On Thursday, February 20th at 3 pm, the NBA closed the trade market and the trade deadline officially arrived. The Sixers made some interesting deals, and the Pacers are obviously trying to add depth to their squad in hopes of their first Eastern Conference Championship since Reggie Miller nearly a decade and a half ago. Let’s take a look back on the humdrum trades of the 2013-2014 season.
The first trade of the year was a promising one; Rudy Gay to Sacramento for a handful of role players. Unfortunately, Rudy Gay has become the most talented team-killer in the league, thanks to his below average assists and near 17 shots per game. The Kings have struggled this year with half as many wins as losses, posting an 18-36 record thus far. Toronto, who dealt Gay (probably in their best interest), are now third in the East with a 29-25 record. Gay’s season has seen a miniscule improvement from last year, and still needs to step his game to become elite.
The Bulls then traded away former All-Star forward Luol Deng to my hometown Cavs, who have only been able to go .500 with Deng in the lineup. The Bulls have been much better since the trade, and a recap on their season can be found here. The Bulls immediately dropped Andrew Bynum after that deal, and he has since made his way to the Pacers as a high quality backup if Roy Hibbert ends up in foul trouble against the Heat. This is about the extent of high-profile trades this year, and it gets much less exciting from here.
The Nets sent the withering Jason Terry and Reggie Evans to Sacramento and got the slumping, but full-of-potential shooting guard Marcus Thornton in return. The Lakers sent point guard Steve Blake, who embarrassed the Cavs with a triple-double a few weeks ago, to the Warriors and got MarShon Brooks in the trade. Brooks, like Thornton, has immense potential as a 2 guard, but has vanished since leaving the Nets two seasons ago.
The Cavs made their second move of the season, sending Earl Clark, Henry Sims and 2 second round picks to the 76ers for Spencer Hawes. Hawes, who I describe as the taller, less athletic, less talented Kevin Love, is a decent replacement for the injury prone Anderson Varejao. The Cavs, known for making questionable decisions, have actually come out of the trading season fairly well off, making key additions to positions they need.
The Nuggets dealt Andre Miller to the Wizards for Jan Vesely in a three-way trade with the Sixers. The best part of this trade was that Eric Maynor, who was sent to the Sixers with future draft picks, learned that he was traded over social media. Welcome to 2014!
The Milwaukee Bucks sent Luke Ridnour and Gary Neal, who’s been unusually quiet this year, to the Bobcats for Ramon Sessions and Jeff Adrien. Nothing should change on either of these teams, but obviously they saw the need for change. The Nuggets did get Aaron Brooks, though, in exchange for Jordan Hamilton.
The Nuggets desperately needed a guard, and Aaron Brooks was the most viable option. Inconsistent but able to put up numbers, Brooks should help out the guard situation in Denver. The Hawks picked up Antawn Jamison from the Clippers to help out with the injury-plagued backcourt in Atlanta. With Al Horford out for the season, Paul Millsap has stepped up significantly, but Jamison should help with Atlanta’s shallow roster.
Arguably the biggest and most surprising trade of the season came late Thursday when the Indiana Pacers sent longtime franchise player Danny Granger to the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for Lavoy Allen and Evan Turner. The Pacers added defensive depth with Turner, and will definitely be able to use him against Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat. The Pacers have become incredibly deep with the additions of Turner and Bynum, and have now become a serious threat to Miami in the East. The Sixers, even though they dealt their shooting guard and center, should be considered winners this year, seeing that they’ve stockpiled an incredible amount of draft picks for upcoming years. The Sixers are rebuilding, but behind Michael Carter-Williams and, hopefully, Nerlens Noel, Philadelphia has huge potential to become a young, tough, winning team in just a few short years.
The trades were pretty bland this year, but free agency should play out differently. The “Big 3,” Carmelo, Pau Gasol, and many others become free agents at the end of this year, and we shouldn’t expect all of them to stay in place. Although the trade deadline wasn’t as exciting as it has been, we should definitely look forward to a thrilling offseason with the free agent class out there. With a possibility of multiple “Decisions” on our hands, we can certainly expect more moves and excitement after the year finishes.