Tag:Aaron Brooks
Posted on: December 21, 2011 12:17 pm
Edited on: December 21, 2011 12:19 pm
 

Kenyon Martin reaches buyout with Chinese team

Posted by Royce Young

Kenyon Martin was one of a handful of NBA players that decided to sign in China, despite the Chinese Basketball Association installing a rule that didn't allow NBA opt-out clauses.

Players like Martin, J.R. Smith, Aaron Brooks and Wilson Chandler seem to be trapped in China until their season ends sometime in February or March.

Martin however, reached a buyout with his team Xinjiang, according to Yahoo! Sports. There's a catch though: As part of the agreement, Martin must honor the Chinese Basketball Association's rules and wait for the end of his team's season to return to the NBA. The CBA's regular season ends in February, but it's likely his team will play in the postseason, so it could be March.

Martin's deal with Xinjiang was worth a record $3 million.

This is massively important for Brooks, Smith and Chandler's situations as this has set the precedent for how their buyouts will be handled. I'd expect them to seek similar buyouts with their teams, but they won't be given clearance to return to the NBA until the end of their CBA season, meaning they done messed up by signing in China despite knowing the no opt-out clause.

There was an expection that Smith and Chandler would be released by their teams, but that doesn't appear to be happening.

Most players seemed to think that getting out of their Chinese contracts would work. Earl Clark did it, citing personal reasons to leave. But he did this while the lockout was still in place. The players wanting to leave now are leaving for the obvious reason to return to the NBA.

Why reach a buyout now and not just play out the season? Injury, obviously. Martin doesn't want to risk anything playing in China when he can become a free agent in March. He wants to get healthy and get ready to join a team, hopefully in time for a postseason run.
Posted on: November 17, 2011 12:27 pm
 

Report: Aaron Brooks signs in China

Posted by Royce Young

It hasn't exactly been a mass exodus overseas for players since negotiations blew up, but you can add Aaron Brooks to the list. According to Yahoo! Sports, Brooks has signed for one year with Guangdong Southern Tigers of the Chinese Basketball Association.

Now I'm sure you remember that China has a no NBA opt-out rule in effect right now, so Brooks is obligated to play the entire season with the Southern Tigers, which starts this weekend and runs through February.

Brooks has a little bit of name recognition in China as he spent a few seasons playing with Yao Ming in Houston. He's been rumored to be heading far east for a few months but finally decided to take the plunge when the NBA season exploded. Brooks will reportedly make $2 million playing this season in China.

Brooks joins Yi Jianlian, Fred Jones and Lester Hudson on the Southern Tigers. I know absolutely nothing about Chinese basketball, but I'm assuming the Southern Tigers will be pretty good this year.
Category: NBA
Posted on: July 30, 2011 1:12 pm
Edited on: July 30, 2011 1:51 pm
 

Aaron Brooks looking hard at China?

Posted by Royce Young

Ready for another somewhat boring NBA-player-to-overseas-team rumor? Well have I got something for you, because this one isn't entirely boring. According to HoopsWorld, Suns guard Aaron Brooks has been extended an attractive offer from a team in China and is strongly considering it.

Brooks is currently a restricted free agent, but was extended a qualifying offer from Phoenix, so he is under an NBA contract and would need an opt-out clause and all that good stuff.

What makes Brooks more interesting than your average player-to-consider-overseas rumor is that he's really popular in China and would probably be in really good shape there. Brooks was a key player for the Rockets for a couple seasons and as you might remember, Yao Ming played for the Rockets. So Brooks has a lot of fans still there.

He also has some remaining endorsement deals and has made several trips to the area over the past few years.

Of course this is going to hinge on what happens with the upcoming negotiations, but one interesting fit could be the team Yao owns, the Shaghai Sharks. I'm sure Brooks still has a good relationship with his former teammate and would likely receive some pretty solid treatment while he's there too.

Brooks is likely going to be a key cog in the Suns' future though and I'm sure general manager Lance Blanks and owner Robert Sarver might cringe a bit if he takes off. Brooks is in somewhat of a compromised position though because of his contract status, so that would have to be sorted out although FIBA recently granted clearance for NBA players to head overseas.
Posted on: July 13, 2011 11:46 am
Edited on: July 13, 2011 11:47 am
 

Aaron Brooks wants to return to Phoenix

Posted by Royce Young

The last year has been a bit bumpy for guard Aaron Brooks. He was named the league's most improved player in 2009-10 with the Rockets, but after a number of things got in the way -- including the rise of Kyle Lowry -- Brooks was traded to the Suns at the deadline last season.

He's a restricted free agent and with the Suns obviously still built around Steve Nash, it's reasonable to think Phoenix might not be bullish on re-signing Brooks. But if Brooks has anything to do with it, he'll be back with the Suns.

"All signs point to me going back to Phoenix," Brooks told HoopsWorld. "I had a good time. I like the organization and it's a great city. I would love to continue playing in Phoenix. I would love stay with this team. This summer, I'm going to get more comfortable with the guys. I want to get to know everyone a little bit better and then hopefully we have a better season than we did last year."

If the Suns do re-sign Brooks long-term, it would certainly signal that he's the heir apparent to Nash. But even still, with Nash being 37 and often one that battles nagging injuries throughout a season, Brooks will see his fair share of time anyway. He had his own bothersome ankle injury last season but said it's all healed and not a problem.

"Coming off of an injury-plagued season, I need this time," Brooks said. "It's a blessing and a curse for me. I want to get back to playing, but now I can use all of this extra time to make myself better."

When the deal went down at the deadline, I certainly saw it as a long-term move for the Suns. But that only happens if Phoenix commits to Brooks this summer, or whenever free agency starts. The Suns gave up some quality assets to get Brooks and likely don't just want to see him be a half-season player for them, especially when the team wasn't making a push.

Brooks wants to be back in Phoenix and I would assume the Suns have him in mind for the future as well.

Category: NBA
Posted on: June 27, 2011 5:56 pm
Edited on: December 1, 2011 5:52 pm
 

The Top 40 Players in NBA Free Agency

Posted by EOB Staff

When free agency starts there's a relatively lackluster class to choose from. Nevertheless, here are the top 40 players available in unrestricted or restricted free agency now that they tentatively have this sorted out.

Rankings are based on overall value, factoring in production, age, potential, star power, interest and market value. For the full list of free agents this offseason, check out our tracker

1. Nene, C: You're looking at a cornerstone piece in Nene, which means someone's got to pay cornerstone money. He's just now hitting his prime at 29 years old and as the second half of last season proved, he's top guy material. The Nuggets are definitely looking to put pretty much all of their eggs in Nene's basket, but there could be another big spender that tries to swoop in and grab him. He's a prize and someone that can be a building piece for the next four or five years. 

2. Marc Gasol, C:
The perfect combination of factors lead Gasol to our No. 2 spot. Talent, capitalizing on a stellar playoff run, centersmarc-gasol being at such a premium in the league and Gasol's age of 26. There are bigger names on this list, but no one is as valuable as Gasol. His restricted free agency status only drives his value farther, as a front-loaded contract is the only thing that might push the Grizzlies off matching an offer.

3. David West, F: Were West not coming off of a significant injury at 31 years old, he'd likely be in the top spot on this list. A former All-Star with excellent mid-range skills and a heap of attitude, West opted out and enter free agency, presumably to attempt to get a front-loaded contract before any CBA restrictions drive down his long-term value. He'll have bidders if the Hornets don't quickly recapture him once free agency begins.

4. Tyson Chandler, C: Hitting free agency just after being the starting center and a key factor for a championship team -- talk about great timing. Chandler is a lock to return to Dallas as there's no way Cuban lets the guy who validated all that work escape. But Chandler's going to have whatever offer he wants. Which is stunning for a guy who can't contribute much offensively outside of the lob. But that's the difference a ring makes.

5. Jason Richardson, SG: Richardson's age is kind of a concern here; he'll be 31 next season. But he's the best overall offensive weapon and has a few more years of contribution left in him and is the kind of veteran that teams look for. Orlando may be looking to make room for a bigger trade, so Richardson could fetch offers on the market. But if teams have learned anything from the Joe Johnson valuation, they'll keep it within reason.

6. Thaddeus Young, PF: It's really hard to imagine Philadelphia letting one of its very best young options get away, but Young has become one of the most lethal bench weapons in the game. He can realistically play three positions and is one of the game's most versatile players. He became a legit Sixth Man of the Year candidate and as he matures -- he's still just 23 -- he could become one of the 76ers prized future pieces, making him a valuable asset.

7. J.R. Smith, SG: Unstable? Probably. Unreliable? Possibly injured? He may be all of these things. But Smith's a scorer whose not on the downslide of his career. A sixth-man scorer with guts. Think Ben Gordon a few years ago with a worse attitude.

8. Glen Davis, PF: "Big Baby" has a championship ring and has shown he can contribute to a winner. The only thing keeping him lower on this list is a disappointing playoff run after a tremendous season; 14 points and 7 rebounds per 36 with great defense and the ability to take charges will get him the rest of the way.

9. DeAndre Jordan, C: In a normal year, Jordan's the top of the B rankings. This year, he's the seventh-best available player considering value. Jordan had a tremendous year for the Clippers and is nearly a lock to be re-signed by the Clippers. Then again, it's the Clippers. Jordan averaged 10 points, 10 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per 36 last season but more importantly started to show understanding of defensive rotations, which makes it much tougher to turn away from him.

10. Grant Hill, SF: Anyone else think Hill's career is going in reverse? If Hill doesn't want to return to Phoenix, there will be contenders left and right vying for his services.

11. Tayshaun Prince, SF: Part of the worst locker-room environment in the league last year, Prince should have a higher value, even at 31. He's still capable of excellent defense and averaged 14 points on 47-percent shooting last season. Seeing him in another jersey would be bizarre, but after last season's hijinx, it's a coin flip.

12. Wilson Chandler, SF: Chandler's a young and versatile player. Denver is unlikely to re-sign him considering their need to get Nene back in house and they have Galinari and drafted Jordan Hamilton. Chandler has been rumored to be interested in a return to the Knicks, if they've got the scratch to pay him.

13. Jeff Green, SF/PF: This one is mostly on account of his market value. Green is not a good rebounder. He can't really take over offensively, and he's not a great defender. But Danny Ainge thinks he's the bee's knees and will overpay to keep him, plus he could theoretically develop any of the aforementioned skills. This one caused some debate among our crew in developing these rankings.

14. Jamal Crawford, SG: Crawford made it public knowledge that he wanted a big extension last year, but the Hawks declined to oblige him. Crawford is 31, and his numbers took a dive last season (42 percent FG percentage, 14 points per game down from 18). But he's likely to still pull offers based on star power. The question will be whether it comes close to matching what Crawford thinks he's worth. His playoff heroics should help matters on that front.

15. J.J. Barea, SG: Barea's stock could not be higher coming off the Mavs' championship win. He answered every question about himself and showed the ability to compete at the highest level. He won't dictate a huge asking price due to his diminutive size, but for a role player, he'll collect a tremendous amount of interest, though like Chandler, it's certain Cuban will re-sign him.

16. Caron Butler, SF: So many Mavericks, such a poor free-agency class to drive up their value. Butler's over 30, coming back from injury, and has been on the slide for quite a while. Still, veteran defender who can shoot (or at least can have a few hot shooting nights) is going to get offers. Cuban will likely re-sign Butler in a wave of goodwill on his championship high.

17. Aaron Brooks, PG: The best point guard in the free agent class. How depressing is that? Brooks is a high-usage, low-assist-rate pointaaron-brooks-suns guard who's undersized. And yet because of his work in Houston before getting shuffled off to make room for Kyle Lowry, Brooks is rumored to be on the radar for Sacramento among others, but as a restricted free agent, the offer will have to be significant for Phoenix not to match.

18. Marcus Thornton, SG: Guys who can drop 40 in a night are rare in this league. "Buckets" has that ability coming off his rookie contract. Yes, his shot selection needs work, and he's undersized for a two-guard, but he's scrappy, hustles and can hit big shots. Thornton should be high on every team's list if the Kings elect to let him slide after adding Salmons and Jimmer.

19. Arron Afflalo, SG: A 26-year-old guard with great athleticism who shot 50 percent from the field last season coming off his rookie contract? Afflalo could be a steal if the Nuggets decide not to match for some reason. Odds are that he's headed back to Denver, though.

20. Samuel Dalembert, C: Dalembert played surprisingly well last season for Sacramento. But he's an aging center with injury questions who has never contributed much offensively. So why is he top-20? Seriously. NBA centers. Not good right now.

21. Carl Landry, PF: A below-average rebounder who learned to work well with Chris Paul (who doesn't) late last season. Landry didn't gather a huge contract last time he was in free agency and will probably not draw much this time. Still, he's a reliable power forward who's great defensively even if his defensive rebounding is a significant letdown.

22. Rodney Stuckey, PG/SG: A combo guard's combo guard, Stuckey may have outstayed his welcome in Detroit, even in restricted free agency. Teams looking for quality guard play could definitely look to Stuckey who may have some improvement left in him at 25.

23. Kris Humphries, PF: The Incredible Hump is looking to cash in after averaging a double-double, finding himself in the Most Improved Player discussion and locking down a Kardashian last season. The Nets have expressed interest in David West but will be very motivated to retain Humphries if that chase doesn’t work out.

24. Shane Battier, SF: After taking part in a miracle run past the San Antonio Spurs, it would be heartbreaking to watch Battier and the Memphis Grizzlies part ways. At the same time, Battier has reached the “latch on with a contender as a very valuable role player” stage of his career. Would be a huge get for a team looking for an experienced, gritty wing defender.

25. Mario Chalmers, PG: Chalmers got buried behind Mike Bibby for no apparent reason by Heat coach Erik Spoelstra but, nevertheless, made a solid name for himself by being the most capable and consistent member of the Big 3 support staff. He enters free agency as a young talent with upside if given more minutes, but the Heat, without another point-guard option, will likely do what it takes to keep him.

26. Nick Young, SG: When given the opportunity after Gilbert Arenas was dealt, Young became quite the scorer, finishing up at better than 17 points per game. He was a bit trigger happy however and one has to wonder how he'd fit in a more traditional offense. He's not a go-to scorer but will make a nice bench option or even second or third starting scorer for someone. But that's the thing: He has to realize that.

27. Luc Mbah a Moute, SF: It shouldn’t cost an arm and a leg for the Bucks to retain him. Even though the Stephen Jackson trade muddles up the available minutes on Milwaukee’s wings, a low-cost, quality defender is worth keeping around.

28. Jeff Foster, C: Life isn’t very complicated for Foster. He’s a lunch-pail worker who does the dirty work and not much else. He’s getting up there in years but always seems to find a niche. Indiana’s frontcourt is fairly shallow aside from Roy Hibbert, so if the Pacers strike out in their attempts to get bigger fish in free agency, Foster could be a good fallback option.

29. Jonas Jerebko, SF: A tough-minded wing who has been lost because of injury and the coach-killing mess left by his higher-profile teammates. President Joe Dumars is preaching a fresh start after Thursday’s draft, and it makes sense that Jerebko, a fresh-faced worker, would be a part of that.

30. Andrei Kirilenko, SF: The Utah Jazz are finally freed from one of the ugliest contracts in recent memory. Where will AK land and at what price? Very difficult to say. He’s a quirky guy who brings loads of versatility and should have some miles left. If a contender throws its mid-level at him, that could get real interesting.

31. Marco Belinelli, SG: The Hornets have concerns than Belinelli. Namely, David West. Belinelli's future is uncertain, although his shooting is a clear role player asset that should draw interest, if not big dollars.

32. Kwame Brown, C: The only other big man Charlotte has on its roster is DeSagana Diop, so if Brown leaves in free agency, there will be a gaping hole in the middle. That will be a sure sign that the Bobcats are truly committed to a full-scale rebuild. Once a punchline, Brown has emerged as a serviceable defender.

33. Greg Oden, C: One less knee surgery and Oden's probably a top 15 free agent on this list. Two less and he'd be top five. Butgreg-oden then, that's another universe, and the reality is that Oden is too much of an injury risk to devote money to. For all the promise born in his frame, there's a desperately terrible injury to go with it. At some point there's only so much damage you can do before you're relegated to lemon status until you prove you can stay on the floor.

34. Marquis Daniels, G/F: Daniels wasn't a terrific player but a pretty good one. But he's coming back from a gruesome injury, and that's going to raise red flags.

35. DeShawn Stevenson, G/F: The only Maverick free agent not in the top 20. Stevenson did a fantastic job in the Finals, but the "Ariza effect" is something to be wary of. A strong playoff run does not make up for an overall career of questionable production. Still, Stevenson could be a value pick up for another team... or they could overspend dramatically, blinded by the shine of his championship ring.

36. Earl Clark, F: This one caused some consternation within the committee for where to put Clark. Athletic, low production, warned off in the draft, cast off by Phoenix, produced marginally for Orlando with some intriguing potential. But Clark is young, healthy and can be had for cheap. This is a value slot.

37. Tracy McGrady, F: McGrady actually wasn't bad last year for the Pistons. I mean, the Pistons were bad last year for the Pistons, but still. McGrady isn't going to be a difference-maker, but he can contribute some points, assists and rebounds every now and then to finish out his career. Provided he stays healthy. You can file that under "Famous last words."

38. Josh McRoberts, PF: McBob was surprisingly productive for the Pacers last season, and in a league where big men are overvalued, he'll find a spot.

39. Kenyon Martin, PF: There are dozens of reasons not to sign Martin. But if you need someone with experience to bring a metric ton of attitude to your team, Martin's as good a pickup as any. Remember when this guy was part of a Finals squad?

40. Yi Jianlian, PF: An unrealized offensive talent, Yi still seems like he should be every bit the player of an Andrea Bargnani. Yi's not a strong defender or rebounder, but at seven feet with touch to the 3-point line and just 23 years old, he's going to be worth a contract to see if he can sniff a little of that lottery potential.



Posted on: March 31, 2011 10:19 am
Edited on: March 31, 2011 10:38 am
 

Suns ejected in blowout loss to Thunder


Multiple ejections in Thunder-Suns game brings questions regarding comments to players from officials. 

Posted by Matt Moore

Was it a full-moon last night? What in tarnation got into everyone Wednesday night? After John Wall and Zydrunas Ilgauskas were through tussling, some hijinx came-a-calling in the Suns-Thunder game. 

The Thunder and Suns were in a close game going into the fourth. It was 79-73 going into the final frame, and the Suns had hung the whole way. Then, they stopped hanging. And they plummeted off the cliff and then crashed into the canyons below, even making a Wile-E.-Coyote-like "poof" when they hit the floor. After the Thunder had ran the Suns off the face of the planet, several of the Suns had some... issues with the officiating, and found themselves on the way to the locker room early. 

Okay, frustrated team has a few guys tossed in a blowout. No big deal, right? 

The issue stems from what referee Ken Mauer reportedly said which led to Suns reserve's Zabian Dowdell's initial ejection and Aaron Brooks' subsequent removal.  John Gambadoro of 620 KTAR in Phoenix reports that Ken Mauer allegedly called Dodwell a small female dog

Dowdell didn't like that too much.

Dowdell responded by asking if Mauer would call him that off the court, which is, not surprisingly, similar to "You wanna call me that outside?" and Mauer booted him. Dowdell was shocked at the reaction, saying he hadn't seen anything like that before in any league he's played in. As for Brooks, he ... ah, as the Thunder announcer put it, "struck a certain pose." Brooks getting tossed is no biggie, he's had trouble with the officials throughout the season. Dowdell is a different matter. 

More importantly, though, if the report is true and Mauer did refer to Dowdell that way, that's a problem. That's an official using language which could incite a player to get tossed. This is not a great time for the league to be dealing with this, with the playoffs fast approaching. We'll keep an eye on if any ramifications come from the incident. 

(HT: PBT)
Posted on: March 20, 2011 3:21 pm
Edited on: March 20, 2011 3:25 pm
 

Suns G Brooks suspended for throwing ball at ref

Phoenix Suns guard Aaron Brooks has been suspended for throwing a ball at an NBA official. Posted by Ben Golliver.

Phoenix Suns guard Aaron Brooks is developing quite the reputation for anger management issues this season. He stormed off the court after an argument with former coach Rick Adelman, he attempted to pick a fight with Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love and now, humorously, he chucked a basketball at an NBA official for no apparent reason, drawing a one-game suspension from the NBA. 

The league announced the suspension in a release on Sunday.
Brooks  has  been  suspended one game without pay for throwing a ball at an official  and  striking  him  in  the leg.  The incident occurred with 7:46 remaining  in the fourth period of the Suns’ 108-97 victory over the Golden State Warriors at the US Airways Center in Phoenix.
Brooks will serve his suspension today in Los Angeles when the Suns play the Los Angeles Clippers in a 3:30 p.m. EDT/12:30 p.m. PDT game at the Staples Center.
With the Suns leading the Golden State Warriors by double-digits in the fourth quarter, Brooks drives into the paint in transition, looking to draw contact. Warriors guard Monta Ellis backs off and Brooks careens out of control as Warriors forward Lou Amundson attempts to reach in and steal the ball from behind. Brooks falls to the court and out of bounds and the baseline referee makes no foul call. Instead, he begins to signal that it will be Warriors ball. Without hesitation, Brooks fires the ball, from the ground, at the official, nailing him in the leg. Brooks was immediately whistled for a technical foul on the play.

Here's a look at the hilarious exchange via YouTube user SBNationArizona.

Posted on: February 24, 2011 8:46 pm
Edited on: February 24, 2011 9:14 pm
 

Trade Deadline: Black Thursday Winners and Losers

With close to a dozen trades before the 2011 NBA Trade Deadline, we break down the winners and losers in each division.
Posted by EOB Staff




Well, that escalated quickly. After an insane week that started with the Carmelo Anthony trade finally coming to fruition, the NBA trade deadline finished with nearly a dozen deals having been completed. Here are the winners and losers from this insane week that was. 

Atlantic Division

Winner: New Jersey Nets

Plenty of good arguments to be had for the New York Knicks snagging Carmelo Anthony and the Boston Celtics nabbing Jeff Green, but no other team in the entire league changed its fortunes like the New Jersey Nets, who acquired the single best player who moved during this year's trading season: point guard Deron Williams. The price New Jersey paid was meaningful but not crippling, and Williams sets them up to win and build far better than rookie big man Derrick Favors would have. We already saw how far point guard Devin Harris could carry them the last two seasons. Williams will hopefully breathe some new life into big man Brook Lopez, help maximize the production from New Jersey's many role players and serve as an attraction to  other marquee names in free agency. Nobody else made a bigger leap into relevancy that the Nets did, and that's worthy of the winner title. -- Ben Golliver


(Tracker )



Loser: Toronto Raptors

Speaking of struggling with relevance, allow me to introduce the Toronto Raptors, who moved a first round pick for James Johnson, a seldom used forward who has failed to deliver on his draft promise during his two years in the NBA. It's not a terrible move but it's one that comes with limited upside, leaving the Raptors to continue to churn below mediocrity. Blowing things up was probably the way to go -- unloading Jose Calderon's contract would have been a great start -- but asset collection would have also inspired some hope among the Raptors diehards. Instead, the cynical wait for Jay Triano's firing marches on. -- BG


(Tracker )

Northwest Division

Winner: Oklahoma City Thunder

I don't think there could possibly be a bigger winner than the Oklahoma City Thunder. They won a Pulitzer, a Grammy, a Nobel Prize and an Oscar all in one swoop.

Not only did two of the division's very best players in Deron Williams and Carmelo Anthony get moved, opening the door for OKC to stay at the top of the Northwest for years to come, the Thunder did a little of their own maneuvering, picking up Kendrick Perkins and Nazr Mohammed to fill the biggest gap in the team's depth chart.

Giving up Jeff Green stings as he was one of the original long term pieces that the Thunder was building with. But he was a restricted free agent and indications were that he wasn't going to be re-signed for the price OKC was comfortable with. So the Thunder flips him and Nenad Krstic (an expiring contract) for the Celtics starting center (and Nate Robinson). Perkins is an unrestricted free agent himself this summer, but not only does OKC get him for two months, it also has the cap space and desire to re-sign him over the summer.

So let's recap that real quick: Some of the main competition got worse and the Thunder got better. That's a good haul. -- Royce Young


(Tracker )



Loser: Utah Jazz

Any time you give up a superstar, you aren't going to get equal value. It's just reality. And while the Jazz received a nice return for Deron Williams (Derrick Favors, Devin Harris, two first-round picks) it's really not even close to enough.

The Jazz still had the rest of this season and a whole other year with Williams. They wanted to strike preemptively to avoid any welling Derondrama of taking place next season. But is that really worth just shipping out one of the league's best point guards, just like that?

In the past 30 days, Utah has lost its coach and its face. Those are big blows. The Jazz are moving on and will try and rebuild a winner around younger players while creating cap space and stockpiling picks, but there's no denying that this isn't the same team without Williams.

The Jazz will be lucky to stumble into the postseason this season and will likely be a lottery team next year. And to think, they could've had at least another full season with Williams, but instead they chose to jump at the best offer they might get. I understand the thinking of trading a player that won't re-sign, but still, is what you get back worth the time you're giving up? -- RY


Southeast Division

Winner: Charlotte Bobcats

It took some time for Michael Jordan to realize it, but the best maneuver for the Bobcats was simply to set fire to the roster. The team was never going anywhere with its existing pieces so it just made all the sense in the world to start over.

What the Bobcats received on deadline day was a couple expiring contracts (Joel Przybilla, Morris Peterson) while also finding two first-round drafts picks and not a bad young big man in D.J. White. They lost Gerald Wallace, which hurts, but that's the price for rebuilding .

Going into the summer, the normally financially strapped Bobcats will have some room to look around, while also being able to build around the cheapest talent available -- rookies. The forthcoming draft classes aren't that excellent, but there are good players to be had if you look hard enough.

It's odd to see a team that threw away a chance at the postseason as a winner, but the Bobcats did the right thing. This has been in the cards for months and while they didn't get Stephen Jackson moved, they sent a good chunk of the roster off. -- RY


(Tracker )

Loser: Orlando Magic

Orlando did all of its dealing more than a month ago and didn't really have much left to pursue. The Magic wanted a big man to help inside, but they never did find a suitable deal.

But on top of that, they are now kind of that idle ship in the East. They have the talent to win, but Otis Smith's blockbuster hasn't worked out well at all. Gilbert Arenas isn't scoring, Hedo Turkoglu isn't creating and Jason Richardson is mainly just a shooter. Dwight Howard wanted more help inside and the Magic didn't get it.

(Where they did win was Kendrick Perkins getting moved. Perkins was always one of the best defenders for Dwight Howard and with him out of the picture, the Celtics aren't nearly as formidable inside and will likely struggle guarding Howard. So that's one plus for them.)

Again, not that they really had to pieces to make a big splash, but maybe Smith jumped the gun on a trade. Maybe if he waits for the deadline, he's a player for some of the bigger fish like Gerald Wallace or even Deron Williams. That's speculation, but if Orlando's not going anywhere, it would've been worth it, right? -- RY


Southwest Division

Winner: Houston Rockets

The Rockets needed to do something, and it's hard to criticize what they came up with. Turning Shane Battier's expiring contract into a decent high-risk, maybe-reward project in bust-to-date center Hasheem Thabeet was solid. Moving point guard Aaron Brooks, who the Rockets clearly weren't willing to commit big dollars to long-term, for productive and cheap point guard Goran Dragic of the Suns, bought the Rockets a year to sort out their long-term point guard situation. Together, the trades serve as value plays for a franchise that has spun its wheels since Yao Ming's abrupt decline into the injury abyss. There wasn't much competition for the "winner" tag in this division, as it was fairly quiet and devoid of major division-altering moves. While playoff contention might get tabled until next year, the Rockets plunge ahead with their smarter-than-average, flexibility-oriented approach. -- BG


(Tracker )

Loser: Memphis Grizzlies

Any time you try valiantly but can't complete a trade of a player who has started a fight on your team plane and been suspended for violating the league's performance enhancing drugs policy, you are the automatic loser. That's just a default rule of the NBA. When the Grizzlies failed to complete a deal that would have shipped O.J. Mayo to the Indiana Pacers for Josh McRoberts, they added another dramatic chapter to an already difficult situation, sending a message to a troubled player that he isn't really wanted but, hey, he is still welcome to show up for practice tomorrow. Awkward. Mayo still has tons of promise, but this disaster area clearly isn't the right location for him to realize it. -- BG


(Tracker )



Central Division

Winner: Cleveland Cavaliers

It wasn't a huge win. It wasn't even a considerable win.  But the Cavaliers needed to make efforts to go young, and they have done so.  The Cavs sent off Mo Williams and Jamario Moon's expiring contract for Baron Davis and a first round pick from the Clippers. The initial reaction is revulsion, because they were forced to acquire Baron Davis' massive contract, knee problems, and laziness. But two things. One, Davis has shown with Blake Griffin that he can be a not-terrible player. The Cavs aren't looking for a guy to be a difference maker next year. Davis will have considerably more value next season at the deadline with a 2013 expiring contract (if he doesn't opt-out). It's a large chunk of change with nearly $29 million left on his deal, but if they're able to flip him at some point, buy him out, or get some level of production, it's worth it. Why? Because two, that draft pick is the gold mine, here. The Clippers are not going to make the playoffs this year, will be in the lottery, and can end up with a valuable draft pick. As a result, the Cavs get what they need most. A high draft pick. That's what they needed to do.

In a second deal, the Cavaliers picked up Semih Erden and Luke Harangody from the Celtics. Neither are going to set the world on fire, but both have shown flashes of talent for the Celtics, and can be valuable role players or added to offseason trades. For the price of a second round pick, that's a near-steal. The Cavaliers missed out on a big opportunity when a deal with Golden State fell through, but in the end, they at least moved forward with rebuilding instead of standing pat. It wasn't a great deadline, but it wasn't a disaster. That's what this season is. --Matt Moore


(Tracker )

Loser: Indiana Pacers

Drat! Foiled! The Pacers were this  close to landing O.J. Mayo in a trade sending Josh McRoberts and a draft pick to Memphis. It's a bigger loss for the Grizzlies who now have to deal with the fallout, but a lost opportunity for Indiana. Brandon Rush has vanished in the rotation and the Pacers need a true 2-guard to make them a better scoring team on the perimeter. Mayo would have fit that bill perfectly. But as always should be the lesson with the Grizzlies, if you give them an opportunit to screw something up, that's what they'll do. This time it backfired on the Pacers and they're stuck, despite McRoberts being a more-than-serviceable forward, without Mayo. Plus it looks embarassing to have agreed to a deal and have the deadline pass. But perhaps the biggest reason they lost was their insistance on not trading their expiring contracts. They had Mike Dunleavey Jr. and Jeff Foster both available and both expendable and failed to get on the market. They could have brought in a legitimate addition to push them into a solid middle-playoff-seed team. Instead, they're left with the same squad, playing well, but contending cores are not built on three-week win streaks. If they can't do anything with the money they'll clear, they may regret having been so quiet on this very loud day. -- MM


Pacific Division

Winner: Sacramento Kings

Marcus Thornton's career is probably going one of two ways. He is likely not going to end up as just an average NBA player. He's either going to blow up and be a household name where he plays in terms of scoring capacity, or he's going to flame out horribly and be an inefficient malcontent. Odds are much more on the former. I'm not saying he'll be a star in this league, but he can be very good and part of a core that helps the Kings contend, if they keep him. Moving Landry clears space, clears someone who was unhappy, clears money the team can't afford to spend. Thornton is a young asset, and one that can fill the bucket up. That's especially important for them this season with Tyreke Evans on the bench due to injury. But when he gets back, Evans-Thornton-Cousins? That's a phenomenal balance of talent. Just because this season has been a disaster doesn't mean next year has to be. Great move for the Kings. I'm not going to dignify the Marquis Daniels trade with a response. -- MM


(Tracker )

Loser: Phoenix Suns

Bear in mind, Aaron Brooks is a good player. He really is. The Rockets hardballed him because they understand his limitations and never overcommit to a player who's not truly great . That's just not what they do. And Brooks is not a great player. Furthermore, Brooks fits with the Suns only to the degree that it's nice to have nitro-boost on the fastest car in the world. You're already fast. Why are you spending more to get faster? Brooks will struggle to get time behind Steve Nash, who's kept himself in such good condition he won't be going anywhere any time soon. Brooks was acquired for a talented guard in Goran Dragic and a first round pick. That pick wasn't going to be super-valuable and the Suns bleed first-rounders like they're nothing, but still, for a team that's struggling to find an identity after the loss of Stoudemire, this move seemed at best superfluous and at worst a step backwards. Brooks kind of fits the role of the departed Leandro Barbosa, but was that really what the Suns needed? This was a strange trade, and not one that helped them. -- MM


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