Wheelin' and Dealin'
The 2011 NBA draft was full of excitement and intrigue. It featured some quality player selections, but the trades that occurred should impact the upcoming NBA season more than any rookie possibly could. I will break down each deal in order to see who won or lost, why the deal was made and the effect the newly acquired players should have on their new teams.
• Bobcats receive: No. 7 overall pick Bismack Biyombo (from Sacramento) and Corey Maggette (from Milwaukee)
These three teams all struggled mightily last season which directly resulted in each of them receiving picks in the top 10 of the draft. This deal was necessary for each of them for their long and short term prosperity.
The Milwaukee Bucks are the clear winners of this deal because they were able to unload two monster contracts, which they were foolish to give out last summer, in Maggette and Salmons. In addition they acquired a proven scorer in Stephen Jackson, whose production should outweigh that of either player they gave up. They also received skilled veteran Beno Udrih, to serve as a top notch backup to point guard Brandon Jennings; guard Shaun Livingston who revitalized his career last season in Charlotte after missing the entire 2009 season due to a horrific knee injury while playing for the Los Angeles Clippers; and athletic big man Tobias Harris out of the University of Tennessee who should be a strong option off the bench this season and a potential starter at power forward in the future.
The Charlotte Bobcats also made out well in this trade, jump-starting their rebuilding process by unloading the unhappy Jackson and acquiring the 7 th overall pick. That pick became Bismack Biyombo, a very athletic 18 year old from the Congo who may have the most upside of anyone in the draft. His offensive game needs a great deal of work but his defense is nothing short of outstanding, leading scouts to compare him to Ben Wallace. Along with Kemba Walker, the 9 th overall pick, Charlotte has two cornerstones to build around now in place. The Bobcats also acquired Corey Maggette, who will give the team a proven scorer to take the place of Jackson in the short term. Hopefully a change of scenery will allow Maggette to return to his career average of 16 points per game after a down year last season in Milwaukee.
Finally, the Sacramento Kings, who were criticized for making this move, actually came out quite well in light of their financial struggles and need of a box office draw to help improve ticket sales. The Kings got a solid small forward and former King in John Salmons, who gives the team another veteran scorer alongside Tyreke Evans. They moved down three slots in the draft but acquired the most popular player in all of college basketball last season, Jimmer Fredette. Not only does his selection give them a perfect sidekick for Evans, but it peeks interest in a team that may be in their final year of playing in Sacramento. His addition should bring fans out to support the young team, which now has a terrific core to build around in Tyreke, DeMarcus Cousins and Jimmer.
• Rockets get: Jonny Flynn; the draft rights to Donatas Motiejunas (No. 20 overall pick) and Chandler Parsons (reacquisition via the No. 38 overall pick)
This three team deal was something the Timberwolves had been searching for ever since 20-year old point guard Ricky Rubio announced he would sign with the team. Minnesota unloaded Flynn, the former number 6 pick overall, in order to clear the logjam at point guard which includes Rubio and veteran Luke Ridinour as well as shed cap space for them to use on the second overall pick, Derrick Williams. The Timberwolves gained other valuable assets, including a veteran player and teacher for Kevin Love in center Brad Miller, a 2013 first -round pick and rookie guard Norris Cole, who was traded later to the Miami Heat.
The Rockets are the clear winners of the deal, getting Flynn, a potential long term starter alongside Kevin Martin, for basically nothing, as well as rookie Donatas Motiejunas, who could eventually start at center, a need since it is unclear what the future holds for Yao Ming. Both players are extremely talented and should be a big part of the team's long term goals.
The Bulls acquired Nikola Mirotic, a 6'10”, 20 year old power forward who will probably stay overseas this year. However, he could be a great replacement for Carlos Boozer down the line if all goes well.
• Blazers receive: Raymond Felton (from Denver) and the draft rights to the No. 57 overall pick (from Dallas)
As a diehard Dallas Maverick and Texas Longhorn fan, this trade intrigued me the most. I think each team benefitted greatly from this deal by acquiring players that will help them in the short and long term.
The Mavericks get a key piece for next season's title defense and beyond in shooting guard Rudy Fernandez, a 6'6” lightning fast sharp shooter who plays strong defense. Jordan Hamilton, the player the team took at 26th overall has potential, but Rudy is a proven commodity who could potentially start alongside Jason Kidd in the backcourt next season and gives the team a player to replace free agents Peja Stojakovic and DeShawn Stevenson thanks to his well rounded game. The team also received the rights to former first rounder Petteri Koponen, a Finnish point guard currently playing oversees.
The Blazers cut costs by getting rid of Andre Miller and Rudy Fernandez, but acquired a point guard better suited to their up-tempo style of play in point guard Raymond Felton. He proved last season that he has the ability to lead a team and will give Portland a quicker and cheaper floor general than Miller,
who is very near to the end of his career.
The Nuggets hit a home run will this deal. They not only re-acquired veteran Andre Miller to mentor up and coming Ty Lawson, but got Jordan Hamilton, a player who was projected to go in the lottery. This deal makes them stronger in the short term and gives them a top notch player to develop for the future, maybe even becoming the player to replace Carmelo Anthony.
• Pacers get: George Hill and 2005 second-round pick Erazem Lorbek
This deal surprised me greatly, but both teams came out as winners.
Coming in to the draft, there was a lot of talk about the Spurs attempting to deal Tony Parker and handing the reigns over to George Hill, who showed a lot of promise last season. However, the team decided instead to deal the affordable Hill in order to acquire Kawhi Leonard, a 6'7" defensive specialist and stud rebounder, who led San Diego State to a 34-3 record last season. The Spurs then used their first-round pick on University of Texas guard Corey Joseph, who should be Hill's replacement. Both teams filled areas of need, with the Pacers getting a top notch guard instead of another wing player, of which they have plenty. The Spurs, on the other hand, needed a young wing player with Manu Ginoboli and Richard Jefferson getting older. The other players involved, Erazem Lorbek and David Bertrans, should have little impact on the upcoming season or in the future if they do eventually decide to come to the NBA.
• Nets receive: Rights to Marshon Brooks (No. 25 overall pick)
This swap of first rounders gives both teams a solid player of the bench and perhaps an eventual starter.
Marshon Brooks gives New Jersey a quality shooting guard who may battle for the starting job next season if all goes well. His addition gives Deron Williams a new teammate who could help ease the offensive burden. The Celtics acquired JaJuan Johnson, who will give the team a quality big man off the bench. With the team facing some issues including being strapped for cash, the retirement of Shaq and the pending free agency of Glen Davis, the Celtics needed to make sure that their frontcourt depth was going to be addressed and the selection of Johnson may do just that.
• Knicks receive: Rights to Josh Harrellson (No. 45 overall pick)
Kentucky big man Josh Harrellson gives the Knicks a solid piece to the puzzle as they look for a compliment to Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire. He broke out last season and helped lead the Wildcats to the final four. His size and rebounding ability are sorely needed by New York and he should become a valued member of the rotation.
• Heat receive: Rights to Norris Cole (No. 28 overall pick)
Norris Cole gives the Heat another role player as they attempt to improve on an impressive 2010-2011 campaign. Cole should give them an upgrade at backup point-guard over Mike Bibby, who looked slow and ineffective during his time in Miami. The Timberwolves got a player in Bogdanovic, a wing who will most likely stay in Europe, that could eventually give the team a solid role player. They also received a future second-round pick as well as cash considerations.
• Magic receive: Rights to Justin Harper (No. 32 overall pick)
The Magic got a proven leader and winner in Justin Harper, the Richmond forward, who led the team to the elite eight. He gives the team a young player who they hope will contribute immediately off the bench. The Cavaliers received two second round picks in the deal that could net them something in the future.
• Nuggets receive: Rights to Chukwudiebere Maduabum (No. 56 overall pick)
The Nuggets acquired the 6'9” power forward from Nigeria, who is considered a work in progress. He could eventually give the team a big man off the bench if he continues to improve his play in the NBDL. For Maduabum, the Lakers acquired a future second-round pick that may net them something of value.
The NBA draft is a unique event in the basketball universe. It offers teams hope and optimism for the upcoming season that who they acquire on draft day may be the key to one day winning a championship. While many players drafted should have long and fruitful careers with the teams that selected them, these trades may have as big or bigger impact on the next few years of a franchise.
By: Jake Wertheim
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