If you read my last article, you probably learned that this year’s deadline was more predictable than usual. Charles Barkley could have called some of these deals…okay maybe not, but still. While most owners and general managers spent the last 24 hours of the deadline on the phone with other executives around the league, Mark Cuban spent his time engaging in Twitter wars with Bleacher Report and Trump supporters. The Warriors would have most likely been more involved in the sweepstakes for wingmen on the trade block if Durant’s injury had happened before the deadline, but the bright side is that this gives them yet another year to use a knee injury as an excuse for not beating Cleveland in the finals. Oh and did I mention the Knicks suck?
There was much hype about a possible blockbuster deal involving Jimmy Butler or Paul George, but the biggest name dealt was Demarcus Cousins. Apparently, the Pistons offered the Kings Drummond for Cousins but Vlade Divac determined it would be very un-Sacramento Kings-like to improve the roster, so they settled for Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans and that other guy who’ll be in the D-League by mid-March. Nevertheless, here are my winners and losers of this year’s deadline.
What the Rockets got in Lou Williams might be less of an impressive feat than what they gave up for him. Corey Brewer hasn’t hit a shot since Game 6 of the Western Conference Semi-Finals in 2015 and the Rockets appear to be getting a pick in the late 20’s in this upcoming draft. Aside from the Rockets taking advantage of the new guy in the fantasy league (Magic Johnson), they got exactly what they wanted in Lou Williams. Averaging around 19 points per game, Lou Williams is easily the best off-the-bench scorer in this league, with fellow Rockets guard Eric Gordon right behind him. He provides the Rockets with much needed depth that will most definitely come in handy in the playoffs and is a perfect fit for the three-point shooting show that the Rockets continue to successfully put on each night.
I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a team win the trade deadline without making a trade on the last day. Of course, this only applies if we include the buyout market and the players released or traded to clear cap space. Acquiring Korver a few weeks ago was huge as he continues to aid the efficiency of their offense. However, this year the Cavaliers took advantage of being the defending champs and it paid off. They stayed quiet at the trade deadline aside from sending Chris Andersen to the Hornets to free up some cap space and let other teams make their moves while keeping an eye on the buyout market. Long story short, the Cavs got the veteran point guard in Deron Williams for LeBron as a late Christmas present and signed former Golden State Warrior, Andrew Bogut, tot add some front court depth to their bench. Don’t get me wrong, the Celtics and Raptors can more than compete with the Cavaliers on a nightly basis, but in a 7 game series, depth matters. The Cavaliers just solidified their bench and look primed to make another run at the title.
A lot of you may disagree with this take, but teams tend to fail miserably when they make a rash decision in a pressure situation. All eyes were on Boston to make a big move at the deadline, and a big deal would’ve more likely than not involved Brooklyn’s (presumably high) first round picks for the next two years and a key role player from their current roster. I give all the credit in the world to Danny Ainge for sticking with the championship-potential roster he currently has and banking on those upcoming draft picks. He did a great job of avoiding what he did to the Nets a few years back. He made the smart decision not to blow up a promising roster in order to acquire a star that could’ve very well either underperformed or walked away this summer. Hats off, Danny. The Boston Celtics are headed in the right direction.
The Not Winners (because people get too offended nowadays)
You have GOT to be kidding me. Demarcus Cousins has been on the trade block (or as the Kings like to call it, the “we’re sticking with Demarcus” block, for God knows how long. If Vlade Divac wrote down every offer he’s gotten for Cousins in the last two years on a piece of paper and then put it next to what they actually got for him from New Orleans, he would be nauseated. I don’t know what else to do but exclaim my feelings towards how poorly run this organization is. Sure, Buddy Hield is good. However, chances are, the highlight tapes the Kings executives watched were all from March Madness last year. The only reason the Kings aren’t being ridiculed as the biggest joke of an organization in the NBA is because the Knicks and Bulls are still franchises. That brings us to my biggest loser. No, not the inspiring, hard-working biggest loser. The Chicago Bulls.
How do you go from potentially unloading your star players to begin a much needed rebuilding process to turning into Oklahoma City’s personal thrift store. Trading Taj Gibson and Doug McDermott for a future Dancing With the Stars contestant was more than unnecessary. Usually when you see teams unloading like this at the deadline it’s because they’re putting themselves into position to sign a guy from the buyout market or make a big move this summer. In this case, the Bulls have remained silent since the deadline and don’t appear to be the most desirable destination for potential free agents. Don’t get me wrong, if they were able to team up another star and add a role player or two with Butler and Dwayne Wade, they’d immediately be a threat in the East. However, as of now, the Chicago Bulls are a laughingstock.
To those offended by my takes (Bulls fans and people who live in Sacramento), I apologize, but it comes from the heart. I didn’t think the Lou Williams trade put the Rockets over the edge in the West at first, but with Kevin Durant injured, things are looking a lot different. After the acquisitions Cleveland made after the deadline, its hard to put anyone ahead of them in the East. For Toronto, acquiring P.J. Tucker and Serge Ibaka definitely made the gap between Boston and Toronto, if any, much smaller. We appear to be set for another entertaining second half of the season. Oh, and the Knicks still suck.