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Weekend Observations: 25 notes about the trade deadline

Mar 18, 2012, 11:30 AM EST

Cleveland Cavaliers v Los Angeles Lakers Getty Images

We’re thee days past the trade deadline. Some players have already landed and played a game with their new teams, some haven’t even arrived in their new destinations (does Hasheem Thabeet really have that busy of a calendar?). But we’re starting to recover from the shock of a still-nuts-if-quieter-than-last-year deadline that saw two coaches let go the same week so many players switched laundry.

With that in mind, here are 25 things that came to mind from the decisions made in the past week.

1. So many “nothing to lose deals.” Sam Young to Philly, Leandro Barbosa to Indiana, and in part, Ramon Sessions to L.A..

2. The Cavs’ move of Ramon Sessions in terms of how you view it essentially comes down to whether you believe that the market for Sessions was good enough to get better or not. It’s easy to say that Chris Grant got poor return on what is considered a starter-quality point guard as a reserve (a position of leverage), but the point guard market was simply pretty weak at the deadline. Raymond Felton was a player mentioned repeatedly and that’s only because Portland would have sold off children to get rid of him.

3. What sold me on the trade for Cleveland was the pick swap in 2013. Should the Lakers continue to regress given that they have yet to make a significant move and both Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol will be a year older, there’s a good chance that the Cavs could see their second draft pick in 2013 move up from 28-30 all the way to somewhere between 18 and 20. A ten-spot bump can be the difference between a training camp flameout and a quality rotation player.

4. I do hate them taking on the extra money from Luke Walton‘s extra year. It doesn’t hurt because of their cap situation, I just hate the idea of a team that isn’t primed to contend with dead money.

5. What exactly did George Karl do to God? He seems like a good man, a good father, has tried to live his life well and coach his players responsibly. Why has God responded by giving him Carmelo Anthony, J.R. Smith and JaVale McGee inside of two years?

6. John Wall had to have been skipping when he found out he was getting Nene. “A real live NBA player!”

7. Flip Saunders is somewhere going “Now you get veterans. I get it.”

8. Nick Young‘s not a bad pick-up for the Clippers, he just doesn’t solve any of the significant issues they have in front of them. The bleeding won’t stop because of Nick Young.

9. The Warriors were always going to make a move like they did in the Monta Ellis trade. They’ve been in pursuit of a defensive change to their culture for a year now. That’s why Mark Jackson was brought in. New ownership doesn’t want the fun and gun identity the Warriors have had. It’s going to take time and several moves to get a new mindset installed but adding Bogut, however healthy he is, is a good start.

10. For the Bucks, one thing that you have to hope Scott Skiles will do is post Monta Ellis. He’s a surprisingly killer post player and with the offensive putback bigs the Bucks have, a forced miss could be okay if they crash effectively.

11. There’s been a lot of hand-wringing over Ellis playing next to Brandon Jennings. But considering there rampant talks of moving Jennings, it doesn’t seem like the Bucks are sold on him long-term. The real challenge is Skiles getting Ellis to commit defensively.

12. The Lakers have never been big on sentimentality. So moving Derek Fisher shouldn’t stand as a monster shock for them. Ownership has long put the emphasis on the greatness of the team and its legacy rather than any individual player.

13. In unrelated news, Kobe Bryant is making $30 million in two years when the new CBA’s most punitive tax measures kick in and the team still hasn’t used its amnesty clause.

14. Mitch Kupchak was criticized for not amnestying Luke Walton and for the Jason Kapono contract. Then he managed to move both players and a pick they inevitably will not need for a significant upgrade. It’s like teams just line up to take the Lakers’ roster flotsam and jetsam.

15. Jordan Hill‘s a better pick-up than considered, also. He’s not going to dominate at any time on the floor, but he’s a quality rebounder with some athleticism, the area they were really missing the most.

16. This is the team that has made D.J. MBenga and Josh Powell look capable, after all.

17. How did the Blazers not move Raymond Felton or Jamal Crawford? How do you have the two most unhappiest, most disruptive, arguably best value trade assets and not move either one? Or are those things related? Taking dirt-for-dollars on Felton likely would have been the best move for both sides.

18. But getting the Nets’ pick was genius. They sent them a player which can only help to make them slightly better but not significantly better, meaning they have a great chance at even the 4th pick, especially if one team leaps them in the lottery. That could work out disastrously for the Nets, who need to tank, violently.

19. New Jersey: “Well, we didn’t get Dwight yet, which means that our massive gamble of our long-term future failed and we’re facing losing Deron Williams after giving up all that for him in the trade to get him. I know! Let’s double down, mortgage more of our future, and do it for a player who if he opts in, costs us cap space and if he doesn’t means we have an even worse team to try and lure Deron back. Great!”

20. Gregg Popovich would have had to think about acquiring Stephen Jackson for about 35 seconds. Jackson doesn’t have to shoot well, doesn’t have to score a lot, just has to defend and wait for open shots. He can’t disrupt the locker room and he won’t fight with Popovich because of the respect he has. It works for both sides.

21. Detroit reportedly tried to move Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva. Should have tried harder. They’re among a handful of teams that should have done a deal at the deadline.

22. There were discussions to move D.J. Augustin to OKC according to a report from Oklahoma TV. That would have been the ultimate Thunder one-up of the Lakers on their grab of Sessions.

23. Richard Jefferson was in uniform and played Saturday night. Same for Barbosa. It doesn’t matter how they played. It’s the matter of professionalism. A lot of other, younger players still haven’t shown up for their teams yet.

24. There was a brief moment in time when the Blazers had on roster Hasheem Thabeet and Greg Oden. Let that sink in.

25. When Dwight Howard say he was just happy that “it’s over,” I wanted to know just what exactly he thought was over. Because in two months when the Magic are eliminated in the second round, the whole thing starts over again. Yay.

  1. ljl2 - Mar 18, 2012 at 12:28 PM

    The Cavs will still be $20 million under the cap. Taking on Luke Walton’s contract that expires next year will have zero impact on rebuilding, however another 1st rounder will.

  2. ezmagic - Mar 18, 2012 at 1:11 PM

    Hey Matt Moore, remember how in 2009 the magic weren’t supposed to beat the celtics in boston in a game 7. Nobody has until then. Magic were the 1st to do it. Then the magic had no chance against lebrons 64-65 win cavs in the conference finals? Yup the magic beat them pretty bad in 6. Magic are 1st team in nba history to eliminate 2 60 plus win teams in the playoffs… just like football buddy, “any given Sunday” or in this case series.

    • md23rewlz - Mar 18, 2012 at 1:40 PM

      Hey Matt Moore, the Magic did something three years ago. Please keep that and other such relevant things in mind when analyzing the 2012 season. Now if somebody could just tell me where LeBron is going to sign, I would appreciate it. #livinginpastisfun

    • narlo00 - Mar 18, 2012 at 2:24 PM

      Man give it up.. The east belongs to Miami or Chicago for the next couple years..

    • keyshawn22 - Mar 18, 2012 at 7:16 PM

      The Magic only beat the Celtics in 2009 because KG was sitting on the bench in a suit due to his knee injury.

  3. acdc363 - Mar 18, 2012 at 2:29 PM

    What dwight howard say, dwight howard mean.

    • slowclyde86 - Mar 18, 2012 at 3:18 PM

      You mean just at the very moment he says it, correct?

  4. thelmt82 - Mar 18, 2012 at 4:31 PM

    The Cavs deal was very smart. While it sucks that the team had to give up Sessions, he was (and still is) going to opt out of his contract at the end of the year so he can get a multi-year deal. There was no chance of him staying in Cleveland because he knows it is Kyrie’s team. If he does for the Lakers what he did for the Cavs, and gets noticed, he will get at least $30M in a deal.

    The argument against Luke Walton coming to the Cavs is really moot. Sure, he is making $6.1M next year (the last year of his deal) but for arguments sake, Ramon was set to make $4.8M. So it is only an increase of $1.3M from their plan. Plus, if they are able to pull off another move in the offseason or before the deadline, Walton works as cap filler in trades. Plus, the Cavs will be around $20M under the cap. Some of that needs to go to Alonzo Gee, but they are still going to be able to pick up 2 1st rounders (& 2 2nd rounders) along with an under the radar, young FA or maybe jump on a bigger name (as long as he isn’t over 26 or 27.) The future is looking good!

    • therealhtj - Mar 18, 2012 at 6:56 PM

      You seem to be forgetting who’s running your franchise.

      • slowclyde86 - Mar 18, 2012 at 7:50 PM

        Not sure I know what you mean. Gilbert is a pretty good owner if not a very good one. His immediate reaction to the decision was inexcusable, but understandable. Except for that, what else could you want? Not afraid to spend money (that’s how they got Irving and swung the lakers deal). He lets the basketball people make the decisions (lunlike a number of others ala Allen and Dolan). Seriously, what specifically are you talking about?

      • therealhtj - Mar 18, 2012 at 8:51 PM

        The decision reaction was enough to ensure no marquee free agent will ever sign with Cleveland. Hell, what free agent with any real options would opt to sign to play in a podunk city like Cleveland?

        Face it, unless Cleveland drafts another Franchise cornerstone, they may find themselves in the dreaded 6-8 seed purgatory until Irving plays out his contract and bails on them too.

      • slowclyde86 - Mar 19, 2012 at 7:41 AM

        Yeah, I am sure a tweeting rant would keep a pro from signing with a team if everything else made sense for that player. You really know what you are talking about, don’t ya?

  5. aqzi - Mar 18, 2012 at 6:57 PM

    “13. In unrelated news, Kobe Bryant is making $30 million in two years when the new CBA’s most punitive tax measures kick in and the team still hasn’t used its amnesty clause.”

    I understand the small likelihood of this happening, but does anyone know if there are rules governing amnestying a player and then re-signing him for less money? I know you may not alter a player’s contract (so that, for example, Kobe could take less money so the Lakers could sign better players in his twilight years), but I don’t know if the amnesty could theoretically provide a loophole.

    • swanklax - Mar 18, 2012 at 8:40 PM

      A team cannot re-sign a player after using the amnesty clause on them.

    • tcclark - Mar 18, 2012 at 8:49 PM

      I don’t know the rules about that, but it’s kind of moot. Teams under the cap will be able to bid on Kobe before he becomes a free agent. The chances of him actually becoming a free agent are probably worse than his chances of becoming the Incredible Hulk.

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