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NBA Trade Deadline: Not with a bang but with a whimper

In the two days before the NBA trade deadline, there were a total of 12 minor deals, involving such big name players as J.J. Redick and Patrick Patterson. Contenders stood pat while the rest of the league shuffled the end of their bench.


In what must surely be the least eventful NBA trading season in at least a decade, the trade deadline past today at noon Pacific with a total of 12 trades over the last two days. Those trades involved almost exclusively inconsequential players from the end of various teams benches.

The biggest name to change teams was J.J. Redick, who went from Orlando to Milwaukee. The only starter to move was Patrick Patterson, who went from Houston to Sacramento.

Half of the deals I'm counting didn't even involve a body going in both directions -- they were deals for future draft picks or trade exceptions or rights to a former pick or money or some combination of those things. Three other deals involved teams swapping players who were no higher than ninth by minutes played on their rosters this season. Those are real game-changers, when you trade a guy not in your rotation for a guy not in another team's rotation.

I went into this deadline with big plans to post about every deal, but seriously, what am I going to write about a trade of Josh McRoberts for Hakim Warrick? They say that the team that gets the best player wins a trade, yet somehow it seems both teams lost that one.

Now that I've built it up, here are the 12 deals (note that some of these have been intermittently reported as one multi-team trade rather than separate transactions, but for granularity I'm breaking them out to two-team deals here).

  • Thomas Robinson, Francisco Garcia and Tyler Honeycut go from the Kings to the Rockets in exchange for Patrick Patterson, Cole Aldrich and Toney Douglas. Who knew when this relatively minor trade was announced yesterday that it would end up being the most significant trade of the deadline?
  • Houston also sent Marcus Morris to the Phoenix Suns for a second round draft pick. Who knew this would be the third most significant trade?
  • The only reasonably big trade today saw J.J. Redick, Gustavo Ayon, and Ish Smith go from the Magic to the Bucks in exchange for Doron Lamb, Beno Udrih and Tobias Harris. Milwaukee didn't give up much here -- maybe the rookie Lamb can turn into something, but he was only a second round pick. Of course, Redick will be a free agent this summer, so he could end up being a rental. The Bucks will have to decide who they want to keep this summer, Monta Ellis or Redick, and how much they can spend to do so. Sure they'll pick Redick, but at what price? And will Redick want to stay in Milwaukee given that he'll have other offers?
  • Jordan Crawford goes from Washington to Boston in exchange for Leandro Barbosa and Jason Collins. Barbosa's season is over because of an ACL injury and Jason Collins' career has been over for a while now, so the Wizards were basically just getting rid of Crawford here.
  • Phoenix also sent Sebastian Telfair to Toronto for Hamed Haddadi. You know, I lived in Phoenix for a while, and somehow I think the Toronto fans would be more accepting of an Iranian NBA player than the Phoenix fans. I'm just saying.
  • Memphis acquired Dexter Pittman from the Miami Heat for a draft pick. The Heat were basically just creating a roster space on the assumption that they can sign a useful free agent, perhaps after some veterans get bought out in the coming weeks. There's also talk of former Clipper Kenyon Martin going to the Heat. Memphis needed a backup center, but Pittman probably won't play much.
  • Neil Olshey in Portland snapped up Eric Maynor from the Thunder for a second round pick. Maynor was very productive in OKC before he tore his ACL, but had fallen behind Reggie Jackson to third string point guard this season. However, Portland's bench is so thin that Maynor is a real coup for the Blazers.
  • Orlando also sent Josh McRoberts to Charlotte for Hakim Warrick. I'm so mad that I even had to take the time to type that.
  • Atlanta spent months and all day today listening to offers for Josh Smith, and finally did nothing with Smith. Instead they went Anthony Morrow to Dallas in exchange for Dahntay Jones. Wow.
  • Oklahoma City gave away a backup point guard, but brought in a backup wing, sending a second round pick to New York for Ronny Brewer. Brewer is probably an upgrade over DeAndre Liggins, so this is a good pick up for OKC.
  • At the last moment, it seems that Golden State has shed two end of the bench guys to get under the luxury tax. They sent Jeremy Tyler to Atlanta and Charles Jenkins to Philadelphia in exchange for picks.


And that's it. Several things that seemed more or less guaranteed to happen didn't happen. Josh Smith is still in Atlanta. DeJuan Blair is still in San Antonio. All that mishmash of veterans and youngsters is still crowding Utah's front court. And Eric Bledsoe is still a Clipper.

The final day was so boring that there weren't even any particularly good Clipper rumors during the day. There was one half-hearted tweet implying that the Clippers had re-opened trade discussions with Boston concerning Kevin Garnett. But it didn't seem very substantial, and obviously it didn't amount to anything.

So no contenders made moves of note at the deadline. In fact, most contenders did absolutely nothing. Does losing Maynor or adding Brewer change the Thunder? Not much obviously. If they lose a point guard to injury, then they'll miss Maynor. And they are so enamored of playing small, that Brewer could see some time at the three with Durant at the four. But OKC's best lineups certainly won't include Ronny Brewer.

Did the Clippers make a mistake in not taking this opportunity to acquire Garnett? We don't actually know of course whether Garnett was ever really avaiable -- he has a no trade clause and indicated that he would exercise it to stay in Boston. But even so, the Clippers have been very good this season when healthy, so keeping this group together for the stretch run is certainly not a bad decision. Not to mention that hanging onto a 24 year old and a 23 year old, rather than trading them for a 36 year old, certainly makes more sense moving forward.

How boring was the trade deadline? By my math, 12 of 30 NBA teams did absolutely nothing this week. And bear in mind, Dexter Pittman and Hakim Warrick and Josh McRoberts and Jeremy Tyler and Charles Jenkins count as "something" in this context. At least we don't have to waste much time with trade analysis. It doesn't take a deep statistical dive to know that Telfair isn't going to change things much in Toronto.

Worst. Trade Deadline. Ever.