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Trade deadline hindsight: 2012 deadline deals revisited

By Zach Harper | NBA writer
How has this swap worked out for both teams? (Getty Images)

When a trade happens, we immediately try to figure out which team won the trade and what this means for everybody involved. Sometimes, it's a pretty obvious to tell which teams benefit from the deal and which teams got taken. However, we often need a year, two years, and sometimes seven years to really know how a trade shook out for all of the parties involved.

The greatest example we have of this in recent years is the Grizzlies-Lakers trade that swapped Kwame Brown and Marc Gasol for Pau Gasol. At the time, we all gave it a good laugh and slaughtered the Grizzlies in the presses and on the internet for getting taken so badly in the trade. While the Lakers did make three straight Finals appearances and win two titles with Pau on the roster, this trade has looked less and less lopsided over the past three years when Marc Gasol emerged as a legitimate center in the NBA.

Because of this 20/20 hindsight, I thought I would go back to last year's trade deadline deals, see what Eye on Basketball was saying about the deals, and then take a better look at what went down with the knowledge of what has happened since the trade.

Nuggets, Wizards, Clippers three-team deal
Nuggets RECEIVE:WIZARDS RECEIVE:CLIPPERS RECEIVE:
C JaVale McGee
F/C Ronny Turiaf
F/C Nene
F Brian Cook
Future 2nd round pick
G Nick Young

What we said at the time: McGee gets to go from being the poster boy of futility in Washington, to a role player on a playoff contender. Winning can bring the best out of players. It's tough to go out and do things when you're playing on a team like the Wizards. But get in a place where your bonehead play might end up costing you home court advantage or a playoff game and you'd be amazed at how knuckleheaded players play. McGee gets to play in a situation where he means something, and that could bring out the best in him. Finally. - Royce Young on the Nuggets

Looking back on the trade now: This still looks like the right trade for all three teams involved. The Wizards badly needed a culture change and they got rid of two guys who weren't taking the job seriously enough. With Nene in town, the Wizards have been better. Let me clarify: with Nene and Wall playing together, the Wizards have been better. Washington is 18-13 when Nene and Wall play in the same game, since the trade.

For Denver, they not only got a guy at a more digestible contract, but they've turned JaVale McGee into a pretty good role player. McGee had a great first round against Andrew Bynum and the Lakers in the 2012 playoffs and he's off to a good start since re-signing with the Nuggets for four years, $44 million. He's had the best season of his career this year. He still has a lot of things to learn on the court, but you can see progress with the deal.

For the Clippers, they gave up next to nothing and got a solid playoff performance out of Nick Young before replacing him with Jamal Crawford this offseason. It was a good trade for all three parties involved.

Lakers, Rockets deal
Lakers RECEIVE:Rockets RECEIVE:
F/C Jordan Hill

G Derek Fisher
Future 1st round pick

What we said at the time: The Lakers did clear space and got a decent back-up reserve, though. Very quietly, Jordan Hill's shown improvement at rebounding and defense this season. He's unlikely to make a huge impact, but he's a younger, more athletic player than the older diminished bigs the Lakers were using off the bench. - Matt Moore on the Lakers

Any time you can pick up an extra pick for a player you don't see contributing long-term, it's a good move. Hill had improved, but not enough and the Rockets' acquisition of Marcus Camby made him largely irrlevant next to Samuel Dalembert along with the plethora of Rockets forwards. - Matt Moore on the Rockets

Looking back on the trade now: Jordan Hill has been a nice addition for the Lakers in spurts, but he's still not the player they need him to be on a consistent basis. He's also no longer healthy, after suffering a season-ending injury earlier this season. The Rockets eventually bought out Fisher and he signed with the Thunder. As of right now, this is a nothing trade, but technically the Lakers got the better out of it.

Warriors, Bucks deal
Warriors RECEIVE:Bucks RECEIVE:
C Andrew Bogut
G/F Stephen Jackson
G Monta Ellis
C Kwame Brown
C Ekpe Udoh

What we said at the time: Both sides part with old problems and acquire new problems. It's understandable that both Milwaukee and Golden State would be tired of the same old routine. The Bucks, in dealing with a seemingly endless string of injuries from Bogut. The Warriors, in having made the playoffs just once in the last 18 seasons. This amounts to a major chemistry shakeup from two teams either on the fringe or just outside the playoff picture in their respective conferences. For Milwaukee, Ellis represents an instant infusion of talent; For Golden State, waiting on Bogut will be an exercise in delayed gratification. - Ben Golliver on both teams

Looking back on the trade now: Both teams have technically gotten better since the trade. The Bucks have added depth around their poor shooting backcourt and become a legitimate playoff team in the East. The Warriors have improved every aspect of their team and are knocking on the door of being a top-4 team in the West. Both of the teams involved here pretty much got better by subtraction.

Milwaukee no longer had to wonder if Bogut was going to get himself healthy and are able to utilize a stable of long defenders inside. The Warriors didn't have to pretend Monta Ellis could help them win anymore, and transitioned into making this Steph Curry's team. Both teams should make the playoffs this year, which is a change from the past season. Great trade for both teams.

Spurs, Warriors deal
Spurs RECEIVE:Warriors RECEIVE:
G/F Stephen Jackson F Richard Jefferson
G T.J. Ford
Future 1st round pick

What we said at the time: Do you believe that Greg Popovich can get more out of Stephen Jackson than he did out of Richard Jefferson? That's what it comes down to. The two profiles are similar if the players aren't. And the approach is vastly different. Jackson will likely burn himself out to prove a point that he is Pop's kind of player. The money's not great for $10 million in 2013, but the Spurs might be able to do magic with it, either through trade or buyout if necessary. Low risk move for them. -- Matt Moore on the Spurs

Looking back on the trade now: The most productive thing out of this trade for the Warriors ended up being the first round pick in the deal. They ended up drafting Festus Ezeli with the 30th pick, and he's contributed a lot more than Richard Jefferson has given them this season. They can turn Jefferson's expiring contract next season into a serious trade asset at the next deadline, or let it expire and have roughly $20 million in cap space for 2014.

The Spurs have made the most of their second dance with Stephen Jackson. There were times in which he helped energize them in the 2012 playoffs. There have been times in which he's injected some much-needed attitude and toughness into the roster this season. Jackson has been their spark on many occasions and the low risk ended up being a pretty decent reward.

Blazers, Rockets deal
Blazers RECEIVE:Rockets RECEIVE:
C Hasheem Thabeet
G Jonny Flynn
2012 2nd round pick
C Marcus Camby

What we said at the time: No telling how productive Camby will be as his age has really started to show lately, but he's an expiring deal and it's not like the Rockets gave up anything of value to get him. Thabeet was not going to do anything and Flynn is their third-string point guard when Kyle Lowry returns. Letting go of a second round pick is really the worst thing of it all, but Morey made up for it by snagging a first rounder from the Lakers in the Derek Fisher deal. - Royce Young on the Rockets

Looking back on the trade now: Here's what the Blazers got out of this trade: Will Barton. He was the second round pick. Actually, with Jonny Flynn currently playing in Australia, they may be able to say they were the last team the sixth pick of the 2009 NBA Draft played on. As for the Rockets, they sold very low on two failed draft picks they had acquired. Camby had a resurgence for the Rockets, but only last 13 games with them. He eventually moved on to sit in the Knicks' training room this season.

Seriously, Will Barton was the most important part of this trade one year later. I'm not even mad; that's amazing.

Lakers, Cavaliers deal
Lakers RECEIVE:Cavaliers RECEIVE:
G Ramon Sessions
F Christian Eyenga
Rights to swap Heat's 2013 1st round pick
F Luke Walton
F Jason Kapono
2012 1st round pick

What we said at the time: A player who has been worthy of a starting spot for a while finally gets his chance on a contending team with legitimate title aspirations. Sessions is a better creator than shooter, but shoots more than he creates. His aggressiveness is just right for this version of the Lakers, though, and his defense under Mike Brown should improve. It's a great situation for a young player who's clawed his way up to this point. - Matt Moore on Sessions

Looking back on the trade now: It was a nice little move at the time because they didn't feel Derek Fisher had anything left in the tank. Sessions gave the Lakers a boost in the regular season with a true shooting percentage of 57.0 percent and a PER of 17.3. In the playoffs, he really fell apart with a 44.8 true shooting percentage and a PER of just 8.2 in 12 games. They needed him to do something in the playoffs and he couldn't.

The draft pick for the Cavaliers ended up being Jared Cunningham, whom they moved to acquire Tyler Zeller. Even in the infant stages of his career, Zeller is a lot better than what Sessions gave the Lakers in the playoffs.

Nets, Blazers deal
Nets RECEIVE:Blazers RECEIVE:
F Gerald Wallace C Mehmet Okur
F Shawne Williams
2012 1st round pick

What we said at the time: They had two options once Dwight waived the ETO. Trade Deron and start building long-term, for the future, being careful with flexibility and drafting well. Or double-down on your mortgage to try and get Dwight to make all your dreams come true. Now they have to talk Deron into staying on what might be an average, might be a terrible team, and then get Dwight to sign on. They've leveraged their future again. But they are a slight better team. - Matt Moore on the Nets

Looking back on the trade now: The Nets have had a lot of nice success with Gerald Wallace. He's the perfect role player for what they need, in the sense that they need a hustle guy who is willing to claw back when the team is down and energize them when the team needs to keep the run going. The problem with this trade though is the Nets did a very Billy King thing by mortgaging the future for fleeting success now.

The Blazers ended up capitalizing on the draft pick with selecting Damian Lillard. He's currently their franchise point guard going forward and a really good one at that. Sure, the Nets didn't need a point guard because they had Deron Williams. They didn't need Andre Drummond because they have Brook Lopez. They didn't need Harrison Barnes because they ended up with Gerald Wallace. But all of those options would have been much cheaper and better long-term solutions instead of tying up the next four years in big money to any and all of those guys.

The trade was okay for the Nets, but it was genius for the Blazers.

Pacers, Raptors deal
Pacers RECEIVE:Raptors RECEIVE:
G Leandro Barbosa 2012 2nd round pick

What we said at the time: Gave up nothing to get a competent combo-guard to boost their offense which is their one area of concern. Not a big swinging move but an attempt to address a need without upsetting what's working. Nice pickup. -- Matt Moore on the Pacers

Looking back on the trade now: After acquiring Barbosa to bolster the scoring in their second unit, the Pacers had the second best record in the NBA down the stretch with a 17-6 mark. The Pacers' offense went from 17th in the NBA at 101.1 points per 100 possessions to fourth in the league with 107.9 points per 100 possessions. The Raptors ended up with Tomislav Zubcic stashed in Europe. Clearly, this is a draw. Or the Pacers easily got the better of the deal. Either way, really.

Sixers, Grizzlies deal
Sixers RECEIVE:Grizzlies RECEIVE:
F Sam Young Future considerations
Draft rights to F Ricky Sanchez

What we said at the time: FILE NOT FOUND

Looking back on the trade now: I don't think anybody wrote about this trade. Sam Young probably didn't even text his family about the deal.

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