I've been an absolute huge Danny Granger fan. Ask anyone who has talked basketball with me. His effort, grit and grind for so many years in Indiana when they really had no one else to compliment him was amazing. He never asked for attention. He never made a huge deal with media. He just played his heart out. He took on LeBron in the playoffs before Paul George came around, and was not afraid to take him head on. He was a marvel to watch, and is currently in a tie with Anthony Davis as my favorite player in the league.
That's why it was bitter sweet to see him get traded today in what was the most shocking deal of the day. The Pacers sent Granger and a second-round pick to the tanking capital of the NBA in Philly for Evan Turner and Lavoy Allen. After all the years he put in for the Pacers, for nine tough seasons and helping them get back to the NBA elite, he was sent packing. The NBA is a cruel business. The Pacers felt they needed one more piece to get them in better position for a postseason run, and weren't sure if Granger would be ready from his recent injuries to take on a deep run.
Rumors say that Philly will try to buyout Granger, which will make him a free agent, and give him the opportunity to go wherever he wishes, yet it's still very sad to know he won't be in a Pacers jersey. When I heard, I went to my dresser and put on my Granger shirt my friend got me two years ago and wore it all day. He's put in so much work to get this team where they are now. One of the most underrated pieces in the Pacer's rebuilding...and now he's gone. It seems unfair, cruel and just plain wrong. That's the business folks. That's why the NBA trade deadline is so depressing for so many NBA players around the league, no matter how many of the analysts including myself love to imagine players on other teams.
Many players will say goodbye to all the players they've gotten close to for at least the past months, or in more cases years, and most likely move their whole lives to another city. Some will get a fresh start, others a new role, while some will just get let go and have to work their way back onto another NBA roster. It's one of the craziest times in the NBA, and now it's over. For now, let's gander at each trade. Beginning with the big one:
~Indiana Pacers receive Evan Turner and Lavoy Allen
Philadelphia 76ers receive Danny Granger and a second-round pick
For the Pacers: Indiana looked at their bench scoring, which was being led by Danny Granger's 8.3 PPG in over 20 MPG and realized they might need more bench baskets to beat Miami. They risked a chemistry issue by trading one of their longest tenured and liked players on the team for a guy in Evan Turner who can light it up, as he was leading the 76ers with 17.4 PPG. He brings the ability to put the ball in the basket and speed, which could be huge in a 7 game series with the Heat. Lavoy Allen is a big PF who is an insurance policy if David West or Luis Scola get hurt during their run. He can defend pretty well, but has a tendency to foul inside.
For the 76ers: The 76ers had one plan this trade deadline. Trade away their talent and stock up on picks and cap space. This deal does that. Granger is an expiring deal, and has been struggling to find his form all year. Whether Philly decides to buy his contract out or not, bringing him into the mold won't necessarily make them better. If they keep him, he could try to play hard to get a bigger contract wherever his next stop is, yet this is a money deal. Getting a second-rounder was another big key for this trade. As you'll see with the other deals, Philly seemed to go full throttle on getting as many of those as they could.
~Washington Wizards receive Andre Miller
Denver Nuggets receive Jan Vesely
Philadelphia 76ers receive Eric Maynor and 2 second-round picks
For the Wizards: The Washington backup PG situation was unpleasant for a playoff run. The backup for John Wall was Eric Maynor, who was averaging 2.3 PPG, 1.7 APG and shooting only 29.2% from the field in just over 9 minutes a game. The Wizards needed a better backup for their star. Seeing a savy veteran like Andre Miller on the market must've been a dream, and Washington took full advantage, trading away Maynor a second rounder and rarely used Jan Vesely to get him. Add him to the backup group of Martell Webster, Trevor Booker, Garrett Temple, and Kevin Seraphin and the Wizards have a capable group of backups to get past the first round.
For the Nuggets: Denver has accepted the fact they aren't making a run at the postseason this year. JaVale McGee is already out for the year, Gallinari has yet to return from his injury, Nate Robinson is out for the year and the Nuggets lack the star power they've had from previous years to make a last minute push. Andre Miller wanted no part of Brian Shaw's system, so the Nuggets made a semi-panic trade, giving him and a second round pick up for Jan Vesely, who is most known for his gorgeous girlfriend on his draft night. They got rid of Miller, which they wanted to do, but you wonder if they could've gotten more for him...
For the 76ers: This "Philly getting second round picks" becomes a theme throughout. The Sixers were trying to get as many picks as they can, and had to take on Eric Maynor's deal to get them. Really, this was a small price for a team with a lot of salary space to spare. Maynor has a player's option for $2.1 million, which he would be insane not to take that kind of money, so the Sixers will have to open the checkbooks. Philly seems to be doing a stockpiling of picks in an attempt to try and package them for a deal later on or just to accumulate some young talent later on. Either way, the Sixer got two draft picks just to take on a deal they could afford. Pretty nice takeaway.
~Denver Nuggets receive Aaron Brooks
Houston Rockets receive Jordan Hamilton
For the Nuggets: In a year like this, you can't risk an injury to your star. After losing Nate Robinson, the Nuggets had to get someone to back Ty Lawson up at the Point Guard position. Not to mention, Lawson has been dealing with an injury recently. Aaron Brooks is making less than 1M this year, and is an expiring contract anyway. The Nuggets know they can't make the postseason, however they aren't going to leave themselves without a floor general. The question here is if they gave up too much to get a guy like Aaron Brooks. The Nuggets have Danilo Gallinari and Wilson Chandler, so there wasn't a lot of room for Jordan Hamilton to play once they get back...yet could they have gotten more for a young developing SF like that?
For the Rockets: The Rockets are planning a run in the postseason, and their backup unit lacked a true SF. They were currently running Omri Casspi as their backup SF, and had a very rough time getting consistent scoring with him playing SF. Jordan Hamilton is a young work in progress, but he can drive the ball effectively. That's something that the current Rockets backup unit struggles with, since most of the players in that unit (Casspi, Garcia and even Montiejunas) are more of three-point specialists. The Rockets didn't need three Point Guards, since Lin and Beverley should be able to handle the pressure, and getting a young kid who could prove to be a huge steal at the Small Forward position for their third string Point Guard has to be seen as a solid deal.
~San Antonio Spurs receive Austin Daye
Toronto Raptors receive Nando De Colo
For the Spurs: In case you haven't been paying attention, Patty Mills has been playing out of his mind with Tony Parker out. In the past 5 games, Mills has had 3 games of at least 25 points, and one with over 30 points (32 vs. CHA). So it might not be a surprise the Spurs feel pretty comfortable with him as their backup point, which leaves De Colo in a tough spot. The Spurs also have Cory Joseph, so it's not like they need De Colo, and decided to ship him off for a position they needed more...SF. Kawhi Leonard is injured, and the Spurs have scrapped to find a player at that position, mostly going with undersized SG Danny Green, and even giving D-League call up Othyus Jeffers a start. Austin Daye isn't blowing anyone away, but at least he has the size to play the position. Maybe Pop can work his "develop a player who you forget is even in the league" magic with Daye.
For the Raptors: This is a long term thing for Toronto. The Raptors have two strong Point Guards in Lowry and Vasquez on the team, yet both of them are expiring deals, and after this year will be gone. The Raptors do have two young PG's signed for next year in Dwight Buycks and Julyan Stone, yet neither has really panned out to even warrant a backup PG role. Nando is a low-risk gamble for a GM like Masai Ujiri who likes to find under-the-radar role players. He either is going to be given some opportunities and Toronto could give him a deal from that, or he will make his money this season and walk. The Raptors didn't want to pay Daye for next year, and took De Colo from the Spurs so they didn't have to. Not sure what happens for the young PG in the future.
~Los Angeles Clippers receive rights to Cenk Akyol and a conditional pick
Atlanta Hawks receive Antwan Jamison and undisclosed sum of cash
Philadelphia 76ers receive Byron Mullens and a future second-round pick
For the Clippers: So I combined both these Clipper deals together because they achieve the same goal. The Clippers had a ton of Power Forwards they did not use. Jamison and Mullens both saw limited minutes in limited games, and didn't bring much to the Clippers title run. They needed to free up spots on the roster to pick up players who would be bought out (such as Glen Davis, who was bought out by Orlando). The Clippers are close to the title, and getting rid of two guys who didn't contribute much to the team. The Clipper got the rights to Cenk Akyol, a player drafted in 2005, but yet to play in the NBA and a conditional pick to be decided. But the real story here is the Clippers will be picking off free agents to spark their bench...which is a trick they probably learned from the two-time defending champion Miami Heat.
For the Hawks: The Atlanta Hawks got a disabled players exemption from Al Horford's injury, and didn't want to get stuck with it. So they decided to help the Clippers out and get some extra cash from it as well. They took Antwan Jamison, but with a crowded PF slot that includes Millsap, Ayon, Brand and Mike Scott, the Hawks are all but guaranteed to buy out Jamison's contract and let him be a free agent. This seems like a wash deal, but you never know if the Hawks gave the wink to the Clippers for this deal, pulling a "I'll help you if you help me in the future" kind of move. Could be something to keep in mind for future trade deadlines.
For the 76ers: Yeah...another second round draft pick for the 76ers. Philly is trying to tank out and get as many assets as they can, and saw an opportunity to acquire another pick from the Clippers. The 76ers want to have some players out there, and Mullens is a guy who can score the basketball from outside, and could replace Spencer Hawes as that role. All the 76ers gave up was a conditional draft pick, which usually amounts to nothing. Mullens makes less than $1 million, so it's not a big salary to take on, even though the 76ers could probably afford it. The stash of second rounders continues to be the story no one is sure what to make of in the 76ers clubhouse. The 76ers might hope Mullens makes their team more watchable, and avoid hurting the franchise in ticket sales.
~Miami Heat receive second round draft pick
Sacramento Kings receive Roger Mason
For the Heat: The Heat are looking to sign a free agent. Getting rid of a guy they rarely used frees it up for whoever they want to go after. Miami has a pattern of making a free agent move every offseason and have gotten some very quality guys in the process, such as Chris Anderson last year. The player they go after could depend on whose available and who would best fit their locker room and give them the extra boost they need to follow up Indiana's trade. Rumors might speculate a guy like Granger, but as long as LeBron is there, Miami doesn't have need for a solid SF to back him up. Good move though for the Heat to sign another wild card player for another title run.
For the Kings: Another "I'll help you if you help me in the future". The Kings are under new ownership, which means they're going to have to rebuild some good will connections to other teams. This screams that kind of scenario. Sacramento is going to waive Roger Mason anyway, and he wouldn't have helped a team that already has a massive amount of guards. This is a smarter trade than most realize. To be in good will with a guy like Pat Riley could very well help this team in future trade talks, and with the amount of talent the Kings have on their roster, a move next year could get them in great position. And with this kind of deal, any minor snag Sacramento could hit in a trade like that could be helped by Miami if the good will passes over this year. Who knows...every trade has its reasons.
~Charlotte Bobcats receive Gary Neal and Luke Ridnour
Milwaukee Bucks receive Ramon Sessions and Jeff Adrien
For the Bobcats: Charlotte has turned their disaster into a possible playoff team this year, yet they were lacking one major thing...three-point shooting. Charlotte is 17th in the NBA in three-point percentage, and 27th in the NBA in total three-pointers made this season. Both Gary Neal and Luke Ridnour can shoot the ball. The Bobcats worked hard to get Neal, who is much more a pure shooter than Ramon Sessions, and with Kemba Walker already playing most of the minutes, the Bobcats wanted a guy who could get hot from behind the line, something Neal has shown he can do. Ridnour barely played in Milwaukee behind Wolters and Knight, yet probably won't see much time behind Kemba Walker and Jannero Pargo. Ridnour's money helped the deal work, and since his deal is an expiring, he will be looking for another deal in the offseason.
For the Bucks: The tanking Bucks made an intriguing move here. A lot of people say the Bucks got worse with this deal, but it might be closer than people think. Ramon Sessions is a capable scorer, and with Brandon Knight's injury issues this year, Sessions is much more capable of penetrating a defense and getting points than a young developing Wolters or Gary Neal. Jeff Adrien isn't a star-studded player, but has shown some grit and grind on the Bobcats this year. Bringing these guys into a situation where the management is hoping to lose could be tricky for everyone, especially if they prove capable of winning games. They both expire as well, so they have more reason to play hard. It might sound crazy, but let's not be so sure this deal is worth the risk Milwaukee took.
~Cleveland Cavaliers receive Spencer Hawes
Philadelphia 76ers receive Henry Sims, Earl Clark and two second round picks
For the Cavs: This has been a wacky season for Cleveland to say the least. First, they made a major push to get Luol Deng from the banged up Bulls and make a playoff run. Then, a disaster stretch involving locker room disputes made the situation seem more of a disaster. The Cavs fired GM Chris Grant, and since have been on a six game winning streak. It's a roller coaster, and no one knows where it's going. The Cavs once again decided to reach for talent to boost them to the postseason. Hawes was stuck on the tanking 76ers, and the Cavs want him to bring assurance to the center position, with Anderson Varejao's injury issues. Hawes can shoot the three and stretch the floor, something most Cavs bigs can't say, so it's a new element to the team. This trade really depends on what the Cavs do this season, but Hawes is an expiring, and probably won't be in Cleveland past this year.
For the 76ers: MOAR SECOND ROUND PICKS!?!?!?! This trade deadline was about getting value for the players the 76ers had on their team, and they saw this as the best deal for Hawes. Henry Sims barely played in Cleveland, and doesn't make much money, yet Earl Clark is a player who didn't work out on the Cavs. He makes over four million this and next year, so this move is one where Philly wants to at least pay some players some kind of cash and not go too low on their salary front. Clark could be an exciting player in the 76ers system, and maybe spark his career a bit. The 76ers are trying to stock as many future assets to help them later down the road, whether it be draft picks, or a guy like Earl Clark who will be a four million dollar expiring next trade deadline. The 76ers were certainly not quiet this deadline, and have put together a head scratching roster and bag of draft picks.
~Golden State Warriors receive Steve Blake
Los Angeles Lakers receive Kent Bazemore and MarShon Brooks
For the Warriors: This might be the most underappreciated trade of the deadline. The Warriors knew they needed another piece to make a run this year. The team seems pretty solid, but looking at the bench unit was the one iffy point. Harrison Barnes is a solid player, yet it's tough to have confidence in a group with Jordan Crawford at PG. Golden State knew they could get much better production from him if they got a player to play the point so he could move to SG, and Steve Blake does just that. Blake has played very solid for the Lakers this season, and shows an outside range the Warriors must be exstatic over. Adding Blake gives them more assurance in their bench, and gives Stephen Curry more breaks during the year, something a developing superstar needs. With Blake's contract an expiring, you have to wonder if the Warriors would bring him back if he pans out.
For the Lakers: Sorry Laker fans, but I have to say the Lakers lost this deadline by a landslide. In a year where the Lakers had players like Pau Gasol, Chris Kaman and Jordan Hill playing solid enough for the Lakers to get some real value out of, they are only able to trade a player that only got a depressing tweet from Kobe (https://twitter.com/kobebryant/status/436619116792012801). The haul for Steve Blake wasn't exactly the most assuring thing either. Kent Bazemore is a young role player, yet the Lakers will most likely not resign him after this year, which leads me to believe he'll be playing for a contract. Not something a team that should be tanking would want. The Lakers also got MarShon Brooks, who has been traveling from trade to trade for a while now. Unfortunately, I don't see him getting any more minutes than he did at his previous stops when Kobe returns from injury and with Jodie Meeks ahead of him in the depth chart. Not exactly great value for Steve Blake, and an extremely disappointing trade deadline for the Lakers.
~Brooklyn Nets receive Marcus Thornton
Sacramento Kings receive Jason Terry and Reggie Evans
For the Nets: Jason Terry has had a very disappointing run since his 2011 NBA title in Dallas. After being part of the crazy KG-Pierce trade, Terry has only managed 4.5 PPG in 35 games on the Nets. The production isn't there for a team with a ridiculous payroll and very high expectations. So Brooklyn decided to go after Marcus Thornton, who was stuck in an overcrowded list of backcourt players for Sacramento. Thornton hasn't had solid numbers all year, only averaging 8.3 PPG, yet has had spark games that show his capability, such as the 42 point game back on January 24th in a close loss to the Pacers. He's capable of going on runs, which could be extremely helpful for a Nets team 97.4 PPG, 21st in the NBA. It's a risky move, since Thronton is making over $8 million over the next two years, and the Nets are already paying an insane amount of money for their roster, yet it could pay off if Thornton has some big games in the playoffs.
For the Kings: Sacramento needs to change their roster up. There was a hope Sacramento would finally trade guys who have lacked a chance to produce like Jimmer Fredette, Jason Thompson and possibly Ray McCallum, yet the Kings only traded away Thronton for Tery and Evans. Terry brings a veteran presence to the locker room, something the Kings lack, since before all the trades today, Carl Landry was their oldest player at 30. He can give guys like Ben McLemore and DeMarcus Cousins some pointers about being in the league they could use in the long run. Reggie Evans is another guy whose been around the league, and someone who can crash the boards. With Carl Landry out due to injury and the Kings in no rush to bring him back, Evans can provide a good insurance policy in case the Kings want to rest Derrick Williams or Jason Thompson on a certain night. This deadline for the Kings was to get more players with experience, and getting Terry and Evans, the Kings accomplished that, and got rid of Thornton's big contract. Not bad.
The Trade Deadline was lackluster, yet each deal had its own unique reasons. Not every team made a deal, but the teams that did got what they wanted accomplished for the most part. It will take some time to really understand who were the winners and losers out of the deals made, but the deadline got some players moving and now has passed. As analysts, we'll hope next year will have some bigger players being moved to bring excitement back to covering the deadline, but the deals done today could very well change a lot of what will happen in the upcoming months of the NBA season. Get ready folks, the playoffs are getting closer and closer every day :D