Grading the 2015 NBA Trade Deadline Week’s Deals


The last week in the NBA featured a series of trades which shook the league as we know it. Stars and role players alike were dealt either in hopes of rebuilding or making a push for the playoffs. Here is a retrospective on last week’s moves.

New York to Dallas (Buyout): Amar’e Stoudemire

Grade for New York: C
This move is neither here nor there for New York. Stoudemire was set to become a free agent in 2015. Buying out Stoudemire was the first step of what will be a long rebuilding process for the Knicks. According to Paul Shirley of ESPN, NBA players are paid biweekly. Subsequently, Stoudemire’s contract would have had approximately $6.97 million on it. The buyout shaved off
$4.47 million from the Knicks’ financial obligations. It’s a step in the right direction but unlike the Josh Smith situation in Detroit, it does little to add to the team.

Grade for Dallas: B
In contrast to what New York would have spent $6.97 million on, Dallas only set aside $485,670 for the aging power forward. It’s a low-risk situation for the Mavs and Stoudemire as either can back away if things go awry in the next couple months. Realistically, Stoudemire will be a quality backup for Dirk Nowitzki if he can stay healthy. Through 24 minutes per game, Stoudemire has averaged 12 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1 assist. The true question will be whether he can stay healthy.

Ramon Sessions (Sacramento) for Andre Miller (Washington)

Grade for Sacramento: D
Andre Miller was a great player back in the day. Miller has been playing since 1999 with his peak coming around the 2007-2008 season. During that year, Miller averaged 17 ppg, 6.9 apg, and 4 rpg. As is to be expected, Miller’s numbers have dropped considerably since then. Miller now has gamely stats of 3.7 points, 2.8 assists, and 1.6 rebounds. In contrast, Ramon Sessions has an output of 5.3 ppg, 2.6 assists, and 1.9 rebounds. Similar to Miller, Sessions has been on the decline with his play. To-may-to, to-mah-to, right? Not quite. Andre Miller is 38 years old. Ramon Sessions is 10 years younger than Miller. The only reason I can see for a trade was either Session’s field goal percentage (34.4%) or that he had voiced discontent with the organization for one reason or another. The latter is pure speculation but it was noted in recent articles that Sessions was glad to be out of Sacramento.
My best guess regarding the intentions of this trade would be Miller is being viewed as an asset that can be dumped in the offseason. While Andre Miller’s contract is more expensive than Session’s (Miller’s salary for 2014-2015 is $4.63 million to Session’s $2.08 million), Miller’s contract is set to expire once the season runs out.

Grade for Washington: C
Sessions is a slight upgrade from Miller in terms of scoring. He also comes at a cheaper cost long term and has the longevity that Miller physically cannot maintain. Whether or not Sessions can return to the player he was with Milwaukee and Charlotte is a concern.

Pablo Prigioni (New York) for Alexey Shved & 2017 and 2019 Second-Round Draft Picks (Houston)

Grade for New York: B
This trade clearly indicates that Houston wants to win it all now. Of the two point guards, Alexey Shved is younger and is capable of scoring at a higher level. Neither are particularly effective at distributing the ball (Shved falls just short of 2 apg while Prigioni averages 2.4 apg). New York benefits more from this trade in the long term with a 26 year old who can score and who the years to grow as a player. Needless to say, Prigioni will likely only have a couple more years before he bows out of the NBA as he is currently 37 years old.

Grade for Houston: C
Seeking out Pablo Prigioni is not an entirely bad move. He is an upgrade over Nick Johnson for the time being and is currently healthy (as opposed to Alexey Shved). Prigioni also brings with him a slight upgrade in defense with 1.9 rebounds and 1.2 steals a game. He maybe not be a big name in the NBA, but he could provide Patrick Beverley with some much needed relief as the playoffs near.

Kevin Garnett (Brooklyn) for Thaddeus Young (Minnesota)

Grade for Brooklyn: B
These two players are opposites in practically every way. Thaddeus Young is young while Kevin Garnett has very little tread left on his tires. Young is focused on offense while Garnett remains a defensive specialist. This trade heavily favors Brooklyn because it gives them a starter-quality player who can score well. A problem for Brooklyn here is that if Young is to play the power forward position, he’ll be undersized. As mentioned earlier, Young does not perform at the same level as Garnett when it comes to blocks or rebounds. The one defensive category that Young has an advantage in is his stealing. During his tenure with the T-Wolves in the 2014-2015 season, he averaged 1.8 steals a game (he is tenth in the 2014-2015 NBA season in steals per game).

Grade for Minnesota: F
While I don’t feel this was a smart trade on the behalf of the Timberwolves, I can understand why they did it. I actually saw this trade coming though I didn’t think that Young would be in it. Garnett will provide Minnesota with more defense but the last couples year have not been fruitful in terms of offense. By bringing Garnett back to Minnesota, the Timberwolves extend their rebuilding period. Sending off Young backs the Timberwolves into a corner in terms of the Power Forward position. Regardless of Kevin Garnett’s retirement plan, the Timberwolves will have the pressure of either developing Anthony Bennett further to make him a starter quality player or find a free agent who is willing to play in the small market of Minnesota. Choosing Garnett over Young does not help the team when it comes to tanking because, like the Nets, the T-Wolves do not have any first round picks through 2019. It’s a nice nostalgia move, but it creates more problems than it solves.

Three-Way Trade: Brandon Knight & Kendall Marshall to Phoenix (Milwaukee), Tyler Ennis (Phoenix), Miles Plumlee (Phoenix) and Michael Carter-Williams (Philadelphia) to Milwaukee, 2015 First-Round Draft Pick to Philadelphia (Los Angeles/Milwaukee)

Grade for Phoenix: A
I’ve long been befuddled by Phoenix’s plans regarding their guards. I’ve never been able to understand the reasoning behind the deal that set Isaiah Thomas, a player who said that “he wanted to be wanted,” to a team that would use him as a benchwarmer. This trade, in addition to the Isaiah Thomas and Goran Dragic moves, clears up all the guard chaos that has mired the Phoenix franchise. Furthermore, Brandon Knight is an upgrade over Goran Dragic in almost every way. The only categories that Dragic has an advantage over Knight in are field goal percentage (Dragic shoots at 50.1% compared to Knight’s 43.5%) and turnovers. The only major concern with Knight is whether or not he can stay healthy.

Grade for Milwaukee: B
Brandon Knight is a solid player and to see him leave a franchise that he has helped to turn around is sad. Nonetheless, the Bucks got a budding star in Michael Carter-Williams. MCW is one of the more well-rounded point guards in the league with 2014-2015 season averages of 15 ppg, 7.4 apg, 6.2 rpg, and 1.5 spg. If he works out his shooting kinks, he could be a major star for the Bucks in the future.

Grade for Philadelphia: C
The Philadelphia 76ers and tanking have become synonymous thanks to Sam Hinkie. That being said, this trade makes at least a little sense. Carter-Williams has struggled with efficiency, something that factored into his marketability in the eyes of the 76ers administration. That being said, getting another Rookie of the Year like Carter-Williams may be overly optimistic, even considering how many first-round draft picks they have.

Three-Way Trade: Goran Dragic & Zoran Dragic to Miami (Phoenix), Justin Hamilton, Norris Cole, and Shawne Williams to New Orleans (Miami), Danny Granger to Phoenix (Miami), First-Round Round Draft Picks to Phoenix (New Orleans).

Grade for Phoenix: A
Trading Goran Dragic needed to happen. The alternative would have been letting him go for nothing once free agency came. The trade works well for Phoenix as it gives them first-round draft picks and a decent role player at the small forward position.

Grade for Miami: B
Before the Chris Bosh lung situation, this trade made a lot of sense. Goran Dragic is a big upgrade over Mario Chalmers. The only major qualm with this trade comes from the fact that the Miami Heat will be without Chris Bosh for an indefinite time, a fact which initially emerged when Bosh appeared sick during practice on Wednesday. The seriousness of Chris Bosh’s health only began to be realized once the trade deadline had been passed. This trade still benefits the Heat but Miami will not be the contender some may have expected after their blockbuster deal.

Grade for New Orleans: D
The bulk of the players in this three-team trade end up in New Orleans. With Shawne Williams being waived, the Pelicans end up with Norris Cole and Justin Hamilton. Norris Cole is admittedly the more attractive addition to the team though even he is a role player. So far this season, Cole has averaged 6.4 ppg, 3.5 apg, and 2.4 rpg. Cole is now in his fourth season and has shown little improvement since his rookie year. He does not seem worth first-round draft picks as of yet but he has enough time in his career to add to his game.

Arron Afflalo and Alonzo Gee (Denver) for Thomas Robinson, Victor Claver, Will Barton, and a Protected 2016 First-Round Draft Pick (Portland)

Grade for Portland: A
The Portland Trail Blazers have long struggled with depth. Portland has been lacking in substitute statistics. Arron Afflalo and Alonzo Gee won’t singlehandedly solve Portland’s role player woes. Nonetheless, Afflalo will give Portland a go-to scorer when the starters need a rest. Through the 2014-2015 season, Afflalo has averaged 14.5 ppg, 1.9 apg, and 3.4 rpg. With much hype surrounding Wilson Chandler coming to Portland, this deal avoids messing too much with the starting lineup and Nicolas Batum.

Grade for Denver: C
It’s hard to determine how to grade trades with rebuilding franchises. This trade is meant to be lopsided in order to get favorable positions in future NBA drafts. Dealing Afflalo got Denver the draft pick they desired. They still have some good players in Faried, Chandler, Lawson, and Gallinari. Whether or not they hold onto the likes of Lawson is question in and of itself.

Three-Way Trade: Isaiah Thomas to Boston (Phoenix), Tayshaun Prince to Detroit (Boston), Marcus Thornton and a 2016 First-Round Draft Pick to Phoenix (Boston), Jonas Jerebko and Gigi Datome to Boston (Detroit)

Grade for Boston: B
This bundle is mixed despite a huge gain for the Celtics in Isaiah Thomas. The trade is a “two steps forward, one step back” situation. Isaiah Thomas has a lot to offer the Celtics and can act as a new franchise player with the Rondo move fresh on Celtic fans’ minds. On the other hand, Luigi Datome and Jonas Jerebko do not measure up to either Tayshaun Prince or Marcus Thornton. The trade is an upgrade but not without sacrifices.

Grade for Phoenix: C
Marcus Thornton is a solid role player and, after neglecting him in favor of Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe, moving Isaiah Thomas needed to happen, too. The problem is that Thornton will be a third-string player behind Eric Bledsoe and Gerald Green. The main source of comfort will come from the draft pick they snatched up in the move.

Grade for Detroit: D
Unfortunately for Detroit, Tayshaun Prince does not want to play for the Pistons. Detroit just shipped off Datome and Jerebko for a player who requested to be bought out.

Works Cited
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Zillgitt, Jeff. “Ramon Sessions Glad for Trade to Wizards From Kings.” USA Today. Gannett Satellite Information Network, 19 Feb 2015. Web. 21 Feb 2015.

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