DeJuan Blair

NBA Trade Deadline Winners/Losers: Detroit should celebrate, Houston not so much

6 Comments

Let’s be up front: Picking winners and losers immediately after a trade is a bit of Roulette. We know what we think will happen based on history with these players and organizations, but things change and we all miss on these (fans, media, and GMs).

Second, there are disagreements on what is a good or bad move. For example, from our PBT Podcast breaking down the trade deadline, I kind of like the Clippers getting Jeff Green in a “let’s make a run at this with our core, and he improves a weak spot” kind of way. (Not that it’s enough to vault them near the top of the West.) Green is a clear upgrade from Lance Stephenson, but Dan Feldman (and most media) panned the move because L.A. gave up a lottery-protected 2019 first round pick to the Grizzlies for Green, they see the price as too high. 

I don’t think there were huge gains or huge falls this time around. All that said, here are my winners and losers from Thursday’s trade deadline.

Winner: Detroit Pistons. This goes back to the Tobias Harris trade a couple of days ago and extends through them getting Donatas Motiejunas and Marcus Thornton this deadline — the Pistons look like a dangerous team on the rise. They already had their core of Andre Drummond in the paint and Reggie Jackson at the point (a pair with good pick-and-roll chemistry), now they have Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Harris, Stanley Johnson, and Thorton on the wing, plus Motiejunas is a great fit when healthy. The core of this team is all in their early 20s. This team may make the playoffs this year, but under Stan Van Gundy they are set up to be very good in a couple of years now. What they gave up to get all this was nothing much, Brandon Jennings was the biggest name and he was leaving as a free agent this summer.

Loser: Houston Rockets. They desperately wanted to unload Dwight Howard. They desperately wanted to unload Ty Lawson. It’s going to be an awkward reunion when those two walk back into the locker room after not being traded by the organization at the deadline — two guys who very well could walk away from the Rockets this summer for nothing. J.B. Bickerstaff called the team “broken” before the All-Star break, after this deadline what are they now? It’s not a huge loss in that they didn’t make a panic move, but Daryl Morey assembled a disappointing team with terrible chemistry and his efforts to fix it at the deadline fell flat.

Winner: Phoenix Suns. They have been shopping the disgruntled and slumping Markieff Morris all season, but his attitude and play had teams saying earlier this season the Suns would need to throw a sweetener in the deal. Nobody wanted him, and throwing towels at his coach and on-the-bench incidents with teammates were not helping matters. But the Suns showcased Morris in recent weeks and he played much better, and that was enough to get the Wizards to roll the dice and trade for Morris. I get this deal for the Wizards — they needed more athleticism up front and a guy who could play better with John Wall, and Morris is all that. But the Suns scored on what they got in return — a top-nine protected pick in the 2016 draft (the Wizards currently would draft 12th), Kris Humphries and DeJuan Blair. The Suns are expected to waive Blair. Humphries is serviceable and they can keep him next season at a very fair $4.6 million, or cut him loose for a minimum buyout — with him and Blair gone the Suns add $7.4 million in cap space next season. That’s a great haul for a player the Suns wanted to dump for a rack of shoot around basketballs just to get him out the door.

Loser: New Orleans. Ryan Anderson is going to leave the Pelicans this summer as a free agent. The Pelicans are not going to make the playoffs and need Anderson. The Pelicans phone lines were flooded with offers for Anderson — some of them lowball offers no doubt, we don’t know exactly what was on the table. But the Pelicans thought about moving him last trade deadline, then again this summer, and now this trade deadline (at a discount, because of the pending free agency and his play taking a step back), and at the end of the day Anderson is still a Pelican. And he will walk for nothing. This was a chance to help start reworking the roster around Anthony Davis, and it did not happen.

Winner: Golden State Warriors. The balance of power in the NBA did not change — nobody made a trade that made you say “that team just became a serious contender.” The Spurs didn’t move at the deadline (they rarely do). The Thunder added Randy Foye, but he’s not better than some of the shooting guards they have on the roster already. Channing Frye gives the Cavaliers some versatility and is a nice pickup, but he replicates some of Kevin Love‘s job and doesn’t do it as well. The Clippers added Jeff Green and he’s an upgrade over Lance Stephenson, but he’s not putting the Clippers over the top. Honestly, there may not have been a trade out there that struck fear in the hearts of the Warriors (or even made them double take), but nobody made a move that should prevent parade planning in June in Oakland.

Loser: Toronto Raptors. The Cavaliers are not invincible. The Raptors are the clear second best team in the East, but with a glaring hole at the four where Luis Scola starts and Patrick Patterson comes off the bench. Make a key upgrade at the four and the Raptors are the team with a real shot to push Cleveland come May. It wasn’t for lack of effort — Raptors GM Masai Ujiri was on the phone trying to get in on Al Horford, Ryan Anderson, Taj Gibson, P.J. Tucker and everyone else that’s an available power forward. The Raptors were offering some combination of a first-round pick (the lesser of the Knicks or Nuggets this June) and Patrick Patterson, but they could hot get a deal done. This is not a huge loss — there was no panic move that sets the franchise back. But the Raptors didn’t seize the day, either. They may well come to regret that. Hopefully what they’ve got can get them out of the first round of the playoffs, and maybe the second. That will at least appease frustrated Raptors fans, who wanted to see a deadline move.

Report: Suns trade Markieff Morris to Wizards for two players, first-round pick

Associated Press
9 Comments

The Washington Wizards — 23-28 and three games out of the final playoff spot in the East, a hugely disappointing season — needed to roll the dice at the trade deadline. They needed to try to land someone who could be a good fit next to John Wall.

They did — the Suns’ Markieff Morris.

But they gave up a lot to get him. Adrain Wojnarowski of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports broke the story.

That pick is only top nine protected.

This is a real gamble for the Wizards, but one they were pressured to take because of their terrible season. Morris is athletic and can play the small ball four, but his play this season made other teams hesitant. His scoring is down — 11.6 points and 5.2 rebounds a game — and he’s shooting less than 40 percent. Plus he has argued with Suns coaches and players, and thrown a towel at Jeff Hornacek, all this after last summer being fined for saying he wanted a trade. Then there are the pending criminal charges against him that could lead to more time away from the team. This is a gamble by the Wizards, but Morris is talented and if he fits in they’re improved.

Phoenix had wanted to move Morris since training camp, but his attitude and them lackluster play made other teams hesitant. By being patient the Suns got a real haul — they likely get the Wizards’ pick this June, Kris Humphries is a serviceable big man on a good contract ($4.6 million next season), and they get DeJuan Blair. The Suns were rewarded for being patient with Morris.

Follow Live: Latest NBA trades, rumors all in one place as deadline nears

Getty Images
3 Comments

The NBA’s trade deadline is at 3 p.m. ET on Thursday (Feb. 18), and that means a tsunami of rumors will wash over twitter. And in that maybe a few trades will happen (maybe more than a few trades, who knows?). We understand you’re a busy person with a life and a job/school to tend to and don’t have time just to sit around and follow trade rumors all day (well, unless you go to Arizona State). So we’ve compiled them all in one place, which will be updated as news breaks, and we will link to PBT’s longer stories on some of this news.

• 3:21 PM ET: There was a good one that just beat the trade deadline: The Clippers have traded Lance Stephenson to the Memphis Grizzlies for Jeff Green, a trade broken by Zach Lowe and Marc Stein of ESPN. I like this trade for the Clippers in that Green is erratic but that’s better than Stephenson, who had fallen out of Rivers’ rotation. This is an upgrade for the Clippers (does not vault them to contender, but an upgrade), but it came at a price. The Grizzlies take on the enigmatic Stephenson — who also has moments of strong play — plus they get a protected first-round pick from the Clippers (heavily protected 2019 first round pick). That’s a good haul for the Grizzlies.

• 3:10 PM ET:  We have one of those late trades — Kirk Hinrich is going from Chicago to Atlanta for a second round pick.

• 3:02 PM ET: The big names did not move: Dwight Howard is still with the Rockets, who were also unable to move Ty Lawson. Ryan Anderson is still with the Pelicans. Al Horford and Jeff Teague are still Rockets.

• 3:00 PM ET: The trade deadline has passed, although a few deals will still trickle in (they don’t get announced immediately).

• 2:44 PM ET: The Phoenix Suns have traded disgruntled power forward Markieff Morris to the Washington Wizards, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports. The Wizards want to get more athletic and add shooting to play better off John Wall, and good Morris does that. However disgruntled Morris is not a help, the Wizards are rolling the dice. But after a 23-28 start that has them three games out of the playoffs, they need to roll the dice. Phoenix got a good haul back: The serviceable Kris Humphries, DeJuan Blair, and a protected 2016 first round pick (protected top nine).

• 2:29 PM ET: If you’re looking for a deal that does go down in the final half-hour, keep an eye on Ben McLemore out of Sacramento. They want to make a roster upgrade and a playoff push and he is their best asset to dangle. The Bulls were in the mix among other, but Chris Haynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer says Dallas has moved into the discussions for McLemore.

• 2:22 PM ET: We have another minor deal, the Miami Heat have traded Brian Roberts to the Portland Trail Blazers for a second round pick. Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports broke the news. Why did the teams do this? For Miami, this move (combined with others earlier in the day) gets them below the luxury tax line, saving $6 million. For Portland, they had a lot of cap space, now they are up to the salary floor, and in getting there they stockpiled picks. Neil Olshey in Portland remains one of the smartest GMs out there.

• 2:18 PM ET: Things have gotten quiet on the trade front, and part of the reason is a lot of executives are on their way to Oklahoma City for the memorial for Monty Williams’ beloved wife, Ramona Shelburne notes. Which is far more important.

• 2:10 PM ET: If there was one thing I was certain would happen at the deadline, it was Toronto getting an upgrade at the power forward spot (sorry Luis Scola). Nothing yet. They are offering the Knicks’ first round pick this season (which is the worse pick of the Nuggets or Knicks) and Patrick Patterson. That’s not a bad package, but nobody’s biting, according to Ken Berger at CBSSports.com.

• 1:56 PM ET: With just more than an hour to go until the trade deadline, a lot of deals seem to be falling apart. The Knicks had talked to the Timberwolves about Kevin Martin but that deal collapsed, reports Marc Stein of ESPN. Also, Minnesota and Milwaukee resumed Ricky Rubio trade talks, but nothing has come of them, reports Stein.

• 1:51 PM ET: With Channing Frye going to Cleveland, that is one less suitor for Ryan Anderson in New Orleans. With a good chance they lose him in free agency most expected the Pelicans to deal Anderson, but he could be around through the end of the season in the Big Easy.

• 1:45 PM ET: Randy Foye to Oklahoma City is a done deal, and now we have the details. Denver will get point guard D.J. Augustin, Steve Novak and two second-round picks. The Nuggets will try to flip Novak before the deadline.

• 1:40 PM ET: As had been rumored for a while, the Atlanta Hawks have shut down talks on Jeff Teague. They are going to stand pat with Teague and Al Horford, try to re-sign Horford this summer and re-consider trading one of their key point guards during the summer.

• 12:58 PM ET: Oklahoma City may be getting some help at the two guard that they desperately need. The Thuder are in “advanced talks” with Denver for Randy Foye. That would be a solid upgrade for OKC, considering Dion Waiters and Andre Roberson get the minutes now.

• 12:55 PM ET: Looking for a little point guard depth, the Chicago Bulls are talking to the Orlando about a trade for Shabazz Napier. This would be a pretty minor deal. Adrian Wojnarowski had the news.

• 12:50 PM ET: The Cleveland Cavaliers are acquiring Channing Frye from Orlando in a three-team deal that will ultimately send long-time Cav big man Anderson Varejao to Portland. Sam Amick of the USA Today broke the story. A lot of details still to follow in this one — Portland is going to have to get a heck of a sweetener to use their free cap space on Varejao — but the details are still coming. Remember the Clippers were in the front of the line for Channing Frye, but decided today to pull out of the deal (that could mean Lance Stephenson is headed elsewhere, although the buzz is the Clippers stand pat).

• 12:30 PM ET: The deal is done — Donatas Motiejunas and Marcus Thornton are headed to Detroit, in exchange the Rockets get little used (and with back issues) Joel Anthony and a protected 2016 first round pick. Adrian Wojnarowski broke the news. I like that move for Detroit, Stan Van Gundy has had a fantastic trade deadline. The Rockets free up salary cap space — they are now $1.2 million below the hard cap they brought on themselves — and have a roster spot, plus get a pick (it is top eight protected, which makes it highly unlikely the Pistons pick does not go to the Rockets this June).

• 12:16 PM ET: The Pistons have proposed a Joel Anthony for Donatas Motiejunas trade with the Rockets, according to Marc Stein of ESPN. No way the Rockets do that straight up, so there are going to have to be other picks/players to sweeten the deal. The Pistons have coveted Motiejunas for a while, he is the kind of stretch four needed next to Andre Drummond in Stan Van Gundy’s system.

• 12:12 PM ET: A number of teams are calling the Nuggets about solid veteran guard Randy Foye, the Nuggets are listening but may not move him (unless they get an offer they genuinely like).

• 12:05 PM ET: We have a trade! Not a big one, not a thrilling one, but a trade. The Miami Heat have moved Jarnell Stokes to the New Orleans Pelicans, something first reported by Zach Lowe of ESPN. Stokes, a 6’9 power forward/center, has bounced between Memphis and Miami this season and has played a total of 18 minutes for these teams. He’s not a game-changer for the Pelicans, who also are getting $700,000 in cash in this trade. Why do the Heat do it? Because it saves them nearly $3 million in luxury tax.

• 11:50 ET: The Jazz still would like an upgrade or some depth at the point, now that they are out of the Lawson talks (see the next note below), so they are looking at other options. One of them as a fallback is Shelvin Mack, the rarely used third point guard of the Atlanta Hawks.

• 11:28 ET: The Rockets trading Ty Lawson to the Jazz deal appears to be DOA, according to Adrian Wojnarowski. The Jazz were hesitant from the start about Lawson, will look for another point guard to bring in, Trey Burke is still on the trade block. Houston is having trouble finding takers for Lawson or Dwight Howard, even at reduced prices. Also, the Rockets do not plan to buy Lawson out.

• 11:25 ET: Atlanta tested the trade market for current All-Star Al Horford and former All-Star Jeff Teague, but the asking price was ridiculously high, as percieved by other teams. The Hawks never backed off much from that asking price (particularly for Horford). Now as the deadline nears, the Hawks are telling teams no deal, they are keeping the team together. The Hawks want to re-sign Horford this summer and stand a good chance of landing him.

• 11:12 ET: And already teams are calling brand new Nets GM Sean Marks to see if he wants to move Thaddeus Young, according to Adrian Wojnarowski. Not a shock, the Raptors and a few other teams are interested in Young.

• 11:01 ET: The Kevin Love to Boston in three-way trade that includes Ryan Anderson to Cleveland idea is not totally dead yet. It may take Miracle Max to save it, the Cavs are very hesitant to move Love as they are in a win-now place and need an upgrade, not a lateral move (and Anderson is not an upgrade, there needs to be more) but the talks are not dead.

• 10:24 ET: Interesting note on the Ty Lawson to Utah rumors via the well-connected Steve Kyler of BasketballInsiders.com: When Lawson dropped the guarantee on the final year of his contract to facilitate his trade to Houston, there was a gentlemen’s agreement that the Rockets would let Lawson become a free agent regardless of how he plays. Utah is not bound by that and if Lawson plays well for them may want to keep him for that next season. Lawson would like the cash that comes with free agency. It may not change the deal, but it’s an interesting wrinkle. Basically, Utah doesn’t want Lawson unless Lawson wants to be there, and in the past Lawson has publicly slammed Utah as “boring.”

• 10:20 ET: The Brooklyn Nets have hired Sean Marks away from the San Antonio front office to be their General Manager. Yes, the guy owner Mikhail Prokhorov said he didn’t know less than 24 hours ago. The Nets had to back up the Brinks truck, but they got their man. Marks could be a fantastic GM in Brooklyn — if Prokhorov and company give him space and let him do his job. This is not going to be quick rebuild, can the Russians be patient?

• 10:07 ET: Boston wants to add a true No. 1 option to their rotation, but they are not giving up their numerous assets for rentals of free agents to be Dwight Howard or Al Horford (according to Adrian Wojnarowski). The issue with Howard is about re-signing him — who wants to pay him a max over multiple years? — and with Horford the Hawks have not backed off requests for the moon.

• 10:02 ET: The Phoenix Suns are considering trading Mirza Teletovic to the Milwaukee Bucks.

• 10:00 ET: The Suns and Toronto are still talking about a potential P.J. Tucker trade. Expect the Raptors to make some kind of move today to bring in an upgrade at the power forward spot, Luis Scola isn’t cutting it. The Suns would like the Raptors to take Markieff Morris, the Raptors have no interest in him. Phoenix continues to shop Morris.

• RUMORS, TRADES LEADING INTO DEADLINE DAY

• The Sacramento Kings have made a strong push to land Pau Gasol in a trade with Chicago (because Kings’ owner Vivek Ranadive wants to make the playoffs this year, and his constant meddling has always helped with that… oh, wait). The proposal on the table is Gasol and Tony Snell Sacramento for Kosta Koufos, Ben McLemore and a lessening of restrictions on a pick the Sixers owe the Bulls for the 2016 draft. For his part, Gasol wants to stay with the Bulls. The Kings also fired an assistant coach and close confidant of George Karl’s on Wednesday.

The Cleveland Cavaliers would like a stretch four, are talking to New Orleans about Ryan Anderson and Orlando about Channing Frye.

The Rockets and Jazz are in serious talks about a deal that would send struggling point guard Ty Lawson to Utah. Because Lawson’s contract is unguaranteed for next season, this is a low-risk gamble for the Jazz, who would send Trey Burke back as the centerpiece.

• The Bucks are not trading Greg Monroe. Michael Carter-Williams, on the other hand, still may be available (even though he’s been told he’s not being moved).

• Doc Rivers said the Clippers are not trading Blake Griffin. (At least not at the deadline, but that could be revisited this summer. The Clippers certainly listened to offers to gauge Griffin’s value in the marketplace.)

• Memphis sent Courtney Lee to the Charlotte Hornets in a three-team deal that also included the Miami Heat.

• Detroit acquired Tobias Harris in a trade that sent Brandon Jennings and Ersan Ilyasova to Orlando. I love this move long-term for the Pistons, and it is a good deal for Orlando as well if Scott Skiles has moved on from Harris.

James, Irving lead Cavaliers to 5th straight victory

4 Comments

WASHINGTON (AP) LeBron James scored 34 points, Kyrie Irving took over in the fourth quarter and the Cleveland Cavaliers survived a second-half charge to beat the injury-ravaged Washington Wizards 121-115 on Wednesday night for their fifth straight victory.

Irving scored 21 of his 32 points in the fourth quarter of just his seventh game of the season, including a run of 10 straight that put the game away.

James had 10 rebounds, and J.R. Smith added 25 points for Cleveland.

Garrett Temple led the Wizards with 21 points, and John Wall had 20. Playing without Kris Humphries, DeJuan Blair and Drew Gooden, Washington lost its second straight game.

The Wizards got off to a strong start with one of their best first quarters in recent weeks as James missed some of his early looks. When Wall poked the ball away from Irving and sprung Dudley for an uncontested dunk midway through the first, Cleveland coach David Blatt called timeout with his team trailing 13-8.

Washington led going into the second and was up 35-28 when Ramon Sessions hit a 3-pointer. A few minutes later, Smith tied it for the first time at 35 and then made another 3-pointer to give the Cavs their first lead at 40-37.

Those baskets were part of a 13-2 run that ended with a technical foul on Wizards coach Randy Wittman for arguing with the referees. When James turned up the pressure and took over the game, the Cavaliers extended their lead to 12 by halftime.

James found his long-range stroke early in the second half, connecting on 3-pointers on four of five possessions. The Cavaliers led by as many as 18 during a dominant stretch.

When James dunked through traffic to make it 80-67, it looked like a statement of just how much Cleveland controlled the game.

Instead, the Wizards roared back. A layup and free throw by Otto Porter Jr. cut the Cavaliers’ lead to five with 2:05 left in the third quarter.

Washington had a chance to tie it with the third-quarter clock running out, Kevin Love stole the ball from Wall and Smith hit a buzzer-beating 3 to give the Cavs some breathing room.

It didn’t turn out to be too much, though, as the Wizards tied it at 95 early in the fourth quarter on a layup by Sessions. A turnover by Irving led to that basket.

As bad as Irving looked on that one play, he made up for it several times over in the minutes following. He scored 10 straight points while the Wizards were held off the board to make it 105-95 Cleveland.

SPARE THE BOWLING

When the Cavaliers embarked on a long trip last season, players went bowling to try to shake off a six-game skid. Blatt didn’t have plans for anything like that as his team opened a six-game road swing.

“Sometimes desperation leads to wondrous thinking,” Blatt said. “And I think that was an example of that.”

TIP-INS

Cavaliers: Cleveland played its fourth game of the season with a starting lineup of James, Love, Tristan Thompson, Smith and Irving and improved to 4-0 with it. … Thompson, who Wittman called a “beast on the boards,” finished with just three rebounds.

Wizards: Nene returned from a 19-game absence with a strained left calf and Gary Neal was back in the lineup after missing five games with a strained right quadriceps muscle. … The crowd of 20,356 was the fifth sellout of the season at Verizon Center.

UP NEXT

Cavaliers: At Minnesota on Friday night.

Wizards: Host Toronto on Friday night.

Bosh has 23, leads Heat over Wizards 97-75

1 Comment

WASHINGTON (AP) Chris Bosh scored 23 points, Goran Dragic had 18 and the Miami Heat dominated the undermanned Washington Wizards in a 97-75 victory on Sunday night.

With just nine healthy players, Washington was outscored in the second quarter 25-7. The Wizards missed 20 of their 22 field goal attempts as the Heat took a 50-31 halftime lead.

John Wall, who led Washington with 14 points, hit just six of his 21 field goal attempts.

The Wizards shot just 34.1 percent and their 75 points were a season low. Miami allowed its fewest points of the season.

The Heat increased their lead to 80-53 early in the fourth quarter when Bosh made three straight field goals – including a 3-pointer.

Hassan Whiteside had 13 rebounds and had six of Miami’s 11 blocked shots.

NEW HEAT

Miami has six players averaging double figures. It’s something new and welcome for coach Erik Spoelstra. “That’s not necessarily like a Miami Heat team we’ve had. It’s different, and I like that,” Spoelstra said.

EAST IS BEST?

Washington coach Randy Wittman isn’t surprised that 10 of the Eastern Conference’s teams are over .500. Just six of 15 teams in the West are better than .500. “If you’re around long enough you see everything. It comes full circle,” Wittman said. “There was a time, believe it or not, when the East was better than the West.”

TIP-INS

Heat: F Josh McRoberts missed his 12th game with a bruised right knee. … Spoelstra said that rookie F Josh Richardson, who spent two games recently with the D-League’s Sioux Skyforce, may be given more time there when the Heat begins its six-game road trip on Friday.

Wizards: F Drew Gooden, who reinjured his strained right calf in his first game back on Friday after not playing since Nov. 17, was out. Wittman said Gooden’s injury wasn’t as serious as his first one. … Were also without G Bradley Beal (leg) C-F DeJuan Blair (knee), G Gary Neal (quad), and F Nene (calf). … Washington’s seven second-quarter points were one more than their season low. They scored six in the fourth quarter at Charlotte on Nov. 25. The Wizards’ 31 first half points were a low for any half this season.

UP NEXT

Heat: Host the Indiana Pacers on Monday

Wizards: Host the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday