‘s option, Isaiah Thomas‘ restricted free agency (and Jimmer’s if you will) and they will have a top draft pick.
I ripped on the Warriors’ off-season decision to go with Andre Iguodala over keeping a strong bench of Jarrett Jack and/or Carl Landry and/or similar pieces that can actually be a productive second unit. The Warriors rely on their starters big time, which isn’t uncommon, but their bench is just lacking all over the board. Yes, they acquired Jordan Crawford from the Celtics just over a month ago but they don’t need scoring punch and energy they need veteran leadership and stability. Steve Blake was an excellent find in what almost seems like a gift from Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak to help keep the Clippers from a title.
Kent Bazemore is a cheerleader. I’m guilty of thinking this guy could play, wrongfully intrigued by the 6 foot 5 combo guard with a stellar haircut. But he’s awful. Marshon Brooks had potential in what seems like a decade ago after a very impressive rookie season with the New Jersey Nets. But then to Boston where he couldn’t carve out a rotation spot on one of the rebuildingest of rebuilding teams. He appeared in just 7 games for the Warriors and was sent down to the D-League twice to keep the cheerleader Bazemore on the roster. Both can now fight for very, very reserve minutes in the Laker mess, while the Warriors can use Jordan Crawford as an energetic bonus off the pine while Steve Blake steps right in behind Stephen Curry to resume being one of the very best backup point guards in the league. At least the Lakers got something…?…
The 76ers continue to rebuild and Cleveland continues to continue wondering where they should continue to. Since firing GM Chris Grant, they’ve won six in a row. The rumors have reversed from “Kyrie wants out” to “Kyrie seeks long-term plan” and “Luol Deng can’t stand it here” to “Luol Deng warming up to Cleveland.” Whether you’re good or bad this is a trade that the Cavaliers come out with flying colors. I’m a big Spencer Hawes fan yet realize he’s not a great defender or post presence but he finds the ball quite a bit, averaging 8.5 rebounds along with 13 points this season, along with 203 3-point attempts this season and a flattering 40% rate.
The 76ers get two more second round picks, never a guarantee, and they get two contracts that are not guaranteed in 2014-2015.
I remain in shock that this is all it took to get Hawes, even with his contract expiring. Shock.
Luke Ridnour has been and continues to be one the more underrated point guards in the league. Sessions is a fine player himself, but I think Ridnour’s jump shooting ability and just as underrated court vision make him the superior player. And he’s not even the headlining return, but in typical fashion this day in age it’s not because of basketball.
Charlotte turned one backup guard with starting potential into two as they push for one of the final playoff spots in the East, and perhaps even higher to avoid Miami and Indiana in round one. The Bucks draft big men well but boy they sign guards just as bad. This past off-season they gave O.J. Mayo a $24 million dollar contract over three seasons just to see him fall out of the rotation by the new year. Gary Neal was added to the back court for two years and $6.5 million but was immediately at odds with the organization and not surprisingly unhappy with the Bucks league-worst win total after spending his first three seasons with the Spurs. He most definitely is not back in San Antonio or even sniffing the borders, but the Bobcats present a legitimate playoff opportunity for him and also Ridnour.
Sessions, the 56th overall pick by the Bucks in 2007, returns to Milwaukee after spending the past season and a half in Charlotte, preceded by the brief time in the Laker spotlight. Jeff Adrien can sometimes rebound.
I’ve got too big of a fantasy fan base to exclude even the smallest of deals involving the smallest of details. Roger Mason, you sir are a very, very small detail. The Kings have an open roster spot and the Miami Heat wanted to create one, so Shaqramento agrees to take on the contract for a small price just to waive him. Miami dealt Dexter Pittman to Memphis last year in a similar deal, opening up a roster spot that they eventually used on the Birdman.
The semicolons mean that we have our first three team trade of the 2014 deadline! And it’s a doozy with a capital z. A lot of unwanted parts find new homes. The Wizards send Vesely to Denver, officially giving up on their #6 overall pick from the 2011 draft. The Nuggets may have at last found their next Nikoloz Tskitishvili. We can only hope. Andre Miller is at last out of Denver, having not played for the Nuggets in 2014. A buyout would have been the next step, but perhaps Vesely actually does have potential deep inside. Either way, teams are exhaling that Miller wasn’t bought out and likely signed by Miami. The 76ers get involved because Denver didn’t want to acquire Eric Maynor (I remain a fan!) and capitalize with two more 2nd rounders. Sixer fans are ready for their next generation of all these 2nd rounders.
Things just keep getting weirder and weirder for the 2009-2010 Most Improved Player in the NBA. After winning the award for the Rockets in his third season, it’s been downhill without ski poles since. A season and a half later he was traded at the deadline to Phoenix for Goran Dragic and a first round pick. During the lockout he got stuck overseas and upon returning was a Sacramento King. The fire was long gone in Brooks’ player value and ironically he returned to Houston in 2013 in a 6-player deal.
In 2014 Brooks has filled in well when injuries hit starter Patrick Beverley and sometimes-starter Jeremy Lin. In short, he was very, very seldom used. The Rockets swingman position is weaker than recent years, having to shed some salaries of role player to complete their Dwight Howard signing, and Jordan Hamilton is a promising return for a player they weren’t using, seemingly a theme for this Trading Deadline thus far.
Jordan Hamilton almost had my heart. He was a Texas Longhorn and he was originally selected by the Dallas Mavericks in 2011. But he was dealt to Denver right away and has shown some real hot flashes as a Nugget the past two seasons, but also cold flashes. He’s a volume shooter but a very athletic player who could do well with teaching. Still just 23, his quick trigger is perfect for the Rockets current style of play, as the Nuggets find a solid replacement for Nate Robinson as they attempt a very uphill climb at the playoffs.
Okay, all caught up for now. I’ll update as things progress…the deadline is in about 15 minutes and NBATV is on the tube. Let’s see if the Mavericks make a move! Oh, and maybe the 29 others.