Jefferson will now make his home in Milwaukee.
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Just ask the Boston Celtics, who acquired Ray Allen at last year's Draft and will now be adding a 17th banner to the rafters of the TD Banknorth Garden. Just ask the Portland Trail Blazers, who dealt Zach Randolph to New York last year, an addition by subtraction move if there ever was one, as it clearly helped the development of both Brandon Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge.
Similarly, the deal that sent Jason Richardson from Golden State to Charlotte allowed Monta Ellis to grow into a star for the Warriors, who despite missing the Playoffs, still won six more games this year than they won the year before, even though the guy whose rights they traded Richardson for, Brandan Wright, barely played.
In the NBA, you have your contenders. You have your teams that are building for the future. And then, you have teams that are in no-man's land, caught between contending and rebuilding. This is one of those days that the no-man's-land squads can put themselves in one of the other two groups.
This year, their weren't as many veterans passed around during the draft. And of course, the headlines will focus on the Bulls and Heat drafting potential franchise players in Derrick Rose and Michael Beasley.
Still, there was one deal that could have major implications down the line, another that will send an All-Star packing in a couple of weeks, and a third that will eventually be an indication of how good a couple of GMs are at evaluating young talent.
Here are all the deals that went down, officially and reportedly...
The trade is risky for the Nets, but it can pay off in more than one way. They know they're losing a quality veteran in Jefferson, but Yi is 6-11, just 20 years old (we think), skilled, and athletic. He has a world of potential and could eventually be better than RJ. In the meantime, with his popularity in the most populated country in the world, and a huge Chinese population just a few miles away from IZOD Center, he should help bring in some extra revenue for a team that has been in the red in their red building.
And of course, there's the whole summer of 2010 dream. There's no doubt now, with Simmons' big contract coming off the books a year earlier than Jefferson's and just in time to create cap space for the King when he becomes a free agent, that the Nets are putting themselves in the LeBron James sweepstakes.
And if LeBron envisions himself as a global icon, he might see the opportunity to team with Yi, in addition to moving to a larger market, as a wise business move. So in reality, we won't be able to grade this deal for the Nets for another two years.
On the other side of the deal, the Bucks get a reliable and steady player on both ends of the floor. Jefferson averaged a career-high 22.6 points per game this season and if the Bucks deal Michael Redd, they know that RJ can help pick up the scoring slack. He's also a solid defender who has matched up pretty well with James and Tayshaun Prince, two division foes, in the past.
In the end, the deal probably didn't affect the two teams' lottery picks. The Bucks took Joe Alexander, who they had been targeting for several days now, with the eighth pick. And with the 10th pick, the Nets selected Brook Lopez, who fills a need that they've had since the summer of 2004: toughness down low.
After three seasons of mediocrity, the Pacers can finally start fresh by dealing O'Neal. Ford obviously fills their No. 1 need: a floor leader who will push the ball to Jim O'Brien's liking. And Nesterovic and Hibbert give them depth up front.
The Raptors, as long as O'Neal is healthy, make a move that could get them over that First Round hump. An All-Star frontline tandem of O'Neal and Chris Bosh is pretty potent, and O'Neal will certainly help with one of the Raptors' biggest weaknesses over the last couple of years: rebounding.
In addition, Toronto removes the obstacle that was keeping Jose Calderon from being their primary point guard. Calderon had a breakout season this year, but sacrificed himself for the sake of team chemistry by allowing Ford to start after he returned from injury. Of course, for the plan to come together, Toronto needs to resign Calderon, who is a restricted free agent this summer.
The trade can't take place until July 9 though, because of the base-year-compensation status of Ford's contract.
Portland clearly saw an opportunity to trade up to get the best player available who had surprisingly slipped past the top 10. If Bayless impresses in training camp, he could very well be starting next to Brandon Roy in the Blazers' backcourt next season. Otherwise, he could back up both Roy and Steve Blake and give them some needed firepower off the bench.
Before the Draft, you wondered if, given their existing talented youth, the Blazers should just trade out of the first round entirely. But the opportunity to get a talent like Bayless was too good to pass up. With Roy, Aldridge and Greg Oden, their future was bright already. Throw in Bayless, projected to go fourth in this draft for much of the last month, and it's even brighter.
The Pacers get a shooter in Rush, as well as a solid point guard in Jack, who could compete with Ford for the starting job in Indiana. And with the deal, it becomes all the more likely that Jamaal Tinsley will not be a Pacer come October.
No two GMs have been more maligned in the past year than Minnesota's Kevin McHale and Memphis' Chris Wallace. Some say that they're more responsible for putting the Celtics and Lakers into the Finals than the Celtics and Lakers themselves. So, this trade is a chance for one of them to redeem himself eventually. The question is: Which one will that be?
If McHale is really getting in Kevin Love what he thinks he's getting, the Timberwolves have taken a big step in the right direction, because in Miller, they're getting the best veteran in the deal by far. And Love teams with Al Jefferson to provide a young, talented frontcourt.
But if O.J. Mayo turns out to be a star and Love just a role player, then this deal could be just as bad for the Timberwolves as when they dealt the rights to Brandon Roy to Portland.
The Blazers acquired the rights to Nicolas Batum (25) from the Rockets.
The Rockets acquired the rights to Donte Greene (28) and a 2009 second round pick from the Grizzlies.
The Rockets acquired the rights to Joey Dorsey (33) from the Blazers.
The Grizzlies acquired the rights to Darrell Arthur (27) from the Blazers.
The Timberwolves traded the rights to Mario Chalmers (34) to the Heat for two future second round picks and cash.
The Bulls acquired the rights to Omer Asik (34) from the Blazers.
The Blazers acquired a 2009 second-round pick from the Nuggets plus two future second-round picks from the Bulls.
The Nuggets acquired the rights to Sonny Weems (39) from the Bulls.
The Wizards traded the rights to Bill Walker (47) to the Celtics for cash.
The Heat traded the rights to Darnell Jackson (52) to the Cavaliers for a 2009 second round pick.
The Blazers traded the rights to Mike Taylor (55) to the Clippers for a future second round pick.