Over the years, the NBA trade deadline has been a time of year that spoils us. Once in a while, there is a year when very little happened, like 2007 when Anthony Johnson was the most meaningful player moved. This year was bizarre because there was sheer volume of trades — yet very few that moved the needle.
This makes writing a trade review column interesting.
It’s always my annual tribute to Siskel and Ebert because I always use the thumbs up, thumbs down method. This time, I will extend into some critiquing teams that were rumored to be talking about trades, but never ended up making them.
Before I go there, there are a handful of real trades that could have a meaningful impact.
Houston trades Patrick Patterson, Cole Aldrich, Toney Douglas and $1 million to Sacramento for Thomas Robinson, Tyler Honeycutt, and Francisco Garcia.
The Sacramento Kings are like that really stupid guy in your fantasy league that makes the dumbest one-sided trades that almost ruin you league, but you can’t get rid of him because he’s the commissioner’s brother in law. Logic dictated that the Kings would be very quiet at the deadline based upon the fact that the franchise has agreed upon a sale but the sale is not final yet.
Instead, they traded a rookie in Robinson who they thought enough of 8 months ago to draft him 5th overall. They only played him 15 minutes per game on a team that is going nowhere. In the short time he played, he showed he could at the very least be a plus rebounder, yet he’s so much more.
Robinson is a young, unique athlete who has incredible gifts that coincide with basketball talent. He’s a 6’9” kid who can run the floor like a gazelle, and jump through the roof. He has a decent 15 foot jump shot. He’s comfortable handling the ball on the perimeter a little and he puts it on the floor well to the hoop. He’s got a basic but effective low post game and he showed flashes in college of knowing how to cover the pick and roll. This kid could be an absolute star, so what the heck were the Kings doing?
They can spin the DeMarcus Cousins/Patrick Patterson relationship as a smoking gun, but that’s nonsense. They can talk about how they want to be better right now and Patterson adds more at this point than Robinson (which is true), but they would be talking out their backside. This deal was about one thing and one thing only to the Kings…money. They were never exercising Garcia’s option next year, so they’re just happy to save his salary for the rest of this year and duck the buyout. Plus, they pocketed $1 million, which will help to go toward paying the Maloofs’ tab last week at Tao. Needless to say, I’ll give the Kings two thumbs down for the foreseeable future.
As much as I hate this deal for the Kings, I love this deal for Houston.
Obviously I think that Robinson can be a star, but that’s only part of the brilliance. Houston can control Robinson at a contained price for this year plus 4 more. Sacramento will have to make a decision on Patterson by the end of next season and very frankly, he could cost them more than what he makes now if they care to keep him.
Houston GM Daryl Morey is on a roll of successful personnel moves that is unheard of. His two restricted free agent signings, Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik have worked out really well. The second-round drafting and subsequent signing of Chandler Parsons was a stroke of genius. The one move I criticized him for was his trade of Kyle Lowry to Toronto for a guaranteed lottery pick. He shut me up quick when he took that pick and spun it as a major part of a package that brought in James Harden.
As great a move as this is by Morey, it’s not as impressive as the 4 prior moves I listed above. This one was low hanging fruit. The Parsons pick was brilliant. The Lin and Asik signings were brave and visionary. The Harden trade was opportunistic but bred in mountains of preparation. This trade was the fleecing of desperate owners with one foot out the door who are looking to finance their next month of nightclub bottle service. For Morey and his Rockets, two thumbs up.
Milwaukee trades Tobias Harris, Beno Udrih, and Doron Lamb to Orlando for J.J. Redick, Ish Smith, and Gustavo Ayon.
I actually think Orlando GM Rob Hennigan did a pretty decent job under the circumstances. As much as Orlando wanted to keep Redick, it was going to be cost prohibitive for them. Orlando’s ultimate goal was to get a young asset and a draft pick. General managers treated first-round picks like precious jewels this time around, and no one was parting with them. So, for Orlando, to get 2 interesting young players was much better than letting Redick leave for nothing at the end of the season.