If you need any convincing that trade deadlines are nothing more than a media-generated event, you need not look any further than the saga of Josh Smith.
Virtually all day, the Atlanta power forward’s mug was plastered on the front page of every sports website. Where is he going? WHEN is he going? Who will he help? I heard the Bucks are the favorites to land him, and validity there? And yet, when 3 o’clock Eastern came, he was still a Hawk.
Of course, that’s who DIDN’T get traded at the deadline. Plenty of players, in fact, did. And while we could talk until the NBA finals about the ramifications of every deal, we’ll just skim over them here. These are the quick winners and losers of the NBA trade deadline 2013.
The Celts bought themselves 14 points a game, and all they had to give up was a boatload of fouls and a torn ACL. Not literally, but in the form of Jason Collins and Leandro Barbosa. This is a textbook deadline buy and it ended up being an absolute steal for Boston. Jordan Crawford was pegged as John Wall’s sidekick just a season ago and Beantown got him for peanuts. Well done.
D.C. beat reporter Sky Kerstein said it best when he tweeted yesterday, “So do the Wizards now lead the league in guys that shouldn’t be in the league?” Everyone figured Crawford was headed out of town after Bradley Beal became the starting shooting guard, but even Ernie Grunfeld wouldn’t be crazy enough to just give him away, right? Wrong. In return for a guy once thought to be the face of a rebuilding franchise, the Wizards got two guys that will do absolutely nothing for them this season and will be somewhere else next year. If any Wizards fan had dared to take off their paper bag, it’s permanently back on now.
Congratulations, J.J., it looks like your career year won’t go to waste in Florida. Milwaukee is nothing to get super excited about, but it’s a hell of a lot better than the black hole of talent that is Orlando. Most people would resent getting transferred from Florida to Wisconsin in the middle of winter, but I’m sure the Duke product isn’t complaining too much.
Philadelphia, Toronto, and Detroit
Poor Sixers, Raptors, and Pistons. If you thought you might catch the Bucks or the Celtics before the end of the regular season and steal one of those ubiquitous playoff berths, those hopes took a serious blow Thursday. Both teams made substantial deadline buys that provided nice upgrades to their roster. Maybe it’s time to look ahead to the offseason?
Has anyone gotten so much media attention for absolutely no reason? Pipe down, Kris Humphries, we’re talking about real basketball players. I understand Smith was looking to get out of Hotlanta, but he can still do that when the season’s over. In the meantime, he’s still playing for a playoff team and they’re no less a championship contender than any of the teams he would’ve realistically ended up with.
Why did you not trade Smith? WHY?! Not impressed with any of the offers you got? How do they compare with him walking away this summer? Listen, you’re not going to give Smith the contract he can get elsewhere. You know it, I know it, every NBA fan knows it. Short of you winning it all THIS year — where you can please explain to me how you’ll beat out Miami, San Antonio, and Oklahoma City, among others — you screwed the pooch on this one, Atlanta.
WINNER and LOSER
The deals that went down on Thursday were so un-blockbuster that a #3 (like his jersey number in college, ironically) point guard being sent for cash and trade rights was one of the trades that garnered more headlines. Eric Maynor, who was drafted in 2009 by the Jazz, is on to his third team in four years, as he was traded from the Thunder to the Blazers, which was a double-edged sword of a move for Maynor. The bad news? He was shipped away from a legitimate title contender. The good news? He’ll actually get to play basketball once in a while now.
NOTE: This story was originally written for SportsHead. To read this article and others click here.
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