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The NBA trade deadline has come and gone, and it left many of us scratching our heads.
After what seemed like years and years of trade rumors (focused generally around Josh Smith), lots and lots of nothing happened (. . . Dwight Howard). Although a few minor trades were made, none of the first-rate possibilities were moved.
The two significant deals of last Thursday were those regarding J.J. Redick, Leandro Barbosa and Jordan Crawford. Redick, a sharpshooter in his seventh NBA year, went from the Orlando Magic (the league’s second-worst team) to the Milwaukee Bucks (a team barely holding on to the final East playoff spot). Barbosa, a once-speedy combo guard, was traded from the Boston Celtics to the Washington Wizards in exchange for shooting guard Jordan Crawford.
There were only minor trades that are hardly worth mentioning, but the hype surrounding the deadline was certainly pushed to its limits. Some of the names commonly tossed around throughout this year’s trade season included Josh Smith, Kevin Garnett, Dwight Howard, Eric Bledsoe, Rajon Rondo, and Utah’s very own Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap.
Josh Smith, one of the more overvalued players in the league, was the most likely of names to be moved on the trade block. After an all-but-guarantee that the Hawks would move Smith, the man stayed in Atlanta. Rumors surfaced of a deal between Atlanta and Milwaukee that would send Smith to the Bucks in exchange for three young players and a protected No. 1 draft pick, but the move was reportedly shut down on Atlanta’s end at the last minute. Smith is in his ninth NBA season, and any improvements to his skill set are likely unrealistic. The Hawks will have to offer Smith a max contract this offseason due to his free agency, and if he decides to go elsewhere, the Hawks will look back at last Thursday’s deadline and kick themselves.
Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo were two possible Boston Celtics on the move, but the talks were likely shut down due to Rondo’s torn ACL and Garnett’s aging body.
Dwight Howard’s mess won’t ever seem to go away. While I do feel some pity for anyone on the Lakers’ train wreck (that has yet to find its way back on track), sometimes you need to be happy with your place in life. Howard is notoriously pouty no matter where he resides, and the fact that he plays in Los Angeles with a salary of $19 million doesn’t quite seem to do it for him yet. The L.A. big man does catch a lot of negative attention for one reason or another, and his name had been thrown to and fro prior to the trade deadline, but the Lakers were set on their decision to make Howard a piece to build around moving forward. I’m quite sure the Lakers will figure themselves out fairly soon, because the organization has proven its knowledge through success time and time again. But everyone will need to take a supporting role and stick with it.
Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap were the big names out of Utah as potential trade pieces, but the veteran Jazz men will stay put for now. Rumors of Paul Millsap for backup L.A. Clipper point guard Eric Bledsoe were buzzing about, and Jefferson was linked to a trade with San Antonio. But the team stayed with its starting big men, and, by doing so, likely ensured another trip back to the playoffs this year. True, the Jazz won’t be able to keep both considering their free agency and pricey returns this summer, but Utah has great (and untested) potential in Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter. They will lose Millsap or Jefferson (or both), but that will clear their salary cap and allow a future solid pickup to back up their young and promising talent.
Thus, despite the hype, the deadline resulted in a bit of a bust. James Harden and Rudy Gay were each traded during the regular season, so maybe the big moves had already happened. Most teams saw few changes on their rosters — including the Utah Jazz. But good things come to those who wait, so expect a memorable and exciting offseason this summer throughout the NBA.