The trade deadline has come and gone and, yet again, we are underwhelmed with the results. No big names were moved. Rather, most of the trades came down to the dregs of the Eastern Conference trying desperately to eke into the playoffs or, perhaps equally desperately, trying to get above the seven seed and inevitable first round annihilation at the hands of Indiana or Miami. Here’s our rundown of the recent moves:
Indiana traded Danny Granger and a future second-round pick to Philadelphia for Evan Turner and Lavoy Allen
With both Granger and Turner being free agents at the end of the year, this trade sends a clear signal that the Pacers believe Turner can do more than Granger for the rest of the year. Granger really hasn’t been the same player since his injuries. The new Granger has been able to do most of the ancillary things but his ability to score inside and get to the rim are greatly depleted. Turner has been better than Granger so far but has also shown severe limitations. Turner gets to the rim a little better but is actually worse from three (even after the uptick in 2012-13, Turner is .315% from three for his career). Assuming neither player improves much, Granger versus Turner won’t make much difference to Indiana (and both would be gone at the end of the year as free agents). I would probably prefer Granger (from Indiana’s perspective) on the my gut that he is more likely to get near his old ability level than Turner is to make a big step forward after four years of mediocre play.
Atlanta traded rights to Cenk Akyol to Los Angeles Clippers for Antawn Jamison
Los Angeles Clippers traded BJ Mullens and a second-round pick to Philadelphia for a protected second-round pick
Jamison has barely played this year and he has been so ineffective offensively when he does play that you can’t fault the Clipps for dumping him. Presumably, the Hawks are hoping that Jamison’s sporadic playing time has made his stats (.315% from the field) look worse than his actual ability. It seems unlikely that 37-year old can recover after falling off the statistical cliff but the cost is so minimal that it can’t hurt for the Hawks to take a shot.
As for Mullens, he still can hoist up shots but the efficiency is just not there. He average 8.4 threes per 36 minutes and makes them at a tepid .333% clip. Combine that with no defensive presence and the Clipps would just assume see if they could find a more traditional stiff who could occupy space in the paint for five-minute stints.
Washington traded Jan Vesely to Denver for Andre Miller and Eric Maynor to Philadelphia for second-round picks from Washington and Denver
Unlike Jamison, Andre Miller is a 37-year old who appears to still have a bit left in the tank. Miller has been in exile after fighting with Brian Shaw about a lack of playing time. Reports on the incident have been mixed. Some blamed Shaw for not giving Miller a heads up that Denver was going to bench him for youngsters, while others have claimed that Miller is a bit of a malcontent who should not have popped off. Obviously, these conclusions are not mutually exclusive. Shaw screwed up by not having a quick talk with Miller but that does not mean Miller had license to go ballistic.
In terms of prior Miller incidents, I don’t remember any other huge malcontent instances. I know he was not happy his one miserable year with the Clippers back in 2002-03 but he isn’t the only person to be totally disgusted by the Clippers over the years. The only other incident I can think of came in Portland when Miller fought with coach Nate McMillan and shooting guard Brandon Roy over touches on offense (which resolved itself when Roy was injured).
At this stage of his career, Miller reminds me of a hybrid of latter career Mark Jackson/Rod Strickland, a savvy veteran guard who could help a team for 20 minutes a night. Interestingly, both Jackson and Strickland were very effective in that role before they both totally fell apart at age-38. While next year might be an issue, Miller can help as a backup point guard in Washington this year. There are no options behind John Wall, so the difference between Miller and Maynor will be quite substantial. The Wiz are a solid team but have struggled offensively (21st overall) and Miller is efficient enough to help in that regard. Moreover, it will be fun to see if the Wiz can go small and play Miller alongside both Wall and Beal for an effective three-guard lineup in spurts.
As for Vesley, he certainly was a big bust. If you are looking for a silver lining, Vesley is not a Nikoloz Tskitishvili-level terrible. Vesley is big and active and rebounds and block shots reasonably well. There is no reason to think he couldn’t be an extra big off the bench (think a poor man’s Andris Biedrins). This is not high praise but the right team could use him effectively for spurts.
Charlotte traded Ramon Sessions and Jeff Adrien to Milwaukee for Gary Neal and Luke Ridnour
The Bobcats continue to confound. The plan was to fight and claw for the playoffs this year. This was a bad plan. Using vets like Al Jefferson to squeak into the playoffs does little for long term goals of sustained contention with a young core. It was the same crappy plan that the Bobcats abandoned when they canned Larry Brown years ago. Putting aside that this was a perfect year to tank for a top pick, the plan is the plan and the Bobcats are currently the eight seed with a terrible offensive team (25th) but a top defensive squad (6th). So, what is the next move? Make a push to solidify the playoff spot but getting more offense for the next few months. In Bobcats land this means they trade a solid offensive player in Sessions (14.8 PER) for Luke Ridnour (who has been miserable at 9.3 PER) and Gary Neal (a three-point shorter without any other skills at this point). Fundamentally, it appears that Bobcats can neither formulate a logical plan nor can they effectively execute the plan once they formulate it. The difference between and Sessions and the Ridnour/Neal duo, is a net offensive loss on a team that really needs scorers. It may not change the Bobcats season but how are fans supposed to root for such ridiculous group?
Cleveland traded Earl Clark, Henry Sims and two second-round picks to Philadelphia for Spencer Hawes
Like Charlotte, Cleveland is overreaching trying to make the playoffs in a year when tanking makes much more sense. Still, Cleveland has at least some nice pieces to contend now and Hawes will help the playoff push. Cleveland is a bad offensive team to and a below-average defensive team. Hawes will help a bit on the offensive side as a nice shooter and passer, even if his defense is not good. Some have scoffed at the Cavs giving up second-round picks and treating them as worthless. They are assets, though Cleveland hasn’t had a great record in converting them into players lately anyway. We’ll see if Philly’s tons of picks eventually turn into some serious players.
San Antonio traded Nando de Colo to Toronto for Austin Daye
A straight challenge trade. De Colo is more of a skilled player but Daye has size and makes about $500,000 less this season. With Tony Parker likely to sit, one would think de Colo is the more useful player going forward to the Spurs. As for Daye, he is too thin to really defend in the post but he will give the team another shot blocker (Danny Green is the second best blocker on the team this year). The Spurs have a tendency to get value from players who are totally forgotten so Daye might get a chance to play better than he has so far this year.
Los Angeles Lakers traded Steve Blake to Golden State for Kent Bazemore and MarShon Brooks
The trade makes a lot of sense for L.A. They are going nowhere and Blake makes $4 million this year, versus $2 million combined for Bazemore and Brooks. On GS’s side, the trade gets rid of two players who barely played (in fact Blake has already exceeded Brooks’ minute total as a Warrior). Blake will offer the Warriors a more traditional passer at backup point than Jordan Crawford. This will allow Crawford to play off the ball in the second unit, as well let Stephen Curry swing to the two guard on occasion. Blake does not morph the Warriors into serious contenders but he will give them some improvement.
Brooklyn traded Jason Terry and Reggie Evans to Sacramento for Marcus Thornton
Terry looks totally cooked and Jason Kidd is clearly not comfortable with Evans’ package (rebound, foul, turn the ball over, and air ball free throws). So, they took a shot with Thornton, who has a Flip Murray skill set (ie shoot, shoot, shoot). For the last four years, Thornton has put up PERs in the 16-17 range and hitting jumpers and threes effectively. This year, though, Thornton has been horrible in the shooting department (hitting only .318% of threes and a horrid .457 effective-FG%) and when he can’t score, he is worthless. Thornton is only 26 and has an established level of performance so it is possible that he is just having an outlier year. Certainly, he can do more than Terry at this point. I don’t see Thornton as fitting a natural need for the Nets but I guess he will see time with Shaun Livingston as the third/fourth guard. Absent some problem we aren’t aware of, Thornton should progress to his normal shooting mean at some point. The incremental gain is small and the cost is an extra few million or so over the next two years but it ain’t my money.