3PM Eastern marked the 2012 NBA trade deadline, and while it was expected to be quiet it ended up having a good amount of activity.
Trade season got started a little bit early when the Milwaukee Bucks sent oft-injured center Andrew Bogut and disgruntled shooting guard Stephen Jackson to the Golden State Warriors in exchange for guard Monta Ellis, forward Ekpe Udoh, and injured center Kwame Brown. This deal had positives for both sides: Golden State got the defensive center they coveted to pair with David Lee in Bogut (when healthy) and conveniently got an excuse to tank this season in an effort to keep their first round pick, which is top 7 protected, while the Bucks added punch to their offense in Ellis and a young player in upside with Udoh, as well as getting rid of Jackson. We can’t asses this trade fully until we see a healthy Bogut for the Warriors.
This morning, your very own Sixers surprisingly made a trade, although it was a minor one. They acquired G/F Sam Young from the Memphis Grizzlies in exchange for the rights to Ricky Sanchez, a former 2nd round pick who is playing in Puerto Rico and has yet to come over to the States. Young is a 6’6, 220 lb swingman who is averaging 3.5 PPG and 2.0 RPG in 11.4 MPG. Young’s minutes have dramatically decreased this year, down from his career average of over 17 per game, so the Grizzlies clearly didn’t need him anymore. I’m not sure exactly what Young brings to the Sixers, but at the low price they paid (Sanchez may never come over from Puerto Rico), the deal makes sense. Young figures to be a perimeter defender off the bench, and he could take some of Jodie Meeks’ minutes. Meeks doesn’t give the team much of anything except for 3 point shooting, so if Young can play defense and still provide some semblance of an offensive game off the bench, he’s an upgrade over Meeks on the perimeter for the Sixers. Collins loves having a deep rotation, and this is just another move to bolster that depth.
There were other trades the rest of the day, including the Pacers acquiring Leandro Barbosa from the Raptors for a 2nd round pick. The Pacers get scoring off the bench with this deal, and the Raptors get a piece to rebuild. It made sense for both teams.
One of the bigger trades of the day was the Lakers getting PG Ramon Sessions, along with Christian Eyenga, from the Cavaliers in exchange for their first round pick, Luke Walton, Jason Kapono, and the right to swap the Lakers’ first rounder with the Heat’s 2013 first rounder. The Lakers got the upgrade at point guard they so desperately needed and got to unload Walton’s unseemly contract as a bonus, while the Cavs got a first round pick for their backup point guard as they look to rebuild around Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson. Another good deal for both teams, although taking on Walton’s contract must have been disappointing for Cleveland.
The Nets also made an interesting move, seemingly going all-in for the year by trading F Shawne Williams, C Mehmet Okur, and a future 1st-rounder for Portland SF Gerald Wallace. With Dwight Howard signing his ETO, the Nets have to accept the fact that Dwight Howard won’t be coming to Brooklyn in free agency this summer. They decided to try to surround Williams with as much talent as possible this year in an effort to make the playoffs and convince him not to opt out of his contract at the end of the season. But risking a top-7 pick by dealing that first-rounder to Portland doesn’t make a lot of sense. At best, this team will make the playoffs and lose in the first round to the Bulls or Heat.
Portland wasn’t done with that trade, as they sent center Marcus Camby packing to Houston for a 2nd round pick, PG Jonny Flynn and C Hasheem Thabeet. The Rockets pulled off a steal here, getting a rebounder and shotblocker for 2 failed lottery picks. The Blazers are gambling on potential, but this was another move to initiate their tanking sequence for the second half of the year.
The Warriors flipped recently acquired Stephen Jackson to the Spurs, where he thrived earlier in his career (winning a title) in exchange for the Spurs’ first round pick and SF Richard Jefferson (and his awful contract). This was a good move for both sides: the Spurs got an upgrade at SG (if Jackson’s head is on straight), while the Warriors got a pick to accelerate the rebuilding process.
The Lakers made a surprising move, shipping longtime PG Derek Fisher and a 2012 1st round pick to Houston for C Jordan Hill. Hill gives them frontcourt depth that they’ve been lacking and insurance for the Bynum injury that’s always around the corner, while the Rockets got a 1st round pick (they’ll probably buy out Fisher) for a player who’d been made replacable by the earlier Camby trade.
Probably the most shocking move of the day was the three-way trade between the Wizards, Nuggets, and Clippers. The Wizards acquired PF Nene from the Nuggets and backup PF Brian Cook from the Clippers, along with a draft pick, in exchange for sending C JaVale McGee and PF Ronny Turiaf to the Nuggets and SG Nick Young to the Clippers. The Clippers are the winners, in my mind: they acquired a bona fide upgrade at the SG spot for basically nothing. It was a puzzling move by the Nuggets, as they’d just signed Nene to a big extension this offseason, but McGee has the potential to be an elite center if he responds well to actual coaching from George Karl, which he hasn’t had yet in his career, and this frees up cap space. The Wizards acquire a skilled big man who, while overpaid, can help the development of young PG John Wall while getting rid of 2 of the malcontents on the team that were stunting his growth, so this made sense for them.
The 2012 Trade Deadline, combined with the resignation of Mike D’Antoni in New York, capped off a wild few days for the NBA. There were winners (Clippers, Rockets) and losers (Nets). While the expected blockbuster trades (Rondo, Howard, Gasol) didn’t happen, the deals that occurred today will shape the playoff races in both the Eastern and Western Conferences.