After compiling 48 wins last season, the Suns brought in Isaiah Thomas to augment current guards Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe. With Bledsoe the only member of the trio still on the roster, it’s safe to say that the Phoenix Suns destroyed their point guard situation.
Phoenix shipped Dragic to the Heat and Thomas to Boston.
What was there return for two point guards capable of scoring 20 points per game? Brandon Knight, Marcus Thornton and some picks.
Both transactions also saw the Suns acquire John Salmons, Kendall Marshall and Danny Granger. However, Salmons and Marshall were both waived, and Granger could still be bought out.
Phoenix did acquire first round picks in 2016, 2017 and 2021, but the cost to acquire those picks was high. The 2016 pick is Cleveland’s and will likely be somewhere in the 20’s. Miami’s pick in 2017 could be in the 20’s as well, if not the late teens. 2021 is the lottery ticket. If the Heat are dreadful at that point, it’ll be a nice consolation prize, albeit an extremely late one.
The Suns also lost recent first-round pick Tyler Ennis in the trade (who also happens to be a point guard), an out-of-favor, but still young and useful center in Miles Plumlee.
Dragic was likely to depart via free agency over the offseason, so maybe the Suns did well to move on from him, but the return they received isn’t exactly outstanding considering what Reggie Jackson was moved for and Dragic’s talent in general.
The return for Thomas is another move that benefits the other team in the trade more than Phoenix. Thomas may not have been a perfect fit with the Suns’ other pieces, but a pick in the mid-to-late 20’s and the expiring contract of Marcus Thornton isn’t exactly anything to write home about—especially considering Thomas’ offensive capability.
The addition of Brandon Knight will help the Suns recover, but they just simply gave up more assets than they acquired.
Check out Know Hitter’s series on the NBA Trade Deadline Winners and Losers. The Winners: Boston, Detroit, Miami, Philadelphia and Milwaukee. The “Losers”: Los Angeles (Lakers), Phoenix and coming soon—Minnesota and Denver.
All stats courtesy of http://www.basketball-reference.com/ unless otherwise noted.
Losers: Los Angeles Lakers
Maybe it’s unfair to put the Lakers here, after all they’ve been without three of their best players, Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash and Julius Randle, for long stretches due to injuries. However, the Lakers still remain a “loser”.
Admittedly, the team has a strange roster in terms of salary concerns. Kobe takes up a monster cap hit while Nash and Jeremy Lin are on sizeable, expiring contracts. Additionally, the team is flush with veterans on relatively cheap, expiring contracts (Carlos Boozer, Ronnie Price, Wayne Ellington, Wesley Johnson) and younger players on manageable deals (Ryan Kelly, Robert Sacre, Ed Davis, Jordan Clarkson, Tarik Black). Throw in Nick Young and Jordan Hill on reasonable contracts and you have the Lakers’ roster.
If one thing is for certain with Los Angeles, it’s that they want to be a contender as soon as possible. So keeping players like Nash and Lin around instead of dealing them for future salary commitments makes sense in terms of chasing a big fish or two in free agency.
The big problem with the Lakers is that they don’t really have much in the way of assets. Whether it be young players or picks, the Lakers have a pretty bare cupboard—at least compared to other struggling franchises like the Magic, Timberwolves and 76ers. That’s why it’s puzzling the team didn’t move players they felt weren’t part of their long-term future for assets, even if those assets were second-round draft picks.
Ryan Kelly could have been dealt to a team seeking a stretch four (Phoenix perhaps?) while Ed Davis could have received a fair return given his production and upside on such a manageable contract. Teams looking for an energy big could have acquired Robert Sacre. Wayne Ellington is averaging nearly 10 points per contest on a contract that calls for less than $1 million.
Jordan Hill is another player who could have been dealt. The former lottery pick is averaging 12.4 points and 8 rebounds and provides value as a floor-spacing big who can also rebound. Moving him would have freed up more money to chase free agents over the summer, but the team may feel he can contribute on a contending team.
The fact that the Lakers had so many players on inexpensive contracts meant they could have dealt them to just about anyone. It’s hard to imagine the team keeping a lot of this roster together for next season given the dreadful record the team has posted, so it’s a little confusing as to why the team didn’t do anything. The fact that they didn’t do anything is a bit puzzling. Because of that, the Lakers are a “loser”.
The Lakers will hope that they can turn their upcoming cap flexibility and bottom-feeding roster into a contender come next season. If not, you can probably expect more reactions like this out of Kobe Bryant.
All stats courtesy of http://www.basketball-reference.com/ unless otherwise noted.
This from Jimmy Kimmel Live! Kobe Bryant is not a fan of how his team celebrated a win recently.
This isn’t the kind of injury that you can replace with a game-manager or fill in/expiring contract to replace a starter. This is Rajon Rondo we are talking about. Rondo probably means more to his team than a lot of other stars mean to theirs. Knowing this, it’s going to take someone special to replace Rondo in the short term, and even then the replacement probably won’t be up to Rondo’s par.
Not many players even have the potential to be on Rondo’s level. This trade I’m going to throw out there might fix the Celtics’ problems short term and long term. Let me explain.
(It’s a four-team trade, so you’re excused if it’s confusing. It’s making my head hurt,and I haven’t even written it yet.)
Boston acquires Tyreke Evans from Sacramento and Steve Blake from the Lakers.
Sacramento acquires Courtney Lee and Fab Melo from Boston. Devin Ebanks and Jodie Meeks from LA and Omri Casspi from Cleveland.
Los Angeles acquires Leandro Barbosa and Chris Wilcox from Boston and Tyler Honeycutt from Sacramento.
Cleveland acquires Francisco Garcia from Sacramento and a future second-round pick from Boston and LA.
Now we get to the explaining part.
First off is Boston. The Celtics get two point guards to at least do a half-decent job of filling in for Rondo. Obviously no one is going to replace Rondo, but Evans has the potential to be very good. Blake is one of the more consistent backup point guards in the league.
Boston also gets help long term. Not only would Boston have the option to re-sign Evans before anyone else does in free agency (that’s a huge stretch, but the Celtics would have the option,) but if they feel Evans doesn’t work, then they can let him walk and save the money that they owe long term to Lee. Blake gives them value this year, but also next year as a more-than-appealing expiring contract in a trade.
Sacramento. I have a little trouble with this if I’m the Kings Sonics. And the only problem I have is with Lee, more specifically, Lee’s contract. That is a lot of money long term for a starter-on-a-bad-team-bench-guy-on-a-good-team player. Sacramento Seattle gets another look at Casspi, plus Melo, a high upside big. Meeks’ contract is very team friendly in terms of what he can do. Ebanks is another guy on an expiring deal who could pan out given the chance. Sacramento gets rid of Garcia’s and Honeycutt’s contracts going forward.
The Lakers would love this trade if they made it. The one upside of Blake’s recent injury is the emergence of Duhon as more than just a trade throw in. That and the ever looming Darius Morris make Blake expendable. He’s even more expendable due to the fact that LA wants to save money. Dealing Blake would do that. LA also gets a Barbosa-Nash-D’Antoni reunion. (Side note, how many Phoenix fans envisioned that within five years of each leaving the Suns? The answer is one. That one guy who wants to rebuild and trade away anyone who isn’t 22 with big potential. We’ve all met them.) LA also gets more big-man insurance with Wilcox. Plus the fact that (and I’m no salary cap aficionado) Honeycutt’s contract might be non-guaranteed. Thus the team waves him, or buys him out, keeps a roster spot and saves enough money to buy the whole team lunch for a month or two.
Cleveland gets picks going forward, but also gets an interesting piece in Garcia. Yes, he costs them an extra four million, but has the potential to, like Blake, be a very appealing option as an expiring contract next year in terms of trade value.
I think the smartest thing for Boston to do is to go get Evans. You obviously aren’t going to finish with the best record in the conference, but maybe Evans finally figures it out under the tutelage of Doc Rivers, KG, Paul Pierce and a hobbling Rondo. Maybe Evans stays long term and plays well alongside Rondo in the future. Those “maybes” might turn into something better than a regular season conference title.
I’m going to give you three NBA teams who aren’t so high in the standings: the Sacramento Kings, Houston Rockets and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Throw Phoenix into the mix and you have four struggling teams.
Remember the old Sesame Street bit where they sang, “One of these things is not like the other?” This is similar, in the sense of how the teams built their current rosters.
Sacramento has gone the rout of putting as many young, high potential guys who like to shoot the ball (not much else) together.
Houston has a young group of interesting roster decisions. The point there is that they are young. Agree or disagree with how Darryl Morey got the players, the Rockets have exciting youth.
Cleveland rounds out the list with multiple lottery picks littering the roster.
The underlying theme in this is that the teams are young, and however frustrating it is to watch the team on the court (Sacramento), they have potential.
Phoenix however is different. There is no mention of a young building block with the potential or aptitude for stardom (i.e. Kyrie Irving, James Harden or DaMarcus Cousins). Continue reading
Adam Morrison had a spectacular college career at Gonzaga. The NBA, however, hasn’t been the easiest transition for him.
Morrison was immediately labeled as an un-athletic guy who could score and happened to go to a small school. That prompted a lot of, “I see so much of Larry Bird in him” type statements. This, for a player who hadn’t even played a single minute in the league, seemed and still seems a bit unfair. Continue reading
The Lakers are struggling. If I had a dollar for every time I said or heard that then the local McDonald’s Dollar menu would be non-existent, or I’d save the boatload of money (thinks about it…) yep, definitely saving the money.
The blame game is one that has taken Los Angeles by storm in the same magnitude Lob City did. So, the blame game turned into musical chairs, and Mike Brown was left standing.
But now Mike D’Antoni is in town, and Steve Nash will be back at some point. In other Lakers firings, the team canned their entire training staff and has brought in Phoenix’s in exchange for whichever first-round pick the Lakers still hold the rights to in this Millennium. (2058, I think?)
(Ok, you got me. I may have fibbed a little bit there.)
The point is that the Lakers are looking to change things up, and a synonym for “changing things up” is “trading.” This happens to be one of my favorite things to write about, the least favorite being draft picks, just for future reference.
With that, let’s go to the trade machine: Continue reading
How one off-season trade has sent the Orlando Magic crashing and tumbling towards the basement and eventual lottery.
First, I should start off by mentioning that the Magic are 2-1 as I write this. I know they have a winning record, but they’ve played three games. They’re serving as kitchen-store lighting at the moment, also known as a flash in the pan. If the season goes really well for the Magic, then the joke’s on me, but on paper and for the future the Magic look anything like their name.
Dwight Howard got traded. I think everyone down to the foul pole at Safeco Field knew it was coming. The question then became, “ok, well what can they get for him?” Continue reading
Let me convey my surprise again: WHAT!?!?!?!?!?!… ?!?
Here’s the skinny, Dwight Howard has changed his address, thanks to the Lakers, Magic as well as Denver and Philly. The league’s best center is going to Tinsletown.
I still can’t get over the fact that LA got Dwight Howard, defensive monster extraordinaire, for the price of Andrew Bynum, Josh McRoberts and Christian Eyenga. Continue reading