NBA Trade Deadline: A Recap

NBA Trade Deadline: A Recap

Zander Frost

Has there been a more anticlimactic sporting deadline than the 2013 NBA trade deadline? Two weeks ago, we were talking about potentially seeing Paul Millsap, Josh Smith and Dwight Howard move, and instead we got JJ Redick, Thomas Robinson and the unflappable Sebastian Telfair. We’re talking “ending-of-Lost” disappointment here, folks. This must be how Russia felt after the “Miracle on Ice.”

Perhaps I’m overreacting a bit, but this trade deadline really had a fraction of the impact that fans and commentators thought it would, and that’s exactly what fans should expect from the players that their teams acquired. Bit players moved for bit players who will play bit parts in the 2013 NBA season. This may sound harsh, and I mean no offense to Robinson and Redick, but that’s just the reality of the situation. That said, there’s still plenty to talk about regarding the trades that did or did not

happen last week.

First off, how do you think Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey feels right now? I’d say he should be ashamed for being a war profiteer, picking the meat off the bones of the rotting Sacramento Kings corpse as it is slowly mauled by the combined forces of Seattle and the Maloofs, owners of the Kings, but it’s pretty clear at this point that Morey is about as ‘real’ as NBA GMs get. He managed to swap Patrick Patterson, Toney Douglas, Cole Aldrich and cash considerations for Thomas Robinson, Francisco Garcia and Tyler Honeycutt. Yes, you’re reading that right; he managed to turn a middling rotation player, a backup guard and a benchwarmer into a rookie who was the fifth overall pick in the most recent NBA draft and provided further long-term salary cap relief. It seems as though either the Maloofs are making a pathetic money grab through the included “cash

considerations” and slightly lowered team salary, or Geoff Petrie is incompetent in this particular situation and that is probably why Morey was able to pull off the deal. However, the fact of the matter is Morey made the move, rather than anyone else in the NBA.

Morey has now turned the mess that was last year’s Kyle Lowry, Luis Scola and Kevin Martin team into a run-and-gun ‘League Pass’ favorite that boasts a staggering number of assets. These players include Omer Asik and Jeremy Lin and their below market contracts, James Harden locked up long-term, Chandler Parsons on a dirt cheap second-rounder salary, rookie and fifth overall pick Thomas Robinson and rookies Royce White and Terrence Jones. Couple all of this with the fact that he has plenty of cap room to bring in at least one more elite player

either through trade or free agency, and all of a sudden the Houston Rockets look like they have one of the most promising futures in the Western Conference. The bottom line is that even a boring trade deadline could not stop Daryl Morey from adding to his assets like a kid collecting candy on Halloween, except he probably didn’t have to say “trick-or-treat” to the Maloofs.

One of Morey’s offseason targets might be Josh Smith, a current Atlanta Hawk who was not dealt by Atlanta GM Danny Ferry at the deadline. At this point, Smith pretty clearly wants out of Atlanta and Houston could potentially fit him perfectly into their offense. It seems like a match made in heaven, which begs the question, “Why didn’t Atlanta trade him?” If you head westward, you end up with the same question for the Utah Jazz and their roster that has so many forwards that people are starting to call them the Utah Utah Jazz Jazz (get it, four words?). The quadfecta of Favors, Kanter, Millsap and Jefferson might be the deepest set of big men in the league, but Millsap and Jefferson are blocking the younger duo and limiting their minutes. Their contracts also happen to expire this summer. The Jazz were expected to move either one or both of them to add some guard help that the squad desperately needs, but they also decided to stand pat.

The defense of the Hawks and Jazz here has been that expiring contracts will come off the books and free up cap space, or that they could make a run at the playoffs with their current rosters. There’s obviously some merit to these statements, but I don’t believe either of these teams will be happy with their decisions in the end. Neither the Jazz nor Hawks will win their conference championships this season and there’s a pretty high chance that, due to salary cap constraints, all of their expiring players will walk. If you accept both of these facts to be true, as many people seem to, then it doesn’t make sense to not try to get at least one draft pick for them. This isn’t baseball, so teams don’t receive compensation when free agents leave. This is the NBA, and value can never be allowed to walk without gaining some significant value in return. A first round pick or prospect for each of these teams would look pretty great come July when they lose their players, but that chance has passed and I

believe there will be some regret.

It’s pretty ironic that the most important moves of the trade deadline were non-moves, but that is just how the trade deadline cookie crumbled. Daryl Morey ate

the cookie.

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