The 2013 NBA trading deadline was certainly a letdown for fans expecting to see superstars like Josh Smith and Kevin Garnett on the move, but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t enough action to satisfy the more die-hard basketball junkies.
There were plenty of big transactions that involved key role players swapping franchises, and lots of deals that involved teams shaving salary in order to get under the cap and avoid the dreaded “repeater tax” beginning 2014.
Let’s take a look at which organizations came out ahead and had general managers with the savvy to fleece their counterparts on Thursday, while also taking some time to note the real losers of this latest trade deadline.
Rockets fans are still likely in awe of what their team was able to get in return from the Sacramento Kings in exchange for Pattrick Patterson, Cole Adrich and Toney Douglas.
GM Daryl Morey managed to parlay those three players into Thomas Robinson (the No. 5 pick in the 2012 draft), Francisco Garcia’s expiring contract and Tyler Honeycutt, an absolutely incredible return on investment.
Considering the Rockets are usually in contention or just outside the playoffs, they haven’t had a shot at selecting such a high-upside player with a top pick in years.
Not only did they get one on Wednesday night, but they somehow saved cap room for next season by moving Patterson (on the last year of his rookie deal and unlikely to be re-signed) and undoubtedly planning to cut ties with Garcia after the 2012-13 campaign.
It was a major score for Morey and yet another in a long line of brilliant maneuvers he has made since the offseason.
The Bucks shocked the world when they landed J.J. Redick on Thursday, an especially surprising revelation when it was reported a few hours prior that they scaled back their pursuit of the shooting guard.
That seemed to be all smoke and mirrors, as the organization flipped Doron Lamb, Beno Udrih and Tobias Harris to the Orlando Magic in exchange for Redick, Gustavo Ayon and Ish Smith.
Redick will certainly bolster the Bucks shot at making the playoffs in the relatively non-competitive Eastern Conference, and could help swing a first-round series in Milwaukee’s favor.
While the former Duke star is playing out the last year of a three-year, $19 million contract he signed back in 2010, there’s a possibility he could remain with the franchise if they find success.
It’ll be tough to find as many shots and opportunities to make plays now that he will be playing in a backcourt with Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings, but Redick will finally be winning games and has a chance to make a playoff run with the Bucks in 2013.
It’s completely ridiculous that the Kings not only gave up on T-Rob after just a few months of trying to develop him on a roster with four different power forwards, but the fact that they did to save just over $3 million is even more incredulous.
Many had Robinson in the running to go as high as No. 2 overall in the 2012 draft, and he’s an undoubtedly talented prospect with a high ceiling.
He’s nowhere near his potential, and we imagine this trade will only motivate him to start improving at an even more rapid rate. With Houston clearing out their power forward rotation (Patterson to Sacramento and Marcus Morris to the Phoenix Suns), there will be an ample opportunity for the former Kansas star to get minutes.
If the Maloof brothers weren’t already trying to sell the team and get out of dodge, there would likely be a mutiny among fans against the owners and lame duck GM Geoff Petrie.
For some inexplicable reason, the Wizards elected to trade a solid scoring guard in Jordan Crawford for Boston Celtics reserve big man Jason Collins and the injured Leandro Barbosa (who admittedly has an expiring contract)
With the playoffs approaching, many contenders are looking for some productive, high-energy guys to bring off the bench, and we believe that Washington could have gotten much more future value if they had shopped a bit more.
Crawford has the potential to be a great player, and the franchise should have at least attempted to get a draft pick or two for his services.
Collins is great at defending Dwight Howard, but that’s about it. Considering the Wizards won’t be in the postseason for quite some time, it’s not truly necessary to have a player like this on the roster.