Goran Dragic

NBA Trade Deadline

The NBA Trade Deadline was supposed to be relatively quiet, with the possibility of a few trades. And it looked like that would be the case leading up to last Thursday’s deadline of 2 p.m. However, the league saw a number of trades come in at the last minute of the deadline. The trades came in fast and furious, but not all were as good as they seemed while others were better than you might think.

Starting from the first and possibly the most overlooked trade was Portland acquiring Arron Afflalo from Denver. With Afflalo, Portland bolsters their bench with a player who was averaging 14.5 points per game and is an excellent defender. Portland had to give up Thomas Robinson and Victor Claver plus a future first round pick, but I still think this was a huge win for Portland. A team who advanced to the second round in last year’s playoffs, returned their core group of guys, and are third in the Western conference added a veteran guard who can defend multiple positions and shoots the ball well. I’ll go ahead and say this trade puts Portland as a dark horse in the West. Why? Because they have a star point guard in Damian Lilliard, not to mention he might be a little pissed off for being an All-Star snub. Granted he was chosen as a replacement, but I still expect Lilliard to play with a chip on his shoulder the rest of the season. And let’s not forget Lamarcus Aldridge is playing at a high level despite his thumb injury. So with a healthy Robin Lopez and Afflalo coming off the bench, this team stacks up well with the West’s best.

The blockbuster trade that got way too much attention in my mind was Phoenix shipping Goran Dragic to Miami. Don’t get me wrong, Dragic is an excellent point guard, and he knows how to produce. But let’s not get carried away here. He isn’t going to help Miami contend for the title this year and most likely not anytime soon. Dragic is posting 16.2 ppg, 4.1 apg, and 3.6 rpg while sharing the point guard duties with Isiah Thomas and Eric Bledsoe. However, I don’t think he is worth the max contract he will be offered this offseason or the two first round picks Miami gave up on top of some rotational players. He can’t lead a team by himself and essentially that’s why you pay a player the big time money. That’s what scares me for this Miami team, Dwayne Wade is in the latter half of his career, and Chris Bosh isn’t the same player he was in his prime. (There is a serious concern in Miami that Chris Bosh may miss the entire season due to blood clots in his lungs. It is a very serious issue, so we wish Chris Bosh the best in recovering.) Having said all this, Pat Riley is a genius when operating his teams so I might be completely wrong in saying Miami was on the losing end of this trade.

The trade I liked the most came from team that desperately needed help. And that was the Oklahoma City Thunder. A few days ago, I wrote about how they might acquire Brook Lopez but honestly, he wouldn’t be a fit for a team that runs lots of isolations for their guards and perimeter players. Lopez is a back to the basket type player and I don’t know how he would have gotten his touches in the OKC offense. But that trade didn’t surface out instead the Thunder acquired Enes Kanter from Utah and DJ Augustin and Kyle Singler from the Pistons. In my opinion, Oklahoma City got better overall value than getting Lopez. Kanter is a legit 7 footer averaging 14 ppg and 8 rpg this season. Not to mention he’s only 22 years old. He will slide right into OKC’s rotation with Adams out with injury and Perkins no longer there. This allows Serge Ibaka to play his natural power forward position and stretching the floow out with his perimeter shooting improving. Plus Augustin can fill Jackson’s role as backup point guard and Kyle Singler has proved he can be a solid bench contributor.

On the other hand of this trade, I love what Detroit did. Stan Van Gaundy quietly got himself a steal in Reggie Jackson. Detroit gave up next to nothing for a player who is about to get his chance to be a starter on a playoff contending team. But let’s forget about this season, and look to the future. Detroit has two great guards in Jackson and Brandon Jennings, and arguably the best young frontcourt in Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe moving forward. If they can convince Monroe to sign long term after his contract expires after this season, watch out for the Pistons. Van Gaundy has done a great job in his first season operating the team and I look for him to continue to build momentum for the franchise.

Those are the trades that had impacts on contending teams making a final push for playoff jockeying. Oklahoma City and Portland solidified their roster needs to contend in the wild wild west. But there were was one trade that caught my eye and can have a huge impact for a franchise.

The trade that had every NBA fan reminiscing the old days was Kevin Garnett being sent back to Minnesota for Thaddeus Young. Obviously Minnesota is going nowhere this season, but Kevin Garnett could be a valuable pickup for them in terms of leadership and locker room presence. Minnesota might have the best core of young players in the league. Andrew Wiggins, Zach Lavine, Shabazz Muhammad, Anthony Bennett, and Gogui Dieng are all young talented players still learning their way in this league. The Timberwolves were lacking a veteran leader who can mold these young players into stars. That’s where Kevin Garnett comes in play. KG could be the perfect mentor for these kids since he was thrown into the same fire of the NBA right out of high school. He knows what it takes to become a perennial All Star and win NBA championships. So kudos to the Minnesota front office for making this happen.

And then there was the random swap of point guards that took place. Milwaukee sent Brandon Knight to Phoenix, Phoenix sent Isaiah Thomas to Boston, and Philadelphia packaged reigning rookie of the year Michael Carter Williams to Milwaukee. Brandon Knight was playing very well this season, so I was particularly surprised that the Bucks let him go and brought in Michael Carter Williams. I’m interested to see how Jason Kidd and company can mold the young Carter Williams into a legit PG. Brandon Knight could be a good compliment to Eric Bledsoe down in Phoenix so that could be something to watch for. As for Isiah Thomas in Boston, I just don’t get it. Boston should be in full rebuild mode, and Marcus Smart was their draft pick who could use some playing time at the point guard position so why trade for Thomas who can only play point guard. Thomas also is owed plenty of money after signing a lucrative deal just this offseason so that’ll take a hit on Boston’s cap room. These teams all made the headlines for acquiring players but I’m not sure any of them actually won their respective trades. I guess time will tell with them.

But wait, that’s not all! There have been reports Kendrick Perkins will be bought out by the Utah Jazz and the front runner to sign him is, you guessed it, the Cleveland Cavaliers. He would be a great fit for Cleveland, coming off the bench and giving them valuable minutes defending and rebounding the ball effectively. A few other potential bought out players include Tayshaun Prince and Thomas Robinson who could both be a great addition to any team. So the deadline might have passed, but a few teams could still be adjusting their rosters here in the next few days to gear up for the postseason.

NBA trade deadline rumors

While there are no NBA games until Thursday, teams will be extremely busy trying to bolster their rosters before Thursday’s 3PM EST trade deadline.

Currently, there are 22 teams still jockeying for playoff position and then there are the other eight teams who have basically given up on the season, but might have valuable trade assets. Some teams will be desperate to dump some of their salary in order to rebuild through free agency this offseason.

There are three big name players to watch in the next few days that may get traded-- Brook Lopez, Lance Stephenson, and Goran Dragic. Brooklyn has experimented with the trio of Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, and Brook Lopez for awhile and have yet to find no real success yet. So the odd ball out, Lopez may find himself a new home this week.

Lance Stephenson has not been the addition the Charlotte Hornets needed so they too will be looking to get something in return for Stephenson. As for Dragic, he has made it pretty apparent he will sign elsewhere this offseason so Phoenix might as well get what they can for Dragic before he walks away.

There was a reported trade earlier this season that would have sent Lopez to OKC, Stephenson to Brooklyn, Jarrett Jack to Charlotte, and expiring contracts and young assets to Brooklyn. However it fell through at the last minute. But, it wouldn't be surprising if Oklahoma City's GM Sam Presti makes another phone call to Brooklyn to try to facilitate a deal for Lopez. He would solidify their frontcourt and help propel them into the playoff picture.

Phoenix faces the problem of having a plethora of point guards. Eric Bledsoe, Isiah Thomas, and Goran Dragic are all good point guards, but at some point, one of them isn’t being used properly. Goran Dragic seems to be the most likely to be traded this week because he has expressed interest in possibly signing with another team this offseason. Houston and the Los Angeles Lakers have continuously tried to pry away Dragic from Phoenix, so look for both of those teams to make another push leading up to the deadline.

As for Stephenson, it has been pretty apparent he wasn’t the fit Charlotte had hoped he would be. Yet Charlotte is still in position to make the playoffs so it would love to get talent back for Stephenson. And the Brooklyn Nets are one team that would love to bring Stephenson back home.

There’s many teams with valuables players for contenders. For example, the Denver Nuggets' season may not have went as they planned yet they still have plenty of talented guys a contending team may want their hands on. Arron Affalo, Randy Foye, and Wilson Chandler all have tremendous value for a team desperate for some help on the perimeter. Also their two star players, Ty Lawson and Kenneth Faried are also said to be available this week. So at the right price, a team could get an explosive veteran player in either one of them.

Other teams are searching for a big man to bolster up their frontcourt and Brandon Bass of the Celtics would be a solid addition to fit that role. He is a terrific rebounder and can finish around the basket. Lakers big man Jordan Hill is also having a tremendous season despite the Lakers being near the bottom of the West.

Recently, Chicago has made Taj Gibson available in trade talk. With rookie Nikola Mirotic coming into his own, Chicago might be able to fill another hole in their rotation by letting Gibson go via trade. Gibson has great value in trade talks because he is a solid contributor off the bench, and could quite frankly start for plenty of teams around the league. Watch for teams like the Clippers or Blazers to look for a much needed big man.

Needless to say, there are plenty of intriguing options out there for teams in need of help. However, I don’t foresee any blockbuster trade taking place this time around. We already saw Rajon Rondo get traded earlier this season, and there isn’t any player as talented in trade talks. But a contending team can definitely find a missing piece this week and could change their fortunes come playoff time.

NBA trade deadline rumors

While there are no NBA games until Thursday, teams will be extremely busy trying to bolster their rosters before Thursday’s 3PM EST trade deadline.

Currently, there are 22 teams still jockeying for playoff position and then there are the other eight teams who have basically given up on the season, but might have valuable trade assets. Some teams will be desperate to dump some of their salary in order to rebuild through free agency this offseason.

There are three big name players to watch in the next few days that may get traded-- Brook Lopez, Lance Stephenson, and Goran Dragic. Brooklyn has experimented with the trio of Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, and Brook Lopez for awhile and have yet to find no real success yet. So the odd ball out, Lopez may find himself a new home this week.

Lance Stephenson has not been the addition the Charlotte Hornets needed so they too will be looking to get something in return for Stephenson. As for Dragic, he has made it pretty apparent he will sign elsewhere this offseason so Phoenix might as well get what they can for Dragic before he walks away.

There was a reported trade earlier this season that would have sent Lopez to OKC, Stephenson to Brooklyn, Jarrett Jack to Charlotte, and expiring contracts and young assets to Brooklyn. However it fell through at the last minute. But, it wouldn't be surprising if Oklahoma City's GM Sam Presti makes another phone call to Brooklyn to try to facilitate a deal for Lopez. He would solidify their frontcourt and help propel them into the playoff picture.

Phoenix faces the problem of having a plethora of point guards. Eric Bledsoe, Isiah Thomas, and Goran Dragic are all good point guards, but at some point, one of them isn’t being used properly. Goran Dragic seems to be the most likely to be traded this week because he has expressed interest in possibly signing with another team this offseason. Houston and the Los Angeles Lakers have continuously tried to pry away Dragic from Phoenix, so look for both of those teams to make another push leading up to the deadline.

As for Stephenson, it has been pretty apparent he wasn’t the fit Charlotte had hoped he would be. Yet Charlotte is still in position to make the playoffs so it would love to get talent back for Stephenson. And the Brooklyn Nets are one team that would love to bring Stephenson back home.

There’s many teams with valuables players for contenders. For example, the Denver Nuggets' season may not have went as they planned yet they still have plenty of talented guys a contending team may want their hands on. Arron Affalo, Randy Foye, and Wilson Chandler all have tremendous value for a team desperate for some help on the perimeter. Also their two star players, Ty Lawson and Kenneth Faried are also said to be available this week. So at the right price, a team could get an explosive veteran player in either one of them.

Other teams are searching for a big man to bolster up their frontcourt and Brandon Bass of the Celtics would be a solid addition to fit that role. He is a terrific rebounder and can finish around the basket. Lakers big man Jordan Hill is also having a tremendous season despite the Lakers being near the bottom of the West.

Recently, Chicago has made Taj Gibson available in trade talk. With rookie Nikola Mirotic coming into his own, Chicago might be able to fill another hole in their rotation by letting Gibson go via trade. Gibson has great value in trade talks because he is a solid contributor off the bench, and could quite frankly start for plenty of teams around the league. Watch for teams like the Clippers or Blazers to look for a much needed big man.

Needless to say, there are plenty of intriguing options out there for teams in need of help. However, I don’t foresee any blockbuster trade taking place this time around. We already saw Rajon Rondo get traded earlier this season, and there isn’t any player as talented in trade talks. But a contending team can definitely find a missing piece this week and could change their fortunes come playoff time.

MILWAUKEE— The Milwaukee Bucks are getting a much-needed big man and the Houston Rockets are positioning themselves to make a big move.

A person with direct knowledge of the deal said Wednesday that the Bucks and Rockets had agreed to a trade a day before the NBA draft, with the Bucks sending the No. 12 overall pick and three players to the Rockets for the No. 14 pick and center Samuel Dalembert. The Rockets get guard Shaun Livingston and forwards Jon Leuer and Jon Brockman in the deal.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the deal was not yet official. Several media organizations reported the deal earlier Wednesday.

Dalembert has career averages of 8 points, 8.2 rebounds and 1.9 blocked shots per game. Center is a major need for the Bucks, who traded away Andrew Bogut last season and never really found a way to replace him.

Houston, meanwhile, is apparently positioning itself for a blockbuster move after dealing Chase Budinger to Minnesota for the 18th pick on Tuesday. The Rockets now have the No. 12, 16 and 18 picks in Thursday’s draft, but the team may make more moves as they put together a package to land a superstar big man — possibly Orlando’s Dwight Howard or Atlanta’s Josh Smith.

Howard, a five-time All-Star center, asked to be traded by the Magic during the season.

The Rockets went 34-32 last year, missing the playoffs for the third straight season. They’ve lacked a strong inside presence since former top overall pick Yao Ming started running into foot and injury issues and finally retired last summer.

Before last season, the Rockets were ready to trade forward Luis Scola, shooting guard Kevin Martin and point guard Goran Dragic for Pau Gasol, but NBA commissioner David Stern nixed the trade for “basketball reasons” on behalf of the league-owned New Orleans Hornets.

Houston picked up Dalembert in December. He started 45 games and averaged 7.5 points and seven rebounds per game in 2011-12.

First-year coach Kevin McHale said at a charity event on Monday that finding a dominant big man remains a high priority.

“From my standpoint,” he said, “getting bigger, protecting the rim, playing above the rim, rebounding and blocking shots is always a good thing.”

Howard was been named the league’s top defensive player three times and averaged a career-high 14.5 rebounds per game last season. He also publicly expressed frustration with coach Stan Van Gundy and general manager Otis Smith during the season. Van Gundy was fired and Smith parted ways with the team in May.

Speculation swirled this week that the Rockets were shopping point guard Kyle Lowry, who missed 19 games last season, mostly due to a bacterial infection that required hospitalization. Lowry and McHale developed a rift, arguing during a timeout in a game against Denver in April. Lowry told the Houston Chronicle in May that he would have “issues” playing for McHale.

With Lowry sidelined, Dragic emerged as a capable replacement, averaging 18 points and 8.4 assists in 28 starts. Dragic is an unrestricted free agent, but said after the season that he’d like to remain in Houston. He also said he wants a starting role in the NBA.

Bucks general manager John Hammond emphasized this week that he and his staff would take the best player available in the draft, conceding that the Bucks absolutely needed to find a center.

“I think right now there’s the assumption that we’re kind of looking into basically a narrow-minded set of, ‘We have to go big,’” Hammond said. “You know, there’s a need there, so obviously that is going to be a discussion and it’s going to somewhat of a priority for us.”

Before moving to get Dalembert, players projected to be of interest to the Bucks were North Carolina center Tyler Zeller and Illinois’ Meyers Leonard. Both run well for 7-footers, a must on a team that wants to play with an up-tempo style powered by guards Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis.

Milwaukee also could go with a shooting guard such as Connecticut’s Jeremy Lamb or Washington’s Terrence Ross.

Hammond and coach Scott Skiles both are going into the final year of their contracts and aren’t considered likely to receive extensions before the season starts. Given the uncertainty, Hammond might be expected to favor drafting a player who can help the team right away over a project with a higher upside.

But Hammond said his contract situation won’t change the way he approaches the draft, even if fans and the media are discussing it.

“The issue at hand is how can we improve the Milwaukee Bucks,” Hammond said. “So for us, that may be discussed at the draft, it may be discussed during free agency, discussed even during the season when we talk about trades or other things that could come our way to change our roster. But at the end of the day, it’s about doing the right thing. And the right thing is what’s best for this team, this organization, this city and our fans. And I would never vary from that.”