Trade Deadline Failures
This NBA seasons 2015-16 trading deadline came and went like your average day. Nothing spectacular happened. Nobody’s lives changed. Instead of Dwight Howard, Carmelo Anthony, and Jeff Teague receiving new area codes, Channing Frye, Markieff Morris, and Lance Stephenson garnered the NBA world’s attention. Don’t sleep on the deal that sent Tobias Harris to the Detroit Pistons, which was probably the only bright spot of the deadline. The lack of spark and excitement that a major deal can cause in the middle of the NBA season only highlighted and exposed who didn’t and needed to make deals. Here they are:
New York Knicks
*Photo via NY Post
Derek Fisher was fired after being linked to the significant others of some Knicks players and a devastating mid-season losing streak going into February 18th. After pretty much battling the entire season to sustain a level of mediocrity and respectability the Knicks find themselves, once again, out of the playoff race. All of the above was true heading into the All-Star break but the Knicks had a chance to change that. If you were on “Jeopardy” and Alex Trebek asked you “It’s a position the New York Knicks need to address and upgrade at..?” You would answer: “What is point guard,”. You would be right. It’s evident of Kyle Lowry’s career night against the Knicks on Monday when he recorded his first triple double of the season, 22 points, 11 assists and 11 rebounds in a 122-95 win. Jose Calderon, the Knicks starter by default, finished with 0. It’s the reason why Ricky Rubio, Ty Lawson, Shabazz Napier, Brandon Jennings, Jeff Teague, and Tony Wroten were rumored as possible targets for the Knicks, but to no avail. The Knicks failed to make a deal and coupled with their midseason struggles, signaled another year of a season finishing prematurely. According to the NewYorkPost.com, not having a first round pick to deal hurt the Knicks chances of getting a deal done. Anthony, in the past couple weeks killed any speculation of him moving on from the Knicks by repeatedly stating that he will not waive his no trade clause. “I’m not going anywhere,” Melo told SiriusXM radio a week before the All-star festivities, via cbssports.com. While adding some depth to the backcourt was one option of reviving the Knicks season, so was trading the team’s best player. There was a rumor floating around of a three-team mega deal involving the Boston Celtics, Knicks and Cleveland Cavaliers revolving around sending Kevin Love to Boston and Melo to the Cavs, but you heard the man. That was not going to happen. Without a first round pick til 2017, the Knicks will look to land a big fish in free agency. If they can.
*Photo via USA Today
James Harden does not like Dwight Howard. Howard does not like Harden. It’s the circle of life. According to bleacherreport.com, dating back to their first round exit in the 2014 playoffs, both players have tried to get each other traded. We all know that Harden isn’t going anywhere, so all of the trade rumors involving the Rockets has targeted Howard and only Howard. Obviously, the experiment isn’t going well. Former Rockets head coach Kevin McHale was fired after a 4-7 start. The Rockets are down in offense and defense opposed to last season, via espn.com. They currently hold the 9th spot in the Western Conference playoff standings at 28-29 on the season. The Miami Heat, New Orleans Pelicans, Charlotte Hornets, and Washington Wizards are all rumored as teams were interested in Howard, through sbnation.com. The Milwaukee Bucks nearly acquired the 30-year-old but negotiations broke down when Howard was informed of the proposed trade and denied to commit long-term to the Bucks, by inquisitr.com. Despite all of the struggles the Rockets have endured this season, Harden and Howard are friends. "I don't know what the perception is; the reality is we get along and we want to win," Harden told ESPN.com. "People are always going to say what they want to say," Howard said. "But there's no need for me and him to worry about that. Our job is to grow and get better as a team and get better as individuals."
*Photo via USA Today
At the trading deadline, the Hawks decided to hold on to guards Jeff Teague and Dennis Schroeder after receiving interest from the Philadelphia 76ers. NJ.com reported that the Hawks asked for either Nerlens Noel or Jahlil Okafor, but it doesn’t take a genius to know that Philly isn’t giving up on the potential that their twin towers can reach. Other than the Hawks, the Orlando Magic, New York Knicks, Utah Jazz and the Indiana Pacers were all in on Teague, via cbssports.com, but nothing progressed. Atlanta believes that Schroeder can be their starting point guard going forward which is why Teague, who will become a free-agent during the summer of 2017, became expendable. Along with Teague, Al Horford’s name was also in trade rumors, due to the 8-year vet approaching free-agency this summer, but it seems as though the Hawks will hold onto their core and make another run at the East like they did last season.
*Photo via Boston.com
The Celtics are definitely in play for interesting games in April. At 33-25, the C’s are 3rd in the Eastern Conference and are shining example that you can win with the youth movement. Brad Stevens at 39, is one of the youngest coaches in the NBA. Isaiah Thomas, 27 years young, earned his first All-Star selection this past February. The average age of Boston is 24.5. There is young talent, budding stars, and picks in Boston--which is why there was an opportunity for the Celtics to take the next step into elite status at the trading deadline. Blake Griffin, Al Horford, Kevin Love, and Dwight Howard were all on the C’s radar via the Boston Herald. The Celtics, get this, were even interesting in trading for Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony, who as I discussed above, had no desire to leave NY or play for Boston, according to CBS.sports.com. Danny Ainge stated that there was almost a near deal done that would have sent their Brooklyn Nets 2016 unprotected 1st rounder to Philly for Okafor before the Sixers backed out of the deal. A trade like that could have put the C’s over the top, and a serious threat to the Cleveland Cavaliers title chase. Okafor would have given the Celtics the low-post scorer they covet to pair along with Thomas, a formidable guard, big-man combo. There’s still a chance for the C’s to make a big trade moving picks in the offseason or even at the 2016 NBA Draft. Despite not making that major move to propel the team, I think it’s safe to say that the Celtics are in a very nice spot right now.
*Photo via USA Today
DeMarre Carroll is on the mend, recovering from a knee operation and there is no timetable as to when he will return to the Raptors lineup. What was a glorified offseason pickup to their collection of talent in the North, for now, is not a factor. The Raptors, at 38-18, second in the Eastern Conference standings, had a chance to upgrade at the forward position and watched Tobias Harris, Jeff Green, and Markieff Morris change locations. Toronto’s GM, Masai Ujiri, felt that there was no trade to be made. “There was nothing there good enough for us, we felt,” Ujiri said following the deadline, via TSN.com. "Anything that was good enough we felt, we just didn't want to give up the future of our team for any of the stuff that was out there." Toronto felt as though they would have to give up key pieces of their team to haul back the player they wanted. They didn’t feel the need to deplete their roster to make another team better, or give up their present to enhance a struggling team's future.