After an entire season of talk, discussion, rumor and innuendo, NBA executives finally got off their tails and actually made some moves before Thursday’s trade deadline. After last year’s deadline day flop, the flurry of moves – involving some fairly big names – before yesterday’s deadline was actually impressive.
Here’s a chronological order of all the major moves made over the past week.
Butler, Haywood go to Dallas for Howard
The flurry was kicked off a week ago by the Mavericks acquiring Caron Butler, Brendan Haywood and DeShawn Stevenson from the Wizards in exchange for Josh Howard, Drew Gooden, Quinton Ross and James Singleton. A huge trade with a lot of pieces moving in either direction. The Mavericks basically dumped the talented but unhappy Howard for Butler and Haywood.
In this deal I’m not sure if either team actually improved. The Mavericks get yet another talented guy who can drive the ball in Butler, and Haywood can help bang against some of the West’s centers. But in adding those pieces they also spent roughly $30 million. That’s a lot of cash for not much of an upgrade. For the Wizards this was strictly a salary dump. They got Howard in return but his play has slipped over the past few seasons.
Camby to Portland
In one of the more interesting deals, the Blazers landed Marcus Camby from the Clippers in exchange for Steve Blake, Travis Outlaw and cash. The Clippers are just selling off pieces to give their younger guys a chance to play. They saved about $1.5 million from this deal and if they really like Camby, he’ll be a free agent in the offseason and they can make a play for him then. For the Blazers, they simply needed to add an inside presence before the playoff push. Losing both Greg Oden and Joel Przybilla has killed their front line. Moving Blake also gives second-year scorer Jerryd Bayless a chance to step up and play some meaningful minutes.
Two bags of skin swapped
The Knicks traded Darko Milicic to the Timberwolves for Brian Cardinal. Huh? What a nothing trade. The Knicks saved about $1 million by making this move. The T’wolves, well, I have no idea what they were trying to do here. We’re sure Kevin McHale isn’t still running things over there, right?
Salmons to the Bucks for Alexander and Warrick
The Bulls continued to open up cap space for a run at Dwyane Wade this offseason. That’s all this move was meant to do. They dumped the $5.8 million they owe Salmons next year. They may miss the playoffs as a result of this deal, but some younger guys will get minutes, Warrick will help on the offensive end a bit and they’ll try to draw the hometown kid (Wade) back over the summer. For the Bucks, they added some scoring punch to help with a push for the East’s final playoff spot.
Cleveland gets Antawn Jamison in three-way deal
LeBron got the complementary piece he’s been looking for in Jamison and while the Cavs spent a ton of money to get him, in a basketball sense, they really didn’t give up that much. They sent Zydrunas Ilgauskas, the rights to Emir Preldzic and a 2010 first round pick to Washington to get Jamison and Sebastian Telfair from the Clippers. Ilgauskas will likely be bought out by the Wizards and return to Cleveland after the 30-day waiting period. So essentially the Cavs got Jamison and Telfair for virually nothing other than money and a late first rounder this year.
The Clippers received Drew Gooden from the Wizards (who had gotten him from Dallas in the Butler-Haywood-Howard deal) and sent Al Thornton to Washington and Telfair to the Cavs. This puts the Clippers somewhere between $14 to 17 million under next season’s projected cap. That’s a lot of money to make a run at someone like Chris Bosh, while they dumped some dead weight in Thornton and Telfair.
The Wizards saved about $7 million in salary and cleared the $28 million they would have owed Jamison over the next two seasons.
Utah Jazz dump Ronnie Brewer
The Jazz really had fallen out of love with Brewer, who was the No. 14 pick of the 2006 NBA Draft. Brewer has never developed his jump shot and despite his defensive ability, he’d become an offensive liability. When you combine the luxury tax savings with Brewer’s salary, the Jazz saved about $3 million while they can fill Brewer’s minutes by using Kyle Korver and C.J. Miles. They will also likely get a mid-first round pick out of the swap with the Grizzlies.
Memphis got a bench upgrade with an expiring contract in Brewer. If he plays well down the stretch, maybe they look to re-sign him after the season since he’s a local kid. As a restricted free agent they Grizzlies can likely make him a qualifying offer and retain him cheaply.
Bulls finally toss Tyrus Thomas
The Bulls had been looking to get rid of Tyrus Thomas for months now and they finally did it. They sent him to Charlotte for Flip Murray, Acie Law and a first round pick somewhere down the road. Chicago didn’t save any money with this one because Thomas’ contract expires this summer anyway. Murray can step in and fill the role vacated by Salmons, Acie Law is just a bench filler and the recently-acquired Hakim Warrick can fill Thomas’ rotation spot. The earliest they can get a first-rounder from the Bobcats would be 2012.
Charlotte was looking to add some frontcourt punch and might get that in Thomas. They also don’t view him as a rental since they believe they’ll be able to re-sign and develop him.
Knicks land Tracy McGrady
New York sent Larry Hughes to Sacramento and Jared Jeffries, Jordan Hill and a top-five protected 2012 first-round pick (and the right to swap first rounders in 2011) to Houston and got Tracy McGrady from Houston and Sergio Rodriguez from Sacramento. For the Knicks obviously they were looking free a ton of cap space. By getting rid of Jared Jeffries, they now have $32 million in cap space that will be available this summer. Could they potentially use that to snag two max-contract free agents? Yes, and they will try and grab either LeBron James or Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. Bank on it.
The Rockets made out like bandits in this trade. Yes, they took on Jared Jeffries’ contract for next year, but they also got Kevin Martin from Sacramento to fill a scoring void and hopefully help Trevor Ariza out. They did have to send Carl Landry to Sacramento to get Martin, but they brought Hilton Armstrong back in return as well and got under the luxury tax in the process. When Yao comes back next year, the loss of Landry won’t hurt as much.
Sacramento got Landry, got rid of Martin’s contract and the fact that he and Tyreke Evans don’t mesh well on the court. They took on roughly $3.6 million, though they might end up buying out Larry Hughes. The Kings also will now have the cap room to offer a max contract to a free agent this summer.
So yeah, that’s a lot to digest. If your team isn’t in the playoff hunt you can just relax with that information until this summer’s crazy free agent bonanza. Enjoy.