NBA Trade Deadline: Did Each Team Get Better or Worse at the Deadline?
The NBA trade deadline has come and gone and there are some teams raising their hands in victory, while other teams hang their heads in defeat.
The trade deadline is the last chance a team has to improve their playoff chances and every team is graded not just on the trades they made, but the trades they didn’t.
Of course, a trade just can’t be based on the value it brings to the team this season.
Sometimes it has to be based on the value it brings down the road.
So which teams got better, and which got worse, and where does it leave them in the latest power rankings?
Let’s see how it played out.
30. Cleveland Cavaliers
Verdict: Better (for now)
The Cavaliers picked up point guard Baron Davis from the Los Angeles Clippers and an unprotected first round pick in the draft.
They did it only at the expense of Jamario Moon and Mo Williams.
On the surface, the Cavaliers got better by getting an upgrade in talent and getting yet another piece to build on for the future.
The issue is Davis himself. If he plays like the resurgent player he has been for most of this season, the Cavaliers will be happy they have him.
If Davis plays like the disinterested and out of shape player he’s been known to be in the past— a trend he seems to have stopped only thanks the emergence of Blake Griffin—then this trade will only create a headache in Cleveland.
If Davis isn’t winning or isn’t excited, the Cavaliers could be looking for a team for him next year, making them wonder why they traded for him at all.
29. Minnesota Timberwolves
Minnesota got Anthony Randolph in the blockbuster deal that sent Carmelo Anthony to New York.
They also received the expiring contract of Eddie Curry.
Minnesota wins because of what Randolph has the potential to be, but not because of what he is.
Corey Brewer, who was sent to New York in the trade, was a hard working defensive player who gave it his all every night, even if it wasn’t anything to blow your hair back.
Randolph has had the same problem that Eddie Curry has had of being athletically gifted and terribly out of shape.
Curry, of course, will be gone at the end of the season and no one will miss him.
Randolph, on the other hand, will have to prove he cares enough to want to be a vital part of the Timberwolves bench.
Either way, Minnesota wins because they got good potential to give up limited potential.
28. Washington Wizards
The Wizards didn’t do anything spectacular on paper, but they’ll see value for this down the road.
Kirk Heinrich was a guard who had seen his playing time diminish with the emergence of John Wall.
He was a $9 million dollar a year man who was on the bench eating up cap room.
When the Wizards dealt him and brought in Mike Bibby, they were effectively freeing up cap space to be used in the next couple of seasons to build a team around their star point guard.
They also picked themselves up a first round pick in the 2011 NBA draft.
This won’t help them in their power rankings much now, but they are building for the future and taking great strides from last season.
27. Sacramento Kings
Verdict: Better (for the future)
The Kings gave up Carl Landry to the New Orleans Hornets in exchange for their energetic young guard Marcus Thornton.
What the Kings got back was a sign that this teams knows it needs a bit of a make over and getting a young guard who has the confidence on offense that Thornton has.
It’s not anything that’s going to help them in the short run, but they’ll be better in the long run.
Don’t forget that Sacramento will have a lot of room in their salary cap and they could be trying to target bigger free agents on the market, especially if they relocate.
26. Detroit Pistons
The Mavericks will willing to deal the injured Caron Butler and a first round pick to the Pistons.
Detroit balked because they felt as if they could get greater value for Prince in a sign and trade in the offseason.
If Pistons had a chance to get a draft pick back for the expiring contract of a player that very few teams have shown genuine interest in, they would have done it.
The Pistons passed on making another step toward the future.
That’s their mistake.
25. Toronto Raptors
Sometimes you can’t make a trade just to make one.
The Raptors entertained trade talks for a number of their players, but ultimately have decided to stay put.
The Raptors are not in the same position the Cavs were after LeBron James bolted for Miami.
Bosh hurt the Raptors, but they have a ton of young talent and they should have some room to make improvement in the draft.
Getting a big free agent is probably not in the cards, but there is no reason things won’t get better in Toronto.
24. Charlotte Bobcats
The Bobcats did exactly what they wanted to do.
They wanted to ship out Gerald Wallace or Stephen Jackson and they were able to ship Wallace out of town and get themselves a pick and player in return.
The Bobcats had to free up cap room and stock up on picks. They got what they needed to build for the future.
23. Milwaukee Bucks
The Milwaukee Bucks weren’t entertaining many offers, but maybe they should have been.
The East, in just the last two days, has become a power house and the Bucks, who have already struggled this season, have failed to keep up.
While it sounds like blasphemy to suggest it, it might have served the Bucks well to think about seeing what they could get for Brandon Jennings.
If you have watched him play recently, he seems to be showing his true colors: He’s a guard with a lot of upside, but not a lot of consistency.
The Bucks could have explored a trade option for him.
Not trading Brandon Jennings doesn’t mean the Bucks are losers, but not getting better when everyone else did constitutes losing.
22. Indiana Pacers
The Pacers almost pulled off a great trade deadline deal by getting O.J Mayo, but it didn't get done in time.
The Pacers could still try dealing for O.J Mayo in the offseason, but by then the Grizzlies are likely to up their asking price. Pacers needed to pull off this move today and they failed.
21. Los Angeles Clippers
The Clippers got rid of Baron Davis and brought in Mo Williams.
If they did this to free up cap space, they achieved that goal.
If they did this to make room for Deron Williams or Chris Paul next summer, then they are working toward a bigger goal.
But, if they did this to get better in the short term, they lost.
Davis is a player who plays when he is motivated to do so, and this season he was.
Blake Griffin had done wonders for him.
Williams is a downgrade at the spot and there’s no question about that.
So, if they end up having the room and sign a big time free agent after next summer, then they will be thanking their lucky stars that they traded away Davis.
That's a big "if".
20. Houston Rockets
This is a different way of looking at Houston’s inability to move anyone at the deadline, but the Rockets wanted fair value for their players and it didn’t appear they were getting that.
Then they were able to get Hasheem Thabeet and the 2011 first round pick form the Grizzlies for Shane Battier.
Thabeet has been disappointing, but the Grizzlies pick should be promising for the Rockets.
They were also able to acquire the Phoenix Suns backup point guard Goran Dragic in exchange for Aaron Brooks.
The Rockets couldn’t make the big deal to get Melo, but they were able to do smaller deals to improve their rosters.
19. New Jersey Nets
You have to hand it to the Nets.
They lose out on Carmelo Anthony and they turn right around and land Deron Williams.
However, they did so without guaranteeing he’s going to stay in New Jersey.
There was no sense in giving up Devin Harris and Derrick Favors if Williams walks after next season.
If they can get him to sign an extension this trade is a big success.
If they cannot, then this trade is a colossal failure.
There is no middle ground here.
18. Denver Nuggets
Of course, the Nuggets were going to get worse in the short term, and they will never replace the caliber of player that Carmelo Anthony was.
Still, the Nuggets got value for him and pieces they can use to build on, or try and use as trade bait.
The first thing they have to decide is if Ty Lawson or Raymond Felton is their point guard of the future.
If it is Lawson, then using Felton while he’s at max value would be the best.
If they can use the Anthony cash they acquired from New York to sign Nene Hilario to a long term deal, then there is reason to think that at the very least Denver is making the best of a bad spot.
17. Golden State Warriors
They only got slightly better.
Yes, they got an expiring Troy Murphy. They traded away expiring young talent in Brandan Wright and Dan Gadzuric.
What the Warriors did pick up is a second round pick.
This isn’t like the NFL where the second round is a fertile as the first, but it is something.
Murphy can play out the year with Golden State and if he fits like a glove, then they might be able to work out a longer deal.
They gave themselves options.
16. Utah Jazz
Someone needs to clarify the Utah's situation with Deron Williams.
If it was abundantly clear that they couldn’t have worked things out with him in Utah, then trading him was their only play.
If it turned out that they decided they were better off without him, even though they could have gotten an extension, then they made a huge mistake.
While they were able to get value, and New Jersey will look foolish if they can’t sign him long term.
Utah is certainly not a better team without Williams.
15. Philadelphia 76ers
Again, you shouldn’t trade a guy just to trade him. Elton Brand and Andre Iguodala have value on the trade market, but there were no reasonable offers for either player.
The 76ers know that they are going to have to make some moves at one point or another, but they shouldn’t be expected to do that just for the sake of it.
14. Memphis Grizzlies
The Grizzlies had one chip they wanted to trade and they almost did so when they dealt O.J Mayo to Indiana. The trade fell through, according to ESPN and Yahoo! Sports.
They added Shane Battier, however, to at least replace Rudy Gay for the next five weeks, after the 6'9'' small forward suffered a shoulder injury that would sideline him for five weeks.
13. Phoenix Suns
This is a subjective idea, but the Suns just made themselves better by trading Deron Williams to the New Jersey Nets.
The Suns have balked at offers to deal Steve Nash, but that won’t always be the case.
The Suns know that Steve Nash is at his highest trade value now, but they are figuring his value won’t dip that much by the time the NBA draft rolls around.
The Suns traded Dragic for Houston’s Aaron Brooks.
It’s not an immense upgrade, but it’s a deal that could help them down the road.
They must start thinking about the future without Steve Nash.
12. New Orleans Hornets
It’s hard to say that getting a guy like Carl Landry, who gives the New Orleans Hornets depth up front is a fail here.
But it might be.
What they gave up in Marcus Thornton was a guy who could score quickly and was a potent offense weapon on a team that doesn’t have a ton of weapons on offense.
Everything that the Hornets are doing is to try to entice Chris Paul to stick around, but I don’t think this trade makes him want to do that.
11. Portland Trailblazers
The Blazers didn’t have to get better, but getting a proven scoring threat like Gerald Wallace is an upgrade.
He’s signed for a while and the Blazers aren’t losing anything significant in Joe Przybilia.
This isn’t an earth shattering deal, but it brings a veteran in and that works for them.
10. New York Knicks
Yes, they gave away a lot to get Carmelo Anthony.
Yes, there is a chance he would’ve signed during the summer anyway.
But the Knicks could hope, they had to know and they went out and got him.
In a offensive minded system like the one that Mike D’Antoni runs, Anthony fits in very well.
It will take time to Iron out the kinks, but once they start jelling they’ll be a force in the east.
Also don’t forget about the addition of Chauncey Billups in this trade. He’s an afterthought now, but he’s going to be very helpful to the Knicks.
He’s a smart guard and he can stick around until the Knicks can sign Chris Paul or Deron Williams.
This trade works out great for the Knicks now, and for the future.
9. Atlanta Hawks
The Atlanta Hawks had gotten everything they could out of Mike Bibby.
What they were missing from him in the last couple of seasons they can get from Kirk Hinrich.
He’s younger, more athletic, and plays much better defense at this stage in his career.
The Hawks know there window for winning a championship is closing and they have to make a move that improved them. This did.
Whether it’s enough or not remains to be seen.
8. Orlando Magic
The Orlando Magic made their big deal a couple of months ago.
They got better then, but with Orlando there is always the question of “Is it enough?”
The answer to that is no.
And you have to wonder if Dwight Howard is starting to see it.
After the Kings beat the Magic, Howard was rather critical of his teams effort.
If he doesn’t think his team is going to give the effort, does he really embrace the idea of sticking around?
The Magic don’t need to worry about the trade deadline.
Instead, they need to worry about next summer’s free agency. If they aren’t careful, he could be walking.
7. Dallas Mavericks
With as competitive as the top of the West is, and with the need the Mavericks have for another threat on the floor, this trade deadline was a fail for them.
It’s not from lack of trying though. The Mavericks looked at every possible option to make their team better, but failed at every turn.
The Mavericks still have a punchers chance of making the NBA Finals, but their punch just got weakened by the Thunder getting Kendrick Perkins.
6. Oklahoma City Thunder
The Thunder made a huge deal at the last minute.
They dealt Jeff Green for Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson.
This is a great deal for the Thunder and one that could put them ahead of the Mavericks on the list.
Oklahoma needed to do something as they were kind of in the same spot the Bulls are of being an elite type team, but missing one piece to take that next step.
Perkins is definitely that next step.
5. Miami Heat
The Heat were supposedly shopping around Mike Miller to see if they could get help down low or at the point.
They failed to get anything done, and maybe that’s just a good lesson for Miami.
The Heat knew when they took on three huge contracts that there wouldn’t be anything else left in the budget.
The Miami Thrice are going to have to do it alone. So, they’ll have to look to the draft find anyone or hope to sign a free agent on the cheap.
4. San Antonio Spurs
The Spurs are what they are. They are an older team that has one more good run left in them before there is major rebuilding later.
They knew heading into the trade deadline that there wasn’t much they could do to improve their roster. And they didn’t.
San Antonio does increase or decrease their odds of winning.
3. Chicago Bulls
The Verdict: Same
This proclamation is because the Bulls have known since the beginning of the season they were going to need a strong shooting guard.
They also knew they had pieces like Asik and Taj Gibson that they could deal.
But the Bulls have always been reluctant to deal young talent and now they are paying for it by not getting the offensive threat they desperately needed.
The East isn’t getting any less competitive. They had to make a move and they didn’t.
It won’t hurt them now, but it will hurt them in the playoffs.
2. Los Angeles Lakers
It seems like some teams are getting blasted for not making moves, while others are getting praised about it.
The truth is that the teams improvement or their weakening is completely relative to what the expectation where and what they had the room to do.
The Lakers had no room to trade anyone. They flirted with Anthony, but there were too many variables to get that done. The Dwight Howard rumors were a pipe dream at least until this time next year.
The Lakers need youth, but they won’t find it this year. What they are banking on is that so far this season Kobe has averaged less minutes per game than any other time in the last five years. That means Jackson is trying to save him.
The Lakers are going to tread water until the playoffs and hope they can squeeze out one more run. Let’s give the two time defending champions the benefit of the doubt.
1. Boston Celtics
The Celtics trading Kendrick Perkins has to make you shake your head.
Unless he was a problem internally, you have to wonder how Jeff Green is going to make the Celtics better.
The good news is that the Celtics have depth and Perkins was far from the most important guy on this team.
Still,Perkins is young and could be part of their future.
He might find his way back to Boston, but for now losing him makes them worse.
Just not enough to fall out of the top spot.