We were all hoping for a blockbuster like DeMarcus Cousins to the Los Angeles Lakers or the Toronto Raptors detonating their roster. Instead, we may have to wait for the powderkeg of Kings training camp, when George Karl first asks Cousins to show harder on a pick-and-roll.
We even would have settled for a team such as the Celtics or Hawks taking their multiple first-round picks and trading into the lottery. Instead, we got small-time swaps of late first-round picks, along with notorious hoarder Sam Hinkie getting another pair of second-rounders, these coming from the Knicks in 2020 and 2021.
After all the speculation, the biggest names changing addresses were Nic Batum and Mason Plumlee. So if you feel as if there wasn’t enough action over the last 48 hours, well, join the club.
Despite the absence of big names, there were 11 trades involving 14 teams made Wednesday and Thursday. Who were the winners and losers? The breakdowns are below.
Portland trades Nic Batum to Charlotte for Gerald Henderson and Noah Vonleh
This trade happened Wednesday. Blazers GM Neil Olshey has a busy offseason on his hands, with four of his rotation players headed to free agency – led by All-Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge, who reportedly is leaning heavily toward leaving – and All-Star guard Damian Lillard eligible for a max extension. Henderson fortifies the wing position, which features free agents Wesley Matthews and Arron Afflalo. Vonleh is still a teenager who can develop behind Aldridge or Meyers Leonard. I’m not quite sure what Hornets GM Rich Cho is doing. He obviously likes Batum from his days in Portland, but Batum’s arrival appears to push small forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist to shooting guard. Cho also traded Lance Stephenson for Spencer Hawes, a perimeter big, then drafted Frank Kaminsky, a perimeter big. There’s a lot of redundancy here. WINNER: Blazers
Memphis trades Luke Ridnour to Charlotte for Matt Barnes
Another Wednesday trade. Both players have disposable contracts; Barnes has a $1 million buyout on his $3.5 million for next season and Ridnour has a July 10 deadline on his $2.75 million for next season. However, you can see Barnes and the chip on his shoulder staying with the grit-and-grind Grizzlies, adding depth and 3-point shooting at the wing and some spice to their rivalry with the Clippers, his former team. More below on Ridnour. WINNER: Grizzlies
Charlotte trades Luke Ridnour and a 2016 second-round pick to Oklahoma City for Jeremy Lamb
Remember last summer, when Alonzo Gee and his non-guaranteed contract was the property of four teams, making him the Christmas fruitcake of the NBA? Gee has got nothing on Ridnour, who was the property of four teams in two days, bouncing from Orlando to Memphis to Charlotte to Oklahoma City. He will be waived, because the Thunder have three point guards after drafting Cameron Payne, and GM Sam Presti needs money to re-sign Enes Kanter and Kyle Singler. As for Lamb, he was supposed to be the guy who was going to make everyone forget James Harden. Yeah, how’d that work out? Perhaps his career will be resuscitated by being reunited with college teammate Kemba Walker. WINNER: Thunder
Toronto trades Greivis Vasquez to Milwaukee for Norman Powell and a 2017 first-round pick
There was some buzz that Raptors GM Masai Ujiri wanted to blow up his roster and had everyone on the table, including Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan. But he kept his All-Star backcourt intact and added $6.6 million of cap room by moving Vasquez, whose minutes likely will go to first-round pick Delon Wright. Ujiri now can add a max player – if he can convince one to come to Canada – and still keep free agents Lou Williams and Amir Johnson without straying into tax territory. He also now has as many as four first-rounders in the next two drafts. I like Vasquez, and not just because his contract aligns with those of O.J. Mayo, Zaza Pachulia and Jerryd Bayless and ends next summer. But if his shooting and ball security make him a better option than Michael Carter-Williams at the point, what effect does that have on MCW’s confidence, given his regression a year ago? WINNER: Raptors
Atlanta trades the 15th pick (Kelly Oubre) to Washington for the 19th pick (Jerian Grant) and 2016 and 2019 second-round picks
Yes, the Hawks won 60 games this season despite being under the salary cap. And yes, they have less than $40 million committed to next season’s roster. But the picture isn’t as pretty as it seems, because Atlanta doesn’t have Bird rights on DeMarre Carroll and has to fit his likely eight-figure deal under the cap first before addressing fellow free agent Paul Millsap and his anticipated max deal. Teams that win 50-plus games are usually better off with second-round picks rather than late first-round picks. The Wizards moved up to take Kansas wing Kelly Oubre. Even if Paul Pierce leaves, doesn’t Washington already have about nine small forwards? WINNER: Hawks
Atlanta trades the 19th pick (jerian Grant) to New York for Tim Hardaway Jr.
Four players from the 2013 draft have averaged double figures in each of their first two seasons – lottery picks Victor Oladipo, Trey Burke and Michael Carter-Williams and Hardaway, the 24th selection. He will be expected to do more than chase stats in Atlanta, but he is a career 35 percent from the arc and should get better alongside better players in a better system. (Yes, Phil, a better system.) He also provides a bit of insurance if the Hawks cannot re-sign Carroll. Without another draft pick until 2017, the Knicks used the pick to select point guard Jerian Grant, a needed piece with a strong pedigree who will be in the rotation next season. A good deal for both teams. WINNER: Hawks
Cleveland trades Tyus Jones to Minnesota for Cedi Osman, Rakeem Christmas and a 2019 second-round pick
With the opt-outs of LeBron James, Kevin Love and J.R. Smith and Tristan Thompson’s restricted free agency, the Cavaliers are looking at a potential record tax bill next season. The last thing they need is a first-round salary on their payroll. Osman will remain in Europe and Christmas should assume the roster spot of the retiring Shawn Marion. And a 2019 second-round pick from a team that hasn’t made the playoffs since 2004 has potential. The Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four, Jones is also a Minnesota native who will provide a nice insurance policy for Ricky Rubio’s ankles. The Wolves need players. My only concern is whether his presence stunts the development of Zach LaVine, one of my NBA guilty pleasures. WINNER: Timberwolves
Brooklyn trades Mason Plumlee and Pat Connaughton to Portland for Steve Blake and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson
Trading Plumlee puts the Nets all in on impending free agent Brook Lopez, the best player on a team that barely made the playoffs and couldn’t get out of the first round. Hollis-Jefferson is the sort of Swiss Army knife that all teams covet, but how much will he play on a team overloaded with wings? And while Blake is a trusted veteran point guard, where does he play on a team with Deron Williams and Jarrett Jack? Finding a taker for Joe Johnson’s final year at nearly $25 million would help and is not impossible. The Blazers’ standpoint is a bit more understandable as Olshey continues to insure himself against free agency defections. Portland ended last season with starting bigs of Aldridge and Robin Lopez. They could begin next season with Leonard and Plumlee. WINNER: Blazers
Charlotte trades Juan Vaulet to Brooklyn for 2018 and 2019 second-round picks and cash
Who? Vaulet is a teenage wing from Argentina with foot injury history who was a reach at the 39th pick and will not be in the NBA for a while. So of course, the Nets – who already don’t have first-round picks in 2016 and 2018 – gave away the only two second-round picks they have between now and 2021. Question: If you take the average of Billy King and Sam Hinkie, do you get a sane GM? WINNER: Hornets
Philadelphia trades Willy Hernangomez to New York for 2020 and 2021 second-round picks
This season, Hernangomez was a Sevilla teammate of Kristaps Porzingis, whom the Knicks reached for with the fourth pick. But the big man will spend next season with Real Madrid – a better team in the Spanish ACB, but not a team in the NBA. And the Knicks don’t have their own second-round pick until 2022. As for the Sixers, I am one of those fans who #TrustTheProcess, but this is getting ridiculous. With his best second-round pick, Hinkie could have taken one of the half-dozen college shooting guards still on the board to somewhat fortify an awful roster but instead swapped it for more “assets.” It’s time to stop kicking the can, Sam. WINNER: Sixers
Memphis trades Jon Leuer to Phoenix for Andrew Harrison
The late-season signing of JaMychal Green and the first-round selection of Jarell Martin made Leuer expendable. The Suns have until Tuesday to commit to his $1.03 million for next season, which would be a smart, inexpensive move. The overrated Harrison also was expendable after the Suns drafted Devin Booker onto an already guard-heavy roster. He could survive training camp in Memphis but will probably spend most of his rookie season in the D-League. WINNER: Suns
Chris Bernucca is the managing editor and a featured columnist for SheridanHoops.com. Follow him on Twitter.