Trade deadline winners and losers
Houston got the ball rolling Wednesday night when they picked up Thomas Robinson.
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
Let's be clear - we're all losers on this NBA Trade Deadline Thursday.
The day was not expected to bring much in terms of excitement, but this was a snoozer. Things heated up right around the 3 p.m. ET deadline, but when J.J. Redick is the biggest name moved, we've all sat around for nothing.
Small moves were the order of the day as the biggest fish dangled in the water, Atlanta Hawks forward Josh Smith, will remain in Georgia through the end of the season.
Smith will be a free agent and reportedly seek a max contract. He went to great lengths in an interview with NBA TV to say he never actually said that specifically, but the fact that he will test the free-agent waters scared off teams, especially the Milwaukee Bucks.
Other big names rumored to be out there were nothing more than rumors.
Mitch Kupchak fell all over himself to declare that Dwight Howard wouldn't be traded from the Los Angeles Lakers. Despite the experiment not working a little bit, Kupchak stated Howard is the future of the Lakers, even though Howard could walk at the end of the season.
The Boston Celtics held on to Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo. Danny Ainge would've had to be blown over the move them, although maybe blowing up the organization might have made more sense long-term.
Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap are both still members of the Utah Jazz. Same goes for Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis and the Milwaukee Bucks.
But there were a flurry of moves, so let's examine who made out and who didn't.
This may be cheating, but their acquisition of Rudy Gay at the end of January was the largest move this season. Toronto is 6-3 with Gay in the lineup and he's scoring exactly the way the team envisioned when they traded for him.
They got the ball rolling Wednesday night when they picked up Thomas Robinson, who was the fifth pick in last summer's NBA Draft, Francisco Garcia and Tyler Honeycutt from the Sacramento Kings in exchange for Patrick Patterson, Toney Douglas and Cole Aldrich.
Douglas and Aldrich barely cracked Kevin McHale's lineup. Patterson is a nice player who may have already hit his ceiling.
The Kings basically did this to save a little more than $1 million in salary. How can you justify giving up the fifth pick in the NBA Draft four months into his career for that return? It's ludicrous.
This move got the Rockets the fifth pick with tremendous upside. Robinson struggled with the Kings, but a high school love triangle is less of a soap opera than the Kings organization. Robinson could thrive under one of the best power forwards ever -- McHale -- and in an up-tempo offense.
Plus, Houston still ends up fine with its cap situation. They can afford at least one max player (Howard, Andrew Bynum, Smith) in the offseason.
Just a fantastic trade by general manager Daryl Morey.
Yes, Danny Ferry kept Smith when it seems fairly likely he'll bolt in the offseason. That doesn't mean Ferry will let Smith walk for nothing.
The deal the Bucks were offering (Luc Mbah a Moute/Ekpe Udoh/Beno Udrih) is simply not good enough for Smith.
In this age of NBA free agency, the team you were under contract with can offer you more money. That's why the Hawks could easily work out a sign-and- trade with whomever Smith likes this summer. Smith gets a five-year max deal and whatever that team can part with is most likely better than the Bucks trio.
Plus, Smith may help the Hawks win a round in the playoffs.
They got Tobias Harris, Doron Lamb and Udrih from Milwaukee for Redick, Ish Smith and Gustavo Ayon. Redick is the flashy part of this deal, but what did Orlando really lose?
Redick is a pro and a good locker room presence. But he's shooting his lowest 3-point percentage since the 2008-09 season. If you're going to hang your hat on long-distance shooting, the number should be higher than 39 percent.
Harris is a second-year, 6-foot-8 forward with great athleticism. Lamb is a rookie from Kentucky who can shoot the ball. He bounced back and forth from the D-League to the Bucks so much, well, here's hoping he was renting. Udrih is a backup point guard.
For a rotation guy like Redick, this is a healthy haul. Harris and Lamb go along with a young nucleus of Nikola Vucevic, Arron Afflalo, Moe Harkless and Andrew Nicholson.
It's not sexy, but the Magic are re-stocking the shelf with young prospects.
This franchise is such a disaster it wouldn't surprise me if Mayor Kevin Johnson threw his arms up and said, "Take them, Seattle." Johnson is clawing and fighting to keep the Kings in California's capital, and what does he see in return, a team that just gave up the fifth pick in last year's draft for almost nothing.
Patterson is OK. Douglas has been productive, but he'll be third on the depth chart at the point behind Isaiah Thomas and Aaron Brooks.
What is the rationale? If Sacramento likes Patterson that much more than Robinson, this makes sense, but it begs the question, why bother drafting Robinson in the first place? If the Kings were willing to part with him four months into his rookie season, they couldn't have been that in love with him to warrant taking him so high.
Robinson hasn't been great by any means. He hasn't been awful, either. He hasn't really gotten a fair shake, so the Rockets could've absolutely gotten an untapped gold mine.
This one is such a bad trade for the Kings it might become historic down the line.
It's hard to fault a Jazz team for staying pat, but with Millsap and Jefferson both free agents at the end of the year, coupled with Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter absolutely ready for huge minutes on the bench, Utah could've moved one of them for point guard help.
The rumor out there was Millsap for the Los Angeles Clippers backup guard Eric Bledsoe. Whether that had legs or not stays a mystery.
"A lot of the stuff that was out there was completely inaccurate," said Jazz GM Dennis Lindsey.
Again, sign-and-trade deals can be worked out in the summer, but Utah has found itself a little more in the mix in the Western Conference than expected. They are a half-game behind the Golden State Warriors for the sixth seed. Perhaps holding on to these two will help this season, but there's almost no way on Earth both are back for next.
Point guard help also could have paid dividends immediately. Mo Williams is out with a finger injury and Jamaal Tinsley redefines "adequate at best."
"We really didn't even have any tough decisions," Lindsey said. "I could be wrong ... but the right thing for us was to be disciplined."
I'm not sure I totally get what they did on Thursday.
They failed to acquire Smith because their offer was pretty pathetic. Can't fault them for low-balling the Hawks since there's no guarantees Smith re- signs in the offseason.
They hold on to both starting guards, Jennings and Ellis, when both definitely won't be back next season, maybe neither.
Then, Milwaukee gave up a little too much for Redick. Harris and Lamb are both prospects with a ton of upside. They're both raw, but worth a shot for a below-average 3-point shooter.
Redick has value, but does he significantly crack this backcourt lineup of Jennings and Ellis? Both are in the top 20 in minutes played this season, which may be a good reason to bring in some help, but the duo is still going to play a ton. They are Milwaukee's best players.
FANS OF THE NBA
I'm reminded of a Cloris Leachman line from a "Comedy Central Roast." She's mocking her fellow dais mates and says, "Somebody punch me in the face so I can see some stars."
Everybody stayed pat. No one had the guts, or brazen stupidity, to pull off a blockbuster. It's wise, generally speaking, for these GMs to be conservative, but watching NBA TV and checking Twitter for updates had to be excruciating.
Moves will happen over the summer with sign-and-trades becoming so proficient. It will render the trade deadline moot soon, thanks in part to every team trying to avoid the luxury tax.
This used to be a fun day, filled with speculating and second-guessing. Did the Eric Maynor-for-a-trade-exemption deal generate a lot of buzz amongst your friends?
Thursday was the NBA Trade Deadline all right. Emphasis on "dead."