2011 NBA Trade Deadline: How All 30 Teams Fare Heading Towards the Playoffs
Now that the NBA trade deadline has passed, each of the 30 franchises needs to focus on what their future holds.
Some have put the pieces into place to compete for a championship. Others are making that final push for a playoff berth. And of course, the Clippers are still lottery bound, along with the Wolves, Kings, and of course Cleveland.
But with that in mind, here’s a look at where each team stands as of right now and what we can expect in the coming weeks before the playoffs.
The veteran Celtics chose to trade away Kendrick Perkins, their defensive anchor, in order to prepare for the post Big Three era.
By bringing in Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic, the Celtics are allowing themselves to get something out of the departing Perkins. While neither can make up for his uncanny defensive fortitude, Perkins was most likely on his way out after the season anyway.
Now they have another young big who can stretch the floor, but health is still the number one concern if the Celtics are hoping to hang banner No. 18.
Reports have Celtic veterans upset with Perkins departure, which does not bode well for newcomers Green and Krstic, both former starters for the Thunder. Green is still young, and a move like this could do wonders for his career, as well as hinder it.
New Jersey Nets
After being spurned by the Melo and the Nuggets, the Net chose to nab Deron Williams, a consensus top three point guard with a terrific overall game. They got him cheaper than if they had traded for Anthony, and he arguably could be a better fit than Melo, who pined for greener pastures in NYC.
They still have a ways to go, and while they will be making a playoff push, it appears that they will once again be lottery bound.The goal for the remaining season is to convince D-Will that good times are on the horizon and that their young players continue to develop.
With enough money still to be spent, this offseason will surely be a make or break for the team that has Brooklyn in their sights.
New York Knicks
Melomania has hit Manhattan harder than anyone could have anticipated.
While an already potent offense just got a lot stronger, defence is what will dictate how far the Knicks travel into the playoffs. They are depleted in the depth department, but the talent they now possess makes them an instant title contender.
Regardless of how this season ends, Knick fans have no choice but to be excited for the future.
With the way superstars have been colluding, it is almost a guarantee that a high calibre player (Chris Paul, D-Will, Dwight Howard) will be joining them by 2012, and until then, Melo and Amare will no doubt hold their own and keep the Knicks relevant for the foreseeable future.
Philadelphia was on a tear entering the trade deadline, so staying pat may have been their best option.
They refused to part with Andre Iguodala, who is starting to play up to his salary, as is Elton Brand.
Look for rookie Evan Turner to use his All-Star weekend game snub as motivation to prove the naysayers wrong and for the 76ers to put together their usual late season surge to grab a playoff spot.
While they will surely be one and done, facing the Heat, Celtics, or Bulls in the first round, Philly is finally looking like they have the pieces in place to be a perennial playoff contender. Now they just need to take the next step. Jrue Holiday could very well be in the mix for most improved player.
There is no question what the Raptors have been planning all season long: rebuild, rebuild, rebuild.
A quiet deadline passed with only one transaction (James Johnson), but it allowed the Raps to garner more youth and to discover who is in this team’s future.Demar DeRozan has been given the reigns to do as he wishes, and Andrea Bargnani has had a strong offensive season with Bosh in South Beach.
But this team is young, and the losses are not surprising. Look for the Raptors to continue developing their young players and hopefully move the likes of Calderon, Kleiza, or Barbosa in the offseason.
This year’s draft could be huge, as the Raps will surely have a top 10 pick (even more likely top five). A player like Kyrie Erving from Duke could really take this team to another level.
Why mess with a good thing?
While the Bulls were looking for an upgrade at the shooting guard position, they ultimately remained the same, simply trading the underwhelming James Johnson for a first rounder. With Derrick Rose playing like he’s already won the MVP and Boozer and Noah both finally healthy, this roster has the ability to be a dark horse title contender.
The only thing that hurts the Bulls is three-point shooting and depth, but if their stars play to their abilities, they have enough firepower to surprise the likes of the Celtics, Heat, or whoever stands in their way.
Oh what a difference a year can make.
Once a team that had the “Title or Bust” mentality, it’s all about rebuilding now for the Cavs, who at times have resembled a D-league team. But this team has heart, and the fans have their back in the wake of LeBron’s departure.
While the talent isn’t what it used to be, the likes of JJ Hickson, Daniel Gibson, and Anderson Varejao, along with whatever player they take in the draft, is a solid base to build around.
Will Baron Davis play inspired basketball in the twilight in his career, or merely coast? Regardless, the Cavs will continue playing the likes of Christian Eyenga and Ramon Sessions in order to develop their young players in hopes to quicken the rebuilding process.
A top three pick is all but guaranteed, and the last time they had a high pick, it seemed to work out pretty well for them.
The Pistons refused to let go of Tayshaun Prince, so you’d like to think that both sides would like to work on an extension to keep him their long term. If not, it could be yet another mistake for a team that has done little to improve in the post Billups years.
Rodney Stuckey leads the team in scoring... at 15 points a game. Ben Gordon and Charlie V are ridiculously overpaid. Rip Hamilton remains stuck to the bench.
But there is hope!
While playoffs are a stretch (but not unlikely in the East), the remainder of the season will be towards improving the play of Greg Monroe and Austin Daye.
Tracy McGrady continues to prolong his career, but the Pistons need to commit to rebuilding, because this current roster is not going to cut it in the improving East.
It would have been nice if they could have turned the energetic Josh McRoberts into OJ Mayo and clear up the logjam in their frontcourt, but still, this team needs to play up to their potential and finally return to the playoffs.
While their team lacks a true franchise player (sorry Danny Granger), they have enough pieces to steal a playoff spot. Roy Hibbert needs to be more consistent, and play like he did at the beginning of the season. Darren Collison also has much to prove, while Granger must put this team on his back and carry them to the postseason.
They have enough assets such as James Posey (remember him) and rookie Paul George that the future is bright, and new head coach Frank Vogel has the team playing some of their best ball of the season.
A midseason shakeup could have really helped this team, but they should be able to grab a playoff spot, and this offseason could keep them there in the future.
For a team that took the Hawks to seven games in last year’s playoffs, they are certainly not playing like they want to return to the postseason.
Yes, they have battled injuries to their stars, but their offense is simply nowhere to be found. Jennings needs to rebound from that foot injury, while Andrew Bogut continues to battle back from that horrific fall last year.
Corey Maggette and John Salmons have been huge disappointment thus far, while Larry Sanders is not getting nearly enough burn for a team that appears to be lottery bound. A Michael Redd comeback would be heart-warming but would not make them a playoff team.
This team needs a shake up, and considering the trade deadline was quiet, expect some movement this offseason in Milwaukee.
Turning Mike Bibby into Kirk Hinrich helps this team for now, but they still lack that point guard that will take them to the next level.
Hinrich gives the Hawks great defence against the great point guards in the East, but their overall lack of depth remains their Achilles heel. Jeff Teague looks like a flop, hampering the Hawks ability to go more than eight deep come playoff time.
Losing Mo Evans may be the icing on the cake, as he was one of their better players off the bench. This team still has more than enough talent to be a playoff contender, but they have been unable to build on a top four finish last year and are in danger of starting the playoffs as a fifth or sixth seed.
Josh Smith needs to use that All-star snub as motivation to carry this team on a playoff run. Joe Johnson and Al Horford need to continue to play as All-stars.
This team needs to prove that it's for real come playoff time.
It appears that after making the playoffs for the first time in their short history, the Bobcats are again a lottery team.
They shipped out Gerald Wallace in order to garner draft picks and have been committed to developing their younger players as of late. While they have improved since Paul Silas took over, this team needs to regroup in order to take the next step.
There’s no need to blow up the team, with the likes of D.J. Augustin, Gerald Henderson, and Shaun Livingston all contributing and Kwame Brown playing the best ball of his career (don’t laugh).
This team just needs time and perhaps a few moves in the offseason to regroup for next season.
By not making a move at the trade deadline, the Heat may have surpassed the Celtics as the best team in the East.
While Boston tinkered with a line-up that got them to the finals, the Heat instead stayed the course, and are instead keeping things the same. When you have LeBron, D-Wade, and Bosh, it really doesn’t matter; when those three are clicking, they are nearly unstoppable.
Chemistry is what this team needs to work on, incorporating Mike Miller and Udonis Haslem into the line-up.
With a possibility of picking up the likes of Troy Murphy in the upcoming weeks, the Heat should be able to coast into the playoffs and at least get to the conference semifinals.
How they match up with Chicago and Boston is essential, but right now, they appear to be the team to beat in the East.
The Magic did most of their wheeling and dealing earlier in the season, turning Vince Carter and Rashard Lewis into Jason Richardson and Gilbert Arenas.
After their semi surge following those trades, the Magic are again slumping at the most costly time.
Hedo Turkoglu continues to prove the only place he can play in Orlando, but apart from Dwight Howard, no one on this team is playing like the playoffs are around the corner. This does not bode well for the Magic, who could see Howard exit as a free agent in 2012.
The Magic need to flip the switch to begin to play like every game is their last. If they don’t, expect their playoff appearances to take a dip once Dwight moves on to join up with either the Lakers or the Knicks.
No doubt the Wizards have been a disappointment, but they still have a blooming superstar in John Wall continuing to develop.
By shipping out Hinrich, the team is unquestionably his, as are the minutes now that the backcourt is less cluttered.
Nick Young and Javale McGee have both had strong seasons, and should to continue to grow with Wall. Andrey Blatche has remained steady, but is no longer the one man show he was last season.
The Wiz will continue to play young, to develop and hope that by Wall’s second season, they will be ready to vie for a playoff berth.
If it aint broke, don’t fix it.
While they did look for trades, ultimately remaining the same could do wonders for this team.The only time Dallas has had trouble is when Dirk was injured, so now that he’s back, the Mavs are winning again.
Caron Butler assures us he will be back for the playoffs, and Jason Kidd continues to defy age. Peja can still stroke it from deep, and Tyson Chandler has had a solid season in the big D.
Oh, and fan favourite Roddy Beaubois finally played this season!
Good times are in the Mavs future, and a top three finish seems very likely. This team has the depth, the talent, and the experience to amend that 2006 Finals defeat.
Houston deadline deals made the Rockets stronger for the future without sacrificing anything for their current playoff push.
By turning Shane Battier into Hasheem Thabeet and a first rounder, they give themselves a big who can fill the void (at least size wise) of Yao Ming. Turning Aaron Brooks into Goran Dragic and another first rounder, gives them a point guard for the future, as Brooks was surely on his way out by season’s end.
Rookie Patrick Paterson still has yet to make an impact, but Chase Budinger has made the most of his opportunities to expand his skill set and help his team win now.
The Rockets still have work to do, but with a well balanced team and Coach Rick Adelman at the helms, the playoffs aren't that far of a stretch in the weakened West.
By bringing back Shane Battier, the Grizzlies have insurance as Rudy Gay sits out for a month rehabbing his injured shoulder.
OJ Mayo is still with the team and will look to have a larger role with Gay sidelined, so long as there are no hard feelings after the last second attempt at trading him fell short.
Mike Conley has had a solid season and needs to continue developing. If Xavier Henry can crack the rotation and play to his ability, he gives them yet another wing who can do some serious damage. Sam Young and Tony Allen need to continue putting up solid numbers.
This team has the talent to make a playoff push; they just need to be more consistent. Battier's veteran leadership should do wonders for the young Grizzlies, and they should be able to snag a playoff spot in time for Gay's return.
New Orleans Hornets
The Hornets are the Jekyll and Hyde team of the NBA season.
They need to get Emeka Okafor back as soon as possible and get back to playing the lockdown defence that helped them start the season so strong.
Chris Paul and David West continue to play like all-stars, and by trading for Carl Landry, the Hornets assure themselves a backup for West in case the Hornets are unable to resign the talented forward.
Depth could be a major concern for this team. Because their future is in limbo as the NBA continues to share ownership between the 30 teams, there is no telling what is in store for the Hornets in New Orleans.
Regardless, the playoffs seem inevitable for the Bourbon Street franchise.
The number one priority should be keeping Paul happy, or else you can expect to see him in a Knicks uniform come 2012.
San Antonio Spurs
When you’re the best team in the league, there is no need to make changes.
Few, if any, rumours came from the Spurs camp, as they appear more than content with their line-up as is. Richard Jefferson is having a bounce back year, Manu Ginobili remains an MVP contender, and Tim Duncan is playing his fewest minutes... ever.
Rookie Gary Neal continues to be a blessing, as does DeJaun Blair. If they can get Tiago Splitter more involved, the Spurs could be dangerous for years to come.
With the Spurs' ability to draft well, especially late in the draft, the future always remains positive in San Antonio. Look for them to be the favourites in the postseason, even if they remain under the radar as the Heat and Lakers continue making headlines.
Yes, they are still in playoff position. But the future is very much in the air until we see how the post-Carmelo Nuggets bond as a team.
This is a team out to prove that they're much more than just Melo.
Nene wants an extension, and it won’t come cheap. Someone will have to sacrifice their shots with the influx of talent that has now been brought over. Gallinari seems very much apart of the teams future, and Wilson Chandler is playing for a contract.
But Reymond Felton has shown that he can share the ball in New York, so everyone will get a chance to contribute.
Needless to say, this team is one that has a lot to fight for.
The Timberwolves once again will be lottery bound, most likely getting a top five pick in the draft.
The good news? They still have Kevin Love, their first all-star since Kevin Garnett and a rebounding extraordinaire. They also still have Michael Beasley, who has the ability to drop 30 at any given time.
The bad news? Those two players still can’t play defence.
That being said, the Wolves did everything in their power to make their team better, but no one was biting. They shipped out Corey Brewer to clear the log jam in their backcourt and now have a big expiring contract in Eddy Curry that will come off the books at year’s end.
What the Wolves need to do is develop rookie Wesley Johnson, who had a solid game at all-star weekend, and get Jonny Flynn back into game shape, if nothing else but to build his trade stock.
The Wolves are still waiting for their saviour in Ricky Rubio to come over from Europe. Until then, they have a few pieces to work with, as well as that lottery pick that will help bring them back to respectability.
Portland has proven year after year to be the most resourceful team, especially when it comes to injuries.
With their two franchise players in Greg Oden and Brandon Roy out for extend periods throughout the season, the Blazers remain in the think of the playoff hunt thanks in large part to LaMarcus Aldridge, who has put up all-star numbers with those two out of the line-up.
Second year forward Wesley Matthews has been a great pickup, and Andre Miller continues to be a solid, do everything point guard.
Now with Gerald Wallace added at the deadline, the Blazers hope to take advantage of the weakened West and solidify their playoff position.
They are still hoping Oden can one day be a regular contributor for them, but are poised to move on without him. Roy will most likely be on and off for the rest of the season, and after that, few know for sure.
Portland continues to defy the odds and remain relevant, if not stronger because of this trade. This is a good time for the Blazers to make a move in the playoff race.
Oklahoma City Thunder
The Thunder very well may have had the best day at the trade deadline, picking up defensive stalwart Kendrick Perkins from the Celtics for Jeff Green, who was most likely to be let go by the Thunder anyway.
This acquisition positions the Thunder for a playoff push right now and could be a move that solidifies them as bona fide contenders for the title come June. The Thunder couldn’t afford to keep Green, so this trade keeps them from having to make that decision while fortifying their defence.
The team’s success still depends on all-stars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. With the emergence of Serge Ibaka and James Harden, the Thunder are in position to do serious damage come playoff time.
The future just got even brighter in Oklahoma City, and their championship aspirations are becoming all the more likely.
It’s not easy trading away your franchise player.It’s especially not easy doing so with a new head coach just weeks into the job.
That being said, trading away Deron Williams may have been the best move possible for the Jazz. He was surely not going to re-sign, and by trading him for valuable draft picks, as well as all-star Devin Harris and rookie Derrick Favors, the Jazz are in a position to sustain their winning ways.
There is now a plethora of front court talent that needs to be sorted out, as there will be few minutes for Favors in the immediate future. But if the Jazz can get him 20 minutes a game, his athleticism could complement Al Jefferson’s old school game.
What this team needs now is leadership more than ever, and it will be Jefferson and Andrei Kirilenko who will need to provide that in order for this team to stay competitive this year. The future is not nearly as bleak as it may seem in Utah, but the immediate future is very much up in the air.
Golden State Warriors
No team had more rumours linked to them then the Warriors, who are in desperate need for help in their front court.
Unfortunately, the only move they could make was bringing in Troy Murphy, who will be bought out almost instantly.
This team has skilled players in Stephen Curry, David Lee, and consummate all-star snub Monta Ellis; all they need is someone to play defence.
Dorell Wright has had a breakout season in the free flowing offense, but the Warriors will need to continue developing Ekpe Udoh, a do everything forward who makes plays with his athleticism.
The Warriors are a team that needs help with depth and a team that desperately could use a defensive minded centre to protect the paint, because Curry and Ellis aren’t known to keep their man in front of them.
The playoffs are a bit of a stretch, but the future remains bright in Oakland.
Los Angeles Clippers
The playoffs are out of reach, but this season has been a coming out party that the Clippers, led by rookie sensation Blake Griffin, are indeed a force in the upcoming future.
By trading away Baron Davis, they shed a large contract while ensuring that Griffin understands that this is his team.When Eric Gordon returns to the line-up, the Clips will have enough three-point shooting to spread the floor to allow Griffin to dominate the paint.
Mo Williams is a nice pickup, and he’s used to throwing alley-oops to LeBron, so there shouldn’t be much drop off in Griffin’s production.If the Clippers can get some value for veteran big man Chris Kaman, they could be contenders as soon as next year.
Until then, they are still a lottery team, hopefully for the last time.
Los Angeles Lakers
A three game losing streak, highlighted by an ugly loss to the hapless Cavs, had all of L.A. in a state of panic. But L.A. refused to make a move and will hope the team that has won the past two titles can make it three in a row.
But this is the Lakers, and they always seem to flip the switch come playoff time.
When Kobe, Pau Gasol, and Andrew Bynum are playing their best, few if any teams can beat them. They can't wait for Matt Barnes to return from injury, just to get Artest out of the triangle.
Shannon Brown is having a solid season off the bench and is proving that he deserves more responsibility, much like Trevor Ariza did in the same role a couple years ago.
The Lakers are always considered a title contender, but they certainly haven’t been playing like it.
The revolving door that is the Suns made one final move, shipping point guard of the future Goran Dragic to Houston for Aaron Brooks, a former most improved player of the year.
Dragic's subpar season made this move easier, and in doing so, gives the Suns a chance to work out Brooks to see if he can take over for Captain Steve Nash, who still puts up great numbers but is susceptible to being traded this offseason.
This team still wants to be a postseason contender, but it might be time to pull the plug and begin the rebuilding process. Vince Carter is in the twilight of his career, and the talent on this team is just too average to think much can be accomplished long term.
There just is not enough talent to do much damage come playoffs, if they make it that far.
By refusing to give up center Samuel Delembert, the Kings made it obvious they are still being cautious with rookie DeMarcus Cousins, regardless of what kinds of numbers he’s putting up.
We’ve seen numerous superstars get the better of their franchise, and Cousins could very well be in that mould. Tyreke Evans continues to battle injuries, and until he regains his abilities, this is Cousins' team.
Trading away Carl Landry frees up more playing time for Jason Thompson, and the addition of Marcus Thorton spreads to floor more for Cousins to battle inside as well as Evans to slash to the net.
This team still has a ways to go and will again be lottery bound this June, but they are slowly bringing in the talent to compete in the west.
Kings fans should be wary, but should also embrace the talented big man, as his talents could get you back in the playoffs sooner than you’d think.