Marlon Scott | Senior Staff Writer
The clock wound down to 0:00 for the NBA trade deadline on Thursday, Feb. 24, and, as expected, several teams made moves to either make a push for the playoffs or start rebuilding for next year.
Some of the trades everyone has been talking about finally took place and a few surprises that could shake up the league as playoffs approach also appeared. It is always amazing what gets done when a deadline goes from distant worry to firm reality.
First, the media had to find something else to speculate about everyday when All-Star forward (F) Carmelo Anthony finally got traded to the New York Knicks. The deal had the Denver Nuggets and the Knicks practically exchanging their whole rosters.
In addition to Anthony, the Nuggets also traded guard (G) Chauncey Billups, (G) Anthony Carter, (F) Renaldo Balkman and (F) Sheldon Williams to the Knicks. In return, they received (F) Wilson Chandler, (F) Danilo Gallinari, (G) Raymond Felton, center (C) Timothy Mozgov, 2012 and 2013 second round draft picks and a 2014 first round draft pick. While they were dealing, the Nuggets also traded (C)Eddy Curry and (F) Anthony Randolph to the Minnesota Timberwolves for (F) Corey Brewer.
Both the Nuggets and the Knicks are ranked sixth in their conferences with potential to advance in the playoffs. The Knicks become instantly more dangerous with a scorer like Anthony. The Nuggets payoff will be later. They now have a lot of pieces to negotiate with in the draft or simply keep for depth.
Perhaps the biggest surprise trade was the Utah Jazz trading All-Star guard Deron Williams to the New Jersey Nets. It was widely speculated when former head coach Jerry Sloan retired this season after reported disagreements with Williams. Jazz management would center the team around Williams for the future. Instead, the Jazz traded Williams to the Nets for two players, two first round draft picks and $3 million.
Another reason for the surprise is Utah is currently ranked ninth in the Western conference. They are on the edge of making the playoffs, only one game behind Portland and Memphis. Now instead of gearing up to make a run in the playoffs, it appears they are rebuilding.
On the other hand, it is clear the Nets think they can rebuild now and possibly make the playoffs as well. In addition to the trade for Williams, they also gave up a second round draft pick to trade centers with the Golden State Warriors.
Another surprise was the Boston Celtics trading (C) Kendrick Perkins. Perkins was part of a three-team trade that sent him and (G) Nate Robinson to the Oklahoma Thunder. They also sent (F) Luke Harangody and (C) Semih Erden to the Cleveland Cavaliers. In return, they received (F) Jeff Green, (C) Nenad Krstic, a 2012 first round draft pick from the Thunder and a 2013 second round pick from the Cavaliers. Even the players are not sure why Perkins was traded. What is clear is the Thunder acquired a piece that makes them a much better match for the top of the Western conference.
Obviously trying to rebuild and bring fans for the rest of their season with new faces, the Cavaliers also traded (G) Mo Williams and (F) Jamario Moon for Clippers (G) Baron Davis and a first round draft pick.
One of the last big impact trades was the Portland Trailblazers getting (F) Gerald Wallace from the Charlotte Bobcats. The Bobcats got (C) Joel Przybilla, (F) Dante Cunningham, (F) Sean Marks and two conditional first round draft picks for Wallace.
The Trailblazers are currently ranked seventh in the Western Conference, only three games back from the fourth spot. Wallace is a big shooting guard who brings double-digit offense as well as rebounding to the team. He could push the Blazers into a better first round matchup and possibly the finals. TAS