The 2008 NBA trade deadline is over and has left some teams feeling confident about making a run into the playoffs, and left others wondering how long it will take the potential talent they traded for to actually turn into the superstars they were hoping they might become.
Sorry Timberwolves fans, but that’s just never going to happen for you.
Unlike years past, the league saw some big names relocate from struggling franchises onto playoff contending teams which is not only great for those organization’s playoff hopes, but its great for the NBA as well. Maybe for one month now we can forget about how overpaid Isaiah Thomas and the Knicks are and focus on the fact that there is actually a race going on in the West this year for the top spot in the playoffs, and the best team is the league, the Celtics, are coming out of the East. Who would have thought?
A huge winner in this years’ trade deadline has to be the L.A. Lakers. Landing Pau Gasol makes them instantly a Western Conference finalist contender. The Lakers have gone 8-1 since they acquired the big man, and that is without a healthy C Andrew Bynum. Pretty much all they had to do to get Gasol was give up Kwame Brown, yea remember him, first pick in the 2001 draft (HA!). That may go down as the worst first pick in the history of the NBA draft, but regardless, dishing him out to Memphis was brilliant because his contract expires at the end of the year anyway.
Another huge trade that was really unexpected, and at this point no one knows how it will pan out for either team, was the Shaquille O’Neal trade to the Phoenix Suns. Shaq is averaging career lows in points and rebounds, hasn’t been completely healthy for two years, and is going to be 36-years old in a few weeks. The Suns gave up former all-star power forward Shawn Marion and a talented point-guard in Marcus Banks to the Miami Heat in exchange for O’Neal. The former league MVP leaves the team with the worst record in the NBA to join the Suns who have the 2nd best record in the West. If neither team makes out in the deal, the person who did was Shaq.
Ben Wallace has found a new place to call home… again. The defensive specialist joins Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers after he was dealt from the Chicago Bulls for four players in total including Larry Hughes and Drew Gooden. The Cavs also traded for Wally Szczerbiak, Delonte West and Joe Smith so the team chemistry may be off for a few weeks, but hopefully they begin to click before the playoffs. The moves they made are definitely an upgrade, but you may not see the results this season.
The biggest name to move right before the deadline may have been future hall of fame point guard Jason Kidd. Kidd was traded to the Dallas Mavericks in an eight player deal that left the New Jersey Nets hurting…even more then they had already been, but with $3 million dollars more in their pockets. The deal also left the Mavs excited for the second half of the season to get underway with Kidd running the show. Mavericks GM Mark Cuban finally got something he wanted, if he couldn’t buy the Cubs, well at least he could buy Jason Kidd… like Jay-Z really needs the money!
Some other moves that were made that wouldn’t be considered blockbuster deals, but are definitely worth mentioning include the San Antonio Spurs landing PF/C Kurt Thomas from the Seattle Supersonics. It’s not a flashy name, but a good move for the Spurs who needed some more size to compete with Shaq and Gasol who they will now be seeing more often playing in the West.
Mike Bibby was traded to the Atlanta Hawks which is an upgrade at point guard from Tyronne Lue who is now with the Sacramento Kings, and the move shows that Atlanta still has signs of life in them and wants to try and sneak in the eight and final spot for the Eastern Conference playoffs. They will need to play better basketball on the road where they are currently at a pathetic 6-19, but Bibby’s leadership could help turn that around.
So when all is said and done with, who were the biggest winner and loser after this year’s trading deadline?
Biggest Loser: The Minnesota Timberwolves – They traded away Gerald Green whom they had just traded for in the off-season when they gave away Kevin Garnett to the Celtics. It seems like this team has been rebuilding for ten years now, and its not going to stop anytime soon.
Biggest Winner: The Los Angeles Lakers – Pau Gasol is going to take a little pressure off of Kobe Bryant, help their team defense, and be the spark to drive the Lakers to the top spot in the Pacific Division. They didn’t give up hardly anything, and they became instant contenders with his addition.
The final two months of the NBA season are going to be filled with lots of action so make sure to contact Ace Ticket if you want to be there and a part of it all!
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