Posted Mar 14 2012 11:13AM
This trade deadline only seems big because of the size of the most dominant player involved. A year ago, quantity clearly trumped quality.
Yes, it was an insane sprint to the finish, with dozens of players changing jerseys because teams were anxious to dump salary in anticipation of the new labor agreement. That's not the case this year. The labor deal is more restrictive, and there's not enough time between now and the playoffs for potentially new players to become acclimated Most proposed deals can hold until summer, anyway.
While we await the final verdict on Dwight Howard, we can reasonably determine the winners and losers from a year ago, when Carmelo Anthony was the face of the trade deadline.
Here are the most important of those deals and how they've turned out so far:
The deal: Melo, Chauncey Billups and throw-ins go from Denver to the Knicks for four rotation players, including Danilo Gallinari.
The circumstance: Melo forced the Nuggets' hand all year by threatening to walk as a free agent and leaving the Nuggets with nothing.
The verdict: Rather than wait until summer and keep the Knicks from gutting the team, Melo got greedy and wanted the trade ASAP so he could get paid the highest amount. The Nets were also in the mix for Melo but Donnie Walsh, the Knicks' GM at the time, believed Melo only wanted to play for the Knicks and warned against the trade. He was overruled by owner Jim Dolan. The trade stripped the Knicks of assets, and while they did get an unexpected surprise from Jeremy Lin, the Knicks and Melo have yet to get comfortable with each other. Meanwhile, the Nuggets did the best they could. Gallinari, essentially the only important player left from the deal, just snagged a rich contract extension.
The deal: Williams goes from the Jazz to the Nets for Derrick Favors, Devin Harris and a few first-rounders.
The circumstance: Williams told longtime coach Jerry Sloan where to stick his whistle; Sloan retired and then the Jazz feared Williams would bolt when his contract expired in 2012.
The verdict: We don't know yet, but if Williams re-signs with the Nets and convinces Howard to come aboard as well, then it's the biggest Nets development since Julius Erving won a pair of ABA titles. The Jazz got no player of great substance and used one of the picks on Enes Kanter, off to a slow professional start.
The deal: Perkins traded from the Celtics to OKC for Jeff Green and throw-ins.
The circumstance: The Celtics didn't want to give big money to Perkins, who wound up signing an extension upon arrival in OKC.
The verdict: Green's career could be in jeopardy because of a rare ailment. He gave mixed results when he did suit up. Perkins gave the Thunder the reliable center they never had, although he's not an impact player by any stretch. If he helps OKC win a title, then it would only confirm this as a lopsided trade.
The deal: Wallace from the Bobcats to the Blazers for a pair of first-rounders plus throw-ins.
The circumstance: This was a salary dump by the coupon-clipping Bobcats, pure and simple, because they were going nowhere.
The verdict: This could be a Michael Jordan deal that actually works out. They used one of the picks (via the Hornets) last summer on young shot-blocker Bismack Biyombo and will get the Blazers' No. 1 in 2013, which might be fairly decent. Wallace gave the Blazers depth on the front line but Portland now seems headed in reverse, and he isn't the All-Star he was in Charlotte.
The deal: Hinrich traded from the Wizards to the Hawks for Mike Bibby, Jordan Crawford, Maurice Evans and a first-rounder.
The circumstance: Atlanta wanted better point guard play than the prehistoric Bibby could provide and also wanted to dump his contract.
The verdict: Shortly after the deal was made, Hinrich was Wally Pipped; he suffered an injury and Jeff Teague, the backup to Bibby, sizzled in the starting role. He's now the permanent starter at the point. Had the Hawks known what they already had in Teague, they wouldn't have made the deal. The pick of the litter for the Wizards was Crawford, who can score but needs plenty of shots.
The deal: Carter and Marcin Gortat traded from the Magic to the Suns for Hedo Turkoglu and Jason Richardson.
The circumstance: Orlando was finished with Carter, who clearly had lost six inches of his vertical.
The verdict: The Magic made a mistake in trading for Carter, then another when they traded him. The second mistake wasn't so much in dumping Carter, but they added Gortat to the deal, and he's now having a breakout year with the Suns. Think he would've been a decent replacement for Dwight Howard? Just as well, they also made a mistake in letting Turkoglu sign with the Raptors two years earlier, then another when they brought him back, because he's not the player who helped Orlando win the East in 2009. Meanwhile, his contract is a two-ton ball and chain.
The deal: Davis and an unprotected No. 1 traded from the Clippers for Mo Williams and Jamario Moon.
The circumstance: The Clippers wanted to drop two problems, Davis' bloated body and his elephant-like contract, and were willing to sacrifice a high lottery pick. That's how badly they wanted Davis gone.
The verdict: This was a clean steal by the Cavs, who used the pick on Tristan Thompson and began their rebuilding in earnest. Williams became a bigger and more important acquisition than expected for the Clippers when Chauncey Billups tore an Achilles.
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