What an NBA trade deadline day it was. But what does it all mean? Let’s try to break it down.
Oklahoma City was the big winner. They got rid of a headache in Reggie Jackson, who was going to leave in free agency at the end of the year, and acquired an entire bench in return. Enes Kanter, coming from Utah, whether he starts or comes off the bench, is a massive improvement over Kendrick Perkins. D.J. Augustin gives them a legitimate backup point guard and keeps Dion Waiters from having to assume those roles. Kyle Singler and Steve Novak can provide additional shooting from a team that surprisingly has struggled from the perimeter, hitting just 32.5 percent of three-point shots.
Portland needed to add someone to take the heat off of their productive starting five, and Arron Afflalo coming in from Denver allows them to do just that. The Blazers like C.J. McCollum, but aren’t sure if they can trust him in a playoff setting. Afflalo shoots it well, and has the size everyone is looking for at that shooting guard position.
I’m not sure Houston really needed to add K.J. McDaniels from Philly and Pablo Prigioni from the Knicks, but when all you have to give up is Isaiah Canaan, you don’t even think twice. With Corey Brewer and Josh Smith playing as they have, the Rockets have amassed themselves a very impressive bench.
While most have left Phoenix for dead, especially after they were basically forced to trade Goran Dragic, GM Ryan McDonough made a terrific recovery by prying away Brandon Knight from Milwaukee to play along side Eric Bledsoe. Knight had made great strides as a point guard this year under Jason Kidd, but he’s better suited to play off the ball. With Isaiah Thomas being dealt to Boston, what had been a logjam in the Suns backcourt has been cleaned up and allows them to make a run at that last playoff spot.
You’ll notice that all of the above mentioned teams are presently positioned as playoff teams in the Western Conference, or sitting right on the cusp. Just what we all needed to see as Mavs fans, a Western Conference even more hyper-competitive than it’s ever been with front offices that are in the business of winning and not just existing.
The Mavericks are on this list as well. Even though they didn’t make a deadline deal, their acquisition of Amar’e Stoudemire after he was bought out by New York was a stellar move, and allows the Mavs to once again have a player to fill the pick and role center Brandan Wright played so well before he was traded in the Rajon Rondo deal. The Mavericks are asking Stoudemire to be the dominant player he was in Phoenix and New York prior to his injuries. They’re asking him for twenty minutes a night, and as efficiently as he has scored and rebounded this year that should be nothing but a plus for the Mavericks. And when you add in the trades that brought in both Tyson Chandler and Rondo, you can only give the Mavericks front office high marks for finding solutions to problems without letting issues fester and become larger than they needed to be. Where will this all leave them when the season ends on April 15? I have no earthly idea. But the last twenty-four hours have helped make this incredibly entertaining season even more entertaining.