Saturday, February 22, 2014

2014 NBA Trade Deadline Review

The trade deadline has come and gone in the NBA, and despite the lack of a major star being dealt, such as Rajon Rondo, many teams still managed to improve either for this season or for the future. Here are the major deals of deadline and grades for the teams that made them:

Trade #1

Indiana Pacers Acquire:
Evan Turner, G/F
Lavoy Allen, F

Philadelphia 76ers Acquire:
Danny Granger, F

This was quite a shock for Pacers fans, as little as two years ago Danny Granger was the franchise. But after his year-long injury in 2012-13, he has been replaced by Paul George as the star of the Pacers. Now, he was expected to be a major role player as a sixth man for the Pacers as they hope to forge deep into the playoffs, and at 30 years old, has been a mentor and leader to many of the younger guys on the team. Turner, on the other hand, would most likely leave via free agency after this season, so the Sixers were hoping to get something for him before then. However, they seemed to have realized there was not a big market for him, so decided to settle for making their team even worse for the stretch run, in hopes of landing the #1 overall pick. The accomplished just that, while the Pacers added a guy who can score in volumes when needed, is more explosive than the much older Granger, and is a versatile player for a team with not much depth off the bench. It is a risk for Indiana though, because Turner had the tendency to disappear with Philly, even when the go-to-guy there. They have to hope Turner can play much more consistently down the stretch for them than he has throughout his career with the Sixers.

Pacers Grade: B
Sixers Grade: B+

Trade #2

Brooklyn Nets Acquire:
Marcus Thornton, G

Sacramento Kings Acquire:
Jason Terry, G
Reggie Evans, F

At only 26 years old, Marcus Thornton is a huge upgrade at backup guard over Jason Terry for the Nets. A tandem of Thornton and Kirilenko off the bench could be dynamic for a Brooklyn team rising in the standings and hoping to make a deep playoff run. Thornton is only averaging 8.3 PPG this year, but his career total is 13.5, and that fall off has to do with his diminished role with the Kings since they drafted Ben McLemore. With a new opportunity and a talented team around him his explosiveness could return quickly. Jason Terry has been a huge disappointment, only scoring 4.5 per game. The Nets thought they could be getting a "JET" off the bench when they got him in the deal with Pierce and Garnett, but as the Nets struggled out of the gate, so did he, except as they improved he didn't. The Nets made a good decision to make an upgrade at a vital position, and they only needed to give up Reggie Evans, who has been terrible in terms of offensive production off the bench (2.7 PPG) and only average in terms of rebounding (5.0 RPG). The Kings received pretty much just made themselves worse with this trade, which could help them in their lottery standing, but is completely contradictory to the trade they made earlier this year for Rudy Gay. The Kings are a troubled franchise, and it only got worse with this trade, while the Nets took a low risk opportunity to improve their bench that has disappointed the entire year.
Nets Grade: A-
Kings Grade: C+

Trade #3

Cleveland Cavaliers Acquire:
Spencer Hawes, C

Philadelphia 76ers Acquire:
Henry Sims, C
Earl Clark, F
2 Second-Round Draft Picks

Spencer Hawes has been having a break-out season, with 12.9 PPG and 8.6 RPG, but apparently the Sixers did not feel he would factor into their future plans. To me it is surprising, because he is versatile and can shoot from the outside, that they could not get a 1st round pick for him. However, they decided to settle for 2 second-rounders, which is a solid haul for a player that everyone seems to underrate, except they will probably not make much out of those picks or the players they got as well. They true purpose for this deal was, like the Evan Turner trade, to get worse and have a better chance at the #1 pick. The Cavs, on the other hand, find themselves in the thick of the playoff race in an incredibly weak Eastern Conference, so adding a player like Hawes off the bench might make them advance a bit farther into the playoffs. However, there is little to no chance that they make it past the Pacers or Heat, so they are likely a second round exit or even earlier. That is not good for the Cavs franchise, and where the Atlanta Hawks have been for the past few years: stuck in the middle. They have to bank on the development on their young players and free agency going forward.

Cavs Grade: B+
Sixers Grade: B

Trade #4

Washington Wizards Acquire:
Andre Miller, G

Denver Nuggets Acquire:
Jan Vesely, F

Philadelphia 76ers Acquire:
Eric Maynor, G
2 Second-Round Draft Picks

The Wizards are in the same position as the Cavs, so they could make a run at the playoffs but are no way good enough to get past the first or maybe the second round. In Miller they acquire an older backup point guard who could instill valuable experience onto the young Wizards roster come playoff time, especially John Wall and Bradley Beal. He has been a disappointment this year, with only 5.9 PPG and 3.3 APG, but this is really more of a depth move for the Wizards with the chance of playing much better with more playing time. The Sixers just keep raking in the draft picks, and could eventually package a bunch together to make things happen with all the picks they have the next few years. They gave up nothing to get the Wizards what they wanted, and got 2 picks out of the deal. The Nuggets wanted to dump Miller's salary, and since he hasn't played well anyway, they gave up little to get a little less plus some cap relief. This deal didn't do much for them, the Wizards gave up a fair amount to get a solid backup, and the Sixers gave up almost nothing to add to their major stock of draft picks. Philly has been very active in trades the last few days, and this is one of them that brings in much more in returns than they gave up.

Wizards Grade: B+
Nuggets Grade: B
Sixers Grade: A

Now, there were certainly other deals this trade deadline, but these four are likely to make the largest impacts going forward for all the teams involved. Of course, all of the big-time rumors never panned out, but it was a little surprising to not see the Boston Celtics make any trades, considering position where they many talented players that don't fit well together, and are looking stockpile picks for the future. The Sixers had a very good deadline, perhaps in the same fashion as the Celtics would have liked to, and seem to be the winners of deadline day at this point. They got rid of salary, gained picks, and got worse, which, in this season of tank-a-palooza, is crucial since they, like so many other teams, have the goal of getting the #1 pick.

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