Sometimes, the best trades are the ones that are never made. At least, that’s what some NBA teams are spinning after Thursday’s snoozer of a trading deadline.
And some teams are correct. No deal sure beats a bad one, right?
With that in mind, here’s who emerged as the post-deadline winners and losers:
Winners: Milwaukee Bucks
OK, despite all the effort and coming very close, the Bucks didn’t land Josh Smith. But they did get a nifty consolation prize in J.J. Redick from Orlando.
Redick is a sniper from the outside, gives endless effort in the other areas and should be a fantastic sixth man in a backcourt featuring Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings. Better yet, the Bucks barely gave up anything to land the guy.
No, Redick doesn’t suddenly make the Bucks title contenders. But he does make them better. And isn’t that the idea?
Losers: Atlanta Hawks
Not trading Josh Smith was a major fail. It’s not necessarily GM Danny Ferry’s fault entirely, as you always need someone to extend a willing (and helping) hand.
But Smith is a remarkable talent with an expiring contract. The deals were there. Ferry played it safe, and that’s swell. But now the Hawks’ summer, and so-so season, are the same as they ever were.
Winners: Los Angeles Lakers
Yeah, that’s right. The best reality drama on TV came out a winner. Know why? Because the Lakers didn’t panic.
Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard may aggravate one another, but sometimes, really cool things are built on utter animosity (see, Larry Brown and Allen Iverson).
Bottom line: The Lakers seem to be figuring things out, and despite all the underachieving, the one thing you don’t give up too soon is All-Star talent. The Lakers have a heap of it – and deserve at least one entire season together.
Losers: Dallas Mavericks
Not sure what the Mavs’ plan is these days? Don’t worry. They probably aren’t certain, either.
Actually, they seem content riding Dirk Nowitzki to the bitter end – and that’s OK. How can you not love and appreciate Dirk?
But if you think Boston has perhaps held onto its aging stars too long, get a load of these guys. With Nowitzki, Shawn Marion and a few others, the Mavs are likely to remain average and miss the playoffs.
If any team is screaming for a trade, it’s a one-time champion that’s on the way down.
Winners: Boston Celtics
Gave up a guy who’s out for the year with a bum knee and never really contributed much when healthy in Leandro Barbosa. Received a young and athletic gunner in Jordan Crawford in return.
Best of all, the Celtics managed to keep Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and the injured Rajon Rondo. It’ll be fun just watching these aging and wounded warriors, and seeing how far they can go.
Losers: Los Angeles Clippers
Entering the deadline, the Clippers were a really good No. 3 seed, maybe a strong No. 2, in the West. Exiting the deadline, they’re pretty much the same.
A lot of teams would kill to be in their position. But when you’re one guy away from true championship contention, it’s your job to go out and get that guy. The Clippers did nothing.
Winners: Houston Rockets
They got the No. 5 pick in last year’s draft, Thomas Robinson, who will immediately get a chance to produce in a really good situation. When you’re coming from sad-sack Sacramento, as Robinson is, that counts for a lot.
The Rockets hated to give up Patrick Patterson, who was part of the trade, but feel that Robinson can be a major difference-maker down the road.
And how often does the league’s youngest team get younger – and maybe better at the same time?