NBA Trade Deadline: The Top 10 Title Contenders After All the Trades
The NBA has just experienced one of its most exciting and hectic trade deadlines in league history as many stars underwent a change of scenery.
Carmelo Anthony was finally traded to the Knicks, Oklahoma City got some size, the Hawks got a point guard and the Nets pulled off a shocker to get Deron Williams from the Utah Jazz.
Now that all the chaos is over, it is time to step back and reflect.
These are your top-10 title contenders in the NBA after the dust of the trade deadline has settled.
10. Portland Trail Blazers
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SF- Gerald Wallace
PF- LaMarcus Aldridge
C- Marcus Camby
Sixth man: Wesley Matthews
The Blazers made one of the best moves before the deadline. They sent center Joel Przybilla, forward Dante Cunningham, center Sean Marks and two first-round draft picks to the Bobcats for forward Gerald Wallace.
If the Blazers can get healthy, they have an extremely talented starting five. They play solid defense and are loaded with outside shooters.
Now the Blazers are a true dark horse to win it all in 2011. Their versatility will make them a tough matchup in the playoffs.
9. Atlanta Hawks
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PG- Kirk Hinrich
SG- Joe Johnson
Sixth Man: Jamal Crawford
The Hawks main weakness this season has been their point guard play. Former starter Mike Bibby was averaging just 9.4 points and 3.6 assists per game. They addressed this weakness by trading Bibby, guard Jordan Crawford, swingman Maurice Evans and a first-round pick to the Washington Wizards for point guard Kirk Hinrich and center Hilton Armstrong.
This instantly makes the Hawks a stronger team. Hinrich has proven that he can be a distributor and can score well. Possibly most importantly, Hinrich is a good defender. This is key if the Hawks plan on slowing down any of the great point guards in the Eastern Conference.
The Hawks will have to step up their game if they want to make a title run. Hinrich is a huge improvement and Armstrong also provides some much needed depth in the paint.
8. New York Knicks
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PG- Chauncey Billups
SG- Landry Fields
SF- Carmelo Anthony
PF- Amar’e Stoudemire
C- Ronny Turiaf
Sixth Man: Toney Douglas
The Knicks pulled off one of the biggest trades in NBA history by bringing in Carmelo Anthony, however, they had to pay a big price. They traded away forwards Wilson Chandler and Danilo Gallinari, guard Raymond Felton, and centers Timofey Mozgov, Eddy Curry and Anthony Randolph.
In addition to Anthony, New York received guards Chauncey Billups and Anthony Carter, forwards Renaldo Balkman and Shelden Williams, as well as swingman Corey Brewer.
That's a lot a movement for one team. The Knicks are loaded with talent after forming their own “big three” (Anthony, Stoudemire and Billups). Such talent gives them a reasonable chance to compete with anyone in the league.
With the playoffs just a couple months away, the Knicks better learn to play together quickly if they want to make a title run. If they can, they'll be one of the NBA's best teams.
7. Dallas Mavericks
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PF- Dirk Nowitzki
C- Tyson Chandler
Sixth Man: Jason Terry
The Mavericks appeared to be shopping for wing players at the trade deadline, but came up short. Many critics are calling them the biggest losers of the deadline.
If the Mavs wanted to contend for a championship, I believe they needed to make a move. Other than Terry, their bench is weak. They will rely greatly on Peja Stojakovic to be a solid wing player off the bench.
If Peja can step up, then the Mavs still have a chance. However, the West might be too strong for Dallas this season.
6. Chicago Bulls
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PG- Derrick Rose
SG- Keith Bogans
SF- Luol Deng
PF- Carlos Boozer
C- Joakim Noah
Sixth Man: Taj Gibson
The Bulls, like the Mavs, probably should have made a move at the deadline. They are noticeably weak at the shooting guard position. Starter Keith Bogans averages just 3.9 points per game and their back-up, Ronnie Brewer, averages only 6.5 points per game. Those numbers are way too low.
The Bulls should have attempted to get someone like Antony Parker of Cleveland to improve their lineup.
Regardless, the Bulls are still a reasonable title contender. Derrick Rose seems to be the front runner for MVP and they are one of the best rebounding team in the NBA.
5. Oklahoma City Thunder
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PG: Russell Westbrook
SG- Thabo Sefolosha
SF- Kevin Durant
PF- Serge Ibaka
C- Kendrick Perkins
Sixth Man: James Harden
The Oklahoma City Thunder seem to be the consensus pick for biggest winner at the deadline. They sent away forward Jeff Green, center Nenad Kristic, guard Morris Peterson, forward D.J. White and a first round pick.
They have acquired center Kendrick Perkins, Nate Robinson and Nazr Mohammed. These acquisitions give the Thunder some much needed size and toughness to compete with the best teams in the West.
The Thunder have to be seriously considered as one of the best teams in the league now. They have speed and athleticism with Westbrook, Durant and Harden. And they are complemented with a tough front line consisting of Ibaka, Perkins and Mohammed.
4. San Antonio Spurs
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PG- Tony Parker
SG- Manu Ginobili
SF- Richard Jefferson
PF- DeJaun Blair
Sixth Man: George Hill
The Spurs decided to stay put at the deadline, and why wouldn’t they? They are the most experienced team in the conference and currently have the best record in the NBA.
There is no reason to mess with what has worked. If the Spurs can carry its solid play into the playoffs, they have a good of chance of winning it all as anyone.
You are always in good hands with a core of Parker, Ginobili and Duncan. They are a great trio and they will prove their worth come playoff time.
3. Boston Celtics
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PG- Rajon Rondo
SF- Paul Pierce
PF- Kevin Garnett
C- Shaquille O’Neal
Sixth Man: Glen Davis
The Celtics seem to be considered the biggest losers of the trade deadline. They received forward Jeff Green, center Nenad Krstic, a 2012 first-round pick, 2013 and 2017 second-round picks and cash.
To get all of that, they had to give up center Kendrick Perkins, guard Nate Robinson, center Semih Erden, forward Luke Harangody, and swingman Marquis Daniels.
I don’t think that this deal is quite as awful as others say. The Celtics have a record of 41-15, and Perkins has only played in 12 of those games. Boston still has plenty of size with Davis, both O’Neals and Garnett.
Boston fans should not be going crazy quite yet. The “big three” has been a force in the playoffs over the past few seasons. They have an opportunity to get it done again.
2. LA Lakers
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PG- Derek Fisher
SG- Kobe Bryant
SF- Ron Artest
PF- Pau Gasol
C- Andrew Bynum
Sixth Man: Lamar Odom
The Lakers didn’t get anything done at the deadline, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The Lakers are back-to-back champs and still have the same core group of player from those teams.
A few weeks ago the Lakers were involved in trade talks for Carmelo Anthony and Dwight Howard, but failed to strike a deal.
Unless the Lakers could have gotten one of those two superstars, a trade wasn’t necessary. Kobe and the Lakers are still the defending champions and have a good chance to make it a three-peat this year.
1. Miami Heat
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SG- Dwayne Wade
SF- LeBron James
PF- Chris Bosh
C- Zydrunas Ilgauskas
Just like the Lakers, the Heat decided to not go out and make any trades— and it was the right move.
The Heat need more time to learn to play together; bringing in a new impact player might hurt the team more than it helps. It appears Miami is finally starting to click.
Any team that has Dwayne Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh is a force to be reckoned with. If role players like Ilgauskas and James Jones can contribute, the Heat should be the team to beat.