Well, that was a letdown. The NBA trade deadline passed last Thursday and many expected big names and star players to be wearing different uniforms by the end of it. Given how exciting last year’s deadline was with close to 40 moves, many were excited for this one to produce similar results. But by the end of it, not that much was accomplished. Some of the moves will definitely have an impact on the teams they effected, but all of the teams kept their core players. Going in, there were rumors about Pau Gasol, Blake Griffin, Jeff Teague and Dwight Howard all potentially being traded. None of them were moved at the deadline.
Before I analyze the trades and deem winners and losers of the deadline, here are the significant moves. The Cavaliers added Channing Frye. The Clippers added Jeff Green while giving Lance Stephenson to the Grizzlies. The Grizzlies also added Chris “Birdman” Anderson and P.J. Hairston; the Wizards acquired Markieff Morris from the Suns; the Pistons grabbed Tobias Harris from the Magic, and the Thunder now have Randy Foye. The Pistons also had a trade in place to acquire Donatas Montiejunas and Marcus Thornton from the Rockets, but that trade was voided after Montiejunas failed his physical.
The addition of Frye by the Cavaliers is a solid pick up. He will contribute right away, as he will provide some much needed outside shooting, while still providing them with size on the defensive end. The Cavaliers were the favorites in the East without him, and while it is not the biggest addition he will definitely help them. The Green-Stephenson swap looks to be good for both teams. The Grizzlies will hope to get Stephenson back to his Indiana form where he was one of the top defenders in the league and could provide instant offense. The Grizzlies were in dire need of a two-way player like Stephenson and will at least benefit from his athleticism. Jeff Green also makes the Clippers better by adding consistent depth at his position, rather than the hot-and-cold Josh Smith. Both the Wizards and the Pistons made their moves clearly to make a push for the playoffs, and they certainly helped their chances. Markieff Morris may be a risk to take on, but the upside is there and they’re hoping he can find some of the chemistry he had with Dragic a few years ago with John Wall now. Tobias Harris is a great pick-up for the Pistons. He’s only 23 years old and has shown flashes of the player he might become. Every team that made a move improved and can all be seen as winners at the deadline, even if just minor winners.
The loser here is clearly the Chicago Bulls, a team that is still struggling to find an identity more than 50 games into the season. While Gasol is a good player for them, he is getting old. It would have been nice to move him and acquire some younger pieces that could help them in the future, since this is definitely not their year.