I cannot remember a year where GM’s and Owners came out and essentially said: “I know I am going to lose this guy in free agency in two years so I may as well trade him now.”
The number of big trades has been astounding – and several have been sort of wild: Carmelo to NYC for the Knicks starting 4 minus Amare; Deron Williams to NJ for Devin Harris and Derrick Favors; “slimmish” Baron Davis to the Cavs for Mo Williams; Kendrick Perkins to OKC for Jeff Green…
The list goes on – OJ Mayo was (obviously) on the table for Memphis; Mike Miller – the fourth Heatle was out there for Miami; and we may still see more before the night is done.
I cannot remember a time when everyone was on the table. You could tell me Chris Paul has been traded to the East and I would believe it. You could tell me the Clippers gave away everything they had (minus Blake Griffin) to get Dwight Howard and are henceforth going to be known as “The Dunkers”. Seriously, how cool would that be? It is insane, and when you factor in the in-season trades we have already seen – including the mega deal Orlando pulled off to get Gilbert Arenas and saw Phoenix finish the dismantling of last year’s Western Conference Finals team – this season has been off the charts. Some observations…
1) If the Knicks had known Deron Williams was on the table would they have gone after Melo with such intensity? – I think the answer is a resounding “no”. DWill helps New York win in the long term and puts a fine cap on the best-point-guards-are-in-the-East-argument. One league, the East, now holds the the majority of great young point guards (the only exclusions being Russell Westbrook and Chris Paul). All-Star voting is going to be rather complicated next year because out of: Melo, Lebron, DWade, KG, Amare, DRose, Rondo, DWill, Dwight Howard only 5 players can start. Melo may have held his last starting all-star spot for a long while (maybe now Steve Nash and his 11 assists a game with comatose Vince Carter can make the all-star team). However, the point remains: DWill makes the Knicks a much better team than Melo. The Knicks now have a surplus of one-dimensional scorers with little or no versatility. There will be trouble between Melo and Amare and there will be trouble soon. Amare thinks this is his team, Melo knows it is his. NYC may not be big enough for this ego clash. Unlike the Heat, no one is talking sacrifices for titles – this was blatently all about the money move for Melo. DWill would have had Amare to feed the ball to, and would have been able to handle the Amare angle because of their radically different positions and styles. Honestly, if I am D’Antoni I am kicking myself for not knowing DWill (and his pretty good playoff record and ability to play with headcase forwards – see Boozer: Carlos) was out there for less than Melo. Ouch.
2) Will the West to East Talent Drive ever go the other way? – Dwight Howard has already been rumored to want to play in LA. Given the trade insanity I would not have been surprised if Orlando dynamited their team for the second time this season and traded him away. They won’t (I think…) but the point is I believe it is possible. The West is quickly opening up – Denver and Utah are now in rebuilding mode, and the Spurs and Lakers are getting older. Now that there has been a talent migration, will OKC become the default champ? Will the Clippers have a chance if they can pull in some more talent now that they have gotten rid of Baron Davis’s horrific contract? I want to see an East – West rivalry for my Heat, not see them get bloodied in the East playoffs before destroying some West Champ pushover.
3) Baron Davis’s career was killed today – We may as well write his obituary now: his career and interest in basketball died today. All he wanted was to play on a contender and as soon as his beloved LA Clippers turned into a respectable franchise with an actual future they shipped him to Cleveland. He was getting into shape (sort of) and he cared about basketball again. Now, he will balloon to 300 pounds and lead the NBA’s worst team. For a guy this talented, and lazy, it is over. RIP Baron Davis’s career.
4) Pokhorov has some game – The new Nets owner proved a true magician by keeping everyone distracted with one hand and the Melo card, while with his left he was pulling the Ace (DWill) out of the deck and dropping it into his lap for later. Amazing that with Melo in play for them, the Nets end up with the true prize: one of the top three point guards in the league for a fraction of what they would have given up to the Nuggets.
5) Teams are sending a clear message about being held hostage – Many watched with growing horror as Melo destroyed the Nuggets season. It started off like the original Saw where you felt it may not be too bad, and then around mid-movie it just becomes so horrificly tense it is unbearable. Melo sort of made me feel that way as I watched him tell himself and anyone who would listen that he was not Lebron and he would never have a “decision”. Then, he went out and did something, much, much worse. LBJ never destroyed his team for a season for his own selfish demands. Melo did and the Knicks (and other suitors) should have taken careful notes. He will do it again. Horrible, and truly worse than the decision (which now kind of looks quick and decisive in comparison). GM’s do not want to see it again – DWill was shipped for that reason and I would not have been surprised if others had joined him in a “I want to get something” exodus. Smart move on everyone’s part…except DWill who is now stuck in New Jersey.
What do you think of NBA trade Insanity?