We waited all season for this? Are you kidding me? A day of dumpster diving? Ugh.
Well, let’s break it all down: LeBron James lost a friend, and that friend, Anderson Varejao, was immediately waived and may just come back to haunt his former team if he signs with an Eastern Conference contender after spending 12 seasons in Cleveland.
In related news since we are talking about LeBron’s recent past, Miami Heat owner Mickey Arison saved millions and millions of luxury tax dollars. Aren’t you happy for him? Don’t you just want to book a trip on one of his cruise ships to show your support?
What else? Hmmm. It appears Neil Olshey has turned into Sam Hinkie. Oh, and Dwight Howard went nowhere. Same as Ryan Anderson. And Eric Gordon.
As for Phil Jackson, he decided that trading away yet another future first-round pick was not the Zen thing to do, according to our Michael Scotto.
Sources: Knicks turned down a Rockets offer of Patrick Beverley. Asking price of a first-round pick and two rotation players was too high.
— Michael Scotto (@MikeAScotto) February 18, 2016
Can we call this the Trade Dudline?
OK, maybe that’s a little too harsh. Stan Van Gundy’s Detroit Pistons certainly emerged better, picking up Tobias Harris, Donatas Montiejunas and Marcus Thornton in a pair of deals that should lift them above the .500 mark that they entered the All-Star break with.
Those feisty Western Conference rivals, the Clippers and Grizzlies, actually got some business done together by swapping each other’s problems, Los Angeles getting Jeff Green from Memphis for the price of Lance Stephenson and a first-round pick.
Randy Wittman got himself a headache as Ernie Grunfeld went all in on saving his job by surrendering a protected first-round pick along with cap filler to the Phoenix Suns for Markieff Morris.
Plus, we had the Chukwudiebere Maduabum blockbuster. (Insert your own spellchecker joke here).
But all in all, if you spent the better part of Thursday morning staring down at your smart phone and waiting for a blockbuster to go down, all you had to show for it was a sore neck and blurry vision to go along with your realization that this season will remain all about the Golden State Warriors and their pursuit of history … and then whether the San Antonio Spurs have enough to beat them in the playoffs, and then which one of those teams will go up against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers as The King makes his sixth consecutive trip to the NBA Finals.
Casual NBA fans are now welcome to switch back to the presidential campaign to get their kicks. The greatest clownshow of all time (apologies to Emmett Kelly) makes stops in South Carolina and Nevada next.
Hardcore NBA fans who do not root for the Cavs, Warriors or Spurs are now advised to clean out their sock drawers, pump up their bicycle tires and/or scan their memory banks from six weeks ago and try to recall what their New Year’s resolutions were.
But with all that being said, there are a bunch of deals to dissect. So like the 7th grade biology student reaching into a vat of formaldahyde and dead frogs, we shall carve up what we have been served:
L.A. CLIPPERS ACQUIRE JEFF GREEN FROM MEMPHIS FOR LANCE STEPHENSON AND A FIRST-ROUND PICK
Gotta give the Hollingers credit for trying to do something … anything … to mitigate the loss of Marc Gasol to a broken foot. They now have Chris “Birdman” Andersen available to man the middle, and they take a flyer on a guy who did lead the NBA in triple-doubles two years ago before becoming a human cobweb. If Lance was truly Born Ready, he better be ready to replace what Courtney Lee was giving the Grizzlies (10.0 ppg in 29 minutes). Memphis also got four second-round picks and P.J. Hairston in the three-team deal that sent Lee to the Hornets and lightened Arison’s tax bill. Matt Barnes, another ex-Clipper, figures to see a spike in minutes. Green, meanwhile, will create a bigger logjam at the forward positions in L.A. with Paul Pierce, Wes Johnson and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute. Doc Rivers the GM is subject to further questioning (columnist Chris Bernucca recently addressed this matter).
WASHINGTON ACQUIRES MARKIEFF MORRIS FROM PHOENIX FOR DeJUAN BLAIR, KRIS HUMPHRIES AND A 2016 FIRST-ROUND DRAFT PICK (TOP 10 PROTECTED).
For a knucklehead, Morris was not playing all that badly under Earl Watson, averaging 20.6 ppg since the Suns sent Jeff Hornacek into Blattland. The talent has always been there, but it’s the idiocy that has always been Morris’ defining characteristic. He will step right into the starting five for Washington, which is five games under .500 coming out of the break with Randy Wittman’s job security about as secure as a broken zipper. Ladbrokes is listing Wittman as the favorite to become the next Archie Goodwin, but I am putting my money on Drew Gooden. Phoenix now has five first-round picks in the next two drafts.
CLEVELAND ACQUIRES CHANNING FRYE FROM ORLANDO, SENDING ANDERSON VAREJAO AND A FIRST-ROUND PICK TO PORTLAND, AND JARED CUNNINGHAM TO MAGIC, WHO ALSO GET A SECOND-ROUND PICK FROM PORTLAND.
The Cavs will be the fifth NBA team for Frye, a proven commodity from 3-point range (39 percent) over his 10-year career and a nice insurance policy in case of another injury to Kevin Love. He was a stretch-4 before anyone ever coined the term. Portland waived Varejao using the stretch provision, which strikes me as pretty stupid for a team currently sitting in seventh place in the Western Conference. Varejao has two additional years left on his deal, but they are team options. Why not let the Brazilian bring a little veteran savvy to the most surprising success story in the Western Conference. Yes, the Blazers will probably go down 4-0 to San Antonio or Golden State if they meet in the playoffs, but a roll of the dice never hurts. Not too long ago Andy was a crazy energy guy. He’ll be in demand after clearing waivers … you can count on that.
OKLAHOMA CITY ACQUIRES RANDY FOYE FROM DENVER FOR D.J. AUGUSTIN, STEVE NOVAK AND TWO SECOND-ROUND PICKS
Gotta take a wait-and-see approach to this one, because Sam Presti may tell Billy Donovan to bring Foye off the bench so that the Thunder can continue their years-long tradition of starting a corpse at shooting guard. (Apologies to the families of Andre Roberson and Thabo Sefolosha). Foye has played in all 54 games for the Nuggets, averaging a shade under 20 minutes per night. The 10th year vet is averaging a career-low 6.0 points per game, which does little more than make us marvel at how far Steve Novak has fallen since he was playing for the Knicks a couple years back. Same goes for Augustin. This deal kind of makes you wonder what was motivating Presti. I mean, c’mon. Randy Foye? If he is going to be the key to keeping Kevin Durant in OKC, that is one heck of a leap of faith in a guy who has worn out his welcome in many, many NBA cities.
DETROIT ACQUIRES DONATAS MONTIEJUNAS AND MARCUS THORNTON FROM HOUSTON FOR A 2016 FIRST ROUND PICK (TOP 8 PROTECTED) AND JOEL ANTHONY, WHO GOES TO PHILADELPHIA.
You lose an Ilyasova, you pick up a Montiejunas and folks in Turkey and Lithuania start chirping about what a genius/imbecile Stan Van Gundy is. Look, last season marked the first time Stan had ever missed the playoffs as a coach, and you know that didn’t sit well with him. He’s got Tobias Harris, Marcus Morris and Montiejunas as his playable forwards some 7 1/2 months after bidding adieu to Greg Monroe, and let qualifies in our book as landing on your feet after losing a max player. Yeah, he had to give up a first-rounder, but we all know (or should find out soon) that when a guy like Stanley Johnson falls into your lap, it’s worth it to start playing to win immediately no matter how daunting it seems to make it out of the East.
The other deals made Thursday — Kirk Hinrich from Chicago to Atlanta for Justin Holiday in a three-team deal also involving a Utah second-round pick, with Shelvin Mack going from Atlanta to Utah; Jarnell Stokes from Miami to New Orleans for a protected second-round pick; Brian Roberts and a second-round pick going from Miami to Portland for cash; and the rights to Maduabum going from Philadelphia to Houston for a second-round pick — do not merit any kind of discussion. Well, there’s this: If Mack steps into the starting job in Utah, they committed one heck of a whiff a couple years back when they drafted Burke 9th overall — giving Minnesota two first-round picks that were used on Shabazz Muhammad and Gorgui Dieng. Mack and Gordon Hayward were teammates at Butler.
Chris Sheridan is publisher and editor-in-chief of SheridanHoops.com. Follow him on Twitter.