Picks and caps (and Evan): Top 7 players to move at the NBA Trade deadline
Why do trades thrill us so much? Why are we excited as the trade deadline nears, imagining great players in our favourite teams or predicting that one missing piece that could make a good team into a great one? We are thrilled because we love change, good or bad. Static is boring, and dynamism is what keeps our hearts beating faster, and keeps our pulses racing. For most of the year, the potential of a change, the possibility of a trade, is usually more exciting than a real trade itself.
So the 2014 NBA trade deadline came and went, and once again, we were left with little to write home about. More than an opportunity to boost or balance their rosters, most NBA teams used the deadlines to stack up future draft picks and clear cap space. Nearly every trade involved a bad team or two looking for the future instead of planning for the present. The hesitation to really take a gamble on the present or current players might be exactly what the NBA bargained for: As Kelly Dwyer wrote on Yahoo! Sports, a more restrictive set of tax and contract laws in a new Collective Bargaining Agreement has given lesser cap flexibility around the league.
Very few big names were predicted to be in serious trade rumours anyways before the deadline, and only a few of them eventually ended up packing their bags for another town. Here are the not-so-top seven. Look at the bright side: at least it’s better than last year’s list.
1. Evan Turner (Pacers): Turner’s buzzer-beating trade from the 76ers to the Pacers (along with Lavoy Allen) for Danny Granger finally breathed some life into a dead deadline day. All Indiana had to give up was the struggling Granger and a few future second-round draft picks. In return, they received a solid shooting guard who has averaged 17.4 points and 6 rebounds a game and is capable of becoming a major contributor at both ends of the floor. For the Pacers, who already have George Hill, Lance Stephenson, Paul George, and CJ Watson on the perimeter, Turner gives them even more depth and boosts their mission to defeat the Heat in the Eastern Conference playoffs. Both Granger and Turner’s contracts will expire at the end of the season: the Pacers just found a better temporary weapon in Turner. Plus Lavoy Allen could have some serviceable backup moments for the Pacers too. The 76ers, meanwhile, are turning tanking into an art form. We will see more of them soon.
2. Danny Granger (76ers): I already realize that these power rankings are a sham, because there is little or no power in spots 2-6 and I had an impossibly difficult time ranking them. But anyways, here we go. Although he’s only averaged eight points a game in limited minutes in Indiana, Granger could possibly rekindle ‘some’ of his prime years if he takes over a starting role for the 76ers, mostly because Philadelphia don’t really have many other players to count on. Best case scenario: Granger will average 15 a game to prove to the world he can still sorta do his thing (since he’s in his contract year) and the 76ers will happily keep losing.
3. Ramon Sessions (Bucks): It’s already getting ugly. The Bobcats sent Sessions to Milwaukee in exchange for Luke Ridnour and Gary Neal. Sessions can score and he can create, but all he does is add to the logjam of average to bad players in Milwaukee.
4. Marcus Thornton (Nets): Thornton is an old-school ‘microwave’, usually an anonymous player who has the ability to heat up and wreak havoc on opponents every once in a while. He strengthens Brooklyn’s bench, is a definite upgrade over Jason Terry, and I guess the Nets were happy to ship Reggie Evans to Sacramento, too.
5. Spencer Hawes (Cavaliers): For some reason, the Cavaliers – who already have Anderson Varejao, Tristan Thompson, Anthony Bennett, and Tyler Zeller – felt it necessary to add yet another big man to their roster. Hawes is a decent passer and shooter for his size, but I’m not sure how he’ll fit in to the confusing Cavs’ lineup. The house-clearing 76ers were more than happy to ship Hawes to Cleveland for Earl Clark and some picks.
6. Steve Blake (Warriors): Not the biggest move, but the Warriors definitely made one of the shrewdest move a few days before the deadline when they acquired Steve Blake from the Lakers in exchange for MarShon Brooks and Kent Bazemore. Blake will finally provide Golden State with point guard stability and scoring off the bench, something that they have so desperately craved since Jarrett Jack’s departure. With limited minutes and slightly lesser responsibility, expect Blake to become a more efficient and dangerous player, especially come playoff time. Meanwhile, the Lakers are going tank-tastic and have done a good job in pairing the NBA’s two best player-cheerleaders Robert Sacre and Kent Bazemore.
7. Andre Miller (Wizards): The Andre Miller saga in Denver finally came to a conclusion when the Nuggets sent him to Washington in a three-team trade that sent Jan Vesely to Denver, and Eric Maynor plus draft picks to the 76ers. Miller, who hasn’t played since the turn of the new year, will be a perfect fit as a backup point guard behind John Wall in Washington and bring this talented but young team much-needed leadership and veteran savvy.
You can see the full list of deadline day moves on HoopsHype.