NBA PM: The Boring 2013 Trade Deadline
The 2013 NBA Trade Deadline was one of the least exciting in recent history. While there were a handful of deals, most of the transactions involved role players and second-round draft picks.
All of the notable players who were supposedly on the block – Josh Smith, Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap, Brandon Jennings, Monta Ellis, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Tyreke Evans – remained with their respective teams. These players were expected to be dealt because their future was up in the air – Smith, Jefferson, Millsap and Ellis can walk as unrestricted free agents this summer, leaving their teams with nothing to show for them. Usually, that means a team will cash in their asset. At this deadline, that didn’t happen. Instead, we got discussions and rumors, and then letdown at 3:00 p.m. ET.
In the weeks leading up the deadline, league sources had warned that it could be quieter than expected, but nobody thought it would be this quiet on deadline day. One agent got tired of all the insignificant deals and left his office to “hit some golf balls” with several hours remaining. Needless to say, he didn’t miss anything.
The biggest deal was the one that came first, Thomas Robinson and parts for Patrick Patterson and parts, but nobody expected that to be the most exciting moment leading up to the deadline. It was a nice way to kick things off, but two young power forwards wouldn’t be the highlight of the trade deadline, would it? Unfortunately, it was up there. Most of the players dealt after the initial trade between the Houston Rockets and Sacramento Kings are reserves from J.J. Redick to Eric Maynor to Sebastian Telfair. In all, 12 deals were completed, but they weren’t the exciting trades that fans that had stayed up all night for and expected to see.
After seeing so many blockbuster trades in recent months, fans expected more of the same at the deadline. However, when players such as Rudy Gay, James Harden, Dwight Howard, Andrew Bynum, Steve Nash, Andre Iguodala and Joe Johnson have already been traded in the last seven months, that doesn’t leave many big-time players to be dealt on the day of the deadline. Because teams like the Orlando Magic (Howard), Oklahoma City Thunder (Harden) and Memphis Grizzlies (Gay) made deals prior to the deadline, the minor trades that usually go overlooked became the biggest headlines.
The most exciting rumors involved trades that didn’t go down. Kevin Garnett to the Los Angeles Clippers? Paul Pierce to the Brooklyn Nets? Josh Smith to the Milwaukee Bucks? Any of those trades would’ve stolen the show. Instead, we’re left discussing salary dumps and fringe rotation players.
While this made for a boring Thursday, it could make for a very exciting free agency period. A lot of teams are either hoping that they can re-sign their star player or crossing their fingers that a better deal will be available through a sign-and-trade this offseason. Had Smith, Jefferson, Millsap, Jennings, Evans or other free agents been traded to their preferred destinations today, the free agency period would’ve been dull. Now, we can look forward to the bidding war for each player, while wondering where Dwight Howard and Chris Paul will ultimately land if one or both decide to leave Los Angeles.
The trade deadline wasn’t what we expected, but let’s hope it means we have something to look forward to this offseason with free agency. If that is a letdown too, expect plenty of upset fans and a scathing article or two from Adrian Wojnarowski.
The Teams That Improved
Even though there weren’t any blockbuster moves before the deadline, several deals did add pieces that will make them better either now or in the future. Here are the teams that made solid deals:
Milwaukee Bucks – The Bucks weren’t able to land Josh Smith (and it’s not for lack of trying), but they were able to add J.J. Redick of the Orlando Magic. Redick has been having a career-year in Orlando and he makes the Bucks a much better team as they look to bolster their roster for a playoff push. Redick is no longer the one-dimensional shooter that everyone knew from Duke. He has turned into a solid defender, great facilitator and excellent leader. He has also gotten much better at creating his own shot. This is a very good pickup for Milwaukee, especially since they didn’t have to give up too much in Tobias Harris, Beno Udrih and Doron Lamb.
Oklahoma City Thunder – The Thunder added a very good perimeter defender in Ronnie Brewer and only had to give up a future second-round pick for him. The Knicks had been shopping Brewer, and the Thunder pounced on the opportunity to add the 27-year-old. The Thunder approached Brewer over the offseason when he was a free agent, but he ultimately decided to sign with the Knicks. Now, he’ll be a rotation player in Oklahoma City. With Brewer and Thabo Sefolosha, the Thunder now have two very good defensive swingmen that they can throw at teams such as, say, the Miami HEAT. Oklahoma City is determined to win now and they added a veteran contributor while only having to give up a late second-round pick.
Houston Rockets – Daryl Morey and Kevin McHale went on the record several times to say that the Rockets weren’t going to make a trade before the deadline. However, Morey couldn’t resist and pulled off a deadline deal for the sixth year in a row. The Rockets landed Thomas Robinson, Francisco Garcia and Tyler Honeycutt from the Sacramento Kings in exchange for Patrick Patterson, Toney Douglas, Cole Aldrich and cash. This was a steal for the Rockets, as Robinson was the fifth overall pick in this year’s draft. He has only played 51 games in his NBA career and he still has a ton of upside. The Rockets weren’t sold on Patterson being their power forward of the future, and now they have Robinson who they believe can be a part of the long-term plan alongside James Harden, Jeremy Lin, Omer Asik and Chandler Parsons.
Toronto Raptors – The Raptors were looking to add a reserve point guard without having to give up too much. They were able to snag Sebastian Telfair from the Phoenix Suns in exchange for seldom-used Hamed Haddadi and a second-round pick. Telfair is great friends with Rudy Gay, Kyle Lowry and Alan Anderson, as they all work out together during the offseason at Impact Basketball in Las Vegas. The Raptors wanted a point guard to lead their second unit, and who better than the guy who already has chemistry with several of their key players?
Portland Trail Blazers – The Blazers didn’t make a big move, but they were able to acquire Eric Maynor from the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for the draft rights to Giorgos Printezis. Maynor is someone who can improve the Blazers’ bench and give the Blazers a solid backup behind Damian Lillard. The Blazers intentionally didn’t sign a starting-caliber reserve point guard over the offseason because they wanted Lillard to be confident and understand that he was their starter. The last thing the Blazers wanted was Lillard looking over his shoulder and worrying that he was going to be benched. That’s why they signed Ronnie Price, who had also been close with Lillard which helped, but now the Blazers have waived Price and acquired a backup point guard who can lead the team when Lillard is out of the game. Maynor is a good distributor who doesn’t make many mistakes or play out of control. This is a solid pickup for the Blazers.
HOOPSWORLD’s Trade Deadline Diary
Did you miss out on some of the trades that went down or some of the rumors that circulated prior to the NBA trade deadline at 3 p.m. ET? Catch up with HOOPSWORLD’s Trade Deadline Diary. We were updating it throughout the day to include every rumor and report that surfaced. Click here to check it out.