The NBA trade deadline is officially in our rear-view mirror, and while big names like Josh Smith, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Eric Bledsoe and Paul Millsap were not moved, a flurry of (ultimately meaningless) activity still managed to occur.
The new collective bargaining agreement's luxury tax reared its ugly head, with few teams showing any willingness to take on salary beyond this season in fear of facing harsh penalties.
But still, trades happened, and it's time to grade those deals and the teams involved.
Grade for Houston Rockets: A
Grade for Sacramento Kings: D-
In the first deal of the trade season, the Rockets acquired Thomas Robinson, Tyler Honeycutt and Francisco Garcia from the Kings for Patrick Patterson, Cole Aldrich, Toney Douglas and $1 million in cash.
The best player in this deal isn't clear (right now, it's probably Patterson), but the best value/asset is. Robinson was selected with the No. 5 pick in last year's draft, and despite struggling in 51 games with Sacramento, he's already flashed elite athleticism and a strong ability to rebound the ball.
Houston loses Patterson, its starting power forward, but he was on the back end of a rookie contract and seemingly already at or near his ceiling. Paying him a second contract clearly wasn't a priority for the Rockets, so they swapped him out for a lottery pick with superior value, both on and off the court.
Even if Robinson doesn't evolve into an All-Star-caliber forward, at the very least, the Rockets can flip him this summer for a higher payout than whatever they might've received for Patterson.
The Kings basically let go of a top-five pick before possibly knowing exactly what they had on their hands. Their motivation was likely financial, but that doesn't make it any wiser. Apparently, the Kings couldn't stomach the $6.1 million Garcia was due this year. (He has a team option next season for $6.4 million.)
Not sure what Sacramento was thinking, and from both a basketball and team-building perspective, it's one of the worst deals a team has made in recent years.
Grade for Phoenix Suns: C
Grade for Houston Rockets: B+
From Phoenix's perspective, this deal doesn't make a ton of sense unless it's later discovered that Markieff Morris is the organization's primary decision-maker. The team now has both Morris twins, two forwards who can shoot the ball but, at least in the case of Marcus, play very little defense.
Exchanging a draft pick, even though it's from the second round, isn't all that wise when you're a rebuilding franchise. But obviously the Suns felt like Marcus Morris was a better player than anyone coming out in next year's draft.
Houston, meanwhile, got a draft pick and cut enough salary to be able to offer Dwight Howard or Chris Paul a max contract this summer. (If the Rockets make the playoffs this year, they forfeit their first-round draft pick to the Atlanta Hawks.)
Even though they gave up a player who helped stretch the floor in their spread offense—and performed very well with their other four starters—the Rockets made the wise decision by cutting ties with Morris.
It also allows more minutes for the likes of Donatas Motiejunas, Terrence Jones, the newly acquired Thomas Robinson and, hopefully, Royce White.
Grade for Boston Celtics: B
Grade for Washington Wizards: D+
Any time you trade a player on a rookie deal for the sole intention of cutting salary, it's probably not a smart move. That's exactly what the Wizards did here, moving Jordan Crawford to Boston for Leandro Barbosa and Jason Collins, two veterans on expiring contracts for the league minimum.
The Celtics badly needed another guard who could handle the ball, and with the offensively adept Crawford falling out of favor in Washington, this move made sense on paper. What doesn't make sense from Washington's perspective is the team's unwillingness to receive anything of value in return.
It was first reported that the deal would be Crawford for rookie center Fab Melo, and that made sense.
A young project on the first year of his rookie deal has use, both on and off the court. Instead, all Washington received was a guard who tore his ACL less than a month ago and one of the slowest players in the league.
Time will tell if Crawford is able to improve the Celtics' struggling offense, but for the price they paid, the risk is well worth their trouble.
Grade for Orlando Magic: C+
Grade for Milwaukee Bucks: B-
J.J. Redick is an elite shooter capable of initiating a pick-and-roll and competently defending his man on the other end. He's also an expiring contract, which made his value particularly high heading into the trade deadline.
Many teams, including the San Antonio Spurs, Indiana Pacers, Boston Celtics and Detroit Pistons, all showed reported interest in Redick's services over the past few weeks, but it was the Milwaukee Bucks, a fringe playoff team, that landed him.
Good for the Bucks, who also acquired center Gustavo Ayon and point guard Ish Smith in the trade. With the efficient Redick stabilizing the notorious Brandon Jennings/Monta Ellis backcourt by limiting their minutes together, Milwaukee's chances of making the playoffs for the second time in seven years undoubtedly increased.
To facilitate the deal, Milwaukee sent veteran point guard Beno Udrih and young talents Tobias Harris and Doron Lamb to Orlando. Udrih's contract is expiring, and Lamb and Harris are both on rookie deals. (Lamb's especially cheap, as he was a second-round pick.)
The Magic's return for Redick isn't especially notable, but they didn't put any significant money on their books for the future while managing to marginally upgrade their overall talent, so that's good.
Grade for Miami Heat: C
Grade for Memphis Grizzlies: C
In what certainly isn't the sexiest trade of the year, Miami sent scarcely used big man Dexter Pittman and a second-round draft pick to Memphis for the rights to 26-year-old Ricky Sanchez, who's currently playing in Argentina and will likely never suit up for the Heat.
After recently signing Chris Andersen for the rest of the season, Miami participated in this deal to open up a roster spot elsewhere on its team. Clearly Pittman wasn't in their future plans, despite all those helpful trips to the D-League.
The Grizzlies made this move because, before it, they only had 12 players on their roster, and beefing up the bench behind Marc Gasol, Zach Randolph, Ed Davis and Darrell Arthur was a necessity.
In the grand scheme of things, this trade shouldn't have any significant impact on either franchise, unless the Heat are able to strike gold with that empty roster spot. (Think Greg Oden.)
Grade for Oklahoma City Thunder: B+
Grade for New York Knicks: B
Here's a modest deal that makes sense for both teams. In exchange for a second-round pick, the Thunder acquired New York's Ronnie Brewer, a perimeter stopper with experience defending the Miami Heat and LeBron James from stints with the Chicago Bulls and Knicks.
All moves the Thunder make should have Miami in mind, and getting a quality defender like Brewer to throw at LeBron for small stretches in a possible NBA Finals rematch is definitely worth a second-round pick. And at an expiring veteran's minimum contract, all the better.
For the Knicks, they unload a player who's fallen out of their rotation, getting rid of Brewer's salary and opening up a roster spot.
Shortly after this deal went down, it was reported (h/t Nate Taylor, The New York Times) that the Knicks would be filling that open spot with a 10-day contract for veteran forward Kenyon Martin.
Grade for Portland Trail Blazers: A-
Grade for Oklahoma City Thunder: C
The grade for the Thunder might be a little low, but that's just because they got so little back in return for a player everyone around the league knew they'd be moving. In exchange for Maynor, Oklahoma City received the rights to Georgios Printezis, a 27-year-old forward from Greece who'll likely never play in the NBA.
Portland's bench has been a notorious weakness all season long, and making Maynor rookie Damian Lillard's backup was a wonderful move as the Blazers continue on their improbable run for a playoff spot. (Former backup Ronnie Price was waived shortly after the deal was completed.)
The Thunder's decision to give Maynor's backup point guard minutes to Reggie Jackson had more to do with Maynor being on the back end of his rookie deal and Jackson being at the beginning of his than any on-court drop-off. Maynor should stabilize the Trail Blazers bench, both for the rest of this season and moving forward as a long-term backup if they extend him a qualifying offer.
Grade for Charlotte Bobcats: C-
Grade for Orlando Magic: D
It's difficult to make an NBA trade any less interesting than this one. After trading Josh McRoberts to Charlotte in exchange for Hakim Warrick, Orlando has reportedly decided to waive their incoming player to create a roster spot that isn't really all that necessary (h/t Sam Amick, USA Today).
Charlotte gets McRoberts, who's proven in his career to be less productive than a rotational player.
He's also on an expiring contract, which makes Orlando's decision to move him all the more strange. But going back to a deal earlier this season that saw the New Orleans Hornets swap Warrick for veteran Matt Carroll, the Bobcats have definitely upgraded their talent level and versatility.
That's worth something, I guess.
Grade for Dallas Mavericks: B
Grade for Atlanta Hawks: C
Long-range sniper Anthony Morrow wasn't receiving much playing time in Atlanta with a Hawks team that already has Kyle Korver to run off screens and space the floor. So they dealt him to Dallas for Dahntay Jones, a defense-first shooting guard who will be tasked to come in and do his best replacing injured Lou Williams' minutes.
Both players are on expiring contracts, so the deal here is less about financial implications than it is on-court versatility, and the Mavericks received the better player, someone who's a career 42.5 percent shooter from behind the arc.
Jones wasn't receiving playing time in Dallas and is five years older than Morrow, so that's another advantage to Dallas in what likely ends up becoming another empty deal.
Grade for Toronto Raptors: C
Grade for Phoenix Suns: C
The Suns finally admitted their season isn't going anywhere, making room for rookie point guard Kendall Marshall to play. It's smart.
On the other end, the Raptors send recently acquired center Hamed Haddadi to Phoenix in their attempt to replace Jose Calderon at the backup point guard spot. Telfair's deal is expiring, so there's no real risk here.
Haddadi's contract next season is non-guaranteed if waived before June 29, 2013, so expect his tenure in Phoenix to be a short one.
Grade for Philadelphia 76ers: C
Grade for Golden State Warriors: B
The Warriors moved Charles Jenkins in an effort to get under the luxury tax. That's all this was about, and in exchange, they received a second-round pick from Philadelphia. Jenkins is a young scoring guard on a cheap contract, and he could potentially become Jrue Holiday's long-term backup.
The Sixers have no depth at the position, and should they so choose, they can offer Jenkins a qualifying offer next season and turn him into a restricted free agent.
Grade for Golden State Warriors: B
Grade for Atlanta Hawks: C
Along with the Charles Jenkins move, the Warriors' primary reason for moving Jeremy Tyler was to get under the luxury tax. In doing so, they received a second-round pick and no players (i.e. no salary).
Tyler's contract next season is non-guaranteed, so the Hawks will have the option of keeping him around at a cheap price should they so choose. He's a decent big man with upside, but he's yet to have any significant impact at the NBA level.