I can’t remember a trade deadline so active with so many big names before. I mean lots of former All-Stars shipped all over as teams made their final pitch to better their postseason chances. If you read my Talking Trade article then some of these trades/teams should not come as a surprise –Nets made a move after missing out on Melo (check), Gerald Wallace to the Blazers (check), Cavaliers move a point guard (check). I also mentioned the Grizzlies would move Mayo (should have went to Indiana but apparently the GMs lost track of the deadline) and the Pistons would move Hamilton (who reportedly vetoed a trade to Cleveland).
However, the biggest reason we saw so many moves yesterday was due the CBA and the uncertainty that goes with it as we head into the summer. I believe that is why you saw the Clips dump Baron Davis (2 years/ $ 28.8 million left on his contract after this season) and the Celtics part with Perkins (knowing they were not going to give him the big money and longterm contract he will desire as a free agent). But with a ton of trades to get into let’s not waste anymore time.
Nets Acquire: Deron Williams (G)
The biggest block buster since, well Carmelo. The Nets get a franchise face in Williams, (although not a guaranteed face longterm) who can hopefully help recruit free agents. Williams however, is a free agent himself come the summer of 2012 and should he walk on the New Jersey (well Brooklyn by then) then this trade could be a disaster.
It’s an excellent move on Utah’s part because they do not have to go through what Denver did this year and worry about getting something in return for their superstar who wasn’t going to resign. They get two 1st round picks in June including the Nets pick which will be in the lottery (oh the irony should NJ win the lottery this year). They also get back a starting point guard in Harris and basically another lottery pick in Favors, who should allow them to try to get out of Al Jefferson’s contract ($29 million/two years after this season) and roll with Derrick and Paul Millsap (or they could move one of these two and keep Jefferson).
Fantasy Focus: Utah is in rebuilding mode and that should allow C.J. Miles (available in 62% Yahoo & 87% ESPN leagues) to take a lot more shots and try to fill the scoring void left behind by Williams. Not to mention Kirilenko contract expires after this season and will most likely move on from the Jazz meaning he shouldn’t be a big threat to Miles minutes. Favors should continue to be a prospect and I expect similar numbers from Harris as before the move.
Grizzlies Acquire: Shane Battier (F), Ishmael Smith (G)
Memphis makes this move in an effort to finally get to the playoffs. They acquire a superb defender in Battier as he goes back to the team that originally drafted him (remember Rudy Gay will be out at least another three weeks). Ishmael Smith can play a bit himself to and could eventually become Mike Conley’s backup but for now will be behind Jason Williams. Houston not only gets the 1st round pick for the expiring contract of Battier but also get the former 2nd overall pick in Thabeet who could potentially be your center to replace Yao.
Fantasy Focus: Battier should be able to carve out his role as a defensive specialist heading into the playoffs but will get major minutes with Rudy Gay out. For Houston, neither Thabeet or Carroll will get time right away. Instead Chase Budinger (available in 69% Yahoo and & 88% ESPN leagues) will start and replace Battier and should immediately be picked up in standard 12 team leagues. He will get the minutes to be a difference maker for the playoffs and will be a source of points with about 6 boards a game and possibly even a steal and three per game.
Rockets Acquire: Goran Dragic (G), 1st Round Pick
Suns Acquire: Aaron Brooks (G)
The Rockets were set to go with Kyle Lowry running the point and Brooks wasn’t happy with his role. In return they get a 1st round pick and a reliable backup who is capable of handling full-time duties should they run into a problem with Lowry. For Phoenix, the move was all about the future as they now have their heir to superstar Steve Nash in Brooks.
Fantasy Focus: Bad news for Brooks owners who were hoping eventually he could again supplant Kyle Lowry (available in 44% Yahoo and 10% ESPN leagues) and take back the starting role. Lowry is the big winner here and if somehow he is still available is a must add. Brooks minutes should stay around what they have been off the bench in Houston but playing with Nash will definitely benefit him and he should be a consistent source of 3’s the rest of the way.
Bobcats send Wallace to Portland:
Blazers Acquire: Gerald Wallace (F)
The Bobcats get out of Wallace’s contract and part with the last original Bobcat in exchange for three expiring contracts. They also get two future 1st round picks which hopefully Jordan will not screw up. The Blazers should solidify their playoff spot with the move, as the health of Brandon Roy (both longterm and short-term) is not as crucial because of the created depth between Wallace, Batum, and Matthews. They still have pieces like Rudy Fernandez should they try to trade to get a 1st rounder back in the future.
Fantasy Focus: Wallace will undoubtedly get his but I do not expect him to be the fantasy beast he was in the past or even where his average draft position was. He no longer looks like the second or third round pick you drafted him as (he should be behind Aldridge and Roy possibly even Matthews as far as scoring options are concerned), but should keep up with what he has been doing the past month in Charlotte. Hopefully a trip to the playoffs and change of scenery will up his shooting percentages as he is shooting his lowest season total since becoming a full-time start back in 2004. For Charlotte, Gerald Henderson (available in 83% Yahoo and 95% ESPN leagues) is the guy you want to grab as he will take Wallace’s place in the starting lineup. Henderson won’t give you 3’s but he rebounds well for a guard and will score in bunches (although may be inconsistent as he adjusts to his new role).
Celtics send Perkins to Oklahoma City:
Thunder Acquire: Kendrick Perkins (C), Nate Robinson (G)
This deal tells me that Boston questions the Lakers ability to repeat or else why would they want to part with Perkins (many believe including the Celtics that they would have beaten LA again last year if they had a healthy Kendrick)? They give up their biggest strength-size, and will rely on Shaq, Jermaine O’Neal, and “Big Baby” Davis at the center position. They bring in a versatile wing in Green, who can hopefully rebound from a rough season with a change of scenery. Boston will most likely sign Green longterm in the offseason and are thinking to the future after the “Big 3” with a core of Rondo and Green. For OKC, they realized a need to get tougher and bigger if they want to make a run into the postseason and ultimately beat the Lakers (in addition to Perkins they also added Nazr Mohammed yesterday for Morris Peterson and DJ White). They also get back Nate which just adds to one of the deeper teams in the league. Robinson should backup Westbrook and provide instant offense off the bench along with James Harden.
Fantasy Focus: It remains to be seen how Boston will use Jeff Green but I have a hard time believing he will continue to play 37 minutes a night for the Celtics. He will be serviceable but his already decreasing value undoubtedly will take a hit. The big men for the C’s will have to step up without Perkins and I expect Glen Davis (available in 48% Yahoo and 55% ESPN leagues) to do a majority of that as far as the regular season is concerned. Speaking of Perkins, he is out for a couple of weeks but when he does play should continue to put up his regular numbers. Serge Ibaka will see some extra minutes until then.
Clippers send Davis to the Cavaliers:
Cavaliers Acquire: Baron Davis (G), 2011 1st Round Pick
Donald Sterling continues to amaze me. Just when the team starts playing well and chemistry is being developed between Davis and super rookie Blake Griffin, he moves him. LA gets younger with Mo Williams and they obviously believe he will be the point guard of their future and will try to lock him up longterm. But they also part with what will surely be a lottery pick in this years draft. Not to mention Williams has a player option and could opt to leave and test free agency after the conclusion of this season. For the Cavs, this deal was a no-brainer. They have plenty of depth at the point so even if they view Baron as a downgrade to Mo Williams (which many would not) they can surely make up for it. It should also be noted Williams struggled to stay healthy all season so they are familiar with playing without him. But the biggest gain was another lottery pick in this years draft which very well could mean two picks in the top 10 come June.
Fantasy Focus: Attention Baron Davis owners, abandon ship! It took Blake Griffin to get Davis to step his game up this year and he will not be motivated in Cleveland (at the time of this article he still hasn’t even shown up to take his physical). Try to sell him off if possible and be prepared to go cheap, but he could in fact be drop material in a few weeks. Ramon Sessions (available in 35% Yahoo and 10% ESPN leagues) and Daniel Gibson (available in 69% Yahoo and 79% ESPN leagues) are the winners here as far as fantasy value is concerned in Cleveland. Gibson’s role should be safe for the remainder of the season and Sessions should continue to see the starters minutes he has the past month. If still available he is a solid source of assists and points, although don’t expect much in the 3’s department. He could be viewed as a third point guard option in some cases. I expect Mo to continue to bounce back well from injury and should get all of Baron’s minutes.
Hawks Acquire: Kirk Hinrich (G), Hilton Armstrong (C)
The Hawks have been looking to upgrade at the point all year-long deciding that Jeff Teague was not ready to become a full-time starter. They finally do that in Hinrich and add size in Armstrong. It’s a wash between Bibby and Hinrich (both contracts expire in time for the summer of 2012) for Washington since either one will serve fine as John Wall’s backup. Crawford is an interesting shooting prospect and if they decide not to commit money to Nick Young (a free agent at season’s end), Jordan could potentially replace him. Evans is just an expiring contract and the extra pick won’t be in the top 20 but will definitely help the rebuild for the Wizards.
Fantasy Focus: Very simple here, Bibby’s value goes down as he will get less minutes as the new backup for Wall. Hinrich’s (available in 49% Yahoo and 58% ESPN leagues) minutes go up as he is given control to Atlanta’s offense. Not as good a three-point shooter as Bibby but knocks them down and get assists (a rarity coming off the waiver wire).
Kings Acquire: Marcus Thornton (G) and cash
Hornets Acquire: Carl Landry (F)
The most interesting part of this trade, as pointed out by Mark Cuban, is the fact that the Hornets (currently owned by the NBA and looking for someone to buy it) completes a trade in which they take on salary (meaning ultimately every other team in the league is paying for it).
As far as the players involved and what it means for the teams I like it. New Orleans gets another post player to go along with West and Okafor and gives Paul another offensive weapon. The Kings take no risk in acquiring a second year player in Thornton and with Tyreke Evans currently sidelined for a few weeks he should be able to step in and contribute right away as with Marquis Daniels (who they acquired from Boston yesterday as well).
Fantasy Focus: Landy’s (available in 38% Yahoo and 53% ESPN leagues) value will have to be determined as we will have to wait and see exactly how he will be used in New Orleans. One thing for sure is that he’s never played with a point guard of Chris Paul’s caliber. I do like Thornton (available in 67% Yahoo and 67% ESPN leagues) as a deep pickup for 3’s and points. Evans is dealing with plantar fasciitis that has affected him all year-long but will keep him sidelined for a few weeks. Thornton should be given the opportunity that has not been there for him with the Hornets. Remember what he did in the second half of last year, there is just too much upside not to take a chance if you have a roster spot available in deep leagues. Everyone else, keep an eye on out.
Warriors Acquire: Troy Murphy (F) and a 2012 2nd Round Pick
With the playoffs almost completely out of sights the Nets should be able to give Wright an opportunity he’s never had before – playing time. The 8th pick from th ’07 draft is going to his third team and can hopefully take the minutes left behind by the recently departed prospect Derrick Favors. Murphy is likely never to suit up for the Warriors who will release him and get back a 2nd round pick for their efforts. The main thing to watch from this trade is where Murphy will end up signing to finish the season and make a playoff push. More likely than not it will be in the east as he has garnered the interest of Orlando, Miami, Boston and now New York.
Fantasy Focus: Murphy (available in 49% Yahoo and 64% ESPN leagues) will end up with a contender which almost certainly means a reserve role so we would have to see exactly how many minutes he gets. As far as fantasy value is concerned New York and Orlando would be the best destinations. A three-point shooting power forward would thrive in those systems and he should be able to contribute better than say Ryan Anderson and Shawne Williams. We can’t forget about Murphy’s rebounding skills as well (career average of 8.5 rebounds a game) he is certainly a multi category contributor.
Every year we see players get bought out of their contracts and signed by March 1 allowing them to be post season eligible and sign with contenders. Example, Dallas signing Peja Stojakovic after he was bought out by Toronto a couple of months ago. Players that could fit the bill this year include T.J. Ford, Richard Hamilton, Troy Murphy, Mike Bibby, Eddy Curry, and Jason Kapono. Not everyone will be bought out, but there are some significant names here that will certainly find a new home if that is the case.
Once bought out by Houston, the Knicks are expected to sign forward Jared Jeffries (who they traded to Houston at the deadline last season). He knows the system and should provide some defense and issue the team realizes they need to address. They also have shown interest in bringing back another ex-Knick in Earl Barron as well to provide some more height. One more thing to note, the Cavaliers have released forward Leon Powe after trading for rookies Luke Harangody and Semih Erden. My guess is that Powe will sign with the Celtics (remember he won a title with them back in ’08,) since they will be looking to add players to their roster after trading away four guys yesterday (including three big men). Unless of course, Rasheed Wallace decides to come out of retirement and give the Celtic green one more go.
Fantasy Focus: Ford (available in 98% Yahoo and 99% ESPN leagues) seems to be the biggest name here and could resurrect his fantasy value back from the dead if he ends up on the right team. New York (who suddenly becomes mentioned with every free agent and every move after acquiring Melo) has him on their radar but Miami is the team that needs him most. If they can sign him he will play significant minutes and possibly even start for them. Assists are a rarity to pick up off free agency in fantasy and it would behoove owners in need of the category to make space and grab him now.
Hamilton (available in 78% Yahoo and 56 % ESPN leagues) will be a much tougher buyout with years remaining on his contract (same with Mike Bibby), but if he’s available teams like Chicago and Boston have already expressed interest. He too could wind up with a starting gig if the Bulls sign him and would warrant immediate pick up consideration. Bibby (available in 63% Yahoo and 86% ESPN leagues) is in the same boat as Ford. If both are available and Miami takes Ford, Bibby could wind up on the Knicks who would be a better fit as they are looking for outside shooting as well as a backup point. Kapono (available in basically 100% of all leagues) could be a three-point answer for the Knicks also as they look to replace the shooting left behind by Wilson Chandler and Danilo Gallinari.
And last (and probably the least) Eddy Curry (do a player search he is a free agent available everywhere) could actually log a minute in the NBA this season. The need to get big is apparent in the East and Miami as well as Boston could take a look. However, the biggest surprise could be….wait for it…. back to the Knicks. I know it seems crazy but could this be the plan by Walsh all along? Don’t play Curry, use him as a trade chip, then sign him and have the center they’ve been missing all along. Perfect! On second thought maybe they would be better off begging Karl Malone to come back, the commercial said he was interested.