Analyzing the Trades

Sun, 06/28/2009 - 7:54pm

The 2009 draft didn’t have a franchise-changing player in it, except for maybe Oklahoma’s Blake Griffin, who was the consensus No. 1 pick overall. Other than Griffin, no one was going to change the landscape of a team for next season. Maybe in a few years we will be wrong about the 2009 draft being weak. But, this made teams go elsewhere in improving their squads. Trades were abundant surrounding the draft. Four former all-stars were moved. We figured out if teams were playing for next year or for the future. Here’s a look at six trades that were made and how they should impact next season:

Randy FoyeRandy Foye The Washington Wizards traded the 5th selection (point guard Ricky Rubio from Spain), center Etan Thomas and forwards Darius Songaila and Oleksiy Pecherov to the Minnesota Timberwolves for guards Randy Foye and Mike Miller.

This trade was between two teams going in opposite directions. The Wizards acquire immediate production in Foye (16.3 ppg) and Miller (9.9 ppg), adding to a perimeter that is already loaded with Gilbert Arenas, Caron Butler, and DeShawn Stevenson. Even guard Nick Young (10.9 ppg) had his first productive year this previous season. The Wizards were out of the playoff picture for the first time in five years because of injuries to some of their star players, most notably Arenas. Clearly, this trade was to acquire depth to cut back on his minutes after playing in a total of 15 games in two years. If the Wizards can get the big-men to hold up their end of the bargain (a big BIG if), proven coach Flip Saunders could get these guys to a possible playoff spot.

Minnesota’s President David Kahn sadly told us that they are not interested in winning games for the next few years. They did acquire the expiring contract of Etan Thomas, which is very desirable with the 2010 free agent class coming up, but Miller’s contract is finished after next season, as well. On the surface, the fifth selection appears to be a disaster with Rubio now talking about staying overseas for a year or possibly two, in order to aviod his buyout and potentially force a trade. But drafting Rubio gives Minnesota a valuable asset, and it should continue to gain value as Rubio develops. He was not ready to come into the NBA this year, so staying over in Europe gives him a chance to develop his skills and enter the NBA a more mature player.

This trade sets Minnesota back in the short term, however the team has a real gem in Rubio that will only increase in value over time. For next year's team, Foye was the only guy on the perimeter who could create his own shot, and Miller was the best shooter on the team, so they have taken a step back, but over time this should allow them to take two steps forward. This is actually a deal that should help both teams over time.

Advantage: Push

The Milwaukee Bucks traded forward Richard Jefferson to the San Antonio Spurs for forwards Bruce Bowen and Kurt Thomas and center Fabricio Oberto

The biggest issue that the Spurs wanted to address this offseason was to get another scoring option. They took care of that by acquiring Jefferson. He's is a proven scorer and he’ll take the burden off of Tim Duncan and Tony Parker from carrying the scoring load. He also makes it easier for the injury-prone All-Star Manu Ginobili, who will probably have his minutes cut back next year allowing him to rest up for the playoffs. The 29-year old Jefferson (19.6 ppg) is in the prime of his career and makes the Spurs top-notch contenders once again out in the West.

The Bucks got what they were looking for, as well. They got two expiring contracts in Bowen and Thomas, and then immediately spun Oberto to the Pistons for the younger Amir Johnson, who also has an expiring contract. This trade also clears some immediate cap space, giving the Bucks the ability to resign free agents forward Charlie Villanueva and guard Ramon Sessions, two of the more productive players last year for Milwaukee.

But, the Spurs are now serious title contenders again, and the Bucks have ridden themslves of a high paid player who wasn't taking them anywhere. Both teams benefit, but the Spurs benefit more.

Advantage: San Antonio

The Phoenix Suns traded center Shaquille O'Neal to the Cleveland Cavaliers for forward/center Ben Wallace, a second-round selection in the 2010 NBA draft and cash considerations.

Again, this trade was about two teams going to two completely different directions. The Cavs have to win now. Next year will be the last guaranteed year with LeBron James, and everything will be geared towards keeping him in a Cleveland jersey. To help do that, who better to add to the roster than the demonstrative Shaq. When the Cavs lost to the Magic in the Eastern Conference finals, it was clear that no one on the team could handle Dwight Howard. At age 38, Shaq won’t be able to stop Howard, but he is certainly not going to get pushed around like the rest of the Cleveland big-men did in the playoffs. The Cavs won 66 games last year, best in the NBA. Shaq is still effective (18 ppg, 8 rpg, 61% from field) and could put Cleveland over the top to a championship.

Phoenix GM Steve Kerr is in the process of doing a complete overhaul to the Suns roster. Adding Ben Wallace for Shaq will give them nothing on the court. But, the idea is that Wallace will retire and agree to a buyout, or he will play out the season and come off the books for the 2010 summer. Kerr isn’t done yet. Rumors are swirling around their other great big-man Amare Stoudamire. By the start of next season, Phoenix fans may be watching Steve Nash running the point with all new faces.

Advantage: Cleveland

The Atlanta Hawks traded guards Acie Law and Speedy Claxton to the Golden State Warriors for guard Jamal Crawford.

The Hawks pick up combo guard Jamal Crawford for two back-up point guards in Law and Claxton. The Hawks have notably been scrambling for point guards for years. They finally found one in Mike Bibby but his contract has expired. For insurance, the Hawks went out and got Crawford and drafted Teague with the 19th overall pick in case Bibby does not re-sign. Bibby was a good fit, so the Hawks will likely try to bring him back. But, Crawford can play both guard positions, so he can help Bibby.

Don Nelson was vocal in saying that Crawford was not a part of their future plans, so his trade was inevitable. They won’t expect much out of either Law or Claxton. Point guard Steph Curry was just drafted 7th overall, and guard Monta Ellis will not be leaving the floor much, either. But, the Warriors will save a lot of money with Crawford guaranteed $20 million over the next two years and both Law ($2.2 mil) and Claxton ($5.2 - which could come off the books if he's unable to make it back from injury), gone after this upcoming season.

Atlanta gets immediate help with Crawford and Golden State gets some long term relief but also cleared up some playing time for a team that is heavy with its wing players.

Advantage: Golden State

The Memphis Grizzlies traded center Darko Milicic to the New York Knicks for guard/forward Quentin Richardson and cash considerations.

Both players have only one year left on their contract. Neither were going to be big parts of their respective teams, so this trade is about new starts for each player. Richardson started 51 games for the Knicks last year, but his minutes were reduced as the year ended. Coach Mike D’Antoni had buried Richardson behind guard Larry Hughes, small forward Wilson Chandler, and forward Al Harrington. Also, they just drafted FSU’s guard Toney Douglas with the 29th overall pick. Not much was going to change for next year, so dumping Q-Rich for a big-man, where they are thin, makes sense. In Memphis, Richardson should be able to find minutes behind the extremely young wing players Rudy Gay and O.J. Mayo.

Darko is in the final year of his NBA career unless he finally produces. There couldn’t be a better system for him to succeed in than Mike D’Antoni’s. If David Lee bolts for another team, which is probable, then the soft shooting 7-footer will be competing with only Eddy Curry as true big-men. Curry, as everyone knows, was in D’Antoni’s dog house all last year. In other words, if Darko doesn’t produce next year, he never will. This situation is tailor-made for him to have a breakout year. For all of his faults, Darko is still a mobile big-man who can adequately protect the rim in an up-tempo scheme.

The trade makes sense for both teams. Both Q-Rich and Darko had worn out their welcome. But, Darko has a legit chance to play major minutes for the Knicks, while Q-Rich will just be filling in minutes while the young guns rest.

Advantage: New York

The New Jersey Nets traded guard Vince Carter and forward Ryan Anderson to the Orlando Magic for guards Rafer Alston, Courtney Lee, and center Tony Battie.

The Magic were worried about Hedo Turkoglu re-signing with the team, so instead of waiting around they went out and traded for homegrown Vince Carter, which all but guarantees Turkoglu’s departure. Carter still has a lot of pep in his step and should be rejuvenated going back home and playing for a title. Carter's addition makes the Magic strong contenders out of the East.

The problem is that they didn’t only give up on Hedo by acquiring the 32-year old Carter, but also dealt three rotation players in the process. Guards Rafer Alston and Courtney Lee played major minutes throughout the playoffs and center Tony Battie contributed at times, as well. This trade will force guard Mickael Pietrus to start. Although Pietrus was superb in the playoffs, moving him into the starting lineup thins out the bench big-time. However, Alston's departure was imminent, with Jameer Nelson's shoulder finally healed.

Aside from giving away an excellent shooter in Anderson, this trade was perfect for the Nets. They unloaded Vince Carter’s contract, which was the only guaranteed contract that doesn’t come off the books at the end of the next season, except for point guard Devin Harris. They added a proven point guard in Alston, who should be one of the top backups in the league next year. The Nets can also play Alston and Harris at the same time, with Harris assuming two-guard duties against smaller teams.

Courtney Lee will get lots of minutes at the two-spot. Coming off a successful rookie season, he is a top-notch defender and proved during the playoffs that he can hit the mid-range jumper. It’s no secret that the New Jersey Nets are heavy players in the LeBron Sweepstakes. But, with one of the league’s best point guards, and adding a few pieces in this trade, the Nets have a shot at being competitive next year, despite management only looking at 2010.

Advantage: Push

The Hoops Manifesto
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Joined: 06/12/2009
Points: 6

I think the Carter trade really helps Orlando. He's not the type of guy you'd want as your franchise, go-to guy but as a second option he should be good. Gives Orlando a reliable scoring threat.

Jeff Fox

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Joined: 06/05/2009
Posts: 124
Points: 69
Correction needed :(

Mr. Cerone, your second paragraph is completely incorrect. Read closely.

Soulrebel15's picture
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Joined: 06/29/2009
Posts: 201
Points: 326
NJ/Orlando Trade

This trade was a wash Orlando will regret trading Courtney Lee. So let me get this right Rafer Alston did not want to play second banana to Jameer Nelson, but hes going the play Robin to a younger better PG Devin Harris!? Come on I don't buy that, this has a Nascar quality to it you're enjoying the race but you can't wait for the crash. Will it work? only time will tell. Courtney Lee is the starting SG, Chris Douglas-Roberts is a SF who can contribute minutes at the 2 and the 1. The VC trade to Orlando felt a little bit desperate, VC looks and plays like hes on the other side of 30. If this was Air Canada Vince or 5 years ago we would be cooking with gas. At this point in his career VC is the third or fourth option for Orlando, so why not keep a younger Courtney Lee? Besides VC dominates the ball way too much and Orlando is a much better team when the ball is moving.

By the way, WTF happened to Q Rich career? Being traded for who.... Darko Milicic! That's a punchline to a bad joke.

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