This wasn’t the worst trade deadline day ever – the Anthony Johnson-led 2000 and 2007 trade deadlines were far more tepid than this year’s – but the 2013 version of the NBA’s great cluster of nonsense didn’t provide much fodder for your various newspaper or website front pages. The top name left to dangle on Thursday, Atlanta forward Josh Smith, hasn’t even appeared in an All-Star game. And we’ve already gone over why Smith’s stay in Atlanta might be the best move for all involved.
What we’re left with, in the absence of stars and with the crush of the NBA’s new collective bargaining agreement sending the fear of the luxury tax into most team’s front offices, is a whole lot of tinkering. In all, the biggest name to be moved in the trade deadline was a backup shooting guard that has started 11 games this season for a 15-win team. That’s an unduly harsh description of Orlando Magic guard J.J. Redick, who is a fantastic player and worth all the attention he’s received from prospective trading partners, but Redick alone doesn’t provide the superstar cachet that other trade deadline movers have given us through the years.
It wasn’t an Anthony Johnson-styled Thursday, but it wasn’t far off. Let’s delve into the trade deadline that barely happened.
Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski was the first to report on Thursday the full deal involving Redick’s move from the Orlando Magic to the Milwaukee Bucks. He’ll head to Wisconsin with Gustavo Ayon and Ish Smith in exchange for Beno Udrih, Tobias Harris, and Doron Lamb.
That is to say, nobody of any immediate significance (though Ayon has his moments) outside of Udrih, who will fill in capably if Magic guard Jameer Nelson’s patella injury continues to linger. Basically, the Magic did the well-liked Redick a favor in sending him to a playoff team that clearly coveted his services. And though Redick doesn’t boast the same star power as incumbent Bucks shooting guard Monta Ellis, more possessions used up by Redick (as opposed to the 39.9 percent shooting Ellis) will be a boon for the Bucks. Monta also makes fewer than a quarter of his three-pointers on average, despite repeated attempts, something the 39-percent shooting Redick will be able to help with.
As the great Evan Dunlap at Orlando Pinstriped Post points out, the deal didn’t really shift the needle for the rebuilding Magic:
Add it up and Orlando only sent out $12.69 million in guaranteed money. One could argue that it saved money because it will no longer be in the running to sign Redick to a new contract in the summer, but the bare facts are the Magic's cap sheet is no cleaner after the deadline than it was before.
That is to say – Orlando’s front office likes Redick, and they did him a favor. The team probably wasn’t going to break the bank to re-sign the 28-year old guard this summer as a free agent heading into his prime, not with that rebuilding process years away from turning the corner, so the team sent him to a squad in Milwaukee that still fancies itself a continual playoff contender, one that will hold Redick’s Bird Rights and the ability to sign him for more money than most this July.
Lamb has struggled, significantly, this year. Harris is a good player and still only 20, but hardly a game-changer in terms of young assets. Still, considering the team’s needs in the backcourt as the season winds down, the goodwill toward Redick, and the potential behind Harris, this was a fine move for the Magic.
And a darn good one for Milwaukee, who will look to improve their 21st-ranked three-point percentage with Redick coming off the bench.
Orlando also sent Josh McRoberts to the Charlotte Bobcats for forward Hakim Warrick. Rumors abound that Warrick will be waived, and McRoberts just wasn’t working out in Orlando despite several impressive alley-oop combos thus far this year. Josh is only 25, but he’s disappointed so far in his NBA career in spite of significant athleticism and what appears to be good touch. Orlando can use Warrick’s open roster spot, should they waive him, to try out various D-League types as the team’s tough season comes to a merciful end.
Eric Maynor’s terrible season in Oklahoma City just never got off the ground. Once considered one of the NBA’s top reserve point guards, Maynor has suffered through a miserable 2012-13 in the wake of an ACL tear. The 25-year old is shooting just 31 percent from the field, and he’s turned the ball over on one-fifth of the possessions he’s used up – an inexcusable mark for a point guard.
Looking for a fresh start, Marc J. Spears and Woj were the first to report in full (Darnell Mayberry had the first shout out to Twitter) that Maynor had been dealt to the Portland Trail Blazers for the draft rights to Giorgio Printezis (the NBA’s most-traded player since Chris Gatling) and the ability to acquire a trade exception. It’s an unfortunate divorce, but probably the best for all involved. Maynor just hasn’t been able to get it together in the wake of his tear, these things often take more than a year to recover from, and the Thunder didn’t need Maynor’s services with Reggie Jackson grabbing Eric’s backup spot.
Portland is completely lacking in depth this season, so Maynor will get his chances with the Trail Blazers. He’ll have over two-dozen games to attempt to work his way back toward the promise that he showcased in his first few years, as he prepares to enter restricted free agency this summer. For the Blazers, they’ll get needed help in the backcourt as they attempt to overcome the four game deficit the team is attempting to overcome in hopes of grabbing the last playoff spot out West.
Spears also reported that the Thunder added former Knick wingman Ronnie Brewer for the relative pittance of a second round pick. Brewer’s role on the team might seem superfluous with the similarly-sized Thabo Sefolosha on the squad, but Ronnie remains an underrated player that moves expertly without the ball, and defends like mad no matter his minutes allotment. Even with Thabo around, this was a steal for OKC.
In far less interesting news, as if we can dig any deeper, the Golden State Warriors also did well to dump Jeremy Tyler and Charles Jenkins for a pair of second round picks on, respectively, the Hawks and Philadelphia 76ers. Marcus Thompson was the first to report the deals, moves that help the Warriors dip below the luxury tax line and save it from paying the dreaded “repeater tax” some years down the line. Jenkins and to a lesser extent Tyler still have promise, but not to the point that one would want to pay the tax.
And, in an attempt to provide ball-handling insurance behind the oft-injured (and sadly disappointing) Kyle Lowry, the Toronto Raptors sent the rights to Hamed Haddadi to the Phoenix Suns for Sebastian Telfair. Telfair has done well in recent years to remain a fringe NBA talent, but this is hardly the career arc he could have envisioned a decade ago when he was ranked alongside LeBron James, Dwight Howard and Josh Smith as one of the top high school players in the country.
The NBA, after trouncing the Players Association in the last round of labor talks, want a league with fewer trades and fewer terrible contracts. They did well to protect the owners from themselves with the last Collective Bargaining Agreement, and trade deadline Thursdays like these are going to become more and more commonplace. Roll over Anthony Johnson, tell John Crotty the news.