After months of anticipation, the 2014 NBA trade deadline has finally come and gone. It didn't exactly live up to expectations, as per usual, but it did change the landscape of the league.
How so? Well, one title contender out East got a little bit scarier. A rebuilding team snatched up seemingly every available second-round pick. Two marquee teams cleared roster spots for buyout candidates. Fringe playoff teams fortified their rosters for stretch runs.
Truth be told, this was an eventful deadline, even if it didn't always feel like it.
In total, 11 trades happened within 24 hours of the deadline, and we'll analyze and grade each and every one. Here's your recap of the 2014 NBA trade deadline.
Statistics courtesy of basketball-reference.com.
Trade details courtesy of NBA.com's trade tracker.
Sacramento Kings Receive: SG Jason Terry (two years, $11.5 million) and PF Reggie Evans (two years, $3.5 million).
Brooklyn Nets Receive: SG Marcus Thornton (two years, $16.6 million).
Key Stat: Both Terry and Thornton are posting career-worst numbers in points per 36 minutes and player efficiency rating.
Why Sacramento Did It
The motivations here were almost solely financial. Depending on what happens with Rudy Gay's massive player option worth $19.3 million and the next contract for Isaiah Thomas, the Kings could be in danger of being in the luxury tax next season.
Although this trade only shaves about $1 million in projected payroll off the books next year, there's always the chance that Terry, who will turn 37 this year, will negotiate a buyout with the Kings that will lessen that amount.
Terry will almost certainly want to play for a title contender, and the Kings aren't that. Alternatively, he could also retire after this season, freeing Sacramento of financial obligation.
It's a downgrade in talent considering how much Terry has deteriorated in the last year alone, but Thornton wasn't setting the world on fire, either.
Theoretically, Sacramento will be able to give much more time to promising young swingman Ben McLemore instead of Thornton, based on what head coach Mike Malone told the media, via James Ham of Cowbell Kingdom: "He’s [Terry] gonna come in and we’ll have a chance to sit and get to know each other and be with the team and practice. But my main thing moving forward is Ben McLemore.”
Evans will play hard and rebound in the scant minutes he gets, as he always does, but again, this was about being proactive and shedding salary before the books get too ugly. A lot depends on what happens with Terry, but this was a smart move.
Why Brooklyn Did It
If the Nets were looking for a true buy-low candidate, they found it in Thornton. The 26-year-old shooting guard is hitting a career-low 31.8 percent of his threes this year, and his overall scoring numbers have fallen off a cliff as well.
It's not a bad bet for Brooklyn to assume that Thornton's production will return to the mean. A change of scenery has been long overdue, and the Nets have enough smart players to find him when he's open, which started to happen less and less in Sacramento.
He also doesn't jeopardize any future cap flexibility, as the Nets weren't slated to have any room next year anyway. Terry is toast, and Evans had been replaced in the rotation by Mason Plumlee, so Brooklyn isn't losing much here, either.
Ideally, though, you would have liked to see the Nets get a more consistent and reliable performer in advance of a playoff run. Thornton is a below-average player in every way when his shot isn't falling, and so giving him substantial minutes could be detrimental.
Considering what the Nets gave up to get him, however, it's worth the shot he'll heat up and become a perimeter threat offensively once again.
Golden State Warriors Receive: PG Steve Blake (one year, $4 million)
Los Angeles Lakers Receive: SF MarShon Brooks (one year, $1.2 million) and SG Kent Bazemore (one year, $788,872)
Key Stat: Blake is averaging a career-high 8.3 assists and 4.2 rebounds per 36 minutes this season.
Why Golden State Did It
Did you see what it gave up? MarShon Brooks and Kent Bazemore were both non-contributors for the Warriors on expiring deals, so this was essentially a risk-free move that also keeps Golden State just below the luxury-tax line.
It doesn't hurt that Blake is particularly well-suited for this sort of thing either, mainly because he has plenty of experience in adapting quickly to new situations. He is now on his seventh NBA team, but the soon-to-be 34-year-old guard has proved over the years to be reliable, if a bit unspectacular, at every stop.
His ability to knock down threes (39 percent career shooter) at a high rate and take care of the ball should continue to make him valuable as a guard off the bench for the Warriors, even if his overall numbers in Los Angeles were inflated due to Mike D'Antoni's offensive system and very little competition for the ball.
In Golden State, Blake will primarily be charged with getting an unproductive bench unit going offensively, which is something that Jordan Crawford has failed to do on his own.
Blake should make for a nice pairing with Crawford thanks in large part to his spot-up shooting and ability to slide between both guard spots.
Although he has clear deficiencies as a defender and as a scorer once he's off the three-point line, it's hard to argue with the Warriors addressing a need and adding extra insurance in advance of the playoffs. That's especially true when you consider the price of the acquisition.
Why Los Angeles Did It
When this trade happened the night before the deadline, it appeared the Lakers were preparing to get under the luxury tax. Trading Blake opened up the door to deal Chris Kaman and Jordan Hill and get to that point without dealing Pau Gasol, hypothetically, so it made some sense.
As we know now, that never happened. Blake was the only Laker dealt, and so instead of praising the Lakers for wisely getting under the tax and creating more financial flexibility going forward, we're slamming them for this halfway measure.
It's not the end of the world, of course, but Blake was one of the bright spots in an otherwise dreary season. To trade him solely for financial savings looks like penny pinching instead of smart maneuvering, as MarShon Brooks and Kent Bazemore appear unlikely to make an impact. Both players are on expiring deals anyhow, just like Blake was.
Perhaps this is Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak trying out two players he would have been interested in on minimum contracts a few months early, but it doesn't feel that way. The Lakers saved some salary and luxury-tax payments, but not getting any future assets or under the tax line completely is disappointing.
Cleveland Cavaliers Receive: C Spencer Hawes (one year, $6.6 million)
Philadelphia 76ers Receive: SF Earl Clark (two years*, $8.25) and two 2014 second-round picks (one via Memphis, one from Cleveland).
*Clark's contract is completely non-guaranteed next year
Key Stat: Hawes is shooting a career-high 39.9 percent from behind the arc.
Why Cleveland Did It
Cleveland's primary goal this season has always been to make the playoffs, and thanks to a timely winning streak going into the deadline, the Cavs stayed firm on buying instead of selling.
"I don’t see how you get better and win more games selling," interim general manager David Griffin told The News-Herald's Bob Finnan earlier this month. "We’re going to buy to the extent that it makes us better for the long haul."
Does Hawes make Cleveland better long term? Probably not.
If he's used appropriately and sparingly, he can provide immediate value, but his status as an unrestricted free agent most likely means he's gone after this year.
He is a pretty divisive figure, as he's overrated by those who place too much value in raw statistics (14.9 points, 9.8 rebounds per 36 minutes) and underrated by those who can't look past the lackluster defensive efforts he's put forth over the years.
The one thing that's hard to argue with, though, is the fact that the 25-year-old center provides floor spacing and size. Since Cleveland lacks big men with consistent range out to the three-point line, that's a valuable skill to bring to the table.
The Cavs rank just 24th in the league in offensive efficiency, in large part because the paint is often clogged. Hawes can help in that department.
Overall, he isn't much of an upgrade over Tyler Zeller, but he's still a useful rotation big that teams have to account for defensively.
When you consider the continued health problems and Anderson Varejao's shaky injury history, this acquisition makes a little more since. So long as Zeller isn't squeezed out of too many minutes, Hawes can help more than he can hurt if he defends with a little more zeal. That's far from a given, though.
This is a rental, but it's not a particularly expensive one, as Cleveland could purchase or trade for second-round picks down the line. Losing Earl Clark's expiring deal is no biggie either, as he has fallen out of the rotation with the addition of Luol Deng.
Cleveland started down this path a long time ago, and while you can disagree with the logic of the overall plan, this is a decent addition given the team's choice of direction.
Why Philadelphia Did It
Better to gain something instead of lose Hawes for nothing at the end of the year, right? While the 76ers may have hoped a desperate team would emerge with a first-round pick for Hawes, that was always a pipe dream, given his expiring status.
Still, getting two second-round picks is a nice consolation prize, especially from a middling team like the Cavs. Given Philadelphia's clearly defined status as a rebuilding team, adding as many chances as possible to acquire cheap young talent through the draft is a smart decision.
Adding more lottery balls is a good idea as well, and that should be accomplished with this deal. Hawes was Philadelphia's leading rebounder and three-point shooter in terms of makes and percentage, so losing him helps, as weird as that is to say.
Clark is a non-factor and will be let go after this season, but making this move saves Philadelphia some paid-out salary for the rest of the year, which ownership will appreciate.
Ultimately, this was about Philadelphia sticking to its guns as much as it was for Cleveland. Chances are the second-round picks won't pan out, but all it takes is one Manu Ginobili or Marc Gasol to completely alter the course of a franchise. This is all about improving the odds of that happening.
Sacramento Kings Receive: Roger Mason Jr. (one year, $884,293) and cash.
Miami Heat Receive: Protected second-round pick.
Key Stat: Mason has played only 260 minutes this year.
Why Miami Did It
Why would the Heat trade for a second-round pick that, according to Marc Stein of ESPN.com, is unlikely to ever be conveyed? The answer is simple: to clear a roster spot immediately.
Miami wants to have the ability to sign players who are bought out of their contracts, which is the smart move considering most veterans would love the chance to live in South Beach for a few months and chase a ring. With this deal, the Heat have no impediments to doing that.
The potential for picking up an impact player (remember how the Chris Andersen signing worked out?) in the next few weeks is too high to hang onto a guy like Mason. This is a smart move.
Why Sacramento Did It
Maybe Pat Riley now owes Kings general manager Pete D'Alessandro a favor, as Sacramento doesn't stand to gain anything on the court by doing this.
We don't know the protections on the pick yet, but working off the report that it's highly unlikely to ever materialize, this just seems like a way to help Miami, build some good trading will and pocket some cash. According to David Aldridge of NBA.com, the Kings will waive Mason (and receive the cash to do so), so this won't impact Sacramento's roster or bottom line at all.
Washington Wizards Receive: PG Andre Miller (two years*, $9.6 million)
Denver Nuggets Receive: PF Jan Vesely (one year, $3.3 million)
Philadelphia 76ers Receive: PG Eric Maynor (two years, $4.1 million) and two second-round picks (one from Washington in 2015, the other from Denver in 2016)
*Miller is partially guaranteed $2 million next year.
Key Stat: Andre Miller's 13.7 PER this season is a career low but is still drastically higher than Eric Maynor's PER of 6.1 this season.
Why Washington Did It
With John Wall off the court this season, the Wizards have been 10.8 points worse per 100 possessions, per Basketball-Reference.com. That's a staggering number, and so it would make sense that Washington would look to shore up the backup point guard position in advance of a playoff run since Eric Maynor and Garrett Temple had proved incapable during plenty of opportunities.
Maynor in particular has been especially bad this year, as evidenced by his true shooting percentage of 35.5 percent. With that in mind, upgrading behind Wall would be possible by bringing in just about anyone, and that includes 37-year-old point guard Andre Miller.
Even if he is declining quickly, his distributing ability and post scoring will be welcome additions to a second unit that's largely lacked both of those things. This is a continuation of Washington's "all-in" approach for this year, but the risk is minimal.
If Miller doesn't work out, the Wizards can move on next year, as his deal is only partially guaranteed for $2 million of the $4.6 million owed.
So long as his sometimes sour attitude doesn't bring down the locker room, this should be a definite upgrade for the small price of a second-round pick.
Why Denver Did It
This was nothing more than pest removal. Miller had become a problem in the locker room, and his clashes with rookie head coach Brian Shaw were probably no longer tolerable.
It's not like the Nuggets will miss his production anyway. He hadn't played since being suspended in early January, even with point guards Ty Lawson and Nate Robinson both going down to injury. This wasn't a situation that could be fixed, and so Denver opted to move on.
It's a bit harder to understand why Denver would have to sacrifice a second-round pick to trade the best player in the deal, though. While there's value in getting Miller's partially guaranteed $2 million for next year off the books by acquiring Vesely's expiring deal, it doesn't seem like it should cost a draft pick as well.
That being said, the Nuggets were operating with zero leverage. To get a former lottery pick who can actually provide minutes in the short term in Vesely for a player who was providing nothing is a minor victory, and given Denver's cap situation next year, that $2 million saved should help the team stave off the luxury tax.
This wasn't good value for Miller by any means, but at least he's someone else's problem now.
Why Philadelphia Did It
Since the 76ers will likely owe the Miami Heat their 2015 and 2016 second-round picks (so long as Philadelphia doesn't finish outside of the lottery next year), this trade was about making sure there are picks to convey.
Now the 76ers have the flexibility to move around a little bit more if they ever decide to stop hoarding second-round picks.
The cost to acquire those two choices was minimal. Maynor has a player option worth $2.1 million that you'd figure he would accept, but stranger things have happened. Perhaps there's a more lucrative, long-term deal waiting for him overseas, but that seems doubtful.
Even if Philadelphia does end up paying him, $2.1 million is a discounted price for two second-round choices, especially when you remember that it's actually Maynor's salary number subtracted by the league minimum, which should make the final price closer to $1.3 million.
That's a steal of a deal.
Maynor likely won't see much time this year or next, but that hardly matters for a team that will likely have no free-agency desires or be anywhere close to the cap line. As is usually the case, the facilitator of this three-way deal got the best end of it.
Charlotte Bobcats Receive: PG Luke Ridnour (one year, $4.4 million) and SG Gary Neal (two years, $6.5 million)
Milwaukee Bucks Receive: PG Ramon Sessions (one year, $5 million) and PF Jeff Adrien (one year, $916,099)
Key Stat: Gary Neal is a career 39.3 percent three-point shooter. Charlotte ranks 27th in three-pointers made this season.
Why Charlotte Did It
The Bobcats look primed to make a playoff run, and you can never have enough shooting for the postseason. With Kemba Walker back in the starting point guard slot after recovering from injury, Ramon Sessions and his expiring deal became expendable.
He is probably the best overall player in this trade, but not by such a large margin that it makes the two-for-one illogical. Ridnour is capable of holding down the fort just fine for 15-20 minutes per night, even though Sessions' ability to get to the foul line (6.5 free-throw attempts per 36 minutes) will be missed.
Ridnour is the better shooter of the two, but he's always been fond of mid-range jumpers as opposed to threes, which is an area the Bobcats need help in.
That's where Neal comes in. Although his shot selection can be a bit shaky, he's a very effective three-point shooter who can help space the floor. When he gets hot, as we saw last year in the NBA Finals, he's a handful. It's not a bad idea to bring him on for cheap, especially with a potential matchup against Miami looming.
Sessions is the best talent in this trade, but depth was added and a need was addressed without forfeiting any draft picks. The Bobcats had to find shooters, and they did.
Why Milwaukee Did It
The Bucks may be slowly conceding that it's time to rebuild, and perhaps this is the first baby step. While Neal's salary isn't detrimental, it does clear more space for Bucks general manager John Hammond to inevitably sign someone he shouldn't this offseason.
More importantly, this deal clears playing time on the wing for rookie guards Nate Wolters and Giannis Antetokounmpo, which is the most important aspect of this deal. Giving head coach Larry Drew less options is actually a good thing.
There's always the chance that Sessions could return for cheap in free agency as well, as this is his second stint with the Bucks. He has a solid career PER of 16.6, so maybe trying to retain him is part of the plan.
Adrien is likely nothing more than an expiring deal, although he's a hardworking player who might benefit from more time.
It's a little disappointing to see the Bucks fail to squeeze a second-round pick out of the Bobcats for Neal, but at least this trade makes the roster younger and cheaper going forward. Considering what Milwaukee usually does this time of year, that's a victory in and of itself.
Denver Nuggets Receive: PG Aaron Brooks (one year, $884,293)
Houston Rockets Receive: SF Jordan Hamilton (one year, $1.2 million)
Key Stat: Hamilton has averaged 16 points and 7.9 rebounds per 36 in his career.
Why Denver Did It
With Nate Robinson out for the year, Andre Miller traded away and Ty Lawson banged up, the Nuggets needed some help at point guard just to finish out the season.
Even with the playoffs out of reach, they would be doing a disservice to their other young players by letting Randy Foye run the point for extended periods of time. Perhaps this is a sign that Lawson isn't quite all right, as well.
Basically, this trade was more about surviving than thriving, as Hamilton has more upside than Brooks when you compare the two. Brooks is 29 and has lost his fastball, while Hamilton is 23 and has shown pure scoring ability and great rebounding instincts.
Denver must have had reason to believe Hamilton wasn't going to re-sign in unrestricted free agency, which seems realistic, given the Nuggets' lack of cap space next season. Still, enticing young wing prospects probably shouldn't be traded so easily for stopgap solutions with no future asset coming back in return.
Yes, Denver filled a need, but it's a shame that this is all Hamilton's potential amounted to.
Why Houston Did It
I wasn't ready to live in a world where Rockets GM Daryl Morey didn't make a trade at the deadline, but now all is right. With Patrick Beverley back in the lineup and Jeremy Lin staying put for now, Brooks became expendable as a third-string point guard.
What the Rockets needed was some help on the wing, as Francisco Garcia and Omri Casspi have provided mixed and often inconsistent production.
In Hamilton, they are getting a career 35.7 percent three-point shooter with a career PER of 14.6. His size (6'7", 220 pounds) and athleticism should be welcome additions as well.
Although Brooks had played well in spurts, Hamilton offers much more potential without requiring an actual investment. This is the type of low-risk, high-reward move that smart general managers seek out. Now Lin and Beverley just have to stay healthy.
Los Angeles Clippers Receive: Draft rights to Cenk Akyol
Atlanta Hawks Receive: PF Antawn Jamison ($884,293) and cash
Why Clippers Did It
The Clippers weren't short on reasons to deal Jamison. The 37-year-old forward had fallen completely out of the rotation, as he's recorded just 248 minutes on the season. He was never a particularly good fit or a productive player for the Clippers.
More importantly, he occupied a roster spot for a title contender. With multiple players likely to be available via buyout very soon, it makes sense for the Clippers to clear a roster space.
Lastly, this move also decreases the luxury tax payment for Los Angeles, which is why cash was able to be included along with Jamison. Cenk Akyol is a 26-year-old Turkish basketball player who is unlikely to ever come over, but this gives the Clippers some needed flexibility.
Why Atlanta Did It
Although the amount of cash is undisclosed, it stands to reason that the Hawks will make money off this transaction. Otherwise, what would be the point?
Atlanta seems more likely to waive Jamison than keep him, even with recent frontcourt injuries taking a toll on the roster. If the Hawks keep him, he might provide a few good minutes here and there, but depending on him to be a consistent contributor at this stage of his career would be foolish.
More likely than not, this will be about the money for Atlanta. When you see a Hawks home game, you can understand why that might be important.
San Antonio Spurs Receive: SF Austin Daye (two years, $2 million*)
Toronto Raptors Receive: SG Nando De Colo (one year, $1.5 million)
*Daye is partially guaranteed $250,000 next year.
Key Stat: Daye averages 13.1 points and 6.6 rebounds per 36 minutes on his career.
Why San Antonio Did It
Other than shedding a tiny bit of salary this season, it's hard to see what San Antonio wants with Austin Daye.
Theoretically he provides size (6'11", 200 pounds) and shooting at the 3, but the rest of his game has never been up to par. He has received plenty of chances on multiple teams, but he's never proved to be a consistent contributor or worthy of substantial playing time.
Perhaps Gregg Popovich still sees potential in the 25-year-old forward, and it probably doesn't hurt that De Colo wasn't much of a contributor anyway. The motivations here aren't clear, but it wouldn't be the first time San Antonio pulled a rabbit out of a hat.
Why Toronto Did It
Perhaps Raptors GM Masai Ujiri wanted Daye's partially guaranteed money off the books for next year, or maybe he felt that adding another backcourt player for the playoffs was necessary.
Either way, it's not a bad move. De Colo has shown flashes of potential, but he's a little too mistake-prone for Popovich's liking. Perhaps Dwane Casey will be a tad more patient, although it seems unlikely that he'll play in Toronto's backcourt very much.
That being said, Daye was a total non-contributor, so Toronto has very little to lose here except for some salary.
Los Angeles Clippers Receive: Conditional second-round pick
Philadelphia 76ers Receive: PF/C Byron Mullens (two years*, $2 million) and a future second-round pick.
*Mullens has a player-option for next year.
Key Stat: Mullens has played 167 minutes this year.
Why the Clippers Did It
The Clippers dealt Byron Mullens for the same three reasons they dealt Antawn Jamison.
Mullens wasn't in the rotation, so the Clippers likely wanted another roster spot to open up for a different frontcourt signing. His deal will help reduce the amount the Clippers are over the tax by to a more manageable number.
Trading him also comes with the added bonus of losing his player option next year, which almost certainly would have been accepted, given how poorly he's played. Losing a second-round pick isn't ideal, but title contenders have no room for players of this caliber.
Why Philadelphia Did It
If there's one lesson to take away from the deadline, it's that 76ers GM Sam Hinkie really, really likes second-round draft picks.
Snatching one up for taking on Mullens, a player who is making slightly above the league minimum, seems like an easy decision, even if that pick will likely be toward the end of the draft.
This is just another example of smart asset acquisition by a team that recognizes it's in the position to make these sorts of moves.
Indiana Pacers Receive: SF Evan Turner (one year, $6.7 million) and Lavoy Allen (one year, $3 million)
Philadelphia 76ers Receive: SF Danny Granger (one year, $14 million) and a future second-round pick
Key Stat: Danny Granger is shooting just 35.9 percent from the field this year.
Why Philadelphia Did It
This may have been the one trade for Philadelphia that didn't seem like a slam dunk.
While it was never all that reasonable to assume Turner would bring back a first-round pick with opposing general managers hoarding those, only getting one second-round choice from a very good team seems like a bad haul.
There are a few benefits that could come from dealing Turner and Allen, though. Both players were slated to be restricted free agents, so neither will require qualifying offers from the 76ers anymore.
In addition to that, the 76ers could potentially negotiate a buyout with Danny Granger and save some salary, which would only further advance the tanking movement.
The addition of a solid role player in Allen should have warranted receiving two picks, but it's hard to see how this deal hurts Philadelphia long term if both players were as good as gone anyhow.
Why Indiana Did It
It's always dangerous for a team that's already championship worthy to make a trade at the deadline, but the Pacers may have bought themselves a little insurance in case Lance Stephenson heads elsewhere in unrestricted free agency this offseason.
While that seems unlikely to happen, protecting against it isn't a bad idea. Upgrading this year's current roster helps as well, of course, as Granger is just a shell of his former self offensively. Indiana gave him plenty of minutes and opportunities to reclaim some of his old form, but he was never able to do it.
Turner isn't exactly a perfect fit, but perhaps Indiana's excellent team defense can help cover for his major flaws on that end.
The biggest challenge may be having him adjust to a much smaller role than the one he occupied in Philadelphia. He'll have the ball and be on the floor much less, but perhaps Indiana believes in its culture enough to make it a non-issue.
As long as that all flies over smoothly, he should provide at least a marginal upgrade, even if he needs the ball in his hands to be effective more than Granger did.
The sneakiest part of this deal might be the acquisition of Allen. Having another big body for the playoffs who can step away from the basket and knock down an 18-footer is always a good thing.
Essentially, Indiana traded a player who was no longer productive for two young players who could provide present upgrades and maybe even help for the future. For the price of a second-round pick, that's not too shabby at all.