NBA Trade Deadline 2013: Early Winners and Losers Ahead of the Deadline

Brendan BowersContributor IIFebruary 20, 2013

NBA Trade Deadline 2013: Early Winners and Losers Ahead of the Deadline

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    As of Wednesday morning, there has yet to be an NBA trade executed this season during the month of February. 

    The early winners and losers ahead of this year's deadline, as a result, include a collection of teams who finalized trades last month—well in advance of the trade buzzer scheduled to sound this Thursday at 3 p.m. ET.

    Each winner and loser was measured by how the assets they acquired in each trade have impacted their team since, as well as by how each deal projects moving forward.

    By Thursday night I expect this list to be longer as trade talks continue to heat up around the league. In the meantime, however, this is where we stand.

Cleveland Cavaliers: Winners

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    On Tuesday, January 22, the Memphis Grizzlies traded forward Marreese Speights, guard Wayne Ellington, guard Josh Selby and a future first-round draft pick to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

    In exchange, the Cavs shipped forward Jon Leuer to Memphis.

    It was a move dictated by the Grizzlies' desire to avoid luxury tax penalties that the Cavaliers have gone on to benefit from immediately. 

    In addition to the positive implications of acquiring a first-round pick for the seldom-used Leuer, the Cavaliers have also gone 6-5 since making the deal.

    In seven games during the month of February, specifically, Speights has averaged 13 points and 6.9 rebounds per night for the Cavs.

    Ellington, meanwhile, has averaged 10.9 points over that same seven-game stretch. 

    If Speights picks up his $4.5 million player option to stay in Cleveland next season, this deal adds even more value for the Cavaliers.

    Even if he doesn't, though, Cavs general manager Chris Grant already maximized the cap space his team had available as much as possible by executing this trade with Memphis.

Toronto Raptors: Losers

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    In a three-way trade with the Detroit Pistons and Memphis Grizzlies, the Toronto Raptors acquired forward Rudy Gay on January 30.

    Along with Gay, they also acquired Hamed Haddadi in exchange for Jose Calderon and Ed Davis.

    Prior to arriving in Toronto, Gay had been shooting career-lows of 40.8 percent from the field and 31 percent from three-point territory for the Memphis Grizzlies this season. 

    Besides the fact that he's gone on to shoot even worse in eight games since with the Raptors—38.3 percent and 24.3 percent, respectively—the Raptors' on-court product has nothing to do with losing this trade.

    Toronto has won six of its last 10 games—with Gay averaging 21.1 points in the eight he's played since arriving—but this is a team still destined for the NBA's limbo as its currently constructed.

    The Raptors now have a combined $38.4 million tied up in Gay, Andrea Bargnani and DeMar DeRozan for next season. 

    While this group could help close the five-game gap they trail the eighth-seeded Milwaukee Bucks by at the moment, it won't be enough to contend in the Eastern Conference moving forward.

    The dollars they have already invested will also prevent Toronto from adding future pieces heading into next year. 

    If the Raptors can move Bargnani before the deadline on Thursday, however, their fortunes could change immediately. 

Detroit Pistons: Winners

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    In that same Rudy Gay deal on January 30, the Detroit Pistons sent Tayshaun Prince and Austin Daye to the Memphis Grizzlies.

    In exchange they received Jose Calderon and a whole lot of cap space. 

    In seven games with Detroit, Calderon appears to be a better-than-expected complement to Brandon Knight in the Pistons backcourt.

    He's shooting a career-high field-goal percentage of 55.4 percent during that stretch while scoring 14.3 points and dishing out seven assists.

    But besides Calderon's ability to help Knight, along with Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe, find easier ways to score, the Pistons are now set up to make a major splash in free agency this summer.

    As a result of this deal, Detroit has only $35.2 million currently on the books for 2013-14.

Memphis Grizzlies: Winners

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    With increased penalties set to kick in next season as a result of the new collective bargaining agreement, the Memphis Grizzlies desperately needed to move the $17.8 million Rudy Gay was owed next year.

    Otherwise, it wouldn't make as much sense for the Grizzlies to trade their leading scorer while in contention for a conference title, regardless of how inefficiently Gay has been shooting from the field this season.

    In exchange for Gay, Tayshaun Prince and Austin Daye are now Grizzlies. 

    In seven games with their new team, Prince is scoring 9.4 points on 47 percent shooting from the field while Daye is scoring 6.4 on 53 percent.

    At a combined total of 15.8 per game between them, Daye and Prince have done their part to make up for the 17.2 points that Gay left behind in Memphis.

    Where Memphis goes from here this season, though, will be more about Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph now than ever.