TNT’s studio team is running the five-man weave tonight. This can only mean one thing: the NBA trade deadline has come and gone. Below are quick takes on all the big deals, ranked in order of bigness… I feel an ExtenZE sponsorship coming on. Click here for the previous dispatch.
Trade: Antawn Jamison and Sebastian Telfair to Cleveland; Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Al Thorton, Cavs first round pick to Washington; Drew Gooden to Los Angeles Clippers.
SC Take: Cleveland GM Danny Ferry must have been reading Sports Casualties Trade Dispatches because he wisely passed up deadline siren Amare Stoudemire for sure-thing Jamison. ‘Tawn provides what Amare can’t: namely, a refined low-post scorer who can stretch defenses with his long-range shooting. He’s also a rock in the locker room, desperate to win a championship and at least gives it a college try on the defensive end. Jamison gets a lot of hustle baskets, which are the perfect kind of baskets to get if you happened to be paired with the best playmaker in the league. On the downside, Jamison turns 34 in June and has $28 million left on his contract. The bottom line for Cleveland is the same as it’s been for 2 years: Win. Now. As for the Wiz, they shed another big contract and picked up an athletic forward in the process. They think Thorton is a guy they can rebuild with. I say he’s an undisciplined ballhog who needs good coaching and a stable supporting cast. Maybe we’re both right.
Additional Notes: The Cavs expect Big Z to come back home once the Wizards buy out his $11.5 million contract. But Cleveland basically told their 12-year starter to take a hike Wednesday. Ilgauskas isn’t a doorstop. Don’t be surprised if he signs with the newly Dampier-less Mavs instead.
Trade: Kevin Martin, Jordan Hill, Jared Jeffries, Hilton Armstrong, Knicks 2012 first round pick, and rights to swap 2011 Knicks first round pick to Houston; Tracy McGrady and Sergio Rodriguez to New York; Carl Landry, Joey Dorsey and Larry Hughes to Sacramento.
SC Take: Per usual, Rockets GM Daryl “Dork Elvis” Morey made out like a bandit playing cops and robbers with a bunch of kindergarteners. This is what happens when you’re the smartest guy in the room and have degrees from both MIT and Northwestern – you score a 27 year-old coming off a 25 ppg season, land two young big men for the price of one, and undress Knicks GM Donnie Walsh in the process. Walsh would have done just about anything to pick up T-Mac’s $23 million expiring contract, and “anything” is exactly what he did. So here’s where the Knicks stand: they already traded away their 2010 first rounder to Utah, now they’ve swapped 2011 picks with a playoff team, unloaded their 2012 pick to said team AND gave away their 2009 first round pick (No. 8 overall) in the form of Hill. The T-Mac move clears an additional $9 million of cap space, leaving New York a whopping $30 mill to spend in the LeBron-a-palooza. Walsh has effectively placed his last remaining chips in the center of the table and cashed-in on his future in the process. Let me just warn: there will be losers in this game of offseason roulette – for the Knicks, this could mean a 3-piece core of Rudy Gay, Joe Johnson, Danilo Gallinari. Eesh.
Additional Notes: Sacramento in effect gave away Kevin Martin for Carl Landry and cap space. I like Landry – he’s a young overachiever who busts his ass on both ends of the floor. But I don’t understand why you throw in the towel on Martin. If you’re in the Kings front office, you have to know that you’re not the hottest free agent destination. And so you give all your cards to Tyreke Evans, an out-of-position point guard who should be playing the two only he can’t shoot a lick? I would have let the Martin-Evans experiment play out for longer than 21 games before totally scrapping it. The worst position to be in is having to shed salary, not so you can make an offseason splash, but so you don’t loose a crapload of money. Hard to believe Sacramento was an elite franchise just 7 or 8 seasons ago.
Trade: Tyrus Thomas to Charlotte; Acie Law, Flip Murray and a protected future first round pick to Chicago.
SC Take: I guess when you start threatening your coach, it’s a good sign that you’re on your way out. Thomas couldn’t get along with coach Vinny “Inspiration for Curly Stooge” Del Negro, and so Bulls GM John Paxson shipped him to Charlotte. It’s a nice move for the Bobcats, who pick up a freakishly athletic big man with a boatload of potential. If Thomas is going to get his head right, it’s under the Tony-Kornhieser-Loves-Him-So-He-Must-Be-Great tutelage of Larry Brown. The Bulls apparently feel that their guy was expendable given the promising play of big man Taj Gibson, who put up a nice little 14-16 last night in a Thomas sendoff. Chicago also sent packing John Salmons and the $5.8 million left on his deal. In total, the team added 4 expiring contracts and sent D-Wade a late Valentine for good measure.
Additional Notes: I don’t understand why Paxson hasn’t canned Del Negro yet. But if he’s going to let him go the distance this season, moving Thomas was a good move – he was a practice whistle away from pulling a Sprewell.
Other Winners and Losers: While some guys were wheeling and dealing, Phoenix GM Steve Kerr and Toronto GM Bryan Colangelo were simply asleep at the wheel. Kerr couldn’t bring himself to pull the trigger on an Amare deal (potentially bringing in J.J. Hickson, a first round pick and cap relief in the process), and so will be on the other side of this trigger when Stoudemire holds his team up in the offseason. The Suns will try to convince their forward to re-up, or at the very least, opt-in to his $18 million option… We’ve been down the Nash/Stoudemire road before, and it ends in the first round.
For his part, Colangelo thinks the Raptors have more than the shot I give them to resign Bosh. I give them a shot in hell. The Raptors will essentially let walk one of the premier all-around forwards in basketball – this after they spent about $50 million on Hedu Turkoglu. The lesson here as always: Canada sucks.