With the 2012 NBA trade deadline clearly in our rearview mirrors, it's time to look forward and assess the impact of both trades that did happen and trades that didn't happen.
While additions like Ramon Sessions to the Lakers and Nick Young to the Clippers have the potential to impact the 2012 playoff picture, teams that failed to make moves before the deadline also have the potential to impact the way the 2011-12 season turns out.
There were a number of teams that needed to make some moves before the trade deadline passed but didn't, and by doing so, those teams put their 2012 NBA title hopes in doubt.
Ahead is a list of five NBA teams that blew their chance at a 2012 title run by not making a trade before the deadline.
Player the Hawks needed to move: Joe Johnson
If the NBA season ended right now, the Atlanta Hawks would find themselves as the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference in a first-round matchup with the Orlando Magic.
While that's not a terrible place to be, it's exactly where the Hawks usually find themselves. For the past three seasons, the Hawks have found themselves in a winnable first-round playoff series, only to get blown out in the next round of the playoffs.
By not making a trade before the March 15 trade deadline, that's exactly where the Hawks are going to find themselves again—making a first/second-round exit in the 2012 NBA Playoffs.
It's clear that the current rotation with Josh Smith and Joe Johnson isn't cutting it in Atlanta, and it would have been wise for the Hawks to make a move before the deadline to try and change things up. With Smith emerging as the true leader of the Hawks, it was time for Atlanta to move forward as a franchise with him as their future instead of Johnson.
Instead of trying to make a move that would send away Johnson and his massively overpriced contract, the Hawks decided to hold onto him, which in all honesty, is the main reason why they won't be hoisting the 2012 NBA title at the end of the season.
The Hawks aren't going to win an NBA title until they are able to move on without Joe Johnson, because his contract, which isn't up until the end of the 2015-16 season, will hold Atlanta back from adding the talent they need to become a contender in the East.
Players the Heat needed to get: C Jordan Hill
The one glaring weakness for the Miami Heat is the lack of offensive production they have from the center position.
Last year, it was one of the major reasons why they fell short against the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA Finals, and it will unfortunately be the reason why the Heat won't hoist the 2012 NBA title at the end of the season.
With Joel Anthony, Udonis Haslem and Dexter Pittman as their main options at the center position, the Heat simply don't have the offensive production they need to compete with teams like the Chicago Bulls and the Orlando Magic in the Eastern Conference.
Teams are figuring out how to beat the Heat this year, and it's rooted in an ability to force the Heat to beat them in the paint with players not named LeBron, Wade or Bosh.
There's no doubt that the Heat needed to make an upgrade at the center position before the trade deadline, and their failure to do so is going to keep them from the NBA title this year. While a lot of people wanted Miami to go after Chris Kaman, his massive contract wasn't going to let that happen, and that's exactly why I thought they needed to go after Jordan Hill of the Houston Rockets.
With the Lakers getting Jordan Hill for only a first-round draft pick and Derek Fisher (who the Rockets bought out), it's reasonable to think that the Heat could have got Hill for only a first-round pick and some cash considerations.
The Heat's inability to bring in an offensively-minded center could very well be the reason why the don't win an NBA title in 2012, and if that's the case, South Beach isn't going to be a fun place to be.
Players the Bulls needed to move: C.J. Watson
While there weren't any speculated or rumored trades regarding C.J. Watson, it's still clear that they needed to move him before the March 15 trade deadline.
They didn't need to move him because he's not a solid contributor to their "bench-mob," or he's not a get prospect moving forward.
The reason they needed to trade Watson was because the Bulls have one weakness, and that is the lack of depth they have coming off the bench at the shooting guard/small-forward positions.
One player that was on the market that could've helped the Bulls file that gaping hole was Michael Beasley, who was openly on the trade block, courtesy of the Minnesota Timberwolves.
What the Bulls needed to do was move C.J. Watson to the Timberwolves, who are now without Ricky Rubio, for Michael Beasley in return. That trade would've given the Bulls the added depth they so desperately needed, while at the same time, managing to keep their bench and subsequent rotations relatively intact.
With both C.J Watson and John Lucas, the Bulls could've survived by trading one away for talent in return that would help fill their only hole on the roster, and they failed to do that before the trade deadline.
Unfortunately, their inability to make a trade before the deadline might be the reason why they don't hoist the 2012 NBA title at the end of the season this year.
Players the Celtics needed to trade: PF Kevin Garnett and/or SG Ray Allen
While earlier in the season, Danny Ainge made it clear that he was willing to break up their Big Three of Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce if he was able to get young talent in return. He didn't pull the trigger on a trade before the March 15 trade deadline.
With Garnett and Allen in the final years of their respective contracts, it certainly would have been hard for Boston to find teams interested in the aging talent. That doesn't mean, however, that Boston made the right move by holding onto both players.
It's clear that Garnett isn't the same player he once was, and his inability to produce offensively at the same level he used to is a major reason why the Celtics aren't the top team in the East like they used to be.
Danny Ainge made the right move by holding onto point guard Rajon Rondo, but he failed to do what was best for his team and their title hopes this season by holding onto the aging talent he has in Garnett and Allen.
Garnett and Allen are no longer the future of the Celtics franchise, and in some aspects of the game, those players are holding Boston back.
If the Celtics could've unloaded Garnett and/or Allen and gotten a bit younger and more athletic at the power forward and shooting guard positions, they would still have a shot at the 2012 NBA title.
Unfortunately for Celtics fans, Danny Ainge failed to do that, and it's the main reason why the Celtics will most likely be making a first-round exit from the 2012 NBA Playoffs.
Player the Suns needed to trade: PG Steve Nash
The Phoenix Suns made it clear that they had no plans of moving point guard Steve Nash before the trade deadline unless he asked for it.
Unfortunately for the Suns, Nash never made any movement towards a potential trade, which put the Suns in a tough position. Phoenix stayed true to their promise of not trading Nash unless he wanted it, but in doing so, they sealed the fate of their 2011-12 season.
I know that sounds outlandish, since the Suns have been surging as of late, winning eight of their last 10 games. The truth is, though, that the problem with the Suns isn't a lack of talent around Nash; it's Steve Nash himself.
Yes, Steve Nash is one of the best point guards in the league, and he's undoubtedly an integral piece of Phoenix's success as of late, but he can only take them so far. The Suns need a point guard who can not only facilitate the offense to teammates, but also be a productive member of the offense in terms of offensive production.
While the Suns are only 1.5 games behind the eighth spot in the West, which puts them in a good spot for an appearance in the 2012 playoffs, they are still a team that is bound for a first-round exit in the NBA playoffs.
While I hate to say it, if the Suns want to contend for NBA titles and not just playoff appearances, they need to part ways with Steve Nash.
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