The deadline has come and gone, but not without an unprecedented flurry of moves. But before we get to the deals, I would just like to give myself a pat on the back for nailing 4 out of 5 teams in my preview of top 5 most likely buyers at the NBA trade deadline. Outside of Chicago, I nailed it (I even got Boston right!). Okay, now that I’m done making myself feel good, let’s get to the top 5 trades of the 2011 deadline. (Side note: I’m not including the Melo deal or D. Williams deal).
1) Boston Celtics ship Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson to Oklahoma City Thunder for Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic
This was the big one of the day. In acquiring Perkins, the Thunder get the big defensive presence down low that they so desperately needed, and get a nice scoring punch off the bench in Nate-Rob. From OKC’s perspective, I like what they did…a lot. Boston? Not so much. Acquiring Jeff Green would have been nice if they needed a combo 3/4 that could score a little; they already have that, however, in Glen Davis. Also, Jeff Green is not a good rebounder and is an even worse defender. Why give up a key cog in Perkins, a huge defensive presence, for Green? It just doesn’t make sense and really leaves a gaping hole down low for the C’s. Who do they turn to now? A potentially bought-out Troy Murphy?
Oklahoma City: A Boston: D-
2.) Charlotte Bobcats send Gerald Wallace to Portland Trail Blazers for Joel Przybilla, Dante Cunningham, Sean Marks and 2 first-round picks
The Trail Blazers were adamant about making a deal at the deadline and they did not disappoint. In acquiring Wallace, they get a nice, athletic combo-forward who can score and can rebound very well; he will add yet another dynamic piece to a roster that includes Nicholas Batum, Wesley Matthews, LaMarcus Aldridge and Brandon Roy, who if healthy, might be able to provide a bit of a spark (although, I believe that is highly doubtful). The Bobcats acquire a center in Przybilla and a probable “throw-in” in Cunningham; Marks is a definite “throw-in”. What they really got here were the 2 first-rounders. I like what Michael Jordan did here as they were able to shed Wallace’s big contract and acquire 2 high quality picks.
Portland: A Charlotte: A
3.) Cleveland Cavaliers trade Mo Williams and Jamario Moon to Los Angeles Clippers for Baron Davis and 2011 1st-round pick
Cleveland is in full-tilt rebuild mode now, but acquiring Baron Davis, who still has $28 million due to him over the next 2 years is a real head-scratcher. Sure, they get a first-rounder (a potential top-10 pick), but was it really worth picking up Davis’ tab? They did well here in shedding their own salaries in Williams & Moon, but taking back an even bigger one doesn’t seem real smart on their part. L.A., on the other hand, acquired a still relatively young point guard in Mo Williams, who has some serious talent. Along with Eric Gordon and Blake Griffin, Williams seems to form a pretty nice nucleus of players that might be looking at contention sooner rather than later.
Los Angeles: B+ Clevelend: D
4.) Washington Wizards send Kirk Hinrich and Hilton Armstrong to Atlanta Hawks for Mike Bibby, Mo Evans, Jordan Crawford and 2011 1st-round pick
Atlanta realized that it didn’t have much of a shot of getting out of the first round of the playoffs with Mike Bibby as their starting point guard. So what do they do? They acquire journeyman Kirk Hinrich, a guy, who I think, will be a good player in Atlanta, and someone who puts them in a better chance of getting out of the first round. Stuck behind rookie John Wall, Hinrich will also provide more of a scoring punch than Bibby was able to do, and should be a better assist man and rebounder. Washington did well in getting Atlanta’s 2011 first-rounder, which should sit somewhere around 18-22. Also, I think Jordan Crawford has the potential to be a good player if given playing time. Outside of that, it was a sheer cost-cutting move. Because of that, I can’t give them too high of a grade.
Atlanta: B Washington: B-
5.) Houston Rockets trade Shane Battier and Ishmael Smith to Memphis Grizzlies for Hasheem Thabeet, DeMarre Carroll and 2011 1st-rounder; Houston Rockets trade Aaron Brooks to Phoenix Suns for Goran Dragic and 2011 1st-rounder
Man, I just don’t see how GM Daryl Morey was somehow able to get 1st-rounders out of both of these deals. I sorta can see how it was possible in the Brooks deal, as the kid just won Most Improved player last year (even though he has been brutal this year), but a 1st-rounder for Battier and Smith? I don’t see it. All-in-all, I think Houston cleaned up today and improved themselves for down the road. If they can get anything out of Thabeet, this is a major coup for the Rockets. Memphis gets a guy in Battier who was loved in Memphis until he was traded for Rudy Gay on draft day 2006. Battier will also provide good defense and should maybe score a bit more for the Grizzlies, especially with Gay out for a while. The Suns acquire a shoot-first point guard who has trouble doing much else. Yes, I understand that Brooks can light it up, but what else does he do? He doesn’t pass well, he doesn’t rebound well, and he’s far from the 6-foot he’s listed at (try 5’9 maybe). Perhaps a change of scenery is all the guy needs, but as of right now, I’m not a huge fan of what the Suns did today.
Houston: A- Memphis: B Phoenix: C