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A couple of trades were made just before the deadline yesterday. None of which were of the blockbuster variety. Some teams got better. Others got worse. Some teams just stayed the same, which isn't a good thing.
Let's start with the three team, 11 player trade involving the Bulls, Cavs, and Supersonics. The Cavs received Joe Smith, Ben Wallace, Delonte West and Wally Szczerbiak. Lebron asked for help and got it. Or did he? He gets a shooter in Wally Szczerbiak, but that's about it. Wally is a limited basketball making eight figures. He can shoot the three with the best of them and come off screens to catch shoot too. But he can't play defense. He can't guard his own shadow. Would you have him guard Ray Allen or Paul Pierce or Hedo Turkoglu? What about Rashard Lewis? The Cavs will definitely miss Ira Newble's defense and hustle. But Lebron got the offense he has been asking for, albeit in a limited player like Szczerbiak. Joe Smith is a good pick up. A good veteran presence in the frontcourt. Can hit the occasional three and the 15 footer. Good post up game. Rebounds well. His defense is solid and hustles too. Smith is a slightly better player than Gooden because he brings it every night. Delonte West was a need because of the absence of Daniel Gibson. West can spread the floor with his three point shooting and likes to play the passing lanes. He doesn't penetrate as often as he should given his body type. Not a good one-on-one defender either. That could be a problem in the playoffs. So for the most part, the Cavs traded in perimeter defense for offense. Pavlovic and Varejao are still injured, but should soon return in the coming weeks. Who is going to be the go-to player when Lebron is seeing double teams? Probably Lebron. Will Lebron guard other team's best player? IMO, the Cavs were just fine before the trade. They only had to make minor changes. Now they may not even be a fastbreaking team anymore or a team that can get up and down the floor. Perimeter defense will be a major issue. I wouldn't be shocked if they are ousted in the first round.
The Bulls may have gotten better because of this trade. They will definitely have options this summer in the trade market. A blockbuster trade is possible. But let's focuse on the here and now. The Bulls acquired Larry Hughes, Cedric Simmons, Shannon Brown, and Drew Gooden. Larry Hughes is a slasher who can finish at the rim. Plays solid on the ball defense. Can occasionally hit the three, although he has gotten a lot more consistent this year. Can get to the line with regularity, if choose to bang with the big boys. He tends to shy away from contact at times. Hughes is definitely injury prone but has been healthy this year. He will compliment Luol Deng with his drive and dish game. With his acquisition, Ben Gordon is definitely gone this summer. His minutes will probably take a hit again, along with Kirk Hinrich. Cedric Simmons hasn't been given adequate minutes to become something useful. So he might keep the bench warm for the rest of the players. He does have good athleticism, rebounds well, and plays ok defense or at least really tries to play defense. Simmons should be given a shot. He might become useful if the Bulls commit to him. Shannon Brown is a sleeper. His decision making is terrible, which is why Mike Brown refuses to play. But he can shoot and score the basketball. I guess Cleveland didn't have the patience to teach him the ropes. Shannon Brown can become a potent scorer for the Bulls if given playing time. His defense isn't his calling card either. Brown will be a free agent this summer. He'll definitely find a job. Drew Gooden is a solid basketball player. Rebounds really well. Has an adequate post game and an inconsistent 15 foot jumpshot. Doesn't rotate on defense all that well, but his one-on-one defense is average. Gooden, along with Tyrus Thomas, Joakim Noah, and Cedric Simmons can form one of the most athletic frontcourts in the league. I think it's a good trade for the Bulls. They have a lot of versatility and can attack their opponents in different forms. The club can definitely improve their team in the off season via trades. Larry Hughes may make Gordon expendable and Andres Nocioni. They may even make the playoffs and face the Cavs. Talk about full circle.
The Supersonics get what they've getting in their trades and that's expiring contracts. Ira Newble and Adrian Griffin aren't in the long term plans. Donyell Marshall has another year left on his contract. Any of the three players might be bought out of their contracts. Ira Newble could return to the Cavs, which would be great news for Lebron. But somehow, I doubt that happens. The SuperSonics may keep them for their veteran presence as Newble and Griffin are very professional players. Donyell Marshall just screams buyout to me. Seattle didn't get much, but they got what they wanted and that's cap space.
Another trade that happen was between the Rockets and the Timberwolves. The Rockets received Gerald Green in exchange for Kirk Snyder and a second round draft choice. Green is an athletic player who Kobe Bryant said he reminds him of himself when he was younger. Can play the two or three spot. Shoots the three well. Can take his man off the dribble and finish strong at the basket. There are questions about his defense. Maybe Shane Battier can show Green the ropes on that end of the floor. The former slam dunk champion gives the Rockets another scoring option. Good trade for the Rockets.
The Timberwolves got a disgruntled player and a second round pick for a player who has unlimited potential. Kirk Snyder was probably pissed when he found out he was traded to Minnesota. I guess that's what happens to mediocre players who whine about playing time. What was Kevin McHale thinking when he made this trade? At least get something of value for a player like Gerald Green.
Here is an under the radar trade between the Nuggets and Blazers. The Nuggets acquired Taurean Green for Von Wafer. Taurean Green is a pass first point guard the Nuggets have been wanting since the start of the season. Green is a little smallish by NBA standards. He can put the ball on the floor and create his own shot. His defense is average because of his lateral movement being average. But he's a natural leader and experienced at winning, given that he has two NCAA Championship rings to show for it. He can finish at the basket despite his size. His decision making is questionable and jumpshot is a little inconsistent. He could be quite the sleeper and the player that the Nuggets have been looking. He should come off the bench and be paired with JR Smith. Not bad pick up for the Nuggets, if it works out.
The Blazers just wanted a roster spot. Von Wafer hasn't lived up to the hype. He's a shoot first and answer questions later type of a player. An atrocious decision maker and passer. Doesn't play defense at all. No wonder he fitted in so well with the Nuggets. For the Blazers though, he'll just keep the bench warm while in a nice suit.
The Detroit Pistons and Toronto Raptors swapped players. The Detroit Pistons received Juan Dixon for Primoz Brezec. Juan Dixon gives them a veteran back up guard who can play the one or two fairly well. Can provide instant offense, especially alongside Rodney Stuckey. His on the ball defense is average, but plays the passing lanes very well. It's a low risk trade for the Pistons. Brezec hasn't been getting playing time either. Depth for depth best describes this trade.
Raptors get another capable body and he may actually get playing time. He has some offensive skills. An ok passer and can hit the 15 footer. He's a solid rebounder if given playing time. All in all, the Raptors will have flexibility this summer, because of all of their expiring contracts amount to $10+ million coming off the books. Not bad for a team head to the playoffs.
Who are the losers at the trade deadline? How about the Nuggets? A team in desperate need of a defensive wingman was hesitant to trade for Ron Artest after their two franchise players publicly approved the trade. So the Nuggets will continue to play offense and no defense. The Nuggets had a defensive wingman in Bobby Jones, but decided they didn't need him. Obviously, they were wrong. It's possible that Bobby Jones could be acquired after his 10 day contract expires, but that doesn't seem likely. The Nuggets are looking at a first round exit again because they wouldn't include Linas Kleiza in a deal for Ron Artest. Their own is already shelling tons of money, they might as well go all-in. Poor Isiah Thomas. He just can't do anything right. Well, that's not true. He can draft players really well. That's where it ends. Thomas should've shed some payroll, but decided to stand pat. Thomas should've pushed for a trade that would've sent Eddy Curry to the Heat for one of their expiring contracts. But he's too busy deflecting blame upon his players and the media. When will he be fired? Probably never. How about Pat Riley? He has two expiring contracts and didn't trade either of them. Shawn Marion isn't opting out because he knows he won't make that type of money in free agency, which means the Heat may still be over the cap next year. Riley should've taken a chance on Eddy Curry. Or what about sending one of the expiring contracts to Seattle for Chris Wilcox or Nick Collison. What about trading Haslem to Orlando for their expiring contracts and a first round draft pick. I wonder what D-Wade is thinking right now.
This has been one of the most trade deadlines in recent memory. I guess we can thank
Jerry West Mitch Kupchak for that. Any predictions on who is going to win the championship as a result of all of these trades? My money is on the Lakers, although it's tough to against the Spurs.