Thursday, February 21, 2008

NBA Trade Deadline Analysis

Trade #1

San Antonio gets Kurt Thomas
Seattle gets Francisco Elson, Brent Barry, 2009 1st rd pick

I love this trade for both teams. Tim Duncan gets solid frontline help to go along with Fabricio Oberto. Now, the Spurs have a solid 3-man frontcourt to defend the West's big men like Boozer, Stoudemire, Shaq, Yao, and Dirk. Elson has fallen out of the rotation in favor of Matt Bonner, while Barry has been in and out of the lineup all year with injuries. In Barry's absence, Ime Udoka's improving play off the bench made Barry expendable.

Seattle gets rid of Thomas, an older veteran, to make way for younger players like Nick Collison, Robert Swift, and Johan Petro. They especially want to see what Swift can do, as he has just recently returned from injury. The Sonics get two expiring contracts in return as well as a late 1st rd pick. This continues their rebuilding process around Kevin Durant and Jeff Green.

Trade #2

New Orleans gets Bonzi Wells, Mike James
Houston gets Bobby Jackson, Adam Haluska, 2nd-rd pick, draft rights to Sergei Lishouk
Grizzlies get Marcus Vinicius, draft rights to Malick Badiane, cash considerations

I absolutely love what the Hornets have done here. In Tuesday's post, I called for New Orleans to get guard help and they did. They traded away Jackson, an undersized shooting guard, for Bonzi Wells, a big guard who can score in bunches. I think he might even start over Morris Peterson by the playoffs. If Wells can come anywhere close to what he did for the Kings in the 2006 Playoffs (23.2, 12.0 rpg), he will be well worth the acquisition. James will step in as Chris Paul's backup. He has proven he can score in the playoffs and his dogged defender. The Hornets have greatly improved their depth in this trade while giving up nothing of significant value.

Trade #3

Detroit gets Juan Dixon
Toronto gets Primoz Brezec

This trade really doesn't change either team much. Yet, I'm still confused over the intent. Detroit has a player much like Dixon sitting on their inactive list (Flip Murray). Why not just activate Murray and stash Brezec on the IL? Both players involved have expiring contracts so there was no need to clear cap space. I tend to question Dumars on his drafting, but his trades are usually pretty smart. This one leaves me confused. Even for Toronto, it's odd. Dixon wasn't getting much playing time, but Brezec won't offer anything that Maceo Baston or Nesterovic don't already have.

Trade #4

Houston gets Gerald Green
Minnesota gets Kirk Snyder, 2010 2nd rd pick

This is simply a trade of two guys who weren't happy in their current situation. Green wanted out of Minnesota, and Snyder out of Houston. Both teams met their demands and hopefully both players will be happy now. Wells' exit from the Rockets might clear some time for Green, as Houston is now full of short guards behind McGrady. But Snyder will have to hope for Minnesota to buy out Antoine Walker's contract before he gets any significant time.

Trade #5

Here's the biggie, 3 teams, 11 players:

Chicago gets Drew Gooden, Larry Hughes, Cedric Simmons, Shannon Brown
Cleveland gets Ben Wallace, Joe Smith, Delonte West, Wally Szczerbiak
Seattle gets Ira Newble, Adrian Griffin, Donyell Marshall

Let's get the Sonics out of the way first. They save about 5 million trading Marshall/Griffin for Wally/West and Newble's contract is up after this season. They continue to rid themselves of older veterans as West and Wally leave. That paves the way for Jeff Green to get more playing time. It also somewhat clears up their three-headed PG battle, leaving just Earl Watson and Luke Ridnour. I still see the Sonics addressing that position in the offseason.

Chicago is interesting to me here. I've always said they need more offense, and they accomplished that by getting Gooden and Hughes for Smith/Wallace. By jettisoning their starting frontcourt, they open up time for Joakim Noah and Ty Thomas. But, who is the center now? They are going to be very undersized at the post. I would assume Noah starts, but Aaron Gray could also get a look. Where does Hughes fit in with this backcourt? He has 3 yrs remaining on his contract, so it isn't like this is a rental. Coach Boylan will have to decide how to divide playing time between Hughes, Ben Gordon, Kirk Hinrich, Chris Duhon, and Thabo Sefolosha. The more I look at this, the more I like it. Wallace and Smith were decent players, but past their prime and blocking more deserving players. The young frontcourt guys now have the rest of the year to earn a starting job next season, while Boylan has time to sort out the backcourt. Instead of playing an offensive zero like Wallace, the Bulls are now free to open up the offense a bit more. They might have to sacrifice defensively, but the benefit to the offense will outweigh that.

As much as I hate to admit this, I like what Cleveland did as well. There is very little risk involved. Hughes has proven he can't play with LeBron. Mike Brown has never seemed too impressed with Gooden's defense or inconsistency. Shannon Brown and Cedric Simmons haven't developed as quickly as the Cavs hoped. And Newble and Marshall are players with little value at this stage of their careers, Newble playing because of decent defense, Marshall because he can shoot a corner 3. Of all the players they got in return, only Wallace's contract (15m/3yrs) extends beyond 2009. And really, that just cancels out Hughes' contract (12m/3yrs). Smith and Wally have contracts that end in 2009 and West's contract is done after this season. The Cavs went farther than anyone expected with this group last season and couldn't realistically repeat that. They had to make a change, something to keep LeBron happy before he becomes a free agent.

They've given Ilgauskas some inside help with Wallace and Smith. Gooden and Smith are pretty similar players, but Wallace gives them a better defensive presence. At this point in their careers, Wallace is actually worse than Anderson Varejao. But Varejao has been out since Jan. 27 with an ankle sprain and Wallace gives them insurance in case he doesn't come back to full health. West will likely step right in as the starting point guard. He's not an ideal pass-first point guard, but because LeBron handles the ball so much, West's decent shooting ability and quickness will help off the ball. The Cavs, disliking Hughes so much, have gone the completely opposite direction with Wally Z. Hughes was a slasher, while Wally is a much better shooter. In fact, Wally has shot over 45% every full season he's played. Considering he offers little else, Cleveland has to hope Pavlovic or Devin Brown can pick up some of the athleticism factor from the bench. But, overall the Cavs needed to make a move to keep up with Boston and Detroit. It's a pretty dramatic makeover at this point in the season for a contender, but they weren't going to get past the Celts or Pistons with their current makeup.


Anonymous said...

If you are gonna mention all of those trades, you might as well have commented on the Mike Bibby trade.

Dan Ording said...

I already did when I wrapped up Atlanta and Sacramento in my columns earlier this week