NBA Trade Deadline 2012: 5 Trades with Strongest Playoff Implications

Matt HinesCorrespondent IMarch 16, 2012

NBA Trade Deadline 2012: 5 Trades with Strongest Playoff Implications

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    The 2012 NBA trade deadline featured a slew of activity, as many teams shook up their roster with thoughts of the postseason on their minds.

    But as we move through the deadline into the final stretch of the 2011-2012 season, which moves will have the greatest implications on this year's playoff picture?

    Let's take a look. 

5. Milwaukee Bucks

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    Milwaukee got a steal when they acquired electrifying scorer Monta Ellis and young big man Ekpe Udoh from the Warriors in exchange for an injured Andrew Bogut and a cancerous Stephen Jackson.

    The Bucks traded two players that were non-factors for them as they make a push for the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference.

    Udoh has the potential to replace Bogut’s roll in Milwaukee's starting rotation as the team’s stopper in the middle, and Ellis will fill the scoring void that Jackson was supposed to assume when they acquired him from Charlotte during last year's draft. 

    Vying for a playoff seed with the New York Knicks, whose deadline move was watching head coach Mike D’Antoni resign, the Bucks appear to be in good shape to compete going forward.

4. Denver Nuggets

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    The Nuggets made the blockbuster of the day by sending their franchise power forward Nene Hilario to Washington in a three-team deal with the Clippers that brought them lanky center JaVale McGee from the Wizards.

    While McGee doesn’t give Denver the star power they lack, McGee is a solid add that gives the Nuggets athleticism, youth and a shot-blocking presence in the post.

    McGee could help the Nuggets, who currently sit among the Western Conference’s bottom four playoff seeds, to make a push to become a serious title contender and climb up the West's ranks. 

3. San Antonio Spurs

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    It seemed like a relatively small move, but San Antonio moving Richard Jefferson for Stephen Jackson might give the Spurs the edge they’ve been looking for.

    Jefferson was never a good fit in San Antonio, and the Spurs have to be looking forward to inserting Jackson into the starting lineup as his replacement. Jackson is a far better passer than Jefferson, making him more adept at running head coach Gregg Poppovich’s offense.

    Jackson is capable of lighting up the scoreboard on any particular night, possessing solid three-point shooting as well as a knack for drawing fouls when penetrating. Poppovich has experience coaching Jackson from when he played with the team from 2001 to 2003, so he should stick in San Antonio.

2. Los Angeles Lakers

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    The Lakers made some pivotal moves for their franchise by acquiring guard Ramon Sessions from Cleveland and Jordan Hill from Houston.

    The team also subtracted the contract of little-used Luke Walton from their payroll and moved the aging Derek Fisher to the Rockets.

    Sessions is a solid addition for the Lakers, more attuned to running Brown’s offense as a pick-and-roll specialist with soft touch in the lane. The newly-acquired point guard will likely give the Lakers the spark they need offensively to rise among the NBA’s elite once more.

    While dealing the veteran Fisher must be tough on the franchise, Fisher simply wasn’t able-bodied enough to effectively run the team's offense at age 37. Shipping him off not only gives Session the playing time he deserves, but brings in a key reserve in Jordan Hill.

    Hill will provide rebounds and blocked shots off the bench for Los Angeles. He’ll likely compete for minutes with fellow reserve Troy Murphy, and give the Lakers some much-needed depth.

1. Los Angeles Clippers

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    The Clippers have struggled since they lost Chauncey Billups to a torn ACL in early February, posting just a 9-10 record since he went down. Finding a shooting guard to replace Billups was crucial to the team’s title hopes, and they couldn’t have found a better bargain than Nick Young, acquiring him in exchange for Brian Cook and a draft pick.

    Young is a scoring threat from just about anywhere on the court, with the ability to drive the lane and finish strong at the rim. Perhaps his most vital skill for the Clippers, however, is his soft hands and dexterity to drain from behind the arc on catch-and-shoot opportunities.

    Combine the drive-and-dump tendencies of All-Star point guard Chris Paul and Young could turn into one of the most dangerous deep-ball shooters in the league.

    Lob City has become a phenomenon this season, and the team just made a huge-impact move that brings them back into the title conversation.

    While the team only added one player, Young could be the difference maker that propels the franchise to their first NBA championship.