Sometimes, you make a trade with the idea of getting worse. Not sure that was the plan with the Portland Trail Blazers, but if it was, it worked.
The Blazers seemingly have an eye on the future, and deserve credit for obtaining a first-round draft pick (top three protected) from New Jersey. But after Thursday’s NBA trade deadline, that future appears to be far, far away.
Here is a quick recap of each team’s success, failures and everywhere in between:
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Landed a starting point guard in Ramon Sessions, traded the man who likely would have been in his way in Derek Fisher, and rid themselves of dead weight in Luke Walton and Jason Kapono. It couldn’t have been easy parting ways with Fisher, someone who has meant so much to this organization. But Sessions is the large upgrade they needed to be taken very seriously again. That supersedes sentimentality. Grade: A
Sure, Nick Young is inconsistent, and considered somewhat of a gun. But can you name the player the Clippers gave up to get him? Didn’t think so. (His name is Brian Cook.) More importantly, Young gives this athletic bunch even more spring, and should be an outstanding third wheel behind Blake Griffin and Chris Paul. Grade: A
OK, so maybe Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings might not work. But, hey, it’s worth a try right? What else did the Bucks have going for them? Andrew Bogut’s continuous injuries? Honestly, at some point this franchise had to liven up things a little bit. Ellis adds instant pizzazz — and could make Jennings even more effective. If it works, it could be downright frightening at times. Grade: A-
Yeah, they had to take on Walton and Kapono. But, hey, they might actually contribute here — and a little help is always what you’re looking for. Even if not, that’s beside the point. The Cavs really wanted another first-round draft pick in 2012, and they got it. Plus, with Sessions able to opt out, GM Chris Grant decided to go with the sure thing. Basically, the Cavs didn’t know if they would still have Sessions this summer. They do know they’ll have two first-rounders in what’s expected to be a deep draft. Grade: A-
Traded Sam Young (to Philadelphia for the draft rights to Ricky Sanchez). Read: Got under the salary cap. Saving money is always a good thing in small markets. Provided, of course, the Griz don’t go through with the idea of possibly spending that money on Gilbert Arenas. Grade: B+
Gave up nothing and got a solid pro who plays hard and has some real talent in Sam Young (from Memphis). He could fit right in. Grade: B
Obtained Leandro Barbosa (from Toronto) for a second-rounder. Same theory as above: Got help while surrendering something you can’t actually see. Grade: B
Nabbing Gerald Wallace (from Portland) and surrendering a first-round pick gives you the idea that the Nets want to win now. Kind of. But seriously, you could do worse than a starting lineup that includes Wallace, Deron Williams, MarShon Brooks and Kris Humphries. Now all you need is a fifth guy and a bench. Grade: B
Bogut is the centerpiece, and now the team’s center. But do the Warriors really think a switch of time zones will result in good health? If they’re right, then yeah, maybe they got a decent deal. And at some point, they had to move Ellis — but you can’t help but wonder if maybe they could have gotten more. They also turned Stephen Jackson into Richard Jefferson. Edge, the team that got Jackson. Grade: C
Took a risk on JaVale McGee, who certainly has some ability. But was it worth giving up Nene? Unlike McGee, Nene is a talent that doesn’t come with question marks. That’s called a downgrade. In fairness, though, maybe we should give it a year or two before we really judge this one. Grade: C
Let’s be honest, this team needed a change. Young and McGee are wonderful talents, but it just wasn’t happening in D.C. Nene was a nice acquisition, too. Did they put themselves over the top? Hardly. Did they improve the team? Maybe. Are they moving in the right direction? Well, you can’t really be sure. Yet. Grade: C
Took Fisher off the Lakers’ hands (and reportedly will buy out his contract) and got Marcus Camby from the Trail Blazers, surrendering Jonny Flynn and Hasheem Thabeet. Not awful, but what’s the point? Grade: C
Gregg Popovich is supposedly happy to bring back Stephen Jackson. What he’s probably happier about is getting rid of Richard Jefferson. Grade: C
Where do they go from here? Hard to tell, but pessimists will tell you it might be only a matter of time before LaMarcus Aldridge begs his way out. On top of firing coach Nate McMillan, the Blazers ended up keeping Raymond Felton and Jamal Crawford — two players who were aggressively shopped until the final minute of the trading deadline. The best thing they did was land a top-three protected pick from the Nets in the 2012 draft. That sounds really cool, until the Nets’ best players are sitting out with random injuries ranging from “sore noses” to “exhausted minds.” Grade: F