NBA trade deadline: Winners and losers
Evan Turner: This is about as easy as it gets. Turner is going from a 15-win team to a championship contender that started 15-1 and won its 15th game before Nov. 29. Cue the “My life got flip turned upside down” line from the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme song. Yes, Turner will need to find a way to fit into a much narrower role with the Pacers, but every competitive player — especially those in a contract year — would prefer to work toward a title chase rather than deal with a full-on tank.
Steve Blake: As mentioned above, the fit for Blake in Golden State looks good. Like Turner, Blake goes from a Lakers team headed nowhere to a Warriors team with some upside, and he doesn’t even have to change time zones or states to do it. At 33, Blake is likely nearing the “one-year minimum contracts” stage of his career this summer. Competing on the playoff stage for a high-visibility team should give the well-traveled veteran a shot to maximize his options and earning power.
Andre Miller: Miller’s NBA legacy? His durability and the fact that he has never advanced out of the first round of the playoffs. Both of those things matter to Miller. A lot. His initial disagreement with Shaw came over a lack of playing time, which ended his games played streak, and he will surely be glad to leave the lottery-bound Nuggets for a Wizards team that has a chance to advance to the conference semifinals in the weaker Eastern Conference. Things don’t always work out this well for players who pitch fits and get sent home, and Miller should consider himself lucky that he won’t be exiled for the rest of the season.
Kent Bazemore: One of the most electrifying performers from the 2013 Las Vegas Summer League now finds himself on a Kobe Bryant-less Lakers squad that is a glorified Summer League team. This has the potential to be a heavenly fit for Bazemore, as there is no pressure or expectations and a series of injuries should create the opportunity for some real minutes. Kendall Marshall, Nick Young and Xavier Henry have all taken turns at various points this season capturing headlines for the dead-in-the-water Lakers, and there’s no good reason that Bazemore shouldn’t be able to add his name to that list. Being the league’s best bench hype man is a good title, sure, but getting a chance to earn a contract for next season is about 1,000 times better.
Gary Neal: The 29-year-old guard reportedly got into a locker-room exchange with Bucks teammate Larry Sanders and has been open about the culture shock of going from the contending Spurs to the also-ran Bucks. It goes without saying that the Bobcats are a far cry from the Spurs, but at least he will have something to play for in Charlotte and a fresh start with a new set of teammates. Considering that he’s owed $3.3 million next season, a valuation he wouldn’t meet in the eyes of many teams, Neal should consider himself lucky for this midseason reboot.