Winners and Losers at the NBA Trade Deadline

The 2014 NBA Trade Deadline was one that was supposed to be filled with major moves.  It was hyped up by rumors of superstars and great players being traded and helping teams make strong runs in the final 25 games or so of the season, and into the NBA playoffs. However, it was one of the most disappointing trade deadlines in NBA history, next to last season’s. From teams not doing anything who needed to do something, to teams trading away important assets for little return, it was a bad day for some fans. On the other hand, some teams picked up great assets for their playoff runs or even their distant future. So here are my winners and losers at the NBA Trade Deadline:

WINNERS:

1. Cleveland Cavaliers: First off, the Cavs didn’t trade away important assets like Dion Waiters, Tristan Thompson, Tyler Zeller, and even Jarrett Jack. They also kept Luol Deng, who might not be around for them next season, but will help them in their contention for a playoff spot in the dreaded Eastern Conference. They also traded away two meaningless second round picks, a struggling Earl Clark, and a young Henry Sims to Philadelphia for a young center in Spencer Hawes, who is averaging 13.0 points and 8.5 rebounds per game. He also spaces the floor extensively, being able to shoot three pointers and is the best percentage shooter amongst big men at the top of the key (via Grantland).  His ability to post up will help space the floor for Kyrie Irving and Waiters to penetrate.

Since the firing of Chris Grant, the Cavs have been riding a six game win streak. With the presence of Anderson Varejao being gone for now, the pickup of Spencer Hawes will help their front court depth in Cleveland immensely.

2. Indiana Pacers: The Pacers sent a struggling Danny Granger to the Philadelphia 76ers for Evan Turner (their top scorer) and Lavoy Allen, two great assets. This creates even more depth for Indiana at the SF position for Indiana, bringing in a player who has averaged 17.4 points per game this season off the bench. The second unit of the Pacers is now better than some teams starting lineups. With the acquisition of Andrew Bynum (if he even wants to play), and now Evan Turner, the Pacers have made all the necessary moves to take on the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals (assuming the two teams get there). With Roy Hibbert, Luis Scola, David West, and Andrew Bynum, the Pacers have upgraded what was already an area where they held a huge advantage over Miami: frontcourt size and strength. This doesn’t necessarily make them the favorite to win the Eastern Conference, but it certainly gives them a much better chance. They were already a good team before, now they are a scary good team thanks to Larry Bird’s shrewd moves.

3. Philadelphia 76ers: This team is very bad, we all know that. They needed to make moves for the future, so they moved Evan Turner and got Danny Granger. Even though Granger is only guaranteed for this season, the 76ers moved Turner who did not want to be there, and wasn’t going to be with the team after the 2015 season. They acquired nine second round picks, so they will either be drafting the entire 2nd round, or it can help them during the NBA Draft timeline to pickup veteran assets or move up to get other picks in the first round. With a young core in Michael Carter-Williams and possibly Nerlens Noel, the 76ers could be building towards a bright future.

This team created a lot of cap space to make moves in the future.  This cap space will help the 76ers as they make their rebuild.It takes time for a team to rebuild and be patient, so 76ers fans should be patient and know they will probably get some future star players in this year’s NBA Draft, and pairing them with MCW and possibly Noel, you might have a dangerous team in the future for years to come.

LOSERS:

1. New York Knicks: The Knicks didn’t make any significant moves to change Carmelo Anthony’s mind in staying for the future. They were rumored to be trying to acquire Rajon Rondo, but failed. They also could have moved Iman Shumpert, but chose not to, and now he re-injured his left knee, the same knee that he had surgery on last season. The Amar’e Stoudamire experiment has failed miserably, and they were not able to move him.  He has a very large contract, and is overpaid for what he brings at this point. The were rumored to be after former Knick point guard Jeremy Lin, but that didn’t work either.

The Knicks really should have moved Carmelo Anthony, as I believe there is no way he will be back with the club next season. He said himself he will “go wherever he can win.” Do you honestly think he will see the New York Knicks as the team he can win with? What’s stopping him from going somewhere else? It has been proven he can’t be the number one guy on a championship calibre team, but if he goes somewhere where he is the second guy, and plays with a true top dog he can be very valuable. A guy like Anthony, who doesn’t pass often and takes a very high volume of shots, gets a lot of points for the Knicks (currently averaging 27.5 ppg), but needs someone to facilitate to him and his teammates for more assists and more consistency. Carmelo could definitely land in Chicago next season, and if the Big Three take $14 million each next season, he could join them in Miami. For now, the future of the Knicks is very shaky, and the deadline didn’t help them.

2. Los Angeles Lakers: Mitch Kupchak even said himself that it is unlikely that he will resign Pau Gasol next season. They have been rumors all season about the Lakers trading him, but nothing happened. Gasol has shown he can still play, as he is averaging 17.0 points and 10.2 rebounds this season.  He would have helped a contending team take the next step, and his trade value would have been high with his expiring contract. The Lakers could have gotten a nice return on their investment, and gotten below the luxury tax line, saving them money this season and in future years due to the way tax penalties accumulate. However, Pau Gasol is still a Laker, and they did not make any significant moves whatsoever to help them in the future. They saved $1.5 million in trading Steve Blake, but that’s an insignificant number on its own, as it is not enough to get them below the tax threshold. They also considered trading Jordan Hill and Chris Kaman, but could not find a deal for either of them. It was a lost cause and bad trade management by the Lakers.

3. Portland Trailblazers: The Trailblazers didn’t necessarily lose anything at the trade deadline, but this team really could have used another asset to help their push for home court advantage in the tough Western Conference. They are 5-9 in their last 14 games, and with recent injuries to LeMarcus Aldridge, Joel Freeland, and Meyers Leonard, Portland desperately needed frontcourt depth. A guy like Spencer Hawes or Pau Gasol could’ve helped them out a lot, at least for the time being. But instead, they did not make any moves. They will still most likely make the playoffs, but they might not be a top seed and be forced to sacrifice home court advantage. The spread for records in the Western Conference isn’t as big as it is in the Eastern Conference, so if they keep their losing woes up, they might sink to the bottom of the playoff teams or out of the playoffs (at an extreme).  They certainly don’t want to play OKC in the first round of the playoffs either. For now, they’ll have to ride the coattails of Damian Lillard until Aldridge returns.

 

Thank you for reading. Please take a moment to follow me on Twitter –  @FlopCitySports. Support LWOS by following us on Twitter  – @LastWordOnSport – and “liking” our Facebook page.

Interested in writing for LWOS?  We are looking for enthusiastic, talented writers to join our Hockey writing team.  Visit our “Write for Us” page for very easy details in how you can get started today!