Trade-deadline reaction around the NBA
The NBA trade deadline is in the books.
The Point Forward’s Ben Golliver offered up his deadline winners and losers, and we graded the Pacers’ trade for Evan Turner, the Cavaliers’ trade for Spencer Hawes, the Bobcats’ trade for Gary Neal and Luke Ridnour, the Warriors’ trade for Steve Blake and the Nets’ trade for Marcus Thornton. Click here for the complete list of deadline deals.
Here’s some trade-deadline reaction and fallout from NBA reporters and columnists around the league:
• John Gonzalez, CSNPhilly.com: Forget about [new Sixers Lavoy] Allen and [Danny] Granger. Basically, the Sixers flipped [Evan] Turner for yet another second-round pick. Given where that pick is likely to fall (at the very end of the second round since the Pacers are a top-tier team), that’s basically the absolute minimum the Sixers could have fetched for Turner. Part of that reduced price is because teams probably figured they could make a run at Turner in the offseason and give up only money to land him instead of also surrendering a pick. But part of that is also because the market didn’t value Turner very highly. The idea that Turner could have been flipped for a first-round pick was always a fallacy.
• Terry Pluto, Cleveland Plain Dealer: When David Griffin approached the trading deadline, the Cavaliers’ acting general manager wanted a legitimate center. He also was looking for another outside shooter. In Spencer Hawes, he added both. … … Hawes will be a real boost to the Cavs, who should be worried about Anderson Varejao missing the last four games with a back problem. … Now, coach Mike Brown has Varejao (when healthy), Hawes and Tyler Zeller. There were rumors about Zeller possibly being traded, but it seems Griffin was mostly checking the market value for the 7-footer. No deal was close.
• Mark Murphy, Boston Herald: For all of the buzz surrounding [Celtics point guard Rajon] Rondo’s name this winter, [Boston GM Danny] Ainge wasn’t going to let his best player – and for now is only all-star – without receiving another significant player in return. He received plenty of nibbles on Brandon Bass and [Kris] Humphries – two power forwards who easily could have helped a playoff team this season. But it became apparent that trading either would have meant taking on additional salary – a forbidden direction for the Celtics if they weren’t going to land a significant player.
• Candace Buckner, Indianapolis Star: The move to deal [Danny] Granger, who has recently had to bounce back from major knee surgery, indicates that conference-leading Indiana is all-in for a championship. But the deal also gives the team some flexibility if it can’t afford to re-sign Lance Stephenson. … Turner is reportedly earning $6.6 million this season. Unlike Stephenson, who will be an unrestricted free agent capable of signing a contract with any team this season, Turner would be a restricted free agent. If the Pacers make a qualifying offer of $8.7 million, they can match any contract Turner is offered. Stephenson has blossomed in his fourth year — his contract year — averaging career highs in points (14.1), assists (5.3) and rebounds (7.1). Stephenson is also the top rebounding guard in the league and has the most triple-doubles (four) in the NBA this season. So if Stephenson becomes too expensive for the Pacers, the team could retain Turner by having the right to match competing offers.
• Josh Robbins, Orlando Sentinel: Even though the Magic have a meager 16-40 record, the Magic haven’t suffered through one blowout loss after another, the way the 76ers have in recent weeks. Trading away [point guard Jameer] Nelson may have hurt the team’s offense and hurt locker-room morale. A string of blowout losses is challenging for any coach — even a perpetually positive coach like Jacque Vaughn — and team officials were disinclined to subject Vaughn to that challenge. Asked by the Magic’s flagship radio station whether he attempted to initiate any deals, [GM Rob] Hennigan answered, “I would categorize it as, at least from our end, we did a lot more listening than, I think, actively exploring.”
• Mike Ganter, Toronto Sun: The very fact that [pending free agent point guard Kyle] Lowry is still a Raptor suggests that [Toronto GM Masai] Ujiri believes he has a decent chance of re-signing him here. Ujiri is a very nice man who treats everyone he encounters with respect. You will be hard pressed to find many (or even any) who have a negative word to say about him. But when it comes to doing his job, which is to build the Raptors into a winning organization for years to come, Ujiri does not let niceties get in the way. If Ujiri believed there was zero chance of re-signing Lowry, you can bet a fair amount of money he would have found a way to get some return on Lowry before he jumped ship. The fact that he is still here at least suggests not only that Ujiri has in an interest in retaining him, but that he believes he has a fair chance of getting his signature on another contract.
• Ian Begley, ESPNNewYork.com: The Knicks’ biggest hope prior to the deadline was to upgrade at point guard. That didn’t happen. The Knicks talked to Toronto about Kyle Lowry. Those talks fell apart because Toronto was unwilling to part with Lowry because of the team’s success, and the Knicks didn’t want to give up a first-round pick or Tim Hardaway Jr. for Lowry. The Knicks also talked to the Hawks about Jeff Teague. But the Hawks didn’t want to take back Felton in a deal and the Knicks were hesitant to take on Teague’s 4-year, $32 million contract. So the Knicks will continue, for now, to play with Felton and Shumpert in the backcourt.
• Charles F. Gardner, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Gary Neal never fit with the Milwaukee Bucks. And now he’s gone after playing just 30 games with the franchise. Neal had hoped for a more meaningful role in Milwaukee after signing a two-year, $6.5 million contract as a free agent during the off-season. But it never materialized, and he was traded Thursday to the Charlotte Bobcats in a four-player deadline deal. Neal and veteran point guard Luke Ridnour went to the Bobcats in exchange for veteran guard Ramon Sessions and power forward Jeff Adrien. The Bucks will save approximately $3.8 million in the trade and get off the hook for the second year of Neal’s contract while picking up two expiring deals. Sessions is in the second of a two-year, $10 million deal and Adrien is making $916,000 this season. “I think it just helped clean up our roster a little bit,” Bucks general manager John Hammond said. “From a financial standpoint, we’ve given ourselves a little bit more room.”
• Ira Winderman, South Florida Sun Sentinel: While the [Roger] Mason deal was the Heat’s lone move at the deadline, it leaves the team the option of picking up a player in advance of the playoffs. Players waived by March 1 remain playoff-eligible elsewhere, provided they are signed by the end of the regular season. … The next question for the Heat is what they will do with the vacated roster spot. Among players who could be in position for impending buyouts are just-dealt Jason Terry, Reggie Evans and Eric Maynor, as well as veterans getting on in years, receiving minimal playing time and stuck in no-win situations, such as Caron Butler, Keith Bogans, Ben Gordon, Charlie Villanueva and Chris Kaman.
• Scott Fowler, Charlotte Observer: The Bobcats kept their most important pieces – all their starters and all their first-round draft picks – and still bettered their team. In a 2-for-2 player trade with Milwaukee, the most significant move was that the Bobcats added the floor-spacing, 3-point shooter the team desperately needs in Gary Neal just before the trade deadline. They had to give up Ramon Sessions to do it, and that will have some consequences. Sessions was a consummate professional and a combo guard with a great knack for getting to the free-throw line. But Sessions’ place as backup point guard should be adequately filled by Luke Ridnour, the other new Bobcat. Charlotte also threw in Jeff Adrien to make the deal work. Adrien was Charlotte’s 11th or 12th man and was not going to play meaningful minutes this season. So the Bobcats got two decent veteran guards and gave up one. They also gave up a bit of salary-cap room since Neal is signed for the 2014-15 season, too, at $3.25 million. By NBA standards, though, that is a bargain price if he shoots the ball the way he did in San Antonio last season.
• Vince Ellis, Detroit Free Press: It isn’t a news flash that the Pistons would like to unload Smith’s contract. Anyone who watches them on a nightly basis can see that the Pistons probably would have been better served spending their free agency money elsewhere last summer. But the main takeaway from trade deadline 2014 is definitely Greg Monroe. Despite rampant national speculation that Monroe was headed out of town the very moment Smith was brought aboard, it played out like local outlets said it would with Monroe staying with the Pistons. So he heads into an off-season where he will be a restricted free agent. Unless the Pistons can work out a quick deal, Monroe can negotiate a deal with another team, but the Pistons would likely match.