My buddy Will said something funny to me Thursday afternoon as the NBA trade deadline came and went , “there is so much going on at once, it’s crazy.” He and I were combing through a myriad of websites trying to get the latest news, insight and rumors on everything and it was like a whirlwind.
Everyone from Gerald Wallace, O.J. Mayo, Rip Hamilton and Luke Harangody were going to change teams and every bit of news came faster than a Tim Lincecum fastball. It was ADD heaven. 35,000 things happening at once and me hitting the refresh button on my phone just as many times to see what was up.
Now that it’s over I can honestly say that basketball in fully in my lane right now.
I’ll be honest, the NBA season never really starts for me until this time of year. Sure I’ll watch, check out stat lines and complain about the Knicks every so often, but the NBA regular season is like watching week 17 of the NFL season, it’s pointless.
Guys don’t play hard unless it’s a big game and they don’t even make it a secret. The trade deadline however breathes life into the league right after the All-Star game. All these players trying to show out for their new teams and make an impact on the playoff race and hopefully be part of the ultimate goal, winning a title.
As early as Tuesday I found myself becoming engaged in the NBA again with the Carmelo deal and it carried over into Thursday. The league is now front and center in our minds without football controlling the screen and hockey, at least to me, is a close second (as for NASCAR… that’s a whole article by itself. Maybe one day.).
So who made the best deals and which deals should or shouldn’t have happened? Well how about we start with the deals that almost happened but didn’t:
Indiana-Memphis, JoshMcRoberts and a pick for O.J. Mayo
The Pacers needed a second scorer for the injured Mike Dunleavy so they were going to deal a coveted big man for a shot-chucking, trouble-making guard who has been assigned to the bench for most of the season. Don’t they have Lance Stephenson for that? They should be happy that deal got in too late for the league to approve. Mayo would’ve had everyone wanting to stab themselves in the throat.
Cleveland-Detroit, a pick and their trade exemption for Richard Hamilton
Detroit has been trying to unload Hamilton since before Gucci Mane got an ice cream cone tatted on his face. The Cavs made sense for the pick and the trade exemption except they forgot a few things; one, Rip’s agent is Leon Rose… also LeBron’s agent (oops!), two, Rip Hamilton has become an unconscionable cancer and vetoed the deal even though he’s trapped on Detroit’s bench leading his own version of the French Revolution.
(Thought on that. I know John Kuester isn’t the guy for the Pistons, but you don’t disrespect your coach like that. Screaming at him or berating your coach is despicable as well as leading your version of an uprising. If I were Kuester I would’ve told Hamilton, T-Mac and whoever else was involved to hit the bricks. Period.)
Denver-Dallas, J.R. Smith for a draft pick
Dallas wanted some extra scoring off of the bench and were looking into trading for the most confusing player in the league. It wouldn’t shock me if the Nuggets were willing to accept a psychologist as its only compensation.
Now the trades that did happen.
HOUSTON-PHOENIX, AARON BROOKS FOR GORAN DRAGIC
What I liked: Phoenix gets Steve Nash’s replacement when he dips for New York this off-season.
What I didn’t like: Houston just traded for the same thing… oh, and this was Phoenix’s way of saying see ya Steve.
Afterthought: why wasn’t Nash traded? You mean some team like Orlando couldn’t put together a package for a player that was on his way out of town?
HOUSTON-MEMPHIS, SHANE BATTIER AND COMPENSATION FOR HASHEEM THABEET AND A PICK
Liked: Memphis is serious about a playoff run and added some defense for the run and it only cost them Thabeet who was a bust in Memphis.
Didn’t Like: Houston was rumored to be sending Battier to Boston, Thabeet was better than anything Boston had? Um… ok?
Afterthought: Houston had a franchise center in Yao Ming and now has to bank its future in the middle on Thabeet who was worse than anyone anticipated… Hakeem Olajuwon is shaking his head right now.
BOSTON-CLEVELAND, LUKE HARANGODY AND SEMIH ERDEN FOR A 2ND ROUND PICK
Liked: Cleveland gets some good inside help and furthers its rebuilding process.
Didn’t Like: aren’t you supposed to have as many big bodies as possible Boston?
AT: Boston must really be banking on Shaq’s return with this deal and one that will be mentioned later.
BOSTON-SACRAMENTO, MARQUIS DANIELS FOR A 2017 2ND ROUND PICK
Didn’t Like: eh.
AT: really… 2017!?!?!
CHARLOTTE-OKC, NAZR MOHAMMED FOR TWO RARELY USED GUYS
Like: OKC gets the playoff philosophy, size matters.
Didn’t like: its Nazr Mohammed… don’t expect much.
AT: OKC addressed its size issues big time before the deadline, even if Mohammed is a stiff.
CHARLOTTE-PORTLAND, GERALD WALLACE FOR 3 PLAYERS AND TWO PICKS
Liked: love this trade for Portland. You get more rebounding help and a player that does what Brandon Roy does if Roy can’t play as much as he can with two bad knees.
Didn’t Like: POTENTIALLY 5 PLAYERS FOR GERALD WALLACE?! People are trading away draft picks from this draft because no one likes it but the price was a little steep for me.
AT: speaking of this draft I don’t like how people are undervaluing it. It doesn’t look strong but there are lots of gems here. Portland and other teams are practically giving away picks for players that could add some real depth for them in the future. I’m not so sure people should be sleeping on this draft so early.
OKC-BOSTON, JEFF GREEN AND NENAD KRSTIC FOR KENDRICK PERKINS AND NATE ROBINSON
Liked: wow… didn’t see this coming. OKC gets a championship caliber big man to help them deal with the Lakers and Boston gets a really good perimeter defender to help deal with LeBron and Carmelo.
Didn’t Like: if you’re Boston why trade every big man on your roster? I know Perk has bad knees and is coming up on free agency, but battle-tested big men don’t come along every day. The depth that they had in the middle was a big reason that they were favored to win the NBA title, but now they’re left with just Shaq, Krstic and maybe Jermaine O’Neal… is that enough to win a title?
AT: though I don’t agree with trading Perk I do like the Green acquisition. If the C’s resign him then they get some much need youth on their roster and they keep with defensive strategy going into the future. Plus Shaq, Krstic and Jermaine may still be enough to beat Miami in the middle.
LAC-CLEVELAND, BARON DAVIS AND A 1ST ROUND PICK FOR MO WILLIAMS AND JAMARIO MOON
Liked: Cleveland gets a lottery pick, which may turn into Derrick Williams or Terrance Jones
Didn’t Like: Baron Davis will not play hard… trust me.
AT: you think not a day rolls by that Baron Davis hates Elton Brand more and more for tricking him into coming to the Clippers?
NEW JERSEY-UTAH, DEVIN HARRIS, DERRICK FAVORS, TWO 2011 1ST ROUND PICKS FOR DERON WILLIAMS
Liked: yeah, didn’t see this coming. Jersey gets its player to build around when it gets to Brooklyn and Utah loads up on young talent.
Didn’t Like: here’s what I’ve never been able to understand about the Nets plan for trading for a superstar… when you give away picks and two serviceable players for one guy what’s left there? You want to know why Carmelo wouldn’t sign Jersey’s extension? Because it would be him, Brook Lopez and Jay-Z and that’s it. Same for Williams. I know you want a marquee name to build around but you can’t do that with nothing to work with. The Nets are shooting themselves in the foot because they might not be able to bring free agents there and D-Will might be gone in 2012.
AT: was it worth forcing Jerry Sloan to retire D-Will? Not saying you had a hand in it… but I’m saying…
NEW ORLEANS-SACRAMENTO, MARCUS THORNTON FOR CARL LANDRY
Liked: Landry gets out of power forward hell and Thornton gets out before Chris Paul dips.
Didn’t Like: Mark Cuban was ticked that the NBA allowed the deal to go through even though the salaries were far apart, can’t blame him.
AT: Can we please move this team out of New Orleans and to Pittsburgh? Come on.
TORONTO-CHICAGO, FIRST ROUND PICK FOR JAMES JOHNSON
Liked: the Bulls originally were going to use the pick to get Courtney Lee. Now they’ll get a high draft pick. Thanks eh.
Didn’t Like: Demar Derozan probably can’t wait to get the hell out of Toronto.
AT: potential Bulls options in the draft with Toronto’s pick: John Henson, Jordan Hamilton, Terrance Jones, Derrick Williams, and Enes Kanter… Derrick Rose just got happier.
NEW YORK-DENVER, DANILO GALINARI, RAY FELTON, WILSON CHANDLER, TIMOFEY MOZGOV AND THREE PICKS FOR CARMELO ANTHONY AND CHAUNCEY BILLUPS
Liked: my favorite player on my favorite team, win- win.
Didn’t Like: in the end the Knicks gave up Jordan Hill, four draft picks and a boatload of talent to get Carmelo. As much as I love Melo I hated parting with Gallo and Mozgov. I’ve seen Galinari grow into an aggressive very talented offensive player and I’ve seen Mozgov’s potential. The deal leaves the Knicks short on big men and on shooters, which is essential in D’Antoni’s system. In the long run I think the Knicks will benefit from the deal, but to get to this point I think the process was way too long and cost us way too much.
AT: the fact that people are saying the Carmelo isn’t and elite player is funny to me. The guy won a national title in college, led the Nuggets to success that they’ve never seen and is a premier scorer and attraction in the league. Yet many people question his credentials. You don’t get players like Carmelo in the league every day. Maybe these feelings popped up thanks to that ongoing soap opera that was going on, but make no mistake, Melo is one of the top 5 players in the league. That’s why teams were willing to give up so much to get because they knew their offense would get a huge spike in production. Also, what’s lost in all of this is the fact that Melo wants to play in the bright lights of New York and wants all of the attention that comes with it.
Sure he’s going along with the super friends’ routine that is now popular in the league, but instead of going to a place where he can play without too much pressure he goes to the mother of all pressure cookers. All eyes are on Melo and he’s up for the challenge. He’s already brought the Garden back to life with one game and hope now arises with him and Amar’e Stoudemire running the show in the Mecca of basketball.
A little over the top? Well, yeah, I’m a New Yorker what do you expect.
This is what most fans expect after their teams make these deals. They want wins, championships and glory and the trade deadline enhances them by 20. Now that it’s over let’s see if it actually works.