Every year at this time right on command — myself and other NBA nutcases get nerdy and excited over the possibility of splash moves that could occur in mid February. More times than not however the Trading Deadline cycle becomes more about chatter and less about execution and this season was no exception. While names like Blake Griffin, Kevin Love, Dwight Howard and others were rumored to be moved, ultimately those names remained at their current residence. Its not to say there weren’t any deals done cause there were but the bottom line is for all the tweaks made to certain rosters no one made a significant transaction to even tinker with the idea of dethroning the Golden State Warriors and much less to keep pace with San Antonio, Cleveland and Oklahoma City.
Really love what Stan Van Gundy is putting together in Detroit. Acquiring talented Tobias Harris for Brandon Jennings earlier this week is a move in the positive direction and then on deadline day moving Joel Anthony and a projected 1st rounder to the Houston Rockets for guys who can make an immediate impact in Donatas Motiejunas and Marcus Thornton. Not necessarily championship moves in the immediate but for a team on the outside looking in for the postseason, the Pistons positioned themselves to become a playoff team come April.
They didn’t necessarily improve their roster in the short term and with the strong possibility of Chris Bosh not being available for the remainder of the season a white flag may have been waved in terms of championship viability. However getting under the dreaded repeater tax by shedding nearly $11 million this season tells you this is a franchise doing some forward thinking and will be a player in free agency.
Los Angeles Clippers
Jeff Green isn’t a world beater and in my opinion has been a bit of a disappointment given his talent but he can still contribute to a contender. It’s a tweak but maybe, just maybe they can slip into the championship conversation in the weeks to come. The Clips have looked very good without their all star PF Blake Griffin who’s out due to injury. While many seemed convinced they can win without Griffin (which is ridiculous by the way) adding another piece in Green who can score at a rapid pace in a moments notice, there’s no drawback in this transaction. Plus moving a major distraction in Lance Stephenson is always a good thing.
I don’t think there was anything they could have done to get much worse or make the East interesting at the top but getting Channing Frye from Orlando, another guy who can stretch the floor is a low risk/high reward play for the Cavs. Plus by moving fan favorite Andersen Varajao they were actually able to save money if you can believe that.
They made a few moves but seeing they weren’t any to get any takers for Dwight Howard now puts GM Daryl Morey in a predicament moving forward of deciding whether to keep him beyond this season or lose him for nothing as Howard is expected to opt out his final year of his current contract. I always thought the Howard/Harden marriage was always doomed from the start and while they did overachieve winning 50 plus games the last two seasons, the true colors have already been exposed and now they have to hack it for at least a few more months of this year.
Pau Gasol on the block? No deal. Maybe Taj Gibson gets moved? Nope, nothing. It’s really no secret that they are in blow up mode. Thought Chi-town would be more active right till the 3pm deadline but outside moving fan favorite Kirk Hinrich, the Bulls come up a disappointment — just like their season.
As of right now this is clearly the 2nd best team in the Eastern Conference and yet currently constructed not good enough to dethrone Cleveland in the East. While there was chatter the Raptors were positioning themselves to go all in to make a deep playoff run, at the end no transactions were made. Maybe GM Masai Ujiri is confident this roster can make noise come April and May — in a conference where no one else to this point has made a step forward during the trade deadline moratorium.
Expectations for big splash moves. End of the day — nothing but pitter patter. Fans left with disappointment.