Michael Garcia - March 17, 2012
The NBA trade deadline came and went without any major blockbuster deals, but there was a lot of movement in the league. Pau Gasol, Rajon Rondo and Dwight Howard were supposed to be dealt and weren't, but some teams did get better with role players and salary dumps.
There's only about a third of the shortened season left before the playoffs, and some teams were able to get holes that needed filling filled, while some other squads made moves that probably won't help.
Winner - The Los Angeles Lakers filled their biggest need by getting young point guard Ramon Sessions from Cleveland. To get the 24-year-old, the Lakers only gave up expensive dead weight in Luke Walton and Jason Kapono. L.A. then traded away veteran PG Derek Fisher to Houston, which was upsetting to a lot of Laker fans for sentimental reasons.
If you look at it from strictly basketball sense, it was a no-brainer. Fisher is 37 and barely contributing on the floor, the Lakers got a young F/C in 6'10" Jordan Hill, who if nothing else, is another big body for the playoffs. Hill was averaging 5 points and 4.8 rebounds for the Rockets.
Winner - The Los Angeles Clippers have been reeling since vet Chauncey Billups blew up his achilles and was lost for the season. The addition of former USC star Nick Young in a trade with Washington should help them. Young's not going to come in and take over, but the comfort of being back in his hometown of L.A. and his shooting ability should help right the Clip's ship in the short term.
Winner - The Houston Rockets. Houston upgraded in leadership by getting Fisher, who has 5 rings and a history of smart, strong play and clutch shots in the playoffs. Houston also picked up vet Marcus Camby, who might be motivated by being on a young, post-season bound team. Houston also kept stud guard, Kyle Lowry.
Loser - The Orlando Magic. In the midst of all the Dwight Howard flip-flopping, the Magic basically did nothing else. If they want Howard to stay past next year, they should start getting players that will help, or a year from now we'll be going through the exact same thing we just did.
Loser - The Minnesota Timberwolves. The Wolves have been a pleasant surprise, but they unfortunately lost PG Ricky Rubio for the year with a torn ACL and their playoff chances are slipping. They probably could have gotten some help if they wanted by getting rid of Michael Beasley. Perhaps the team was still stunned by the loss of Rubio and couldn't react.
Loser - Nene. I'm including an individual player here, because anyone who goes from a decent team like the Denver Nuggets to the Washington Wizards has lost out. Big time.
Article by Eric Gray
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