Lakers deadline's biggest winners, while Celtics falter
Posted: Thursday February 21, 2008 9:18PM; Updated: Thursday February 21, 2008 9:37PM
One of the most amazing trade frenzies in NBA history ended with a bang Thursday. The Cavaliers, Bulls and SuperSonics combined on an 11-player megadeal that brings Ben Wallace and Wally Szczerbiak, among others, to Cleveland. The Cavs hope the two former All-Stars can join with LeBron James to give them a new and improved attack against the Celtics and Pistons in the East.
Several Western Contenders had already made their big moves in the days leading up to Thursday's trade deadline. The Lakers (Pau Gasol), the Mavs (Jason Kidd) and the Suns (Shaquille O'Neal) all added marquee names to their already loaded rosters. Even the Spurs (Damon Stoudamire, Kurt Thomas), Jazz (Kyle Korver), Hornets (Bonzi Wells, Mike James) and Warriors (Chris Webber) made what could turn out to be significant moves.
Here's a quick look at the winners and losers from this year's trade season:
LAKERS: The big winner by far. GM Mitch Kupchak got an All-Star caliber power forward in Gasol for basically peanuts. It puts them among the top West contenders and satisfies Kobe Bryant.
CAVS: GM Danny Ferry needed to do something and he got some interesting pieces in Wallace, Szczerbiak, Joe Smith and Delonte West. Plus, like Kupchak, he made his superstar happy.
SHAQ: The fun-loving big man was moping in Miami one day. Then, kazaam! Next thing he knows, he's in Phoenix with the fun-and-gun Suns. And he's still going to get his $20 million each of the next two seasons.
HORNETS: The NBA's surprise contender added playoff experience and strengthened their bench considerably by adding Wells and James. The only way this backfires is if Wells causes headaches in the locker room.
JASON KIDD: Like Shaq, he finds himself playing for a top contender in Dallas instead of wasting one of his final seasons for a team going nowhere. Bet that "migraine headache" is feeling much better these days.
JAZZ: It's easy to forget that they actually started this year's trade deadline frenzy. But while their deal for Korver might not have created headlines, they are 19-3 since acquiring the sharpshooter from the Sixers for Gordon Giricek.
PAT RILEY: The Heat president/coach was looking at having to pay a grumpy Shaq all that dough to clog up space on the bench the next two seasons. Now he can use the salary cap space to reload in the future and keep Dwyane Wade happy.
HAWKS FANS: Even if the Mike Bibby acquisition doesn't help end its NBA-high nine-year playoff drought, Atlanta has reason for hope. Hawks management finally agreed to make a bold move and take on salary.
NUGGETS: Maybe it would have been a big risk to bring Ron Artest into their combustible locker room. But with all those other Western teams loading up, didn't it make sense to give Allen Iverson and Carmelo Anthony a little more help?
ISIAH THOMAS: The embattled Knicks president/GM tried hard to find a deal for Zach Randolph, Eddy Curry, Stephon Marbury, et al., but had no luck. Gee, think he'll be hearing about it from New York fans?
GRIZZLIES FANS: With owner Michael Heisley slashing payroll in preparation for a possible sale of the franchise, GM Chris Wallace got back little in return for Gasol. Even if it helps them down the road, it's a bitter pill to swallow right now.
KIRK SNYDER: Seeking to accommodate Snyder's wishes for more playing time, the Rockets sent the seldom-used guard to the T'Wolves for Gerald Green. Nothing against Minnesota, but that's probably not what Snyder had in mind.
CELTICS: They reportedly were trying to land veteran point guard Sam Cassell to help Rajon Rondo for the playoffs. Now they have to hope notoriously tight-fisted Clippers owner Donald Sterling agrees to buy out Cassell's contract.