Although there were no superstar players dealt or any blockbuster deals that blew up before the trade deadline, 12 transactions involving 27 players went through which leaves plenty of room for winners and losers.
Winner: Oklahoma City Thunder
The Thunder proved that the subtlest of moves could make the biggest of differences. OKC dealt point guard Eric Maynor to the Portland Trailblazers for a $2.2 million trade exception. This move not only frees up financial flexibility for a veteran free agent signing next season, but also makes emerging guard, Reggie Jackson, a clear-cut backup point guard behind Russell Westbrook. They also traded a second round pick to the New York Knicks for defensive specialist, Ronnie Brewer. I like this move for many reasons. Brewer was coached by defensive guru, Tom Thibodeau, and he adds another wing defender alongside Thunder defensive stopper, Thabo Sefolosha. This takes pressure off of Kevin Durant when it comes to guarding perimeter players. In a conference littered with perimeter playmakers such as Manu Ginobili, Kobe Bryant, James Harden, and Andre Igoudala, Brewer is much needed. With the second leading shot blocker in the NBA in Serge Ibaka down low, the Thunder have added more electricity to their defense and look to send teams fishing come playoff time.
Loser: Sacramento Kings
Ah, the Sacramento Kings pulled off another head scratching move to cement their reputation as one of the dumbest organizations in the NBA, possibly in all of sports. The Kings send fifth overall pick of last year’s draft, Thomas Robinson, to the Houston Rockets in a multi-player trade. But wait, there’s more stupidity spewing out of Sacramento as the Kings did this trade to save just over $3 million. Robinson had an incredibly high ceiling and wasn’t even close to reaching it. He is a strong power forward with a great motor, and the Rockets will most definitely find a place for such a budding star in their rotation. The Kings need to move to Seattle already because there seems to be something in the water up there in Sac town.
Winner/ Loser: Atlanta Hawks
It’s tough to categorize the Hawks in a winner or loser category. They win because they get to keep an ultra-athletic and skilled power forward in Josh Smith for the rest of the season as they make a playoff push. They are losers because they will most likely give him for absolutely nothing in return come summer time when Smith is a free agent. Hopefully Smith has enough motivation to give Atlanta one last memorable playoff push before he takes his talents elsewhere.
Double Winners: Morris Twins
Markief Morris was traded from the Houston Rockets to the Phoenix Suns, reuniting him with his twin brother, and college teammate at Kansas, Marcus Morris. Basketball wise, this does nothing for the Suns as they are having a dismal season, but it’s nice to see brothers reunited after playing with each other their whole lives.