Regrading the NBA's Recent Blockbuster Trades

Kelly ScalettaFeatured ColumnistFebruary 14, 2014

Regrading the NBA's Recent Blockbuster Trades

0 of 14

    Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

    As the NBA trade deadline approaches, it's worth pausing to consider: What makes a good trade good? Usually grades get assigned at the time of the trade based on certain assumptions, and then we forget about them. But the results, not the projections, are what determine the winners. This is a regrading, therefore, of the biggest trades over the last five years.  

    Part of the reason for this evaluation is to determine if the maxims of trading have changed. There was a time the conventional wisdom was, “whoever gets the best player wins the trade,” but does this still hold up with the new Collective Bargaining Agreement?

    Now it's more prohibitive to go over the tax. The penalty is steeper, and more prohibitive rules which affect flexibility, kick in once you go over the apron. 

    For that reason I looked at five specific trades which involve max-contract players, evaluating all the players and draft picks involved and how the teams have fared. I then graded them based on what the expectations of the trade were.

Methodology

1 of 14

    Jeffrey Phelps/Associated Press

    Because I’m looking to see how the CBA and the new cap rules have impacted trading, I looked specifically at teams who traded max-contract players who were in their primes.

    I did not include trades from last summer, as it is too recent to gauge. I did not include the James Harden trade because he was not, at the time, a max-contract player. I did not include Steve Nash because he was not in his prime or a max-contract player anymore.

    The trades I did include are identified by the said superstar in each trade. Specifically, they are Carmelo Anthony, Deron Williams, Chris Paul, Joe Johnson and Dwight Howard

    To evaluate the trades, I looked at who the respective teams sent out and who they got in return, as measured by win shares. While the metric is not perfect, it’s the best single-number metric for this purpose because it provides for a quick, inclusive and cumulative (as opposed to per-minute) metric to show what value each player has provided for the receiving team.

    In cases where a player traded for was re-traded, the player(s) for whom he was traded was added into the mix because the value of that player was still on the roster. However, the win shares for the player whom the original team traded away was accounted for on the sending team to the end of his original contract.

    So, for example, the Denver Nuggets received Raymond Felton from the New York Knicks as part of the Carmelo Anthony trade. The Nuggets in turn made a trade with Portland which involved Felton and Andre Miller as the principle players.

    Only the win shares Felton accrued for Denver were accounted to Denver, but his win shares for both Portland and Denver were discounted from New York. However, the win shares Miller has contributed to Denver were also included for Denver because the Nuggets received that value as an extension of the Anthony trade.

    The logic is that for the receiving team, the total gain from the trade needs to be measured, but for the sending team, the only reasonable assurance is that the player would have stayed to the end of his contract, so only those win shares should be considered.

    After determining that, I evaluated the net win shares for each team since the trade, how many players and/or assets from the trades were still on each team’s roster and how the team in question is presently situated based on what they were trading for at the time of the trade.

    The trades are presented chronologically first, then in the order of the team’s individual grades. As a note, I did not grade the Minnesota Timberwolves in the Carmelo Anthony trade, because while they were technically involved, they were essentially just included to make the trade work. They neither dealt nor received anyone of consequence and were mostly used to dump excess salary.

Carmelo Anthony Trade: New York Knicks, C-

2 of 14

    Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

    Outgoing Players

    Receiving Team

    Traded Player

    Win Shares

    DEN

    Danilo Gallinari

    12.4

    DEN

    Wilson Chandler

    6.3

    DEN

    Timofey Mozgov

    4.7

    DEN+POR

    Raymond Felton

    3.0

    MIN

    Anthony Randolph

    1.1

    DEN

    Quincy Miller

    0.2

    MIN

    Eddy Curry

    0

    DEN 

    first-round pick

    0

     Total  27.7

     

    Incoming Players

    Sending Team

    Traded Player

    With Team

    Win Shares

    DEN

    Carmelo Anthony

    Y

    25.7

    MIN

    Cory Brewer

    N

    0

    DEN

    Renaldo Balkman

    N

    0.3

    DEN

    Chauncey Billups

    N

    2.1

    DEN

    Anthony Carter

    N

    0.3

    DEN

    Shelden Williams

    N

    0.8

    Total

     

    1

    29.2

    Based on the numbers so far, it would seem the New York Knicks came out slightly ahead on the Carmelo Anthony trade, netting 1.5 win shares, but that’s not likely to stay the case for very much longer. The biggest bill hasn't been paid yet—this year’s first-round pick.

    At the time, it was presumed to be a low-value pick as the Knicks were supposed to be contenders. Now, with the Knicks very much looking like a lottery team, that pick could have a lot more value than was anticipated.

    Beyond that, the lone player left on the Knicks roster, Carmelo Anthony, is contemplating a summer departure, per Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.

    At the time of the trade, opinions varied. Ben Golliver of CBS Sports gave the Knicks a B+, while John Hollinger (insider) of ESPN gave it a D+.

    The Knicks seem to have peaked with what they were going to accomplish in the Anthony era last season, when they finished second in the Eastern Conference and made it to the second round of the NBA playoffs for the first time since the 1999-2000 season.

    They did have some success, albeit short-lived and short of what they’d intended. They are not well situated for the future, having virtually no youth or picks. New York will always have some allure to free agents, but it remains to be seen how much. And, James Dolan is still running things, so that’s not good.

    The second-round playoff run gave Knicks fans something to be happy about, though, so I give them a somewhat generous C-.

    Win shares were compile from Basketball-Reference and are current as of Feb 12. 

Carmelo Anthony Trade: Denver Nuggets, A

3 of 14

    Rick Bowmer/Associated Press

    Outgoing Players

    Receiving Team

    Traded Player

    Win Shares

    NYK

    Carmelo Anthony

    25.7

    NYK

    Chauncey Billups

    2.1

    NYK

    Shelden Wiliams

    0.8

    NYK

    Renaldo Balkman

    0.3

    NYK

    Anthony Carter

    0.3

    MIN

    2015 2Rd Pick

    0.0

     Total

     

    29.2

     

     

    Incoming Players

    Sending Team

    Traded Player

    With Team

    Win Shares

    NYK

    Danilo Gallinari

    Y

    12.4

    MIN

    Kosta Koufos

    N

    9.5

    POR

    Andre Miller

    Y

    9.4

    NYK

    Wilson Chandler

    Y

    6.3

    NYK

    Timofey Mozgov

    N

    4.7

    NYK

    Raymond Felton

    N

    1.3

    MEM

    Darrell Arthur

    Y

    0.2

    NYK

    Quincy Miller

    Y

    0.2

    MEM

    Joffrey Lauvergne

    N

    0

    NYK

    Romero Osby

    N

    0

    NYK

    2014 1st Round Pick

    N

    0

    Total

     

    5

    44

     

    If it wasn't clear then, it certainly is now. The Denver Nuggets won the Carmelo Anthony trade. They gained a net 20.4 win shares out of the deal, and they still have five players obtained from the trade, either directly or indirectly, on their roster. And, that’s not including the value Andre Iguodala had for the team, who was partially obtained for the Knicks' 2014 first-round pick (if the Nuggets finish better than the Knicks this year). 

    Considering they were going to lose Anthony anyway, but they are still reaping the benefits of the trade, it’s hard to find any fault with the deal Masai Ujiri, the Nuggets' general manager at the time, put together.

    At the time Hollinger scored the trade a B+ while Golliver gave it an A. In retrospect, Golliver got this one right. If Denver still had that first-round pick, I’d mark this one an A+. The Nuggets have been arguably the better team since the trade, and are unarguably better situated for the future. 

Deron Williams Trade: New Jersey/Brooklyn Nets, D-

4 of 14

    Jason DeCrow/Associated Press

    Outgoing Players

    Receiving Team

    Traded Player

    Win Shares

    UTA

    Derrick Favors

    11.3

    UTA

    Enes Kanter

    5.3

    UTA+ATL

    Devin Harris

    6.2

    UTA (to MIN)

    Gorgui Dieng

    0.2

    Total

     

    23.0

     

    Incoming Players

    Sending Team

    Traded Player

    With Team

    Win Shares

    UTA

    Deron Williams

    Y

    17.9

     

    The Brooklyn Nets are already in a deficit from the Deron Williams trade, having dealt 23.0 win shares and only receiving 17.9 back, but that only scratches the surface. Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter have promising futures, while Williams has struggled to stay healthy with the Nets.

    At the time, though, the trade was widely regarded as a big win for the Nets. Matt Moore of CBS Sports gave the Nets an A+ for the deal. Hollinger (insider) gave them an A, “If they (kept) Williams,” which they did.

    It's time to rethink those grades, though it's hard to look at the Williams trade in isolation. 

    The Nets have wheeled and dealed (they have one more trade on this list) but to what end? At the time of the trade, they were 17-40. At present they are 24-26 and on pace for another first-round postseason departure. 

    If dealing away your future for a pair of first-round exits is “success,” the Nets “won” the trade, but somehow I don’t think that was the goal in obtaining a $186-million roster. They dealt a lot more than they got, and the true cost is just beginning to accrue. In essence, the Nets traded their future for a closed window.

    They gave up the future to “win now” and aren’t doing that. It’s hard to give them anything more than a D-.

Deron Williams Trade: Utah Jazz, B

5 of 14

    Rick Bowmer/Associated Press

    Deron Williams: Utah Jazz, B

    Outgoing Players

    Receiving Team

    Traded Player

    Win Shares

    BRK

    Deron Williams

    17.9

     

    Incoming Players

    Sending Team

    Traded Player

    With Team

    Win Shares

    BRK

    Derrick Favors

    Y

    11.3

    BRK

    Enes Kanter

    Y

    5.3

    BRK

    Devin Harris

    N

    4.9

    ATL

    Marvin Williams

    Y

    4.6

    BRK

    Trey Burke

    Y

    0.4

    Total

     

    4

    26.5

     

    The Utah Jazz turned a point guard they were going to lose, Deron Williams, into their present starting frontcourt and a starting point guard to boot.

    In return they received Derrick Favors (their current starting power forward) and two draft picks, which they used to select Enes Kanter (their starting center). They then used the other pick they gained to trade for Trey Burke.  

    They also obtained Devin Harris in the trade, who they then traded to the Atlanta Hawks for Marvin Williams (their starting small forward).

    And that’s how you get an entire frontcourt out of one player who was likely to dump you for greener pastures in a year anyway.

    At the time, Hollinger gave the Jazz a B-, using the justification the Jazz should have hung onto Williams the way the Hornets did Paul. Welp, we saw how that turned out.

    Matt Moore called it, “The end of an era,” which it was, but it as it turns out it may have been the birth of one too.

    For now, there’s reason for optimism in Utah, and a lot of that rests on what the frontcourt does for them. It’s enough to give them a solid B. That could go up or down depending on how Favors and Kanter pan out.

Chris Paul: New Orleans Hornets/Pelicans, D

6 of 14

    Tony Dejak/Associated Press

    Outgoing Players

    Receiving Team

    Traded Player

    Win Shares

    LAC

    Chris Paul

    33.7

    LAC

    2015 2R

    0

    LAC

    2015 2R

    0

    Total

     

    33.7

     

    Incoming Players

    Sending Team

    Traded Player

    With Team

    Win Shares

    LAC

    Al Farouq-Aminu

    Y

    7.2

    LAC

    Eric Gordon

    Y

    4.1

    LAC

    Chris Kaman

    N

    0.7

    LAC

    Austin Rivers

    Y

    -0.8

    Total

     

    3

    11.2

    David Stern famously vetoed the initial Chris Paul trade for “basketball reasons.” That trade would have probably worked out better for the Hornets in retrospect, as the New Orleans Pelicans would have received Lamar Odom, Luis Scola, Goran Dragic and Kevin Martin.

    The big prize they got back instead, Eric Gordon, has played rarely and reluctantly. He has been healthy this year, playing in 49 games, but that’s the same number of games he’d played in in the two years prior combined.

    Al Farouq-Aminu is a nice role player, but not a quality starter. He’s turned out to be the best acquisition New Orleans got back. Austin Rivers, whom they received as a draft pick, has a negative number of win shares. He could still develop but it looks like the Hornets muffed that draft pick. 

    The one thing it did get them was the chance to be bad enough to draft Anthony Davis, who looks to be another franchise player, but it's hard to credit them for that. 

    In short the trade has not turned out well for the Pelicans for basketball reasons. Of the teams who traded away their superstars, they’ve gotten the least out of the deal. It’s hard to give them more than a D.

Chris Paul Trade: Los Angeles Clippers, A+

7 of 14

    Sharon Ellman/Associated Press

    Outgoing Players

    Receiving Team

    Traded Player

    Win Shares

    LAC

    Chris Paul

    33.7

    LAC          

    2015 2R

    0

    LAC

    2015 2R

    0

    Total

     

    33.7

     

    Incoming Players

    Sending Team

    Traded Player

    With Team

    Win Shares

    LAC

    Al Farouq-Aminu

    Y

    7.2

    LAC

    Eric Gordon

    Y

    4.1

    LAC

    Chris Kaman

    N

    0.7

    LAC

    Austin Rivers

    Y

    -0.8

    Total

     

    3

    11.2

    The Los Angeles Clippers are a team involved in the championship discussion on some level, even if it’s just a question of whether they are pretenders or contenders. Either way, the fact we’re using the words, “Clippers” and “championship” in the same conversation is surreal.

    If they make the playoffs this year, which it seems they’re all but certain to do, they will make the postseason three years in a row for only the second time in franchise history. The last time that happened was when they were still the Buffalo Braves in the 1975-76 season.

    In history, the only team with a worse franchise winning percentage is the young Charlotte Bobcats.

    The Clippers have been historically and egregiously awful. Until now.

    Acquiring Chris Paul changed the culture for the Clippers, the most entrenched loser in American sports this side of the Chicago Cubs.

    Matt Moore gave the trade an A+ at the time. Chad Ford (insider) of ESPN gave the Clippers an A for their offseason. Both lauded the trade as being the perfect player to pair with Blake Griffin, and time has borne that out. This was a great move by the Clippers.

    There’s no mystery here. This was a steal. It’s still an A+.

Joe Johnson Trade: Brooklyn Nets, D+

8 of 14

    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    Outgoing Players

    Receiving Team

    Traded Player

    Win Shares

    ATL

    DeShawn Stevenson

    1.5

    ATL

    Johan Petro

    0.4

    ATL

    Jordan Farmar

    0

    ATL

    Anthony Morrow

    0

    ATL

    Lucas Nogueira

    0

    ATL

    2017 2R

    0

    Total

     

    1.9

    In addition to the players above, if the Atlanta Hawks finish with a better record this year, they can swap picks with the Nets. If they don’t, they have the same option next season.

     

    Incoming Players

    Receiving Team

    Traded Player

    With Team

    Win Shares

    BRK

    Joe Jonson

    Y

    7.2

    The Brooklyn Nets, on the surface, look to have won this trade based solely on net win shares, but that’s a bit misleading. They traded for a max-contract player, and they have not gotten max-contract results. Joe Johnson’s 7.6 win shares is more than what went out, but it’s a very pedestrian number for a player who is making over $40 million over the next two years.

    In fact, he’s only 97th in the league in his total contribution since being dealt for. 

    Mike Dunleavy Jr. and Danny Green are among the considerably cheaper players who filling the same role better.

    On the positive side, as noted at the time by Chad Ford (insider) of ESPN, the move may have helped the Nets to retain Deron Williams.

    The Nets didn't pay a lot in terms of talent to land Johnson, but the cap space he absorbs, and the corresponding limitations he puts on the team in terms of being able to accrue more depth, makes this a net-loss for Brooklyn.

    When you trade for a "superstar," and could have gotten better production from a mid-level exception, you lose the trade. Keeping Williams was a necessity after what they’d paid for him, but this was a bit of a doubling down on that deal, and it dug them deeper into a hole.

    They get a D, but only because the deal may have helped them keep Williams.

Joe Johnson Trade: Atlanta Hawks, B+

9 of 14

    John Bazemore/Associated Press

    Outgoing Players

    Receiving Team

    Traded Player

    Win Shares

    BRK

    Joe Johnson

    7.6

     

    Incoming Players

    Sending Team

    Traded Player

    With Team

    Win Shares

    BRK

    DeShawn Stevenson

    N

    1.5

    BRK

    Johan Petro

    N

    0.4

    BRK

    Jordan Farmar

    N

    0

    BRK

    Anthony Morrow

    N

    0

    BRK

    Lucas Nogueira

    Y

    0

    BRK

    2017 2R

    Y

    0

    Total

     

    2

    1.9

    The Atlanta Hawks weren’t trying to acquire talent with this trade. They were trying to jettison bad salary, and they accomplished that.

    Joe Johnson has arguably the worst contract in the NBA. Ergo, whoever trades Joe Johnson automatically wins the trade.

    Atlanta was in a rut, trapped in giant, underperforming contracts which were only leading them into early postseason exit after early exit. A week before, they’d dealt Marvin Williams for Devin Harris, freeing up more money for the summer of 2013.

    Now they’ve been able to turn Jonson’s money into All-Star Paul Millsap, Kyle Korver and DeMarre Carroll (coincidentally all former Utah players), all of whom have more win shares than Johnson this season.

    Atlanta wins this trade based on the money.

    They don’t get an A because they didn’t achieve their ultimate goal of landing a premiere free agent like Dwight Howard or Chris Paul. However, they are certainly better situated for having made the deal, especially when accounting for the fact they still have this year’s Brooklyn pick, Lucas Nogueira, developing in Brazil, and the right to swap picks in this draft.

    Therefore, they get a B+.

Dwight Howard Trade: Philadelphia 76ers, F

10 of 14

    Matt Rourke/Associated Press

    Receiving Team

    Traded Player

    Win Shares

    ORL

    Nikola Vucevic

    8.1

    DEN

    Andre Iguodala

    5.6

    ORL

    Maurice Harkless

    4.2

    ORL

    2016 1R

    0

    Total

     

    17.9

     

    Incoming Players

    Receiving Team

    Traded Player

    With Team

    Win Shares

    PHI

    Jason Richardson

    Y

    1.4

    PHI

    Andrew Bynum

    N

    0

    Total

     

    1

    1.4

    Probably no trade in recent history has looked more different in hindsight than at the time it was made, and arguably no trade has been as disappointing and detrimental to a franchise as the Philadelphia 76ers' end of the Dwight Howard trade.

    The Sixers, having made it to the second round of the playoffs, got Andrew Bynum, who was supposed to be the cornerstone of their franchise and take them to the next level. Instead, he never played a game, missing the entire season with knee issues and not seeming to care.

    They also got Jason Richardson who has barely played, also because of knee issues, and will likely never be a significant presence on the court again.

    In essence they basically gave away their best player, Andre Iguodala, their second-best player, Nikola Vucevic, their first-round pick, Maurice Harkless and a future first-round pick in 2016 (it’s technically protected, but unless they make the playoffs this year, it won’t be) and got nothing back.

    At the time of the trade, it looked like Philadelphia was a winner. Matt Moore gave them an A-.

    Now, they get an F.

Dwight Howard Trade: Denver Nuggets, D+

11 of 14

    JEFFREY PHELPS/Associated Press

    Outgoing Players

    Sending Team

    Traded Player

    Win Shares

    DEN

    Aaron Afflalo

    4.3

    DEN

    Al Harrington

    0

    DEN

    2014 1R

    0

    Total

     

    4.3

     

    Incoming Players

    Sending Team

    Traded Player

    With Team

    Win Shares

    PHI

    Andre Iguodala

    N

    5.6

    Technically, the Denver Nuggets got back more than they gave up in this trade, at least to this point. However, the only player they got back, Andre Iguodala, bolted in free agency, and the biggest payment has yet to be determined. 

    As part of the deal, the Nuggets send the better of their pick and the Knicks' pick to the Magic. There's a good chance both teams miss the playoffs. That means should either team win the lottery, the Magic get the pick. That could prove to be a hefty price if it's Joel Embiid, Andrew Wiggins or Jabari Parker.

    The move was understandable at the time, which is why Matt Moore gave it an A-. The Nuggets needed a defensive presence who could play both ways on the wings, and Iguodala seemed like a perfect fit. They played very well last year with him, notching 57 wins. But they also failed to win a playoff series. 

    In retrospect, it’s a bad trade. They gave up a lot on a gamble they could keep Iguodala, and they lost him in free agency to the Golden State Warriors. They have to be graded on the result of the bet, and that earns them a D, especially because the cost could be so damaging.

    No one could have reasonably expected that the pick would have so much potential value though, so that bumps up their grade to a D+.

Dwight Howard Trade: Los Angeles Lakers, D+

12 of 14

    Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

    Outgoing Players:

    Receiving Team

    Traded Player

    Win Shares

    ORL

    Josh McRoberts

    0.7

    ORL

    Christian Eyenga

    0

    PHI

    Andrew Bynum

    0

    ORL

    2017 1R

    0

    Total

     

    0.7

     

    Incoming Players

    Sending Team

    Traded Player

    With Team

    Win Shares

    ORL

    Dwight Howard

    N

    7.6

    ORL

    Earl Clark

    N

    2.3

    ORL

    Chris Duhon

    N

    1

    Total

     

    0

    10.9

    At the time of the trade, this was a world-beating deal for the Los Angeles Lakers. It was proof they would continue to be the Lakers. They did what they’d always done: steal one superstar in his prime to replace another fading superstar and carry the franchise into the future.

    The Lakers had obtained two-time MVP Steve Nash earlier in the summer. They had their own former MVP in Kobe Bryant, and they were starting two Defensive Player of the Year recipients, Howard and Metta World Peace. Their other starter, Pau Gasol, is probably a future Hall of Famer.

    How could they not win?

    They were literally discussing whether they would break the Chicago Bulls' all-time records for wins in a season: 72. That became impossible by December 7, 2012 when they lost their 11th and still had just nine wins. They didn’t even break .500 until March 3, 2013.

    Ultimately the Lakers would make the playoffs, but get ousted in the first round. Then over the summer they lost Howard.

    Considering what they've done compared to what was expected, they deserve an F. However, the fact the players they dealt for Howard accrued a grand total of .7 win shares, they didn't give up much to get him yet. So, the sheer comedy of the whole transaction actually saves their grade. 

    Yes, they still owe the 2017 draft pick, but it could have been much worse. They get a D+ because the payout was as overstated as what they got.

Dwight Howard Trade: Orlando Magic, A+

13 of 14

    John Raoux/Associated Press

    Outgoing Players

    Receiving Team

    Traded Player

    Win Shares

    LAL

    Dwight Howard

    7.6

    LAL

    Earl Clark

    2.3

    PHI

    Jason Richardson

    1.4

    LAL

    Chris Duhon

    1.0

    Total

     

    12.3

     

    Incoming Players

     

    Sending Team

    Traded Player

    With Team

    Win Shares

    PHI

    Nikola Vucevic

    Y

    8.1

    DEN

    Arron Afflalo

    Y

    4.3

    PHI

    Maurice Harkless

    Y

    4.2

    LAL

    Josh McRoberts

    N

    0.7

    DEN

    2014 1R

    Y

    0

    PHI

    2016 1R

    Y

    0

    LAL

    2017 1R

    Y

    0

    DEN

    Al Harrington

    N

    0

    LAL

    Christian Eyenga

    N

    0

    Total

     

    6

    17.3

    In the ultimate irony of ironies, the only team which was deemed hosed at the time of the Dwight Howard trade, the Orlando Magic, is the only team that benefited in retrospect.

    Matt Moore gave them a C-, because of how little they were perceived to have gotten back at the time. Now, it looks like the Magic could be one of the best-situated teams going forward.

    And, the team’s current core is built around the trade.

    First, Orlando’s two best current players in terms of PER, Nikola Vucevic and Arron Afflalo, and three of the team's top four in win shares, Vucevic, Afflalo and Harkless, were gained through the trade.

    Just those three players make the trade a technical win for the Magic, having earned five more win shares than they traded away. But, wait! There’s more!  

    Vucevic and Harkless are both on their rookie deals, so when they hit restricted free agency in 2015, the Magic will have the rights to match any offers.

    In fact, they’ll have lots and lots of money to not only keep both of them, but to potentially add a max-contract player as well. According to Sham Sports, they’re only on the hook for $13.2 million that summer. However, the draft picks they acquired will add to that.

    Finally, they’ll potentially have two lottery picks this year (at a minimum, two first-round picks). There even exists a world where they can land the top two picks in this very deep draft. Imagine adding Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker at the 2 and 3!

    They’ll also have the Philadelphia 76ers’ first-round pick in 2016, and the Los Angeles Lakers' first-round pick in 2017. Both of those picks could potentially be lottery picks too.

    That means they could add two quality players in each of the next four seasons.

    Now, I know everyone is trying make Kevin Love a Laker, but consider this: You’re Love and you’re looking around at the free agent landscape. You want to win and you want to get paid. You can go to a team sopping with young talent and with two more draft picks coming their way, or you can go to a team that is starting the rebuilding process.

    Imagine a starting five of Victor Oladipo, Wiggins, Parker, Love and Vucevic. If you're Love, wouldn't that appeal to you if you want to win?

    Where would you want to go?

    For the future, the Magic are one of the best-situated teams in the league, if not the best, and it's all because of the Howard trade.

    Since that is what they were doing, they get an A+.

Findings

14 of 14

    Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

    Overall, with the exception of the Chris Paul trade, the team that dealt the superstar did better than the team that acquired the superstar. In total, teams who traded for a superstar are a net minus-23.6 win shares.

    Furthermore, the receiving teams, with the exception of the Clippers, are still owing surprisingly valuable first-round picks because of the trades in question.

    Finally, in most cases the players they sold so much to acquire may not even be around much longer, if they’re still there at all. Because the players want to win, Howard has left Los Angeles and Anthony is ready to bolt New York. Williams and Johnson presumably aren’t going anywhere, but it’s questionable whether they could be moved.

    The common theme seems to be that teams sacrifice depth, first in the players they need to trade to acquire the stars, and second, to keep the players they acquire, leaving them only enough money to sign veteran-minimum players. The supporting cast is insufficient, the team loses and then they lose their superstars. 

    The “studs-and-scrubs” philosophy doesn't appear to be working. Role players alone aren't going to win you championships, but you’re not going to win rings without them either. Roles need to be fulfilled.

    Those types of players could be obtained if you were willing to spend the extra money back in the day, but with the new CBA, they’re harder to get and more costly. It's not just about being willing to spend the money anymore. It's being able to spend it. 

    The adage, "Whoever gets the best players wins the trade," needs to be tossed out because of the new CBA. Carrying multiple max-contract players, particularly if you have to trade key players to get them, seems to be detrimental now and harder to recover from.

    Those shopping for superstars before the trade deadline need to realize it’s buyer beware.