Transactions: 1/15-2/25 Part I

Atlanta Hawks

1/28    Signed Damien Wilkins for the remainder of the season

2/23    Traded Mike Bibby, Maurice Evans, Jordan Crawford, and a draft pick to Washington for Kirk Hinrich and Hilton Armstrong

This can best be described as a modest upgrade.  Bibby is pretty much cooked as his game has declined in all facets the last two years.  Hinrich is a better player on every level now.  The caveat is that Hinrich hasn’t been more than average for a while and he won’t turn Atlanta from decent playoff team to serious contender.  Nevertheless, a small improvement is better than nothing.

Boston Celtics

2/24    Traded Marquis Daniels and cash to Sacramento for a 2017 second-round pick

2/24    Traded Nate Robinson and Kendrick Perkins to Oklahoma City for Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic

2/24    Traded Luke Harangody and Semih Erden to Celveland for a 2013 second-round pick

2/24    Signed Chris Johnson to a 10-day contract

Apparently, trading Perkins has rocked the world of the Celtics core and the fans.  It is true that Perkins was a very solid starting center and that he did a great job on Dwight Howard and Andrew Bynum.  It is also true that both Shaquille and Jermaine O’Neal are iffy to stay healthy at center.  On the other hand, Perkins was coming off of a major injury, had not yet been very effective (was the worst scoring non-Harangody scorer on Boston this year) and is about to become a free agent.  The Celts were also desperate for a wingman after Daniels went down.

Taking away all the emotional responses, Perkins’ role in holding down Howard may be overblown.  The Celts are 2-1 against Howard and the only game they lost to Orlando (on Christmas Day), Howard was held to 1-4 shooting and six points while being guarded by Glen Davis.  In Perkins one game against Orlando (a Celtic win a few weeks ago), Howard had 28 pts on 10-20 shooting and 28 points.  In fact, the win stemmed from locking up the Orlando perimeter players.  So, Perkins is a help on Howard but he is not essential to Boston on that front or even against the Lakers should they meet again in the Finals.

In terms of talent exchanged, Green for Perkins is almost a perfect fit.  Good all-around players without much star potential, both of whom will be free agents at the end of the season.  Getting Green and also Krstic, a useful bench player is a net win for Boston.  With the defensive team the Celts have, this trade should be a small benefit and a defensible move. 

[Editor’s Note: it was just reported that Perkins has sprained his good knee and will miss 2-3 weeks.  This doesn’t change the analysis too much unless this is a hint that Perkins may not be truly healthy all year, in which case trading him makes clear sense.]

Charlotte Bobcats

2/16    Signed Paul Silas to a contract extension

2/24    Traded Gerald Wallace to Portland for Dante Cunningham, Sean Marks, Joel Przybilla and two future first-round picks

2/24    Traded Nazr Mohammed to Oklahoma City to Morris Peterson and DJ White

2/24    Waived Sherron Collins, Dominic McGuire, and Derrick Brown

Bobcat fans might be a little disheartened that they are now officially punting but there isn’t much choice here. The team is going nowhere.  Fighting for the right to get steamrolled by the Celts or Heat isn’t a real goal.  It wouldn’t have killed the Bobcats to have kept Wallace but they may as well play Tyrus Thomas and see if the younger guy can play.  The return for Wallace also isn’t incredible but amassing picks is exactly what Charlotte should be doing.  Unfortunately, more painful times are ahead unless the Bobcats get really lucky in the draft.  The Bobcats haven’t exactly rocked the draft but maybe they are due for a little luck.

Chicago Bulls

2/22    Traded James Johnson to Toronto for a first-round pick

Johnson is a perfectly useful backup forward, if nothing great.  The Bulls are pretty loaded so getting a pick for bench fodder is a good idea.

Cleveland Cavaliers

2/24    Traded  Maurice Williams and Jamario Moon to L.A. Clippers for Baron Davis and a first-round pick

2/24    Traded a 2013 second-round pick to Boston for Luke Harangody and Semih Erden

2/24    Waived Leon Powe

Like the Bobcats, the Cavs have realized it’s time to get picks and give up on a playoff dream.  Of course, the decision was bit easier to make when you can’t win any games with the cast you have.  The Clipps’ pick that is coming to Cleveland should be Top 10 this summer unless the Clipps get really hot.  L.A. was whispering that the pick has little value because of how weak the draft could be.  Even so, the getting Davis for Williams is about an even exchange talent-wise but also gained a pick as well.  The pick might not pan out but this is worth the shot that the Cavs find a gem, or even a useful player.

As for Davis, his faults are well accounted for but he is still an above average point.  The added cost obligation is high here (Davis is owed $30 million the next two season while Williams and Moon are owed $20 million, much of it in player options of Williams), the Cavs have more than enough cap room to absorb him.  I’m not sure a pick in a bad draft is worth $10 million but that is the cost.  As a side note, the league is almost certainly going to lock out the players, which will cost Davis some of his salary and lower the Cavs’ added costs a bit.

Dallas Mavericks

1/20    Signed Sasha Pavlovic to a second 10-day contract

1/24    Signed Predrag Stojakovic

1/24    Traded Alexis Ajinca, a future second-round draft pick, and cash to Toronto for the draft rights to Giorgos Printezis

Pavlovic was active for Dallas but his lack of skill makes Stojakovic, even in serious decline, a better option.   In fact, the Mavs have started Peja every game since coming to Big D.  Since he is almost 34 and has suffered injuries, Stojakovic is not near the player he was even for the Hornets.  He can’t get to the rim at all but shooting from outside is his core skill and he continues to make use of it.  He’s been a nice cheap pick up and could pay dividends in the playoffs.

Denver Nuggets

2/22    Traded Carmelo Anthony, Chauncey Billups, Anthony Carter, Renaldo Balkman, and Shelden Williams to New York for Raymond Felton, Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, Timofey Mozgov, Kostas Koufos, a future second-round pick, the right to exchange 2016 first-round picks, a second-round pick (from Minnesota) and cash

I don’t think I remember a team that was so patient when being forced at gunpoint to trade its star.  Most teams fear the publicity and jump at the first solid offer.  Not Denver.  They realized, at the end of the day, Anthony wanted to be traded and to dictate where he was traded (the Knicks).  New Jersey had the better package but no leverage to convince Anthony to come that way.  So, Denver was faced with only two real choices: (1) keep Anthony and assume that he was more desperate for an extension than he was to go to New York before the new CBA limited his contract rights or (2) trade him to New York for the best possible deal.  Having to choose between the two options, I think Denver went the correct route.  Anthony was playing hard but the situation was close to toxic.  If Anthony were a top ten player on a title team, maybe rehabilitating the relationship would make sense.  Carmelo is good but he’s just not that good and Denver is not a title contender with him.  Starting over, under the right circumstances, just made sense.

Denver played its  hand perfectly.  The Nuggets obtained virtually everyone of the Knicks tradeable assets except Landry Fields and cleared salary at the same time.  The haul, however, won’t turn Denver around right away.  The Nuggets have to figure out what to do with all the spare parts.  Felton has value (he’s played well and is relatively cheap) but will probably be traded since Denver wants to give Ty Lawson the starting job.  Nor does it seem that the Nuggets can keep both small forwards Chandler (a pending free agent) and Gallinari.  So, the Nuggets are set at point (Lawson) and small forward (Gallinari) and hope to re-sign Nene at power.  They now have Felton, Chandler, and tons of picks, and back up center in Mozgov to boot.  There is an opportunity to rebuild quickly here but it should be noted that this is just step one in the rebuild.  Given how well this worked, Denver has created reason to believe the next steps will go well too.

Golden State Warriors

2/23    Traded Brandan Wright and Dan Gadzuric to New Jersey for Troy Murphy and a second-round pick

2/25    Signed Jeff Adrien to a 10-day contract

Golden State gets a second-rounder to help Murphy get out of Jersey.  Murphy is being bought out as we speak.

Houston Rockets

2/24    Traded Ishmael Smith and Shane Battier to Memphis for Hasheem Thabeet, DeMarre Carroll and a future first-round pick

2/24    Traded Aaron Brooks to Phoenix for Goran Dragic and a protected first-round draft pick

2/25    Waived Jared Jeffries

Sure Thabeet has looked like a huge bust this year but he wasn’t god awful last year and he has some potential defensive value.  Why not take a shot that he could turn into a decent backup center?  The cost is not great either.  Battier is a nice wing player but he is almost 33 and is going to be gone as a free agent (not to mention that Chase Budinger can replace Battier).

As for the Brooks-Dragic swap, Brooks is probably the more talented player but the Rockets had not been happy with his behavior of late after he lost the starting job to Kyle Lowry.   I can only guess that the situation was untenable in Houston because Brooks looks to have more potential long term.  As a back up short term, though, Dragic should be fine.

Houston is still harboring playoff dreams but these moves all indicate that they are ostensibly punting that goal, since both Battier and Brooks should be more helpful for the rest of this season.

Indiana Pacers

1/30    Fired Jim O’Brien and named Frank Vogel interim head coach

O’Brien’s rotation decisions had been a frequent target of fan criticism and the team has played better since Vogel took over.  O’Brien’s Pacer years have been largely forgettable.  As usual, O’Brien tried to win with a high-paced offense that didn’t actually score efficiently.  In his defense, thoughn the talent wasn’t really there to compete no matter what the rotation was.  The funny postscript is that O’Brien actually coached more games in Indiana than he did in Boston, where he was a bit more successful.

Los Angeles Clippers

1/15    Signed Jarron Collins to a second 10-day contract

2/24    Traded Baron Davis and a first-round pick to Cleveland for Maurice Williams and Jamario Moon

As noted in the Cleveland section, the Clipps were willing to kick their potential lottery pick to save somewhere in the range of $10-15 million in Davis’ contract.  Williams brings different abilities to the table than Baron but is about as effective a player.  Williams brings the added bonus of not having the “effort” issues that Davis sometimes does.  The interesting question is whether William exercises his contractual options.  He is due $8.5 million each of the next two season and can opt out after this season or the next.  At those numbers, it is a close question whether Williams opts out.  If the CBA doesn’t change, one would think that Williams could do a bit better in the open mark but if salaries are knocked down, Williams may stay.  In either case, the Clipps should be fine.  If Williams stays, they have a point locked in at a decent payroll number.  If Williams opts out, the Clipps will get cap room and should be able to find a replacement without too much trouble.

Memphis Grizzlies

2/5      Signed Jason Williams

2/21    Signed Rodney Carney to a 10-day contract

2/24    Traded Hasheem Thabeet, DeMarre Carroll and a future first-round pick to Houston for Ishmael Smith and Shane Battier

The Grizz really want to make the playoffs and they apparently want to do this by reuniting the 2004-05 squad with Williams and Battier.  Battier still has some game left but doesn’t bring as much to the table on Memphis, which is now a defensive team that needs points more than Battier’s abilities.  He’ll still help with the recent injuries but not he is not an ideal fit.  Williams seems to be totally cooked and is only on the roster because of his past history with the team.  Neither move will materially affect the playoff push.

Minnesota Timberwolves

2/22    Traded Kosta Koufos, Corey Brewer and a second-round pick to New York for Anthony Randolph, Eddy Curry and cash

The T-Wolves are getting pretty good at grabbing young forwards with potential by having the cap room to get them for free when another team needs to make a large deal.  Randolph is less of a good gamble than Michael Beasley or even Darko Milicic.  Indeed, Randolph has been so bad this year that he is teetering into Stromile Swift territory.  While I do believe Randolph might be able to play on the right team, Minnesota is way to crowded up front to get him meaningful minutes at this point.  Things may change after the season but Randolph will ride the pine the rest of the way unless Beasley, Darko, Wesley Johnson, or Kevin Love go down.

New Jersey Nets

2/23    Traded Devin Harris, Derrick Favors, two first-round picks and cash to Utah for Deron Williams

2/23    Traded Troy Murphy and a second-round pick to Golden State for Brandan Wright and Dan Gadzuric

That was pretty cool…miss on Carmelo and end up getting a better player for a lower price.  D-Will is the second best point in the NBA and a huge first step for this organization.  The one downer is that Williams could bolt town in the near future since he has an opt out after 2011-12.  The two factors in the Nets favor are: (a) that Williams’ salary for 2012-13 (the final year of the deal) is $17.8 million, which he probably won’t leave on the table and (b) the new CBA may give the Nets’ rights to hold onto Williams even if he wants out.  Regardless what happens, the Nets must now fill in the holes, as they are very weak at two guard and small forward.

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