The trade deadline has come and gone. Some teams made moves, and some teams did not. But sometimes not making a move is making move in its own way. What I will do is list all teams that made a move on trade deadline day, grade their trades, and also make a list of notable teams that didn't make any sort of move, and tell you all what I think.
Milwaukee Bucks: The Bucks made the first big move of the trade deadline period by trading away Center Andrew Bogut and SG/SF Stephen Jackson to the Golden State Warriors for SG Monta Ellis, C Ekpe Udoh, and
C Kwame Brown. I like this trade for the Bucks for several reasons. (A) They got rid of Andrew Bogut who wasn't playing due to another injury. It was starting to seem like his lack of minutes on the court was a hindrance to their overall growth as a team. Even though Bogut's injuries were due to falling down off a dunk, and other pretty hard physical plays, the reality is Bogut has shown to be injury prone, only playing 12 games this year, and 65 the year before that. In the 08-09 season Bogut only played 39 games. Getting rid of him is a huge relief to Milwaukee fans for that very reason. (B) They got themselves immediate help for a playoff run. The Bucks are currently in the mix for the 8th seed out East, and they just bolstered themselves to practically secure a playoff spot. They've won 5 games in a row, and are getting a boost from this deal at the right time. Ellis will help provide Brandon Jennings with better help in the backcourt than Stephen Jackson did, and it will provide them with a very scary back court. The Bucks now have a pretty legit 1-2 punch in the back court with Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings. They're gonna be a fun team to watch and a scary little team as well.
(C) They got a big back! Yes they may have given up Andrew Bogut, but here's the deal: They are getting Epkeh Udoh in the deal, who is a very promising young Center. Udoh has the potential to be as good as Andrew Bogut should he work hard and continue to expand his game. If he gets anywhere near Andrew Bogut level of production or better, they will have clearly won this trade. The Warriors gave up a big and an elite scorer to get a big. But the Bucks gave up a big to get an elite scorer and another big. Bucks won on this deal big time for sure, and they have to be laughing that the Warriors were so stupid for not asking more for Ellis.
(D) Where were they going with Bogut really? Bogut is a very nice Center, no question about it, but with his solid production, where were they going? They were still not an elite team, and barely sniffing out a playoff spot. Bucks had to make a move, and Bogut was their best asset. Dealing him for a promising young big guy in Udoh, a veteran big in Brown, and an elite scorer in Monta Ellis isn't bad to get back for an injury prone Bogut. Bucks won this deal big time. I give it a solid B+.
Warriors: The Warriors were clearly eager to deal Monta Ellis and get rid of a guy who they felt was "hogging" the ball, and preventing the team from playing more unified. But here is the deal: Monta Ellis is an ELITE scorer in the NBA. That's right, I called Monta Ellis ELITE. Not many guys can create shots like Monta can, and the Bucks just got an elite level scorer. Not only that, but other parts of Monta's game such as his defense, and his ability to distribute the ball went underrated in Golden State. Everybody has viewed him as a poor man's Carmelo Anthony, but that is an unfair label on him. He played his butt off every night, and carried that team on his back every night. The Warriors right now don't have a guy that is comfortable doing that. So to recap, the Warriors dealt an ELITE level scorer, a very promising young Big Man in Ekpe Udoh, and a solid veteran big man in Kwame Brown for a top 5 Center in Bogut, and an aging small forward in Richard Jefferson. They traded Stephen Jackson to the Spurs for Richard Jefferson and retired TJ Ford (for cash purposes). They could have gotten a LOT more back than that. Orlando could have offered Jameer Nelson, Ryan Anderson, Jason Richardson, and possibly a JJ Reddick for just Monta Ellis. I guarantee the Magic would have made that deal, and that would have been a better deal. Or they could have dealt him to the Bulls for maybe Boozer and Noah, something along those lines. The point is, I'm not high on this trade on the Warriors end because they didn't get as much back as they could have gotten. Plus, Bogut is injury prone, and is currently out with a broken ankle. If Bogut plays, this trade may work out, but until he does, the Bucks are for sure the winners of this deal. I give this deal a C for this deal.
Memphis Grizzlies The Memphis Grizzlies dealt Sam Young to the Philadelphia 76ers for the rights to Ricky Sanchez a 6'11 Puerto Rican currently in the D-League and future considerations. Not a whole lot to really say about the Grizzlies other than maybe they were just making a spot for Gilbert Arenas? I give this move a C+ for the Grizz.
Philadelphia 76ers: Sixers give up Ricky Sanchez and future considerations to get Sam Young, a young SG out of Pittsburgh. Still in only his second year, the Sixers are getting a promising young SG to help add depth to their back court. I like the move because of Young's potential to end up being good down the road. I give this move a solid B for the Sixers.
Indiana Pacers: The Pacers made a quiet but good move at the trade deadline, by giving up a 2nd round pick to get G Leandro Barbosa from the Raptors. Good move for the Pacers because Barbosa can add some depth to their back court like Sam Young can for Philly, only Barbosa will actually help them out now. Barbosa is averaging a solid 12.2 points a game. I give this move an A by the Pacers because trading a 2nd rounder to get a guy of Barbosa's caliber is a steal.
Toronto Raptors: Giving up Barbosa for a 2nd round pick was stupid. Not because they need Barbosa, but because they could have gotten more for him. I give this trade deadline deal a C- for the Raps.
New Jersey Nets: They dealt F/C Mehmet Okur, F Shawne Williams, and a top 3 protected first round pick to the Blazers for Gerald Wallace. Not a bad move at all for the Nets if Gerald Wallace decides he wants to stay in Jersey. This gives Deron Williams more help and doesn't put all the burden squarely on his shoulders. Wallace is a good enough player that they should be able to convince Deron Williams to stay with this news. It's good enough to convince him to stay for sure. If he leaves, it'll be because he didn't like Jersey. But at any rate, I didn't think they gave up too much, and the Nets were one of the teams that had to make a move. They made a solid one, and so I'll give them a solid B on this move.
Portland Trail Blazers: On the flip side of this Nets/Blazers deal, the Blazers did get a protected first round pick that is only top 3 protected. So as long as the Nets don't get one of the top 3 picks, it's going to the Nets. The Blazers would be happy with a #4,5, or 6 pick. They need new blood to rebuild that team and revitalize it. Giving up Wallace was not a small price to pay for a draft pick (Okur and Williams were thrown in for good measure). But it may work out in their favor. One thing to keep in mind, the Blazers don't usually make smart drafting decisions. For the time being though, I give them a B-.
Los Angeles Lakers: Lakers dealt Luke Walton, Jason Kapono, and a lottery protected first round pick to the Cavaliers for Christian Eyenga, Ramon Sessions, and the right to swap picks with the Heats 2013 first round draft pick. Overall, I gotta say the Lakers made a good move on this end. Getting Sessions and only giving up Walton and Kapono is pretty good on their part. This addresses their need for a Point Guard and makes them a better team this season for sure. The head scratching move for them though was dealing Derek Fisher and a first round pick to the Rockets for F/C Jordan Hill who is only averaging 5 points a game. I know Sessions can probably do more than Fisher at this point, but giving up Fisher who was a vocal leader on your team is puzzling and a tad disturbing. Something tells me this will create more drama in LA in the ensuing months. But anyways, I really disliked this move for the Lakers. So combining the Sessions deal and the Fisher deal, I give the Lakers a B- overall. The Sessions deal is an A, but the Fisher deal is D, so I'll give more weight to the Sessions deal, and dock the Lakers down a little over a full letter grade.
Cleveland Cavaliers: Dealing Sessions and Eyenga for Walton, Kapono, and the Lakers first round pick? That was a dumb trade. Getting rid of Sessions is fine, since they got Kyrie Irving, but please don't tell me they couldn't have gotten more for Sessions! I give this move a C- because it was smart to deal Sessions, but not for what they got.
Houston Rockets: The Rockets deal Jordan Hill to the Lakers for Derek Fisher and a protected first rounder which the Lakers got from Dallas. But then they bought out Fisher's contract,so now he's free to go wherever he wants. I give this move a B- for the Rockets because of the draft pick. It wasn't like Hill is a budding star.
San Antonio Spurs: The Spurs move at the deadline was shipping out TJ Ford and Richard Jefferson to the Warriors for Stephen Jackson. TJ Ford had already retired, so in effect it was RJ for SJ. Stephen Jackson has played in San Antonio many moons ago, and is familiar with their system. He's a high energy guy that can come in and get hot. He's sort of an older version of J.R. Smith if you will. Richard Jefferson wasn't doing anything for them, and they did need to make a move. Bringing in Stephen Jackson could help spark their bench play and give them enough of a boost to maybe win the west. It's not a move that I think likely pushes them over the top, but it will provide their bench with even another lethal scoring weapon for Popovich to utilize. I give this deal a B- for the Spurs. Not the kind of move they were really in need of (adding a big man), but they did strengthen their bench. It does make them better for sure.
Denver Nuggets: The Denver Nuggets were involved in a 3 team deal with the Clippers and Wizards. What the Nuggets gave up was Nene to the Wizards but in exchange they got Ronny Turiaf (now with the Heat) and JaVale McGee. For the Nuggets, I liked this move. Nene is a nice player, and he's a really solid big guy. But they need something to get them excited for the future, and JaVale McGee has the potential to be even better than Nene, and he's younger. He's a long freakish athletic young man who can swat shots, and get up like few people can. He's basically a more athletic version of Jeremy Evans with better skills. The Nuggets definitely made a good decision here, and I gotta give them a B+ for this move. I'm not going higher than that just because McGee is still young and does have to mature emotionally. Otherwise this likely is an A move for them.
Washington Wizards: The Wizards sent Ronny Turiaf and JaVale McGee to the Nuggets, and also Nick Young to the Clippers. In exchange, they got Nene, Brian Cook, and a future 2nd round pick from the Clippers. Not a bad move for the Wizards either. They are a struggling team with not hardly any veteran leadership. Nene is a solid Center who is a very professional leader on and off the court. He's a real solid citizen. The Wizards need a voice of reason like that in their locker room, and Nene right now is a better Center than JaVale McGee. Giving up Nick Young hurts a bit, but getting Nene for them is worth it. Brian Cook is another big guy who can crash the boards for them and do some dirty work, and getting another draft pick could help them out in the future. But getting a veteran in the locker room who can start and help take some pressure of John Wall is huge. It was necessary for either JaVale McGee or Andray Blatche to get out of DC due to their attitudes. They chose to trade the guy who could give them more in return. I give this move an A-.
Los Angeles Clippers: They gave up a second round pick, and Brian Cook to the Wizards to get Nick Young. The Clippers clearly won this trade in which all teams benefited. They get rid of Cook who was warming his seat on the bench because Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan were getting more minutes in front of him in the front court, and a second round pick to nab a young and talented shooting guard who can fill the role that Chauncey Billups had. Young averages 16 points a game this season, and will clearly give the Clippers offense a much needed Boost. He's not Billups, but not a bad replacement to pick up in a trade. Especially for not giving up hardly anything. The Clippers are the only team involved in this deal with a real shot at winning their conference this season. This trade enables them to now threaten to do that, and so I gotta give this deal an A+ on the Clippers end.