If the start of the NBA season is akin to Thanksgiving, as in we’re thankful to have basketball back, and the All-Star break analogous to Spring Break, then the NBA trade deadline has to fall somewhere between Halloween or Christmas.
As the trade deadline approached, many commentators discussed trade scenarios that were so tantalizing, some fans were anxiously sitting at the edge of their beds like a kid on Christmas Eve.
Visions of Carmelo Anthony in a Chicago Bulls uniform, Blake Griffin as a Phoenix Sun, and even Derrick Rose wearing the blue and orange of the New York Knicks danced through their heads like nutcracker soldiers and sugarplum fairies.
But as we sit here and examine the league's annual swap meet, we find that was more trick than treat this year.
Not one of the highly-touted players that were blustered and blabbered about on the cable sports networks was moved. In their places were pumpkins posing as princes.
The Miami Heat acquired journeyman point guard Brian Roberts from the Charlotte Hornets in a three-way trade involving Memphis. He was then traded to the Portland Trailblazers and a future second- round pick for cash. Being traded for cash is a pretty good indicator that he'll probably be waived.
The old guy formerly known as Birdman was traded from the Miami Heat to the Memphis Grizzlies for two second-round draft picks. With the injuries to C Marc Gasol, Chris Andersen will have to suffice in spot duty at center or power forward, as he is still good enough to block a few shots and grab a few boards.
The Detroit Pistons traded sporadically used combo guard Brandon Jennings and F Ersan Illyasova to the Orlando Magic for F Tobias Harris. Although he is averaging career lows in points, rebounds and minutes played, Jennings provides a scoring punch and can play either backcourt slot. However, he turns the ball over in bunches and is often disinterested on defense. Illyasova can play, but why he keeps bouncing around is anybody’s guess.
Tobias Harris got a big money deal from the Orlando Magic last season, yet he’s averaging 13 points and seven rebounds a game. That looks decent until you see he’s shooting 46 percent from the field and shooting four fewer shots than he did last year. Is he coasting? Is he disinterested? Only time will tell.
The Charlotte Hornets got SG Courtney Lee from the Memphis Grizzlies for SF PJ Hairston. Lee is a good shooter and defender. Nothing spectacular but he has been a steady starter in the league. Hairston is a small forward who likes to shoot from the outside but shoots too poorly to rely on regularly at 34 percent for his two-year career. Maybe he turns it around in Memphis and lives up to a fraction of his potential. Maybe not.
PG Shelvin Mack was acquired by the Utah Jazz in exchange for future second-round picks. Mack has shown some flashes in his career, but not enough. He’ll likely ride the pine behind Raul Neto and Trey Burke. Despite Burke’s shortcomings, he’s still better than Mack.
Rugged SF Markieff Morris was sent to the Washington Wizards in exchange for aged forwards Kris Humphries and DeJaun Blair, either of which could ask to be waived by Phoenix.
The New Orleans Hornets F acquired Jarnell Stokes and cash from Miami in exchange for a future second-round pick. I’ve loved his intangibles ever since he was at the University of Tennessee; toughness, rebounding and passing. But he has had difficulty translating that to the NBA. He’s listed rather liberally at 6-foot-9. It’s not likely he’ll get much more than backup minutes behind PF Anthony Davis or SF Ryan Anderson.
Memphis traded Jeff Green to the Los Angeles Clippers for guard Lance Stephenson. Jeff Green has all the talent in the world, but has been wildly inconsistent throughout his career. His best seasons were in Boston under Doc Rivers, with whom he will reunite in LA.
Stephenson seems to believe he has superstar talent, but fails to comprehend the expectations that come with that. Among them are work ethic and focus, both of which he seems to have very little of. It's hard to believe that he is the same guy that was once a rising star with the Pacers.
The Houston Rockets traded F Donatas Motiejunas and SG Marcus Thornton to the Detroit Piston in exchange for a first round draft pick this year and F Joel Anthony. Both Motiejunas and Thornton are proven commodities that can score if given the minutes. They will provide much needed scoring off the bench for a Pistons team with playoff aspirations.
The Denver Nuggets traded veteran SG Randy Foye to OKC for F Steve Novak, PG D.J. Augustin and two future second-round draft picks. Foye gets to play for a contender while the Nuggets stack bodies.
The Cleveland Cavaliers acquired PF Channing Frye from the Orlando Magic in a deal that sent back G Jared Cunningham and a future second-round pick. They sent PF Anderson Varejao and a first-round pick to Portland, who then waived Varejao. Don’t be surprised to see him pop up on a contender once he clears waivers.
The Chicago Bulls acquired PG Justin Holiday from Atlanta for a 2018 second-round pick (from Utah) and sent Kirk Hinrich to Atlanta. On the surface it appears as though the Bulls are worse off for this trade, as Hinrich is still one of the best back up guards in the NBA.
For all of the speculation about Dwight Howard, Carmelo, and some of the league's other big names being on the move, the trade deadline came and went with barely a whimper.