Trade deadline day came and went without any major shakeups. There were still a few deals of note though and the Five-Man Weave takes a look at the day's winners and losers.
1. Which big name are you most surprised did NOT get traded on deadline day?
Will Strickland - NBA Trade Deadline 2013: Checkers... Not Chess! We may have all been catfished by the possibilities of a power shift in either conference had a Dwight Howard, Josh Smith or Kevin Garnett changed zip codes. Most of the moves were cosmetic concessions in "Wait 'Til Next Year!" mode or later as we rearrange deck chairs on the Titanic. Of teams that made "moves", any in Top 5 to win the title this year? Fans could give a damn about cap space unless it helps NOW!
Duane Watson - Josh Smith, for the obvious reason that the Hawks openly expressed moving him and don't feel he's a max player. So now he leaves this summer and Danny Ferry has nothing to show for it, save some cap space. There's always the good old sign-and-trade, but I certainly thought Smith was on his way out of ATL by the deadline.
Josh Lewenberg - I'm actually not surprised the Hawks opted to keep Josh Smith through the deadline. Danny Ferry worked hard to clear up significant cap space seven months ago, it would have been counterproductive to dump Smith for anything other than expiring deals AND draft picks. I think the Celtics will regret opting for blind loyalty with their aging core. Their window is rapidly closing and without Rondo they're all but toast come playoff time. Their opportunity to parlay Garnett and Pierce into premium young talent (Eric Bledsoe, DeAndre Jordan) is shrinking faster than Jordan Crawford can say, "shot selection".
Mitch Ward - Josh Smith. And it's not like the Hawks didn't try. They were actively looking for the right deal, it just never materialized. While they now run the risk of getting nothing in return for Smith this summer, I don't blame the Hawks for not taking the Bucks' offer (the best they one they got) and cutting into their cap space.
Tim Chisholm - Josh Smith. All signs pointed to Atlanta unloading him after his demands for a max level contract went public. Given where Atlanta is situated as a franchise, Smith as a max player just does make sense, so the fact that they hung on to him and now risk losing him for nothing seems quite out of the ordinary. That said, Utah played a similar game with Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap so maybe hanging back with impending free agents is the new normal.
2. Who was the biggest winner on deadline day?
Strickland - The Houston Rockets got the #5 draft pick Thomas Robinson, who was languishing in Sacramento behind the immortal Jason Thompson, for basically nothing. GM Daryl Morey maintained cap space integrity to make a run at Dwight Howard and keep a young core led by James Harden, Jeremy Lin, Omer Asik, Chandler Parsons and the mercurial Royce White, along with the potential of Robinson.
Watson - The Houston Rockets got a top five draft pick for parts AND saved a million dollars in cap space. While it may not make an immediate impact in the short term, it gives them a legitimate talent in Robinson that they can develop. It also provides flexibility to add to a solid core of Harden, Lin, Asik and Parsons. Well done Mr. Morey.
Lewenberg - I bet you Thomas Robinson feels like a winner, escaping the clutches of the evil Maloof brothers and their fortress of misfortune aka Sleep Train Arena. The real winner is soon-to-be executive of the year Daryl Morey and his Houston Rockets. Somehow they've managed to acquire a fifth overall pick with tremendous upside three months into his NBA career, keeping their already promising young core intact. They're a playoff team now (probably) and they'll be fun to watch for a long time.
Ward - Daryl Morey. Thomas Robinson was a top-5 pick only eight months ago. Morey hardly had to give anything up to get him and he managed to save money while doing so. Morey is on a roll this season with the Harden trade, the Asik signing and now this. He gets my vote for Excutive of the Year... you know, if I had a vote.
Chisholm - Thomas Robinson. He was a very highly-touted prospect coming out of Kansas, and his size isn't nearly as big an issue as it would have been a few years ago as teams are going ever smaller, but unfortunately he was trapped in the developmental graveyard that is Sacramento. Now he gets to go to a great up-and-coming team in Houston and an organization that has big plans for him as a pro. No one was happier with how last week went than Robinson now that he gets to hit the restart button on his NBA career.
3. Who was the biggest loser on deadline day?
Strickland - Atlanta Hawks. While the Utah Jazz are a very close second, possibly losing both Al Jefferson AND Paul Millsap in the offseason as few exclaim aloud that they are taking their talents to Salt Lake City, Josh Smith probably swore his bags had already been packed by GM Danny Ferry. That $44M in cap space may not turn into Chris Paul and Dwight Howard, so Smith may get max money by default. The empty seats masquerading as dispassionate fans at Phillips Arena rejoice!
Watson - While the Kings are perennial losers, my heart goes out to Leandro Barbosa. "Bubbles" was just starting to find his rhythm in Boston before going down for the season with a torn ACL, then gets shipped to the Washington Wizards? Insult + injury.
Lewenberg - The three on their way to Sacramento? Well it's surely not Kings fans, who have come to expect this brand of horrendous asset management. No, they've been hurt worse than this for a much longer duration of time. The losers? How about Seattle Supersonics fans, who may have been robbed of the chance to watch a future star develop at his natural pace if and when the Kings are finally put out of their misery.
Ward - I say it's the poor Kings fans. Throwing away a top-5 pick after less than a year just to save a little bit of money? Come on. It's one more punch to the gut in a very long list delivered to the Kings fan base courtesy of their ownership.
Chisholm - Andrea Bargnani. The fans in Toronto are so far over Bargnani, and Colangelo only added to their angst when he dangled the prospect of trading him and then decided not to pull the trigger. Bargnani has now become the victim of a cavalcade of boos every time he steps out onto the court for the Raptors and he'll be forced to endure that hatred until the club can move him along this summer.
4. Is Sebastian Telfair a good acquisition for the Raptors?
Strickland - Remember this? At least one of them turned out to be alright in the NBA. John Lucas III has been playing relatively well as the Raps backup PG, so not sure what Bassy brings that a decent veteran big man scorer couldn't have for Toronto. Be sure this is but another stellar move in the Acceleration Plan of the crafty Bryan Colangelo.
Watson - Without question. The fact that they didn't have a security blanket at the PG position in case someone goes down was a need that had to be addressed. With Telfair they get just that and while he may not challenge Lucas on the depth chart, he can do exactly what is expected of him and can play alongside Lucas who is more of a shooting guard anyhow.
Lewenberg - It serves its purpose. The former high school prodigy is more than capable of providing some quality minutes when called upon and serving mostly as insurance for the fragile Kyle Lowry. Although the transaction is fairly low-risk, the Raptors still may have overpaid by giving up a second-rounder – even protected and conditional – for a two-month rental/insurance policy. He could come in handy if this team is truly poised for a playoff run. If not, it was a waste of an asset (a small asset, but an asset nonetheless).
Ward - It's not the Bargnani trade I had hoped for but it's a decent move. The team needed some extra depth on the point and Telfair fits the bill. He's nowhere near a star but he's not supposed to be. He is there to provide spot minutes off the bench and act as injury insurance.
Chisholm - Sure. They needed a backup point guard that is more capable of running an offence than John Lucas is, as the offence has a tendency to break down when Lucas is at the helm, but the needle barely moved with Telfair's acquisition. While he's improved as a player over the last couple of years, he isn't nearly the player most thought he'd be out of high school and he'll have to battle Lucas for minutes behind starter Kyle Lowry.
5. He wasn't moved on deadline day, is there any chance Andrea Bargnani is still a Raptor next season?
Strickland - No. But who wants him? Can Andrea Bargnani now officially be listed as a bust? Non E' Molte Buono!!!
Watson - Unfortunately, the days are coming to an end for the Primo Pasta pitchman. There's no place in Toronto for an inconsistent, $10 million dollar, #1 draft pick who doesn't play defense or rebound. He didn't show enough in his return from injury to make himself desirable, but Bryan Colangelo openly opining the Italian needs a change of scenery is the writing on the wall.
Lewenberg - Not if the Raptors' general manager – whoever that may be at the time – can secure an even remotely worthwhile offer for him. It's clear both parties agree that a change of scenery is for the best, now it's about maximizing whatever value Bargs has left. He'll have the final stretch of this season to prove himself employable and Bryan Colangelo will have more time during the summer to survey the market – the timing of Bargnani's injury did BC no favours leading up to the deadline. I tend to think they'll be more interest in his services during the offseason.
Ward - I would say it's 95% certain Bargnani won't be in a Raptors uniform to start next season. That said, if he proves that he can accept and thrive in a sixth man/bench scorer role and no decent offers are available there is a slight possibility we will continue seeing Bargnani in Toronto.
Chisholm - No. He is getting massacred by the fans and the media right now and I don't think even Toronto's management understood how deep the antipathy ran for the former number one pick. I have written repeatedly about how uncomfortable I am with the idea of asking fans to pay to see a player that they clearly despise, and clearly the fans have reached their breaking point. I cannot envision a scenario where Bargnani returns to the Raptors next season.
The Five-Man Weave is made up of TSN.ca Raptors blogger Tim Chisholm ( @timpchisholm), TSN Radio 1050 Raptors reporter Josh Lewenberg (@JLew1050), Duane Watson (@sweetswatson) and Will Strickland (@WallStrizzle1) from TSN Radio 1050's 1-on-1 with Will and Duane, and TSN.ca NBA Editor Mitch Ward (@jmitchw).