By: Ross Geiger
It’s commonly known that the hand of a 2-7 off suit is the worst hand in poker, but yesterday that hand flopped the NBA a very interesting day of trading. Two different trades involving seven players occurred between six different franchises. The team, which held the worst hand in poker, was Larry Bird and the Indiana Pacers, but after the flop, a turn, and the river, Pacers General Manager Larry Legend won the pot. Here’s the breakdown from the Winners to the Losers.
Indiana Pacers: Last year the Pacers nearly dealt Troy Murphy to the Milwaukee Bucks in deal that would’ve sent them Ersan Ilayasova. Well what a difference a little patience can do to improve your franchise. While it was never clear whether or not the Pacers would be able to find any takers for Troy Murphy and his large expiring contract, they were able to score big time by being involved in this 4-way swap. Murphy departed to New Jersey while the Pacers received Darren Collison and James Posey from the Hornets.
Talk about an upgrade, Darren Collison? Are you kidding me, the Pacers were ultimately handed a gem of point guard who’s now in a great spot in Indy. Not only will he be given the reigns from day one but he’ll become a cornerstone piece of the Pacers future. The Pacers franchise now has that point guard they’ve been missing, a guy they can grow and develop with. I commend Bird for being able to pull of this move; this undoubtedly will make up for many of his head-scratching draft picks in year’s past.
New Jersey Nets: Don’t get me wrong, Courtney Lee is a very good role player and will be one for many years to come, but he’s a very expendable player if the right deal comes around. As the Nets continue to focus on the future after striking out in the LeBron sweepstakes, this was a deal that makes a lot of sense. Not only did they acquire Troy Murphy and his near $12 million dollar contract coming off the books next season, they also made room to play Terrence Williams. As I mentioned in my recent post on Most Improved Players next season, Williams was a guy that has tremendously improved. Clearly, the Nets saw that (as did I) during his summer league play and made trading away Lee a no-brainer. Now Williams will be given an opportunity to start at the shooting guard position and he should flourish there.
New Orleans Hornets: They traded away James Posey and his horrendous contract, but they not only brought in another bad contract, they traded away one of their top young pieces. Let’s remember folks, Chris Paul may have said he’d like to remain a Hornet after his sit down meetings with the franchise, but there’s no guarantee he’ll stay. And if Trevor Ariza is the Hornets way of proving to Paul that they’re focused on winning, that’s a complete joke. In fact, Ariza even being considered a go-to player is a complete joke, Ariza’s one of the most overrated players in the game. He proved nothing being “the man” last year in Houston and there’s always a reason Rockets General Manager Darryl Morey does trades. He’s one of the wisest men in the business. In the end, I see the Hornets not only losing out in this deal but I also feel Ariza isn’t quite the convincing piece Paul was looking to add to his Hornets roster.
Houston Rockets: On one hand the Houston Rockets didn’t lose, they were able to trade-away their contract mistake in Trevor Ariza, but on the other, how is Courtney Lee going to help this team. Lee is very strong defensively and definitely helps out from that aspect but they now need an increased scoring role from Kevin Martin. With that being said an increased scoring role for Martin means staying healthy, which is always a difficult task. The Rockets might possibly be the most interesting team in the league outside of the mess in Toronto next season. Houston’s a team with a bunch of solid role players and if the can gel as one, they have the potential to be above average in the West. It’ll be interesting to see how Lee factors into their game plan next season.
The Other Deal:
Hornets were working hard on the phone lines yesterday also agreeing upon a deal that will send Julian Wright to the Raptors for Marco Bellinelli. My quick insight on this deal is that it may be a small, non-affecting deal, but it provides great opportunities for both parties involved. Wright needed a change of scenery and will get that as a member of the Toronto Raptors. For the well-traveled Bellinelli, he’ll be playing next to one of the best (if not the best) point guards in the business. Marco will be spoon fed plenty of wide-open three point attempts next season. If he fails to connect from long-range, this could be his final appearance in the NBA. Good, small gamble by both teams.
Did You Know Julian Wright Has His Own Southwest Airlines Commercial?