Instant Trade Analysis: NBA trade deadline deals

The 76ers trade everyone, control the second round of the draft
Indiana Pacers get: G/F Evan Turner, PF Lavoy Allen
Philadelphia 76ers get: SF Danny Granger, second round pick
Cleveland Cavaliers get: F/C Spencer Hawes
Philadelphia 76ers get: F Earl Clark, C Henry Sims, two second round picks
Washington Wizards get: PG Andre Miller
Denver Nuggets get: PF Jan Vesely
Philadelphia 76ers get: Eric Maynor, two second round picks
In what turned out to be the biggest deal of the day, Larry Bird resuscitated an otherwise tame trade deadline like a last second three-pointer from the corner.
The Pacers finally cut bait with their longest tenured player, sending the ineffective and still recovering Granger (and his expiring $14 million dollar deal) to the tank-happy Sixers, who traded two of their best four players today in separate deals. To “get” Granger, Philly dealt back-up big Lavoy Allen and former second overall pick Evan Turner, the Ohio State star who was selected in the 2010 Draft over the likes of DeMarcus Cousins, Derrick Favors, Greg Monroe and Paul George, amongst others.
The goal for Indiana was quite simple–to get the versatile Turner who can play both guard and forward positions, handle the ball and get to the rim with some ease. While Turner isn’t a great shooter (just .288 from beyond the arc), nor is he the type of offensive spark plug off the bench, in the mold of Jamal Crawford or Manu Ginobili, he’s a solid passer and a professional hand to have on the floor. He’s an upgrade over the immobile Granger, who’s been pretty awful this year after sitting out nearly all of last season with knee troubles. Again, Turner isn’t exactly going to light the world on fire, but at this point, he’s like a very poor man’s Lance Stephenson….who was picked 38 spots later in the same draft. Four years ago, I could have never envisioned typing that last sentence while clear and sober. I like this move for Indiana, as Turner is an expiring contract that they could very well re-up in the case that “Born Ready” leaves.

In a separate deal, the Cavaliers nabbed Spencer Hawes from Philly, which completes the notion that Cleveland is in no way giving up on the season. The Cavs are a pitiful 22-33, but just three games out of the 8-seed and on a six game winning streak. Things have come together after a season of stunted development from their youngsters and in-fighting amongst the locker room personnel, with the team’s enormous wealth of talent finally bubbling to the surface. Hawes will be a useful piece for Cleveland and should be everything that 2013 number one overall pick Anthony Bennett is not: a deft shooter from long range (.398 3P%), a feisty rebounder, a spot-up bomber and most importantly, not fat. He’ll share minutes with Anderson Varejao, Tristan Thompson and Tyler Zeller and hopefully provide the type of floor spacing none of those guys were really able to give the Cavs. Like the move for Indy, I like this for the Cavaliers, only in that it helps them accomplish what they want to do. Hawes could be the type of player to help keep their momentum moving into a low playoff seed and an ignominious sweep at the hands of the Heat or Pacers. I’m not here to judge the goals–just how their moves support them. Though that goal is fucking stupid.

In yet another deal, the Washington Wizards finally got their back-up point guard in the exiled Professor, Andre Miller. The Zardos had been depending on a combination of Eric Maynor and Garrett Temple all year, and looking at your furrowed brow right now, I’d say that the duo wasn’t doing jack shit. Miller will come off the bench behind John Wall and provide a very different look with his slow down game, unbelievable arsenal of post moves (seriously) and hopefully, veteran playoff know-how. Former sixth overall pick in 2011, Jan Vesely, sees his time in Washington mercifully end with a new home in Denver. The Nuggets learned earlier today that JAVALE MCGEE will be out for the season with a stress fracture, upping their need for another big man, no matter how incompetent he may be. Philly’s part in the deal was absorbing Maynor’s $2 million dollar salary, for which they received two second rounders. Two of their FIVE they received today.

In case you didn’t realize it already, the Sixers want to make it really clear: they intend to be really bad for the rest of the year. Like, really, really bad. With this transaction, Philly has now disposed of their leading and fourth-leading scorers, their best rebounder and their best big off the bench. In return, they’ll be getting three of the most disappointing players of the 2013-2014 season in Granger, Maynor and Earl Clark, each of which have fallen far below their meager expectations for production. The best players on the team will now be Granger–supposing he doesn’t get bought out, that is–rookie Michael Carter-Williams, Thaddeus Young and either Tony Wroten or Clark. Whichever way you cut it, that is a giant turd sandwich.

Philadelphia is rebuilding, so their only goals before the deadline were to grab as many non-player assets as humanly possible and make sure the team improves its ability to get the first overall pick in the upcoming draft by being extremely awful. They did both today, and very well at that.

Golden State Warriors get: PG Steve Blake

Los Angeles Lakers get: G Kent Bazemore, SG MarShon Brooks

Let’s dispell some misinterpretations here: this was mostly a salary dump, but not completely in regards to the Lakers. Yes, they saved $2 million on payroll and likely $2 million more in luxury taxes. Yes, Blake was still a productive player, while Bazemore and Brooks have been unused and ineffective. The point of this deal was largely to save the Lakers a bit of change in a lost season.

However, as has been the point of this entire season for LA, this deal brings on two more guys that the team is auditioning to see who will be a part of the next incarnation of the Lake Show. Bazemore and Brooks are both just 24 and in some ways similar to other incumbent projects and reclamations such as Xavier Henry, Wesley Johnson and Kendall Marshall. MarShon is the most obvious of the two, a third year swingman who once averaged 12 ppg for last version of the New Jersey Nets. He’s a scorer, plain and simple, like a Nick Young without the swag, shooting splits or charm. Brooks looks most natural taking the ball off the dribble and pulling up for a mid-range shot, or driving through traffic in the lane, both signs that perhaps he could again be a productive NBA player. If anyone is going to help him reach his potential, it’s the walking Lazarus Pit of NBA guards, Mike D’Antoni. Bazemore too has some skills, mostly in his gigantic wingspan, solid athleticism and ability to handle the ball, but in my mind is the lesser “prospect” of the two (if indeed we even want to use that word).

For the price of a point guard that wasn’t helping the Lakers do anything besides remain competitive in a 58-loss season, seeing what Brooks and Bazemore can do is probably worth the gamble. This trade opens up more time to evaluate Jordan Farmar, who is a free agent at the end of the season and perhaps worthy of a multi-year extension.

Golden State gets a very solid back-up point guard in Blake, who has been playing fantastic this year despite an elbow injury that sidelined him for weeks. If he can stay on the floor, he’ll be a great playoff contributor for the Dubs.

More noteworthy is probably the moves the Lakers didn’t make, which include the non-trades of Chris Kaman, Jordan Hill and Pau Gasol. In regards to the two former men, this was most likely the case of the front office not being able to find anyone who would send assets for either man. In fact, there have been rumors that teams like the Brooklyn Nets wanted to receive assets in addition to the player, knowing that the Lakers would be saving money if they were able to deal Hill and/or Kaman. In Jordan’s case, the team will have more time to gauge his value going into free agency. Meanwhile, Kaman could be headed towards a buy-out if and when his teammates get healthy.

I’ve been writing for (literally) years that dealing Gasol would be a very tricky proposition. He’s 33 years old with sizeable defensive deficiencies on an expiring and massive $19 million dollar deal, coming from a team that does not want to take on much salary going forward. Trading him was going to be very difficult, no matter what the situation. It seems like the Lakers would rather keep him and his cap figure that will come off the books and try to sign-and-trade him later this summer. This, like the Hill and Kaman non-deals, I have no problem with. With the trade deadline gone, hopefully the Lakers fanbase can use the remaining 28 games to celebrate the man who helped win three Western Conference titles and two NBA Championships.

Charlotte Bobcats get: PG Luke Ridnour, G Gary Neal

Milwaukee Bucks get: PG Ramon Sessions, F Jeff Adrien

The offense-poor Bobcats get two solid shooters and ball-handlers in Ridnour and Neal, while the NBA-worst Bucks save a bit of money on their pitiful campaign.

I would type more, but I get the feeling you wanted to read this analysis just about as much as I wanted to write it.

Brooklyn Nets: SG Marcus “Li’l Buckets” Thornton

Sacramento Kings get: PG Jason Terry, PF Reggie Evans

First and foremost, “Li’l Buckets” might be my favorite nickname in the NBA, for all reasons ironic.

The Nets get a little more offensive punch off the bench, as Thornton is the type of explosive reserve scorer that Brooklyn thought they were getting in Terry. He’s a gunner from all angles of the court and a historically solid shooter from long, though his .318 3P% this season doesn’t show it. He doesn’t play great defense, but hopefully BK’s slowdown scheme somewhat masks his deficiencies on that end.

Sacto might actually get the better of the deal here in that they now have yet another adult in the room. JET is one of the league’s most respected veterans, a 2011 NBA champion who can hopefully help set the somewhat clashing alchemy of personalities in the Kings’s locker room at ease. Though Reggie Evans and his psychosis might offset this a bit, it’s a smart move on Sacramento’s part to get more veteran leadership with a team full of young talent that hasn’t been able to translate that to on-court success.

The salaries in this deal are almost a wash, so the financial ramifications are minimal for either team. The Nets are hovering around $200 million in payroll for the year, so Thornton’s salary is a relative pittance compared to the bloated corpses contracts also on the roster.



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