The 10 Most Surprising Moves and Non-Moves of the 2013 NBA Trade Deadline

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured ColumnistFebruary 22, 2013

The 10 Most Surprising Moves and Non-Moves of the 2013 NBA Trade Deadline

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    Transactions involving a mix of stars and role players appeared to be on the horizon heading into the most compelling day of the NBA season, but Thursday's 3 p.m. ET trade deadline came and went with few moves of note to report.

    However, while high-profile names weren't swapped, we still learned about the market and teams' possible motives heading into the summer of 2013.

    With one of the league's more puzzling trade deadlines behind us, it's time to evaluate some of the surprising decisions made by front offices.

Sacramento Kings Trade Thomas Robinson to Houston

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    It would be hard to say you saw this one coming.

    As reported by Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski, the Sacramento Kings dealt Thomas Robinson to the Houston Rockets on Wednesday evening, acquiring a package that consists of Patrick Patterson, Cole Aldrich and Toney Douglas in return.

    Along with Robinson, Sacramento traded Francisco Garcia and Tyler Honeycutt to Houston.

    The move comes as a mild surprise, as it's rare for a team to give up on a lottery selection—much less a top-five pick like Robinson—less than a year after drafting him.

    While the move appears to be a one-sided transaction that benefits the Rockets, it's not hard to understand why the Kings pulled the trigger on this deal.

    With DeMarcus Cousins, Jason Thompson, Chuck Hayes and even James Johnson ahead of Robinson on the depth chart, there simply wasn't room for the first-year product out of Kansas to evolve under Keith Smart. 

    The Kings also shaved cap space with the move (per Sports Illustrated's Ben Golliver), which may be more important to the franchise than any potential Robinson may have held:

    In total, the Kings send out $10.3 million in salary commitments this season while receiving just $6.6 million in return. Sacramento’s financial savings in the deal amounts to a pro-rated portion of that $3.7 million difference in salary.

    Now situated in Houston, Robinson appears ready to take on a more significant role on a Rockets team that's firmly in the hunt for a playoff spot.

Houston Stays Busy, Trades Marcus Morris to Phoenix

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    They played together at the University of Kansas, and they'll be playing together again in the NBA.

    Marcus Morris was selected by the Houston Rockets at No. 14 overall in the 2011 NBA draft, just one pick after his brother Markieff was chosen by the Phoenix Suns.

    Now, according to Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski, the Morris brothers will be reunited in Phoenix, as Houston dealt Marcus Morris to the Suns for a second-round draft pick.

    Given the Rockets' acquisition of Thomas Robinson, it makes perfect sense that the Rockets would want to clear space at the power forward position.

    By trading Patrick Patterson to the Sacramento Kings and dealing Morris to the Suns, the Rockets have cleared the space necessary to make Robinson the starter at power forward.

    As for the Suns, Wednesday night's trade provides the Suns with another capable body at power forward, as Markieff and Luis Scola had previously been racking up all of the minutes.

    Although Marcus' role with the Suns remains unclear, it was a move worth making, as it cost the team just a second-round pick.

Wizards Deal Jordan Crawford for Essentially Nothing

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    Jordan Crawford is a total head case, which is why it should come as no surprise that the Washington Wizards acted swiftly in trading him to the Boston Celtics on Thursday. 

    What's at least mildly surprising is that the Wizards traded Crawford for essentially nothing, dealing him for the injured Leandro Barbosa (per Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski).

    By acquiring the rights to Barbosa's expiring contract, the Wizards simply freed up cap space, but considering Crawford is still on his rookie deal, the space they cleared isn't very significant.

    As for the Celtics, this move creates a logjam in a backcourt already occupied by Jason Terry, Avery Bradley and Courtney Lee.

    Ideally, Doc Rivers will find a way to work Crawford into a permanent role in his rotation, but that could be easier said than done considering his status as one of the league's most notorious gunners.

    It should be noted that the Wizards also acquired center Jason Collins in the deal, but his impact on Randy Wittman's squad figures to be negligible (via Wojnarowski).

Jazz Stand Pat

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    Despite speculation that the Utah Jazz would be among the league's most active teams at the trade deadline, the boys from Salt Lake City opted to stand pat on Thursday afternoon.

    Utah's most valuable assets were Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson, each of whom possesses a contract that expires at season's end.

    Given Utah's excellent depth in the frontcourt (Enes Kanter and Derrick Favors have been playing reserve roles), it felt like the right time for the Jazz to let go of one or both of their valuable big men while they had the chance to acquire some assets.

    Now, with both Jefferson and Millsap set to hit the open market this summer, the Jazz will be faced with a few questions: Can they afford to keep both of their talented bigs at the age of 28, will one suffice or will Utah let both Jefferson and Millsap walk?

    A fascinating summer in Utah lies ahead.

Clippers Fly Under the Radar at Deadline

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    The Los Angeles Clippers found themselves at the center of trade speculation over the past few weeks, with Kevin Garnett rumored to be the team's primary target.

    However, it became clear that Garnett was not interested in severing ties with the Celtics, thus dampening the hopes of any potential deal between the two teams.

    While the Clippers can take comfort in knowing they did not disrupt their team's chemistry, they will almost certainly have to revisit the situation regarding point guard Eric Bledsoe at this time next year.

    Bledsoe's stock continues to rise, as the 23-year-old is one of the best athletes in the league and still has plenty of room to improve as a passer.

    Set to be a restricted free agent in the summer of 2014, you can bet we'll be hearing Bledsoe's name crop up in trade rumors plenty over the next year-and-a-half.

Bucks Win J.J. Redick Sweepstakes

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    In a race too close to call for most of the day, the Milwaukee Bucks ultimately emerged victorious, snagging J.J. Redick from the Orlando Magic in exchange for a package of players, according to Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski.

    Milwaukee acquired Redick, Gustavo Ayon and Ish Smith, while Orlando received Doron Lamb, Tobias Harris and Beno Udrih.

    On the surface, the trade looks like a net gain for Milwaukee. However, given that the Bucks didn't move Monta Ellis at the deadline, Redick may be forced to take on minutes as the team's sixth man.

    Redick leaves a situation in Orlando where he was the second-leading scorer and moves to Milwaukee, where he has virtually no chance to win a title and will presumably see a decrease in touches due to the presence of Ellis and Brandon Jennings.

    The good news for Redick is that he'll have an opportunity to explore his options this summer when he hits free agency.

Toronto Sticks with Andrea Bargnani

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    Once upon a time, it appeared as if the Toronto Raptors were set on trading Andrea Bargnani.

    However, as general manager Bryan Colangelo explained to USA Today earlier this week, Bargnani's injury complicated efforts to trade the Italian seven-footer:

    If a deal presents itself that makes sense, we'll go ahead and move. I would say that, had he not injured himself early, it would've been much more likely that something would've happened. By virtue of him getting injured and returning with a handful games left prior to the trade deadline…there just may not have been enough runway prior to the deadline to get something.

    Unfortunately, Bargnani has been putrid in limited minutes since returning from an elbow injury and has been significantly outplayed by Amir Johnson to boot.

    Bargnani is averaging 3.8 points, 1.8 rebounds and 0.2 assists over his last five games, and while he may still be working his way back into a groove, that sort of production will not fly for long.

Knicks Deal Ronnie Brewer to Thunder, Sign Kenyon Martin

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    The New York Knicks made a bit of news at the deadline when they dealt Ronnie Brewer to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

    According to Marc Berman of the New York Post, the Knicks acquired a 2014 second-round pick from the Thunder in exchange for the 6'7" wing.

    The deal makes sense for the Knicks, as they have used Brewer's spot on the roster to sign forward Kenyon Martin, according to Yahoo! Sports' Marc Spears.

    Martin has a chance to make an impact for the Knicks as a physical big off the bench, but Brewer's qualities as a stingy defender may be exactly what the team winds up lacking come playoff time.

    While Brewer was playing just 15.5 minutes per game under Mike Woodson, he was far and away the team's best wing defender, a role that Iman Shumpert will need to fill in Brewer's absence.

    It's a move that's flying under the radar, but Oklahoma City's acquisition of Brewer could pay significant dividends as the Thunder continue their quest to capture a second straight Western Conference title.

Lakers Stay Quiet, Prepare for Playoff Push

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    Although speculation ran rampant in the days leading up to the trade deadline, the Los Angeles Lakers stood pat and held on to all of their valuable chips.

    In fact, Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak has gone as far as to label Dwight Howard a future building block of the franchise.

    Kupchak told The Herd with Colin Cowherd on Wednesday (via ESPN's Dave McMenamin), "Dwight is our future. Kobe [Bryant] has one more year on his deal [this year, plus one]. That's all I can bank on or this organization can bank on."

    The Lakers are currently 26-29 overall, 6-4 over their last 10 games and trail the Houston Rockets by 3.5 games for the eighth seed in the Western Conference.

    What's more encouraging is the Lakers' recent 113-99 victory over the Boston Celtics, which provided an offensive blueprint of sorts for the remainder of the season.

    In that big win, the offense ran through Howard with a fluidity largely unseen during an otherwise disappointing 2012-13 campaign.

    With controversy behind them, it's time for the Lakers to make their final playoff push.

Josh Smith Remains a Hawk

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    If one thing appeared certain heading into Thursday's trade deadline, it was that Josh Smith and the Atlanta Hawks were going to part ways.

    According to CSN Bay Area's Ric Bucher, the Hawks had a deal in place to send Smith to the Milwaukee Bucks but backed out close to the 3 p.m. ET deadline:

    Source: Atlanta Hawks blow up deal at last minute that would've sent Josh Smith to Milwaukee. Hawks would've received Ekpe Udoh, Luc Mbah-Moute, Beno Udrih and a protected No. 1 pick.

    Smith will now have to tough out the remainder of the season in Atlanta before walking into unrestricted free agency this summer.

    According to USA Today's Jeff Zillgitt, don't count on Smith re-upping with the Hawks:

    The Atlanta native does not want to irritate the home fans, but a person familiar with Smith's plans told USA TODAY Sports that it is "highly unlikely" that Smith re-signs with Atlanta.

    By not trading Smith, the Hawks have put themselves at risk of losing their dynamic forward and receiving no young assets in return.

    However, by not taking on pieces in any potential deal, the Hawks have afforded themselves the opportunity to free up some significant cap space this summer.