2014 NBA Trade Deadline: Grading Each Team’s Deadline Activity
NBA Trade Grades: Grading Each Team's Moves at the Trade Deadline
The 2014 NBA Trade Deadline has come and gone and it looked like we all might have just lived through a complete dud. After all, as the proverbial buzzer sounded at 3 p.m. EST on Thursday, the last-second deals we were hoping would be near-blockbuster moves were ineffective big men being dealt as part of a salary dump to try to get closer to the tax line.
Despite the relatively uneventful deadline, we did eventually get word regarding that near-blockbuster deal we were waiting about a half hour after the actual deadline had passed when it came out that the Indiana Pacers had traded Danny Granger to the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for Evan Turner and Lavoy Allen. To some degree that saved the Trade Deadline’s excitement, but only slightly.
There was talk coming into Thursday that the premium being placed on first-round picks this year could potentially deaden many talks going on around the league and that was almost undoubtedly the case. While plenty of second-round picks were moved and put on the table on Thursday, not one first-round pick was involved in a trade, giving a clear picture of how the league views first-rounders this year.
Regardless of if we were all disappointed by what happened at the NBA Trade Deadline, though, there were still several deals that went down throughout the day, albeit featuring more role players than the big names that we’d like to see. Some teams still made a solid effort to improve while others made questionable moves or no moves at all. How did every team fare? Here are the grades for every team’s moves (or lack thereof) at the deadline.
Acquisitions: Antawn Jamison
Departures: Rights to Cenk Akyol (2005 draft pick)
The Hawks would have been fine to just stand pat at the deadline, but they helped the Clippers in a salary dump by taking on Jamison’s contract. As far as what Jamison can bring, it’s hard to imagine that being very much this season.
The Hawks already have a relatively crowded frontcourt and, even if they were looking to add more depth on their front line, their biggest problem is aging big men; that’s a problem that Jamison certainly doesn’t remedy that issue. Given that the Hawks had to waive Cartier Martin to just make room on their roster for Jamison, it’s hard to be a fan of what Atlanta did on Thursday.
A D may seem like a harsh grade for the Celtics, but their overvaluing of players that lead to no deals getting done for them is problematic. As Boston tries to rebuild, they still have a lot of guys on the books beyond this season. As a result, it would have been nice to see them get rid of at least one or two of those deals or even get as close as possible to a king’s ransom for Rajon Rondo. They have a bevy of draft picks to build with in the future, but this team not doing anything at the deadline is something I can’t get behind.
Acquisitions: Marcus Thornton
Departures: Jason Terry, Reggie Evans
The departures of both Terry and Evans are more or less positives for the Nets in this deal. Terry has been a shell of his former self (or maybe even less than that) since coming to Brooklyn and Evans leaving will open up spots in the rotation to develop young guys like Mason Plumlee, who has shown promise at times this season.
In regards to Thornton, it’d be great if the Nets were getting the Thornton of the previous two seasons from the Kings, but that’s not the case. Thornton is averaging just 8.3 points in 24.4 minutes per game while shooting posting career-low shooting percentages. Perhaps he’ll be rejuvenated with the Nets, though. Either way, you have to give the Nets credit for shaking things up and trying to infuse new life for a playoff push.
Acquisitions: Gary Neal, Luke Ridnour
Departures: Ramon Sessions, Jeff Adrien
It’s weird to think that the addition of two role players could have a great effect on a team’s season, but that could very well be the case with the Bobcats adding Neal and Ridnour. Sure, Sessions had been solid and consummate pro, but he and Adrien have always been somewhat expendable for Charlotte.
What the Bobcats desperately needed was to add an outside shooter to complement the interior presence of Al Jefferson to help improve their offense. Now they have two guys that can spot-up and knock down shots on the perimeter. Neal seems like the much more valuable pick-up, but Ridnour could also give the Bobcats solid minutes. For an offense making just 5.8 threes per game as a team, this move is a lengthy stride in the right direction.
The Bulls ended up not making a move at the deadline, but it’s really hard to imagine any deal that they could have made. The biggest move that they have left to make is to amnesty Carlos Boozer after the season. Other than that, their most glaring issues regard injuries, which the deadline is only going to serve as a temporary fix for. It was smart of Chicago to stand pat, but it’s also hard to give them a grade when they really didn’t even seem to try to make anything happen.
Acquisitions: Spencer Hawes
Departures: Earl Clark, Henry Sims, two second-round picks.
If the Cavs hadn’t given up two second-rounders to get Hawes, it’d probably receive a much higher grade. It’s pretty evident given the pieces going to the 76ers that the picks were the kicker in getting a deal done, but that’s a pretty high price tag for a guy on an expiring contract with no guarantee that he’ll re-sign.
However, Hawes could help Cleveland’s offense a great deal over the last two months of the season. Hawes has shown the ability to score from almost anywhere on the floor, which should make him a dangerous pick-and-roll partner with Kyrie Irving. Hawes ability to draw opposing big men to the perimeter could also open up the lane more for Irving and Dion Waiters. The price they paid is questionable, but Hawes could greatly aid a playoff push.
While the Mavericks did express interest in Kevin Love, who was reportedly never even close to being available, they were pretty outspoken about the fact that they were happy with the core in place and where it could take them. That’s exactly what they ended up doing. I like the confidence that the front office and coaches have in this team and this team seems to have the offensive firepower to stay in contention for a playoff spot. Every team in the league could use some help, but the Mavs standing pat is far from being a negative thing.
Acquisitions: Aaron Brooks, Jan Vesely
Departures: Andre Miller, Jordan Hamilton, second-round pick
The Nuggets came into Deadline Day and executed their plan at the deadline. Denver wanted to unload the essentially inactive (a result of disagreements with organization) Miller, which they were able to do while also not taking on much salary in Vesely in return. Moreover, the addition of Brooks for the relatively little-used Hamilton is a deal that addresses a need for this team with their backcourt being a bit depleted while also not mortgaging any real assets in doing so. Not only did the Nuggets grab a solid point guard and a young prospect, but they did so wisely and in their best interests.
The only reason that the Pistons aren’t getting an F for their lack of action at the Trade Deadline is because we don’t know what was offered for someone like Josh Smith or Greg Monroe, meaning we don’t know if it was an insultingly minute offer that there’s no way Detroit should have taken.
Having said that, though, the Pistons could have really used a deal to shake up their roster on Thursday. Detroit is stuck in the mire outside the playoff-picture in the East and a big part is the fact that the pieces that they have don’t mesh, whether Maurice Cheeks is the head coach or not. The Pistons should have looked to be more active at the deadline as their inactivity could very well keep them out of the postseason.
Golden State Warriors
Acquisitions: Steve Blake
Departures: Kent Bazemore, MarShon Brooks
The Warriors and Lakers pulled off one of the earliest deals leading up to the Trade Deadline in a deal that worked out quite well for Golden State. After Toney Douglas and Bazemore hadn’t worked out as the backup to Stephen Curry, the Warriors were able to land a talented player in Blake to fill that void. More importantly, Golden State was able to give up two rarely used bench players to make the deal happen. When a team can come into the deadline, get done what they wanted to and do so at a great price, that’s deserving of high marks.
Acquisitions: Jordan Hamilton
Departure: Aaron Brooks
Adding a young player like Hamilton for a player in Brooks that is buried in their rotation is a good look for Houston. Hamilton hasn’t had much success over his career, but if there’s any system that the offensive-minded and athletic forward can succeed in, it’s the Rockets’.
However, it feels like the Rockets left way too many things unaccomplished to give them more than a slightly below average grade. Houston was unable to deal Omer Asik, didn’t really progress talks regarding Jeremy Lin, and never seemed to make too serious of a push for Rondo. The move the Rockets made was fine, but it feels like they left a lot of potential deals on the table.
Acquisitions: Evan Turner, Lavoy Allen
Departure: Danny Granger, second-round pick
The Pacers looked like they were going to stand pat at the Trade Deadline and just keep rolling with the core they’ve had all year. Then they went out at the last second and pulled off the biggest deal of the day in sending Granger to Philly in exchange for Turner and Allen.
Getting Granger off the books is big for Indiana. It clears space for the Pacers to negotiate an extension for Lance Stephenson and work in free agency if need be. More than that, though, the Pacers get a player in Turner who could be a game-changer off of the bench in Granger’s former role. Granger had struggled to stay healthy and play effectively when healthy this season and hadn’t shown many signs of coming around. Turner, however, has shown promise with the Sixers and gives them an active and versatile wing as a reserve.
You could have easily said the Pacers didn’t necessarily need to make a move coming up to the deadline, but now that they’ve pulled this off they seem to have improved and become an even greater threat to a Miami three-peat.
Los Angeles Clippers
Acquisitions: Cenk Akyol’s draft rights, second-round pick
Departure: Antawn Jamison, Byron Mullens, future second-round pick
The Clippers dealt Jamison and Mullens at the deadline to try and get closer to being out of the luxury tax, which they effectively did. Moreover, they were able to unload two ineffective players on their front-line, possibly opening the door for Ivan Johnson to come in on a 10-day contract and maybe longer. Any deal that sends Mullens away and brings in Johnson automatically puts you near the top of the class in the league.
Los Angeles Lakers
Acquisitions: Kent Bazemore, MarShon Brooks
Departure: Steve Blake
The Lakers are reportedly high on the potential of Bazemore in L.A. for this season and the future, but this deal was pretty clearly a salary dump to try and chip away at a hefty luxury tax bill. Los Angeles saved only about $2 million with the deal, though. That might not be bad, but their blatant denial regarding liking the prospects of Bazemore with the team deduct some serious points. I know it’s rough, Lakers, but have some prize and don’t patronize us.
The Grizzlies were engaged in a couple of talks, most notably with the Timberwolves about a deal that would land Memphis Chase Budinger and J.J. Barea. The Wolves reportedly were looking for Tayshaun Prince in Tony Allen in a potential deal, but the Grizzlies appeared reluctant to give up Allen.
I like the Grizzlies standing pat at the deadline and even more so like the fact that they were unwilling to deal Allen. Memphis, for all their faults, has a clear identity as a tough defensive team that’s going to fight for everything they get; no one personifies or leads the team with that attitude more than Allen. Trading him would have been a mistake, which is why their inaction gets a relatively good grade.
Acquisitions: Highly-protected future second-round pick
Departure: Roger Mason Jr.
The Heat dealing Mason Jr. to Sacramento really only served one purpose for Miami: open up a roster spot to try and sign players who have been bought out. Miami’s roster right now is hardly full of assets that could be traded or that the Heat would want to trade. As a result, not much was really expected of them at the Trade Deadline. They get a slight boost above average, though, as they Mason Jr. trade was done with a clear and smart purpose in mind.
Acquisitions: Ramon Sessions, Jeff Adrien
Departure: Gary Neal, Luke Ridnour
You’re probably thinking I’m crazy for saying that a Bucks team that received only Sessions and Adrian at the deadline deserve a B, but Milwaukee came into Deadline Day and accomplished what was necessary. Neal needed to go due to his problems in the locker room this season and the Bucks then wanted to get rid of Ridnour outright. The fact that the Bobcats allowed Milwaukee to include Ridnour works in the Bucks’ favor also. Sessions and Adrien likely won’t add a great deal of success to the Bucks, though Sessions can be a solid backup, but it’s hard to knock a team that’s bottoming out for making positive moves while still staying a bad basketball team.
D is for disappointing. Minnesota was certainly making an effort to address some of their issues at the Trade Deadline, reportedly being in talks about with the Grizzlies about Tony Allen and with the Nuggets regarding Andre Miller. However, the Wolves entered Deadline Day trying to make something happen and eventually left empty-handed. For a team that still believes they can make a postseason push, not bolstering their roster even in a slight way is a rough blow for the Timberwolves.
New Orleans Pelicans
There had to be two goals on the mind of the Pelicans coming into the deadline. One would be that they had to try to unload Eric Gordon’s albatross of a contract despite the high degree of difficulty in doing that. The other was to deal shooting guard Anthony Morrow, who New Orleans was reportedly shopping leading up to Thursday afternoon’s deadline.
However, the Pelicans weren’t able to accomplish either of those things before the 3 p.m. EST came about, leaving them with nothing in return and treading in dirty water right now. Obviously injuries have really derailed New Orleans this season, but they also never looked close to finding their way when everyone on their roster was healthy. The Pelicans didn’t accomplish what they wanted and didn’t shake things up on Thursday, which constitutes failure if you ask me.
New York Knicks
If the Knicks only missed out on dealing Beno Udrih to the Nuggets in a deal that never fully developed, that would be okay. If the Knicks had chosen to just stand pat and end discussions, that would also be fine. However the fact that the Knicks reportedly turned down the Thunder’s offer for Iman Shumpert that reportedly included a much-coveted first-round pick. That’s just bad business on the part of the Knicks, no matter how much they value Shump.
Oklahoma City Thunder
The coy talk circulating the Thunder at the deadline was that OKC made the biggest acquisition of the Trade Deadline as it was officially announced that Russell Westbrook would be returning on Thursday night. In terms of actual deals, though, the Thunder were looking to acquire Shumpert, but the deal fell through at the fault of the Knicks as the Thunder made a sizable and impressive offer.
However, if there was one team that could stand pat and that be the right move, it’s the Thunder. They’ve been one of the NBA’s best this season and have done so largely without Westbrook. Honestly, they didn’t really need to do anything; even acquiring Shumpert would have been a luxury more than anything.
Probably the most surprising team to stand pat at the Trade Deadline was the Magic as they are still rebuilding and had plenty of players, most notably Arron Afflalo, that could draw in a nice package in return leading up to Thursday afternoon. However, Orlando chose to instead stick with what they have. While it’s nice to see this young core continuing to develop alongside one another, the Magic could have taken this opportunity to mortgage one of their trade assets. It’s not entirely detrimental as they still have this summer to make moves, but it was indeed an unexpected occurrence from the deadline.
Acquisitions: Danny Granger, Eric Maynor, Byron Mullens, Earl Clark, Henry Sims, six second-round picks
Departure: Evan Turner, Lavoy Allen, Spencer Hawes, second-round pick
The 76ers mortgaging two of their biggest trade assets in Turner and Hawes, acquiring bench fodder and an injury-plagued veteran, and stock-piling second-round picks all scream one word very loudly: TANK! Tanking is clearly the intention of Philly as they were the most active team at the deadline and they certainly did a stand-up job of making sure they bottom out over the last two months of the season.
It would have been a nice bonus if the Suns were able to put together a deal and land Pau Gasol and would have been at least somewhat noteworthy had they been able to secure Luol Deng. However, those deals didn’t happen for Phoenix and, strangely, I think they may be better for it.
While the Suns clearly have talent throughout their roster, one of the biggest reasons for them being postseason-bound come April has been this palpable chemistry that they’ve developed as a team. You get the sense watching them that they are all in for one another on the floor and off it as well. If I were in the Suns’ front office, I wouldn’t mess with that mojo by making a deal and shuffling pieces. Oddly enough, Phoenix’s inactivity is fine by me.
Portland Trail Blazers
Yet another team not to get a deal done before the 3 p.m. Trade Deadline was the Blazers, who really didn’t ever seem to have any feelers out on the market. The fact that they were almost entirely nonexistent in talks is a bit surprising as they could have used some frontcourt help off of their bench, but Portland not making a move isn’t the worst thing in the world. In the end, the Blazers pretty much just aimlessly floated through the deadline.
Acquisitions: Jason Terry, Reggie Evans, Roger Mason Jr.
Departure: Marcus Thronton, highly-protected future second-round pick
The Kings made a few minor moves, but really didn’t bring anything into Sacramento that will have any positive effect on their team moving forward. Terry seems washed-up, Evans is an aging role player only really effective in a particular niche, and Mason Jr. is likely going to be waived.
However, the Kings did gain some positives from their moves on Thursday afternoon. Not only were they able to save money in the Mason Jr. trade with the Heat also sending cash, but they were also able to trade another piece from the Maloof brothers’ ownership regime that nearly ran the franchise into the ground in Thornton. As they try to create a new team and new culture, having their guys in place becomes increasingly important. Though it’d be nice to see more value coming into Sacramento, continuing to rebuild and move on is equally if not more important.
San Antonio Spurs
Acquisitions: Austin Daye
Departure: Nando de Colo
Based solely on the value of Daye and de Colo, this deal should barely register as something that happened at the deadline. However, the way the Spurs have taken numerous players that were counted out and molded them into quality role players makes me still have hope for a guy like Daye that has the physical abilities but just hasn’t put it all together in the Association. Until we see what he can develop into, though, it’s hard to give this deal a grade.
Acquisitions: Nando de Colo
Departure: Austin Daye
The deal between the Raptors and Spurs is near meaningless for Toronto. With Kyle Lowry and Greivis Vasquez already taking duties at the point guard position, the Raps have little-to-no use for the seldom-used de Colo. However, they get a good mark due to the fact that they didn’t make a panic trade.
This Toronto team isn’t one that has enjoyed much success over the years, but they certainly are now. There are concerns about holding on to some guys like Lowry for the future, but this team also has the chance to go into the postseason this year and make noise. I like the Raptors decision to continue that trajectory instead of looking too far ahead and panicking.
There’s not a whole lot to be said about the Jazz at the Trade Deadline. There were soft rumors about guys like Marvin Williams or Richard Jefferson being dealt, but that buzz never materialized into anything. In the end, the Jazz kept things as they currently are and are looking to develop young pieces on the roster and build through free agency and the draft. It’s nothing spectacular, but they also didn’t do anything stupid either.
Acquisitions: Andre Miller
Departure: Jan Vesley, Eric Maynor, second-round pick
Washington has desperately needed two things for much of the year. The Wizards have needed a veteran leader on the floor with them to help guide this young team towards success. In addition to that, the Wizards also needed a point guard to play behind John Wall and keep the team afloat with the star guard on the sideline.
The Wizards got both of their needs addressed in one swoop when they were able to reach a three-team deal with the Nuggets and 76ers that landed Washington Miller. Moreover, the Wizards didn’t have to give up a monstrous package to get the deal done either, sending away just role players and a single second-round pick. It could take time for Miller to shake off any rust he may have garnered while being apart from Denver, but if he gets back to form he’ll have high value for the Wizards.