We can thank Knicks’ General Manager Donnie Walsh for bringing closure to a Carmelo Anthony saga that dragged on through a revolution in the Middle East, the Cavaliers’ 26 game losing steak and one of the worst winters in recorded history.
The move triggered a flurry of events that will no doubt have an impact on playoff contending teams this year.
One of the most noteworthy transactions was the Grizzlies sending a pair of youngsters in Hasheem Thabeet and former University of Missouri star DeMarre Carroll to Houston for Shane Battier and Aaron Brooks, the latter who was then moved to Phoenix.
The move gives the Grizzlies a short term solution for replacing star forward Rudy Gay, who may be sidelined for the remainder of the regular season.
Battier’s return to Memphis will give the playoff hopeful Grizzlies a veteran wing man whose commitment on the defensive end will be a refreshing change for a franchise that ranks in the middle of the pack in points allowed (98.3, good for 14th in the league).
The Rockets targeted young Hasheem Thabeet as a potential long-term replacement for Yao Ming in the post, bringing a defense-first big man to Houston.
At 7’3’’, Thabeet has seen limited opportunities to prove himself in Memphis, (averaging only 11.1 minutes per game during his two years in the league).
"When we drafted Hasheem, my guys told me point blank that we needed to play him a lot," Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley said. "He needed to be on the floor. I don't think we've been able to do our part."
In Thabeet’s debut with Houston, the Tanzania native logged just two minutes of action for head coach Rick Adelman.
Adelman has been public with his displeasure about losing star forward Shane Battier in exchange for Thabeet, and when asked what he knew about his new center, Adelman said, “He’s tall. He hasn’t been playing for them [in Memphis]. I don’t know what I’m supposed to do with him.”
At 29-31 and still amid the playoff hunt, it may be some time before Houston experiments with Thabeet as their starting center.
In Cleveland, the Cavaliers swapped hefty point guard contracts with the Los Angeles Clippers.
The Clippers sent Baron Davis, owed $34 Million through 2012-2013, as well as a first round pick to Cleveland in exchange for Mo Williams, who will receive another $8.5 Million next season under his current contract.
The Clippers came away as the winners, considering Baron Davis joins a Cavs team who at 11-47, have already begun to make summer vacation plans.
Davis will be 32 in April and won’t take kindly to enduring two more seasons of dismal Cleveland basketball. Don’t be surprised to see an Eddy Curry-esc dysfunctional relationship where a struggling team is saddled with a paralyzing contract.
Perhaps the last memorable basketball image of Davis will be from the sunroof in a parked KIA throwing alley-oops to Blake Griffin.
New Jersey will face a similar dilemma, where the Nets will work hard to appease Deron Williams.
Williams will surely see more scoring opportunities, a career 13.3 shot attempts per night will spike to something closer to 15 or 16 nightly attempts under head coach Avery Johnson.
Utah will plug Devin Harris into Williams' vacated role and will boast another secondary scoring threat to Al Jefferson, but it is Williams' 9.7 assists per game that the Jazz will miss.
Harris is amidst his least productive scoring season since his time in Dallas in 2007, but the former Wisconsin Badger will be relied upon for continuous scoring production.
The Jazz also acquired young Derrick Favors, who will be given time to develop while playing under veterans Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson.
Favors (5.2 PPG, 19:30 MPG in February) will certainly take a hit in playing time but the tutelage will surely benefit the game’s youngest player long-term.
Other notable transactions include Troy Murphy’s departure from New Jersey to Golden State. His contract was bought out by the Warriors, so expect a contending team to pick him up for a title run. In New Jersey he averaged dismal numbers, mainly because he never got out of head coach Avery Johnson's dog house.
In return for Murphy, the Nets received young Brandan Wright, who has seen a progressive drop off in playing opportunities (a career low 9.3 MPG).
A former top-ten pick, Wright hasn’t matured into the player Golden State once hoped he would following an impressive stint as a North Carolina Tar Heel.
In Atlanta, the Hawks feel that Kirk Hinrich is the missing piece to a talented roster that has made multiple deep runs in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
Hinrich will see plenty of action right away during the final stretch run as the Hawks jockey for playoff seeding. In addition to Hinrich, the Hawks bolstered their front line with Hilton Armstrong, who will bring another rebounding and shot blocking presence to Atlanta.
In exchange for Hinrich and Armstrong the Wizards receive veteran point guard Mike Bibby who will help in the development of John Wall.
Washington may have traded away a blue-collar point guard in Hinrich, but team president Ernie Grunfeld came away pleased with the teams trade deadline haul.
“We were able to acquire a proven, clutch leader in Mike, a hard-nosed veteran in Maurice [Evans], and an intriguing prospect in Jordan [Crawford], as well as a first-round draft choice to add our own first-round pick this summer.”
Grunfeld sees his 15-43 Wizards as a team looking toward the future, and by shedding lofty contracts like Hinrich's, the team is giving itself opportunities to succeed in a few years.
“This trade continues our plan to build with draft picks and prospects,” Grunfeld said, “To develop our young players and stay financially flexible.”
Carmelo Anthony and Deron Williams may have dominated the trade deadline headlines but many other players traded jerseys in what turned out to be a very active last couple of weeks.
Written by Conor Gereg exclusively for www.thefantasyfix.com
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