BY JOE BARTEL AND PETER DAHL
After another uneventful NBA deadline, Peter and I exchanged emails over what will happen to some of the teams that did not make a move, and what the overly boring NBA deadline might mean for teams like the Wolves, Knicks, Lakers and Bucks. Here are some of our thoughts.
JB: So Peter, when Danny Granger, Evan Turner, Gary Neal and Steve Blake are the “best” players traded at the deadline, does this mean the NBA has officially gone boring? There were so many potential trades, I was actually excited for the trade deadline for once.
PD: I cannot go as far as “boring,” but a number of teams were disappointingly cautious. The Pacers were really the only contender that made a noticeable improvement by exchanging Danny Granger for Evan Turner and Lavoy Allen. That being said, after Kobe’s endorsement I like the Warriors’ move to bring in Steve Blake as a backup point guard, and that may prove to be an excellent trade. As a result, bench legend Kent Bazemore is headed to the Lakers, where I hope he continues to mock Blake Griffin’s air balls. Speaking of the Lakers: why did they not move Pau?
JB: Inside information says Kobe went to Mitch Kupchak (Lakers GM) and told him that if he traded Gasol away for pennies, Bryant would pout on the sidelines the entire year. Wait, that is going to happen anyway. Honestly I cannot explain why they did not trade Gasol away. In my mind the guy is completely overrated. Please explain to me why Phoenix would want to give up four first round picks to get an aging, decrepit center whose only real supposed contribution would be his veteran influence. It is not like the Suns are going to do anything in the playoffs.
PD: I thought Phoenix would make a move in order to solidify this accelerated rebuilding process. Now that I look at it, maybe being happy with this surprising season is enough and they should not get ahead of themselves. It looks like the Lakers overhaul will not happen until they clear the books of Bryant, Gasol and Nash. I am happy for the 76ers, who have unofficially joined the D-League after trading away Turner and Hawes. It could have been worse, as I thought they might move Thaddeus Young. Speaking of tanking teams: why did the Magic not trade Aaron Afflalo? Or, better yet, why did a contender not make them a Godfather offer? He is having a career year for a pretty modest NBA contract.
JB: I mean if I were a Phoenix fan I think I could get more for potentially four first round picks than Gasol, so I am happy that they stayed put. As far as the rebuilding process in LA, it is only going to happen if Bryant wants it to (and he should literally be calling GM’s right now and offering them players, since I feel like Kobe actually runs the team). That is ultimately why Jordan Hill stayed on the Lakers, despite the fact that they are cruising towards a lottery pick this year. As far as the 76ers go, you can never have enough second round picks. If my math is correct (and it rarely ever is) I had them acquire nine during the deadline. Someone needs to tell the GM that they cannot have more than 15 players on the roster next year. Honestly though, I do not think Thaddeus Young is even that good of a player. And the asking price just seemed to be way too high. The same goes for Afflalo. If I were a GM, why would I want to give up multiple first round picks and a potential player for someone who is closing in on 30 and having a career year on the second worst team in the NBA? In all reality, we shouldn’t have expected much from this deadline to begin with. First round picks just seem to be too valuable in the new CBA days.
PD: Well then, let’s talk about some real superstars that should have gotten moved. Why did the Timberwolves not trade away Kevin Love? They are not winning with him, and he is going to bolt as soon as he can. They could bring in a real king’s ransom for him. Although they would never do it, the Knicks would benefit from trading Carmelo Anthony. I know he says he wants to stay (we will see if that is true), but they have had such a struggle building around him that I feel like the role players and picks that they could acquire for him could help them build a new, stable team. He has to be worth as much as he was when they got him from Denver, and they gave up three really solid players (and the potential of Timofey Mozgov) for him. That is the kind of trade you can build with.
JB: Sure, but do you really think James Dolan would sign off on any trade that takes away from the Knicks publicity? Anthony is the only player on that team that people actually want to see. I do not know what the Knicks could have gotten for him anyway. There is not much value on an almost 30 player who does not know the concept of defense and takes 50 percent of his team’s shots. But Kevin Love, that is a different story. I kind of wish he could stay on the Wolves. Maybe it is because when the Bucks eventually, maybe, someday get a star, I want to feel like they can keep him since both franchises are located in small markets. But I also think that the Wolves can build a contender around Love. He has all the skills you could want in a big man: size, excellent passing skills, enough shooting ability to space the floor and unbelievable rebounding prowess. That is a player that any team could build around.
PD: I would also like to see the Timberwolves succeed, but they have squandered this chance to build around a great player by tying their future to Ricky Rubio and missing on pick, after pick, after pick. If Kevin Love has the chance to go back to Los Angeles, especially if there is a chance to unite with fellow Bruin, Russell Westbrook, he is going to head for the warmth of SoCal. And do not give up on the Bucks! If they get a great draft pick, the Greek Freak makes good on his potential and the franchise moves to Seattle, they will be more than capable of signing stars! Such is the lot of small market teams (insert crying emoji).
JB: The T-Wolves have pieces. It is just a matter of if they want to use them, considering Love is not too keen on staying around. I absolutely could see Love go to the Lakers, but in two years he will be at the tail end of his prime but paid like he just started it. It is an interesting dilemma that L.A. could find themselves in the next couple of years. There is also no chance that Westbrook leaves the Thunder, especially because of the Harden fiasco that has haunted the Thunder’s title chances for the last couple of years now. As far as the Bucks go, I just want them to be a good team, but the only way that is going to happen is if they start to hit on some high picks, like this year’s potential number one pick. Unfortunately, in order for the Bucks to get high picks, they have to keep losing, which hurts their chances of staying in Milwaukee. I wish there was a way to make it all work, but I am getting even more pessimistic about the situation. You know what might help though? Avoiding making terrible trades. Sign below average free agents for big money. Hire coach after coach who is not committed to improving the young talent on the team. Sign and resign guys who do not care or are not concerned with winning. These are all areas in which the Bucks have failed this year, and the results are out in the open for everyone to see. This is not about being a small market team as much as not managing the few things a small market needs to do well. We could tear apart all the recent transactions John Hammond has made over the years, but I would rather not feel horrible right now. Crossing our fingers we can deal Illyasova and Mayo for something, anything, during the draft this year.