By Mac Moore
The weeks leading up were filled with endless possibilities. Kevin Garnett to the Clippers. Would the Lakers give up on Dwight? Josh Smith could just walk after the season if the Hawks don’t deal him.
Teams needed to make that final change, that final tweak, to try and compete with the Miami Heat this June. As 2 p.m. Feb. 21 passed, that didn’t happen.
This was the last time the NBA will be relevant until March Madness is over and teams start fighting for playoff spots. The league’s last moment in the spotlight for the next couple months dimmed out rather quickly.
The NBA trade deadline came and went with minimal excitement. Trade rumors centered around playoff teams that knew they didn’t quite have what it took to challenge the Heat in postseason play.
The only trades that actually went through involved teams looking at their bottom lines, figuring out which contracts they didn’t want. Few of the trades that came at the deadline will impact this season.
The Heat is the team to beat and only two teams truly have a chance to compete: the Spurs and the Thunder. The Clippers, the Celtics, and the Knicks have quality teams that will not hold up against LeBron’s squad. They need something more.
The Knicks stayed pat because they did not have the flexibility to make a move. The Clippers weren’t willing to give away a potential superstar in G Eric Bledsoe for a big man that would make them more competitive. The Celtics made the best move, grabbing Jordan Crawford who is a streaky player who adds the scoring threat that will help them come playoff time. It won’t be enough.
The Thunder made an intriguing move in grabbing F Ronnie Brewer. Giving up a draft pick to gain a solid backup for Durant was crafty. This team seems to be the same squad that lost to the Heat down the stretch last year, minus James Harden, of course. The bench is the thing most likely to stop them from changing their fortunes this postseason. Adding Ronnie Brewer should stop the hemorrhaging of bench play caused by Harden’s move to Houston.
The Spurs have continued to be the most successful team in the NBA. That hasn’t translated to post-season success in a few seasons. The lack of trade deadline moves show that the Spurs are banking on the belief that last season’s series loss to the Thunder was because of Manu Ginobili’s injury. Some speculated that if he stayed healthy, they might have won that series and even beat the Heat in the Finals. I doubt it, but I guess we will never know, unless of course they meet up this year.
I was personally hoping for a couple trades that might have made the contenders a little more prepared to face the Miami Heat in the playoffs. Thing is, I’m not really sure it matters. LeBron is playing some of the best basketball that has ever been played. These teams might have no chance either way.
Some of the best moves made this year were teams that did nothing and teams that traded off assets for nothing in return. The Lakers specifically seem to be gearing up to par Dwight Howard and LeBron James once his contract is up in South Beach. The question is, how many rings will James have before he has to make that decision? More importantly, does LeBron James want to become a gypsy champion that just goes from city to city, bringing in MVPs and championship rings? That would be pretty cool.
Contact Mac Moore, sports editor, at firstname.lastname@example.org