February 25, 2011

Another great deadline day

by Dan Bilicki In: Basketball

For the first time in a while – for any North American sports even – we saw a crazy trade deadline go down and as a writer and a fan it’s hard not to be enthralled by it. After all, it was just a few seasons ago where we saw the biggest NBA trade deadline deal where Fred Jones was the best player changing addresses.
This season, contenders shook things up, some picks were swapped and some playoff teams might have even taken themselves out of the race.
The Celtics made a trade that was about as perplexing as they come. How does trading their starting centre and best guard off the bench help their cause? Getting Jeff Green to play some D on the wings and inserting a weak big man like Nenad Krstic doesn’t make them stronger, if anything, it hurts them severely. With the O’Neals (Shaq and Jermaine) now their best centres, can they stand up against the likes of Chicago or Orlando in the playoffs? I hardly think so.
Oklahoma City now looks like they’re set for a solid run in the post-season having shored up its unstable front line with both Perkins and Nazr Mohammed. They’ll be a force to be reckoned with in the West if Perk can jell with this young squad in time.
Then there was quite the interesting point guard carousel afoot. Baron Davis is the newest Cleveland Cavalier while Mo Williams joins the Clippers. If there’s one reason to like this trade for the Cavs, it’s that they’re getting a first-round pick too, giving them two high lottery choices this year. It’s a shame too, as Davis was finally playing hard and really clicking with Blake Griffin.
Houston shipped off Aaron Brooks for the Suns’ Goran Dragic, which makes little sense for either team. Brooks will be stuck behind Steve Nash while Dragic isn’t good enough to lead a team.
Speaking of Houston, they had the dubious honour of acquiring Hasheem Thabeet, quite possibly the worst draft pick ever made. The Rockets even gave up Shane Battier, one of the most underrated players in the game for his glue-guy abilities. The Grizzlies definitely got the better of this one.
Memphis actually made out pretty good on the deadline, in spite of itself it may seem. Reports say that they actually had two trades fall through: Rudy Gay to Houston was scuttled early on and O.J. Mayo to Indy couldn’t beat the deadline apparently. Now, with their team still intact, they could actually surprise someone in Round 1 of the playoffs.
The Grizzlies are looking at a pretty good shot of playing the post-season too, with Denver and Utah both trading away their biggest stars.
Thursday was everything that you could have wanted from a deadline day. After seeing a $50-million on soccer’s transfer deadline day, how can you not be stocked for the NHL’s coming cut-off?

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