The NBA Corner: 2012 Trade Deadline Roundup
The biggest prize of this year's deadline is like that girl at the bar that you chat up all night and seems to be really into you, but when the bar is closing she can't decide if she wants to go home with you or go with her friends. Ideally, she'd love to do both but that's an impossibility. She spends so much time being indecisive while you're getting yelled at by the bouncer that you really don't even care anymore. You want her to go with you, but if she doesn't, you'll just go get a slice of pizza and go home. You just want her to make up her damn mind.
Howard did the same thing this week. He said he wanted to be traded to the New Jersey Nets. Then, he told his teammates he was "all-in" for th rest of the season but that he would go to the Nets over the summer so that they would not lose any assets trading for him. Shortly after that, he gave a late night interview to RealGM.com in which he admitted he had been getting bad advice and wanted to stay in Orlando and waive his Early Termination Option (ETO). Of course, he promptly changed his mind. Then, he changed it again. And again. Ultimately, he did decide to waive his clause and he will be in Orlando next season...when we'll get to go through all of this again.
And people say Chris Bosh is too emo. At least he was man enough to leave without looking back. Apparently, Howard loves Orlando but Adidas and his agent want him in a bigger market. That argument still makes no sense to me. It's 2012. Who is not aware of Dwight Howard but will be if he plays in NY or LA? By the way, how's that scenario working out for Carmelo Anthony?
In his quest to not be LeBron James, Howard comes off looking like a guy that can't make up his mind. (By the way, whomever was the first person to call his scenario "The Indecision" deserves a cookie.) If the Magic don't get significantly better this summer, he'll pull this same stunt. Meanwhile, he continues to not dominate and not win anything.
So forget Howard. He receive enough attention this week. Let's look at deals that actually happened.
The Deals That Don't Matter
Every trade deadline yields trades that are the equivalent of dropping two pennies in that little cup on the side of the register at Dunkin' Donuts. They're meaningless, but you'd rather give them away than hear them jangle in your pocket. Here are a few of those:
- The Philadelphia 76ers trade the rights to F Ricky Sanchez to the Memphis Grizzlies in exchange for G/F Sam Young
The Sixers are my team and I don't care about this. Ricky Sanchez is still playing in Puerto Rico and may never come to the NBA. Sam Young has been averaging 11 minutes per game for Memphis. He's 26 but looks 52. That's the extent of my knowledge (and caring) about this trade.
- The Toronto Raptors trade G Leandro Barbosa to the Indiana Pacers for a 2012 2nd round draft choice and cash
Barbosa is a fine player, but he'll never be as good in the NBA as he is in the international game. The Pacers could surprise some people in the playoffs, but I thought that before they made this deal. It's not like Barbosa will make Indiana a threat to Miami or Chicago.
- The Portland Trailblazers fire coach Nate McMillan and waive C Greg Oden
This is just sad...and I'm not even talking about Oden. McMillan was fired for what he was hired to do: coach. Raymond Felton and Jamal Crawford - two NBA losers that couldn't reach the Finals if they had a 3 - 0 series lead and a fifteen point lead after the 3rd quater - "orchestrated a mutiny" to overthrow McMillan because he <GASP!> pointed out the deficiencies in their games during a film session. The nerve of that guy! And he probably wanted them to play hard. The Blazers are no longer the Jailblazers, but the loss of Brandon Roy has left a gaping hole of leadership on that team. Every year, it looks like Portland is close to doing damage and then they self-destruct. I bet McMillan is happy to be out of there. For Oden, it's a shame but the team has supported him throughout his injury-plagued career and at some piont you have to cut your losses. I'm pretty sure he'll get another shot somewhere.
- Threeway: The Denver Nuggets traded F Nene to the Washington Wizards; The Los Angeles Clippers traded Brian Cook and a future 2nd round pick to the Wizards; The Nuggets received C JaVale McGee and F/C Ronny Turiaf; The Clippers received G Nick Young
I can't imagine George Karl is excited about losing an inside presence like Nene, let alone trying to coach a head case like McGee. The Clippers probably made out the best of the bunch, receiving a guard to replace Chauncey Billups but let's be honest - Nick Young is no Chauncey Billups.
- The Portland Trailblazers traded C Marcus Camby to the Houston Rockets in exchange for G Jonny Flynn, C Hasheem Thabeet and a 2012 2nd round pick
I have no clue what Portland is trying to do. Camby isn't nearly the same player that dominated at UMass, but he's a strong defensive presence and does the dirty things (like help-side defense) that most players can't - or won't - do. While I like Flynn's game and think he could be decent, he's been pretty useless thus far. Thabeet, meanwhile, is a lost cause. I think I could drop 20 on him at a YMCA game. Camby is on the final year of his deal and I'm assuming Houston wants to play a mini-twin towers defense with him and Samuel Dalembert. I get it from Houston's point - they rid themselves of two noncontributors and also acquire a defensive-minded veteran that will be off their books this summer. For Portland, not so much.
The Deals That Matter
Here come the fun ones.
- The Los Angeles Lakers traded F Luke Walton, F Jason Kapono, and a 2012 1st round draft pick to the Cleveland Cavaliers in exchange for G Ramon Sessions and F Christian Eyenga
- The Los Angelese Lakers traded G Derek Fisher and a 2012 1st round draft pick (acquired from the Dallas Mavericks in the Lamar Odom trade) to the Houston Rockets for F Jordan Hill
The Lakers just got a lot younger and a lot less white. Everyone saw how much trouble Fisher had with quick point guards the past couple of years and Sessions, an athletic player, will be able to stay in front of the better PG's in the league. For Fisher, it's the end of an era. Many people forget that he played for the Golden State Warriors and the Utah Jazz for a period of time because he feels like he's been with the Lakers forever. In reality, he started with Kobe in 1996 and he was one of Phil Jackson's favorite players. Mike Brown's focus is on defense and Fisher can no longer play it at a high level. I really wonder what this will do to Bryant. Fisher is the only guy in that locker room that could really get through to Kobe and now that he's gone, I have a feeling #24 could go rogue like Rambo in First Blood: Part II. While I think Sessions is a good player, I don't think he makes them good enough to overtake Oklahoma City and if that's the case, can you justify giving up both of your first round picks this year? The Lakers are never afraid to roll the dice and it usually works for them, but this isn't the home run most fans were expecting.
- The Portland Trailblazers traded F Gerald Wallace to the New Jersey Nets in exchange for C Mehmet Okur, F Shawne Williams, and a 2012 1st round draft pick.
Now this is a trade that makes sense for both teams. Portland gets some size that it lost in the Camby deal as well as a draft pick. The Blazers are in a weird sort of purgatory so nothing short of getting a superstar would have changed their fortunes too much. Meanwhile, Wallace has been struggling a bit in Portland and he is a scorer that can help take some of the load off Deron Williams. While it's not the Dwight Howard splash, Wallace is a good move for the Nets. I could realistically see he and Williams as the new decade's Jason Kidd and Richard Jefferson. He may not be enough to keep D-Will in the fold, but I'd rather have Gerald Wallace than Shawne Williams or Okur.
- The Milwaukee Bucks traded C Andrew Bogut and G/F Stephen Jackson to the Golden State Warriors for G Monta Ellis, F Ekpe Udoh, and C Kwame Brown
- The Golden State Warriors traded G/F Stephen Jackson to the San Antonio Spurs for F Richard Jefferson, the rights to G T.J. Ford, and a conditional 2012 1st round draft pick
I have no clue what Golden State is doing. Fortunately, I'm not the only one. I know they wanted to get bigger (hence the trade for Bogut), but trade Ellis, the team's best bargaining chip, for what amounted to an over-the-hill Richard Jefferson with an icky contract? If the Bucks can find a way to make it work with Ellis and Brandon Jennings, they could do some things. We all know Kwame Brown is useless, but Udoh could turn out to be a pretty decent force in the middle. The winner of this whole thing, as usual, is San Antonio. Stephen Jackson played great for them and Gregg Popovich feels like he has a connection with him and can reach him (much like Phil Jackson and Dennis Rodman). Jackson's teammates love him and while he isn't the athletic freak he was five years ago, he does the things that fit with the Spurs. The Alamodome is starting to look like the host of an AARP convention but San Antonio had the number-one seed heading into the playoffs last year and Jefferson was a major reason Memphis was able to take them out. I'm not saying Stephen Jackson can bring Coach Pop his fifth title, but the Spurs are in much better shape than they were a few days ago.
Pierzy writes a weekly NBA column during the season, as well as columns revolving around other sports, hip-hop, movies, TV shows, food, beer, marriage, (impending) fatherhood, and a variety of other topics. You can follow him on Twitter here.