Trade Deadline Recap
There were no blockbuster deals, but several playoff contenders made moves to improve for the stretch run. The Charlotte Bobcats, currently hanging on to a seven-seed, picked up some outside shooting by trading Ramon Sessions and Jeff Adrien for Gary Neal and Luke Ridnour. Their bottom-10 offense could certainly use a boost. Elsewhere, the Jan Vesely era came to end in Washington, as the Wizards shipped him and Eric Maynor out in a three team trade. They received Andre Miller, who should help stabilize an offense that falls apart whenever John Wall sits.
At the top of the standings, Indiana traded Danny Granger to the Sixers for Evan Turner and Lavoy Allen. While Turner hasn’t been a very efficient scorer this season, the Pacers could be a great opportunity for him to revitalize his career while facing opposing backups, and Indiana’s bench units could use his scoring. None of the other contenders made major additions; the Clippers shed some salary in Byron Mullens and Antawn Jamison, freeing them to (reportedly) sign the recently bought out Glen Davis. The Heat also opened up a roster spot by trading Roger Mason, Jr. for a conditional second rounder, and they’ll now wait to see if another useful player becomes a free agent.
Around the League
The Atlanta Hawks had been a great story of resilience this season, managing to stay above .500 despite losing Al Horford late last year, but an eight game losing streak in February has dropped them to the eighth seed. The good news is none of the teams behind them seem able to take advantage, as Detroit is 2-4 since firing head coach Maurice Cheeks, while the Knicks are in free fall and couldn’t get anything done at the deadline. Cleveland’s recent 6-game winning streak has put them back in the conversation, but the schedule gets tougher over the next few weeks.
Things have mostly held steady in the West. Dallas has stayed hot, and now holds a two game lead over Memphis for the final playoff spot. Golden State has started to come on a bit, winning 7 of their last 10, including a win against Houston and nearly beating Miami. The aforementioned Houston has been the NBA’s hottest team, as they’ve gone 7-1 in February to pull ahead of both the Clippers and Trailblazers and grab the three seed; their road matchup with the Clippers on Wednesday is huge, as they’re already 0-2 against Los Angeles.
In other news, Jason Collins became the NBA’s first openly gay player when he entered the game for the Nets against the Lakers Sunday night. He doesn’t offer anything more than defensive depth at this point in his career, his appearance remains a major milestone in the history of gay athletes. Congratulations to him, and here’s hoping he gets to add a playoff appearance to his resume in April.