By Marcus Washington
The NBA trade deadline has come and gone and while there were some big names that stayed with their teams there were some season changing moves.
The Wizards know how important it is to make the playoffs in a city where fan support has gone up and down during the past 3 decades. Yes, giving up a first round pick (top 9 lottery protected) along with DaJuan Blair and Kris Humphries for Markieff Morris might seem like overpaying but in the grand scheme of things it wasn’t. The acquisition gives the Wizards a better chance of getting into the playoffs this season and seasons down the road.
Morris is under contract for 3 yrs $24M which isn’t bad when you consider the salary cap is going to rise. In hopes of landing Kevin Durant, the Wizards will have plenty of money to spend in free agency and whether Durant signs in DC or not, the cap flexibility should help them attract free agents.
Acquiring Channing Frye won’t help the Cavaliers defensively but it gives them a much needed stretch big coming off the bench. Frye is second all time in three pointers made by a player 6’ 11” or taller (Dirk Nowitzki is first) and will fit in perfectly with what Tyronn Lue is trying to do on offense.
Cleveland’s biggest question when playing the better teams out West is scoring. Under former coach David Blatt, the Cavs had to work too hard to get points late in games because they isolated LeBron James and Kyrie Irving way too much. Lue has stressed pushing the ball up more so bench minutes will rise putting more importance on bench scoring. This is where Frye becomes a major piece to a team with championship aspirations.
The Hawks won out at the trade deadline because they weren’t able to get rid of Teague and Horford. Why would a fourth seed team (one game out of third) want to break up and start over? Atlanta can make a run in the playoffs and with the right breaks make it to the Eastern Conference Finals.
The acquisition of Kirk Hinrich will help the team with a veteran that you can ask to do anything from playing hard nose defense to hitting the spot up jumper. Sometimes you’re better off not getting what you want. The Hawks fall in this category.
Howard wanted to get moved out of Houston and it didn’t happen in part because he wouldn’t guarantee that he would sign an extension. In today’s NBA it’s hard to give up controllable assets for a big money, declining star and Howard falls in that category. He’ll take his chance on the free agent market and will seek a max deal. You would think a team would steer clear of giving a player with back problems big money but with the cap rising over the next two years, you never know.
You have to wonder how the Magic didn’t get a first round pick in the Harris deal especially when you consider Phoenix held out and was able to get one for Morris and the Rockets got one for Motiejunas and Thorton. This is an epic fail by an organization that desperately needs to show some type of progress under Skiles.
Entirely too many trades made yesterday had the terms “ceiling floor” and “luxury tax” attached to them. The NBA owners need to address the cap rules which they fought so hard for. Their policies prevent teams from getting better unless they pay a penalty to the other teams in the league. It isn’t good for business when solid playoff teams like Atlanta feel like it’s better to not make the playoffs as a 3 or 4 seed.
It’s on Adam Silver to convince the owners that this isn’t a way for the league to prosper.