Friday, February 25, 2011

Straight From The Rook #15

Mat MacDonald AKA The Rook The Rook is currently enrolled in Human Kinetics at St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. A frequent contributor to all NBA and Raptors debates along with other sports. Witty, quick and never afraid of a challenge, Mat's here to talk hoops with you and dish out his two cents whenever!

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Breaking Down The Deadline

Itʼs that time of the year again, folks. The point in the NBA season where basketball fans get their 48 hours of trade talk and hoopla that NHL fans thrive on. Itʼs the time of the season where pretenders make moves to become contenders, and the top of the pack laugh at the idea of trading away valuable pieces to the Cavaliers. Yes, itʼs the NBA trade deadline week.

Breaking down the big deals, we take a closer look at whatʼs transpired and how it looks for each team moving forward in the second half of the season.

The Deals

NYK: Carmelo Anthony, Chauncey Billups

DEN: The world

Yes, thatʼs what went down. An NBA franchise was shipped off to Denver in order to bring in one superstar player. Is it worth it? Depends who you are. Are you Spike Lee and the rest of the New York faithful whoʼve been waiting for a contender since the days of Houston and Ewing? Or are you another Hollywood buzz who made their way down to the Big Apple for some R&R and enjoy the flashing lights and big stars?

Regardless of who/what you are, the dealʼs a good one for both teams. The Knicks get a chance to pick up their real face of the franchise. Sure, Amarʼe was great, but at some point you had to realize that he wasnʼt going to be the leader the Knicks needed come playoff time. With Carmelo Anthony you have a scorer. A big scorer. A man who can give you double figures in two categories on any given night.

In his debut with the Knicks, Melo went off for 27 points and 10 rebounds. Mind you, it took 25 shots to net all 27 points, but Iʼm sure the New York faithful can turn their shoulder to that. With less of a leading role, Amarʼe still had a decent game and that may be how the rest of the season unwinds with him taking a second role. Thereʼs no doubt that the two of them combined plus Landry Fields and Chauncey Billups make a dangerous group to guard on the floor.

Perhaps the biggest addition to the Knicks is Billups. A proven winner, the Knicks now have a floor general whoʼs been in big situations and lead his team to the NBA Finals. No disrespect to Raymond Felton, because he deserves zero, but the Knicks making the playoffs wasnʼt all that they planned on doing, and besides signing him in the offseason, it was clear that New York was looking to upgrade. The job that Felton did was hands down better than any other PG in the past few years for New York, but in the end, itʼs a business, and with business comes change.

The Nuggets pick up some good pieces in this trade. Taking four starters - if you include Wilson Chandler - the Nuggets donʼt find themselves in the rebuilding phase that Cleveland and Toronto do. Gallinari, Chandler, Felton and Mozgov should provide stability to a now young Nuggets team fighting for the playoffs. If they could do it in New York, thereʼs no doubt that thereʼs a chance they can still do it in Denver. Are the NBA Finals in the picture for the Nuggets? Absolutely not. But if you think those four players are going to consider themselves loose change and fold for the rest of the season, youʼre way off.

The grade for NY: A
The grade for DEN: B

NJ: Deron Williams

UTA: Devon Harris, Derrick Favors, 2 1st Rd. Picks

Ok, so you donʼt get the man you want, you believe you run an empire and you still struggle to comprehend a classic high-five. Thatʼs the life of a Netsʼ manager right now. But still youʼre out there to prove that you mean business and that youʼre going to keep throwing Jay-Zʼs name out there for a reason. So, what do you do? You make a trade to shake up the world - or at least Utah and New Jersey.

Deron Williams obviously takes the role of star in New Jersey now and becomes the new face of the franchise. But was it the right move? Thereʼs been no signal that Williams is going to re-sign in New Jersey when his contract expires, nor is there any sort of idea that Williams ever wanted to go to Jersey in the first place. That being said, the Nets have a lot of work to do. Being traded from a playoff team to a non-contender overnight isnʼt exactly something many players enjoy, but can the Nets swing Deronʼs views?

For Utah, the deal works out great. You get something instead of waiting around and losing your All-Star for nothing. Favors is a bright rookie with tons of potential. Thereʼs no doubt that heʼll be a solid double-double player in Utah, but with all the depth up front you have to wonder where he fits in? Harris is another big name player for Utah that can score. But really, why him? The reason: Dallas. The Mavs have had him on their radar for a long, long time. With his contract coming up, Utah knows that they can use him as leverage and make a move that will give them something good in return.

The logistics of this deal baffle me. It was something no one really expected, but needless to say was an unbelievable steal for either team. The question is, who really lucked out?

The grade for UTA: B+
The grade for NJ: B

CLE: Baron Davis
LAC: Jamario Moon, Mo Williams

One night youʼre throwing balls of out a Kia, the next youʼre in Cleveland. That sounds like it should be a line from the movie The Hangover. What a situation. Baron Davis may have just fallen off the map with this one. In a season that started with him on the bench out of shape, and then throwing lobs to the most athletic big in the NBA, Baron Davis now finds himself as the lone ranger in the depleted Cavaliers back court. One can only hope Dan Gilbert didnʼt introduce him to the media in comic sans.

As for the Clippers, they get a solid guard in Mo Williams and an journey man in Moon. With another option to fly above the rim, the Clippers certainly have an exciting team to watch, but do dunks and highlight-reel plays win games? Again, time will tell. This trade should be swept under the rug, thereʼs no reason for anyone to talk about it. Itʼs clear Baron Davis is very, very sad.

The Clippers and Cavs grade? Let's just say...Kia?

POR: Gerald Wallace
CHA: Dante Cunningham, Joel Przybilla, Sean Marks, 2 first-round picks

Honestly, Charlotte stays the same with this deal. They donʼt really get better, and if anything they get a bit worse, but the reason that they stay ʻthe sameʼ is because this sheds money from their franchise and helps them look ahead at signing a big name free-agent in the future. Draft picks are always helpful for a team looking to add young faces, and without a doubt you can bet Michael Jordan will be on his high horse trying to make deals to get his team to his expectations.
Portland lucks out. If Wallace can stay healthy, the Blazers have that wing scorer back that theyʼve been missing from Brandon Roy - even when heʼs been on the floor.

Wallace is healthy, a vet, and can get the job done. Playing for a good playoff position is an even bigger incentive for Wallace to play at a high level. Heʼs known as a hard worker and a strong player on both ends of the floor which is exactly what the Blazers need. Now they have to make sure he doesnʼt drink the water thatʼs loomed the injury bug over the heads of every Blazer.

Portlandʼs grade: A Charlotteʼs grade: MJ

HOU: Gorgan Dragic, 1st Rd. Pick
PHX: Aaron Brooks

Great deal for the suns...if youʼre an Aaron Brooks fan. This can only mean that the timetable for Steve Nash is ticking down by the second. Sure, heʼll stay for the rest of the season and play out the year, but past 2011, who knows? All signs point to Nash being traded in the off-season if the Suns donʼt make a dramatic push at becoming a team that can win a championship. Playing year after year at such a high level, fans have to expect that at some point the man has to win a championship, no matter where heʼs at. That being said, who knows what the future holds for the Suns.

Houston sent Shane Battier away, shopped Aaron Brooks and found a seller, and now have Gorgan Dragic as their point-guard. One things for sure; Houston needs to make sure Dragic sweeps his floors after his big house parties. In Houstonʼs other “deal” for the day, it saw their best perimeter defender Shane Battier go to the Grizzlies for Hasheem Thabeet and a bag of chips.

Terrible deal for Houston, because honestly, Thabeet is a less sculpted Mutombo. Iʼll hold my judgement back since he is a big man and heʼs young. But god, Iʼll tell you right now that the Grizzlies just got a lot better, and for sure O.J. Mayoʼs going to punch someone in the face.

Houstonʼs rating: C
Phoenixʼs rating: B
Memphisʼ rating: A+

Now, the biggest deal of the day...

BOS: Jeff Green, Nenad Krstic, 1st Rd. Pick
OKC: Kendrick Perkins, Nate Robinson

Wow. Can you win without a center? Sure. But can you beat the elite? Maybe. Itʼs been a head scratcher that the Celtics would move their biggest piece of their defensive puzzle in Perkins, but holy smokes the Thunder just got a lot better. Finally OKC has the big man in the middle that theyʼve always wanted. An enforcer who will grab rebounds and not demand the ball, Perkins fits perfectly into the Thunderʼs system. Will he bring that swagger and anger all the way to the west? Yeah, heʼll bring it.

As for the Celtics and picking up Jeff Green, itʼs great. Heʼs an athletic tweener that can play the three and four. The Celtics need someone that can move on the perimeter, and with Green they have those young legs. Now, will that mess up the chemistry of the Celts core, or will they let Green into their circle?

Thatʼs another story.

As for the others...

Nate Robinson is a spark off the bench, and Iʼm sure the Thunder faithful will love him. Krstic was on the cover of SI and used to play a big role in a playoff team. That being said, maybe heʼll get the time to revive his career, but once again, who knows?

With that, the biggest deals are broken down right here on The Breakdown. Oh boy, what a day.

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