The NBA trade deadline was just last week, and now with a few games since we realize that the deadline really means nothing. Every year we see teams send away picks and to try and stay competitive and try and make a run in or to the playoffs. I know, it seems ridiculous to think that teams getting stars means nothing, but its the reality of the sport. If you aren’t trading for a top player in the NBA, not just an allstar but a real superstar, or trading to improve your superstar, the deadline is is just to satisfy local news and fans.
This year we saw a lot of trades, and almost all of them were irrelevant. Trades like Blake Griffin going to the Pistons, may seem great and get fans excited, but at the end of the day they aren’t getting past the Celtics, Raptors, and especially not past Lebron. Yes, it will help fill some seats and fans will be excited to see the Pistons fight for a middle seed in the East, but that’s not enough to win anything. We’ve even seen trades for superstars that don’t mean much if a team doesn’t have enough talent around the superstars. Last year the Pelicans traded for Demarcus Cousins, a superstar center and arguably the best center in the game. They paired him with their other superstar Anthony Davis but after those two guys the drop off in talent is too deep for the Pelicans to really be contender.
Other teams might make a couple small trades hoping to release some cap or get young players. But even these moves are surrounded by hopes and dreams of landing a franchise player with a high pick or free agency signing.
In the NBA if you don’t have Lebron, Durant, or Curry then just keep hoping that one day you will. The NBA over any other major sport, is a talent sports. In the playoff you want to have the most talented player. Of course there are rare cases where a great team like the 04 Pistons, where even without an unstoppable superstar, they were still able to get a ring. Even then you need a team with a few allstars stars and top of the league defense. This offseason we saw the Rockets pick up another superstar to go along with James Harden, in Chris Paul. These are the type of moves that matter, and make a difference.
But right now the NBA is really surrounded by four teams. Warriors, Cavs, Rockets, and Celtics are the only teams that we really should look at getting into the Finals. The only one of these teams to really do anything were the Cavs who basically hit reset and admitted to huge mistake in the offseason. They shipped away Isaiah thomas and Channing Frye for Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance. They threw in a first round pick but I’m still scratching my head trying to figure out what benefit the Lakers got from it. They get an Isaiah Thomas who has looked like a shell of himself from last year, except on defense where he’s stay consistent as the worst defensive player in the league. Frye is a solid role player but is not going to help the Lakers much at all who are really a young rebuilding team. The trade seems to be centered around the first round pick but even that pick isn’t worth much when you figure the Cavs are going to end up in at least the conference finals, making that a very late first round pick. Aside from a bit of a salary dump the trade was questionable at best for the Lakers. On the other hand it’s a complete Home Run for the Cavs. They get younger, more energized, and better defensively from this trade, which were all points of weakness for them this year. They also picked up George Hill and Rodney Hood in separate deals which only emphasizes their energy and defense. Since the trade we have seen a rejuvenated Cavs teams that dominated the Celtics and has flourished with their new toys. Most importantly Lebron is happy and excited to play again after appearing to be uninterested for quite a while.
In the next few weeks we’ll see how these top four teams perform on their way to the playoffs and beyond. Warriors still look like the favorite out the West but the Rockets are a great team. I think the Warriors defence may be the deciding factor over the Rockets in the playoffs. Celtics recent woes and Cavs rejuvenation may put some pressure on the Celtics during the second part of the year. However, I feel like the Cavs losing a superstar like Kyrie is too much to overcome against the Warriors. The Cavs may be more balanced as a whole, but talent wins in the NBA. With the deadline behind us the Warriors are still the most talented team and all other teams are still trying to figure out how to stop them. So unless you’re ready to do that, All these deadline deals mean nothing.