The NBA trading deadline usually comes and goes with little fanfare. It's rare that deals are made that actually have the potential to change the landscape of the league. However, now that the dust has settled from one of the more wild and eventful NBA trading deadlines that I can remember, here are some random thoughts for the stretch run:
The Knicks may have gained star power with the addition of Carmelo, but there still is a lot of work to do for them to become a serious threat. In this league, you need studs and role players to complement them, and the Knicks do not have the right mix yet. Plus, their two "studs" have not exactly shown the propensity for being playoff-type winners yet. I still like the move, though, especially since the Knicks have been such a useless franchise for the last decade.
The Celtics took a big gamble with their trading of Kendrick Perkins. I like Jeff Green and think he is a nice piece to help bridge the gap between the present and the future with the Big Three aging, but try clearly took a minor step back this year as of right now.
That could change if Shaq comes back relatively healthy and can provide minutes in the middle and if the Celtics are able to land a big or two from the pool of players that should be bought out. The one thought I had when I saw this deal was that the Celtics are now trying to match the speed and athleticism of the more wing-oriented teams in the East rather than trying to match the size of the better teams in the West.
Don't cry for the Nuggets just yet. Sure, it sucks when you lose a superstar like Carmelo and you can't win titles in this league without a true No. 1 option, but the Nuggets didn't seem to be contenders with Carmelo. They were a decent team who was dangerous when they were good, didn't defend, and were too inconsistent to beat top level teams in the playoffs.
Now they seem to have a solid foundation. They have depth, athleticism, bulk and the type of players who seem like they will mesh as a team. If try can somehow add a No.1 type option in the future and if a guys like Nene and Gallinari become consistent No. 2 and No. 3 options, the Nuggets might be able to contend sooner rather than later. Plus, they still look like a playoff team to me and that's what they were before dealing Carmelo.
The Heat lost to Chicago the other night and now are 0-5 against the two top contenders in the East. However, the thing that strikes me the most is how the media comes up with a different excuse for them each time they lose.
This time it was the fact that Bosh had an all-time horrible game and they still almost won. Add that to other losses when hey were injured or were still gelling or Wade had a bad game or they are still working through the "process" and the excuses never end. The theory is that they will eventually "get it" and it will all come together in time for the playoffs.
How about that maybe it won't and maybe they are just another team that looks great when things are going well and they are out on the break dunking and making spectacular plays, but are just ordinary when the game slows down and the other team actually puts up a fight. LeBron and Bosh still have to prove they can shine under those circumstances in the playoffs.
With the addition of Kendrick Perkins and Nazr Mohammed, the Oklahoma City Thunder may just have elevated themselves to true contenders in the West. The one issue they have had is a lack of bulk and toughness in the paint and the defensive minded Perkins should cure those ills.
Obviously he isn't much of a scorer, but they have more than enough scoring on the wings to compensate for the offensive deficiencies of true bigs. They still will have to go through the grizzled veteran teams like the Lakers and the Spurs and may not be ready to beat them yet, but they are at least coming to the fight fully armed this year.
Deron Williams should sign long-term with the Nets. Yeah, they are a bad team right now and don't have a ton of talent, but with a stud point guard, a pretty good center and draft picks to use, the Nets are in position to head to Brooklyn with the makings of a playoff team that will be very attractive to free agents down the road. A little patience by Williams and trust in their front office could pay dividends down the road.
This trading deadline has set the stage for a great end to this regular season with interesting plot lines all around. The NBA regular season gets a bad rap most of the time, but this year there are actually must-see regular season games almost every night.
It will only get more compelling with teams battling at the top of each conference's races for home court and at the bottom with teams trying to work their way into the playoffs. If you haven't been watching all season, it might be time to finally jump in.