As the dust settles on a strong but not spectacular trade deadline, we saw a few bodies fly from team to team like the true assets that they are. We won't be recapping all the moves today on this article - we will leave that up to the GSoM main page and the Deadline Open Thread to do so.
We here at Around the NBA want to start looking at the impact ts of these moves on the playoff race. Who got better? Who got worse? A few western threats to the Warriors went and made incremental moves to improve their roster, in many ways directly aiming at weaknesses Golden State has exploited in them in the past. Who becomes the Warrior's biggest threat after the improvements?
(Editor's note: this article was written at 5 p.m. EST, meaning if any last minute moves go through, we will be adjusting as we go)
We start out west, where the potential deals out there in trade chatter still stand to move the playoff race more than the moves that did get done. Dwight Howard has not left Houston, but Houston did give up on D' Mo' and Marcus Thornton in what looks like a salary dump. Utah seemed to be ready to flip Trey Burke for Ty Lawson, but the deal looks like it has fallen through.
Who made the biggest splashes?
- The Clippers - they finally got the small forward they never had but thought they did in Lance Stephenson. They flipped Lance for Jeff Green, a player that many would consider better on paper than on the court. Green does give them a perimeter starter who can cover athletic threes (like Harrison Barnes). Green's issue? He can't shoot the three, he doesn't pass, and the advanced stats say he's actually a negative on the defensive end. So... good job Doc! But I guess that's the best you can get for good ol' Lance, and you have to take it. Green will immediately become the primary behind Paul Pierce and whomever is filing in for Blake Griffin. The Clippers are 4.5 games behind the Thunder for the 4th spot and their biggest move of the day might be the one they didn't do in trading Griffin away.
- OKC - They moved Steve Novak and D.J. Augustine... basically a bunch of bench parts for a better bench part in Randy Foye. Foye seems to always have good shooting games against the Warriors, but doesn't shoot well against anyone else. He has a horrible PER and a horrible BPM, but his upside is that he is not a backup rookie like the Thunder had before Foye in Cameron Payne (who still needs time to mature). The Thunder are falling behind the Spurs for the 3rd spot, and seem to be doing more to solidify their roster than to take the leap. They seem to be on a course to face the Mavs in the first round, which shouldn't be as close as people would hope it will be.
- Portland/Utah - Both teams find themselves tied for the eighth spot in the West, also known as "the Warriors warm up spot". It could be argued that acquiring Anderson Varejao could be an upgrade for Portland, except Anderson hasn't exactly been impactful in a few years. I believe Utah missed the boat here in upgrading their wing position, and will count on a healthy roster more than an upgrade to push them in the playoffs. I think Portland will naturally fade and take their spot in the lottery, choosing to be a salary dumping ground for assets rather than true upgrades.
Other moves of note: Courtney Lee moving on from the Grizzlies is a sign Memphis knows this is a lost year. They will collect up assets, lose in the first round and aim for a Gasol frontline next season. They took fliers on Mike Conley, who will now be a prime sign-and-trade candidate for them.
The East had a few more movers and shakers than the West did, seeing some talent come over to it's playoff contenders. Since the race here is more wide open, it make more sense that fringe teams can still push to get in the playoffs. With Toronto not making a move to improve, they become even more exposed to keep their first half success up. Remember - last year Toronto faded down the stretch before fizzling out in the playoffs. Can they avoid this again this year?
Who made the biggest splashes?
- The Cavs - Picked up Channing Frye, who is basically a less skilled Mo Speights. Sure, Warriors fans dreamed of him on the PnR with our second unit. But in the end, Frye was too expensive, The question is where will he get his minutes? They didn't trade Love, they didn't trade Mozgov. Where will he fit in his minutes? He requires a good point guard to be effective, and I believe they are thinking his minutes along with Delly will extend out the starters (could he start over Mozgov? No way...). Should be interesting for Lue to balance the PT as the year winds down.
- Atlanta - For doing nothing. Which is a good thing. This team has talent, but has simply had age and a long season to catch up with them. They should realize that Horford, Teague and crew can still beat a first round opponent like the Heat or Pacers.
- The Hornets/Pistons - Charlotte upgraded their backcourt with the consistently solid Courtney Lee coming over. Did they make as much of a splash as the Pistons did, as Detroit picked up both Tobias Harris and D' Mo' from the Rockets? Detroit flipped all its assets (including a 2016 first rounder) to put bodies around Andre Drummond in a great move. Having scorers and dynamic talents to help Reggie Jackson and crew should help propel them past the Hornets into the playoff race. Who serves to lose here? I believe the Pacers will be passed up once the Bulls get healthy and these two contenders get right. Sorry Indiana - you should have upgraded at the deadline!
Other notable deals: The Suns finally said goodbye to Markieff Morris, sending him to Washington. What a great deal for the Wiz, but should have more impact next year than this year. They are three games out of the final spot in the East, but have to be better than the Pistons, who simply have more consistent talent.
Most importantly: How does this affect the Warriors?
Not many deals that happened on this deadline Thursday affect the Warriors very much. Bob Myers and crew are happy with their own roster, leaving them to stand pat instead of flipping future assets for accessories. Why add salary when they are set to pay Barnes and Ezeli in the offseason? This lead to them standing pat on the sidelines while contenders like the Clippers made small jumps. I don't picture Jeff Green making a huge impact in a playoff series against the Warriors, so I would call this deadline a dud. And in the end, since the Warriors still find themselves at the top of the league, I would say that's just fine by me...