Brother Banter – NBA Trade Deadline Edition

Credit: Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images/AFP

By: Adam and Rossy Pasternak 

With the NBA Trade Deadline now in the rear view window, there is a lot to talk about. Boogie to the Pelicans, Ibaka to the Raps and Lou-Will to the Rockets just to name a few. There were also a lot of trades that DIDN’T happen, like the Celtics using their coveted first round pick to get a star player for example. The “Brothers SportsNak” debate it all.

Adam: Alright. Let’s get right to it. The NBA trade deadline has passed, and thus there is lots to talk about. The biggest move, obviously, was the Cousins to New Orleans deal (which in my opinion was just insane and an absolute steal by the Pelicans). While the deal was so bad that it actually gets rejected in 2K, the more I think about it, the more I think it had to be done regardless of what the Kings got in return. The only thing that seems odd to me is that Kings GM Vlade Divac came out and said that two days earlier, he actually had a better deal lined up. Regardless, the deal had to be done. The Kings clearly were tired of Boogie’s antics and so while they didn’t get much of a return, it’s probably the best thing for them. They can now go into the summer as sellers, and rebuild their team accordingly. The most shocking thing to me out of the whole situation, is that Kings owner Vivek Ranadive wanted to do this deal because he thinks Buddy Hield is the next Steph Curry. That’s a bit of a stretch…right?

Rossy: First of all, Divac’s comments were taken a little bit out of context. When asked why he felt he had to make the trade now, he said it was because every day they waited, Boogie’s value went down. Him saying he had a better trade two days ago was to prove that point. Also, in regards to the Hield/Curry comparison, maybe Divac was taking a shot at Ranadive with the comments about having a better offer. Ranadive has been poisonous for the Kings, and his fixation on Buddy Hield likely resulted in Divac rejecting the better offer. Vlade is going to take a lot of heat for this trade, but I would argue he did all he could. The trade was about a culture change more than anything, but culture stems from leadership, and right now, the leadership in Sacramento sucks.

While the Kings look like absolute bums after this deal, the Pelicans came out as huge winners. An Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins pick and roll will be impossible to defend, as we already saw the other night:

When your two big men are arguably your best ball-handlers and playmakers, the possibilities on offence are endless. On defence, Cousins will finally be paired with a backcourt mate that can cover his flaws, and let him focus on the offensive end. I love this trade for the Pellies’, and cannot wait until their potential first round matchup with the Warriors.

The Cousins deal was definitely the biggest trade, but not the only one. Serge Ibaka was moved once again, this time to our hometown Toronto Raptors. This was a deal a long time in the making, and one that made complete sense for both parties, in my opinion.

Adam: ALL HAIL SER(ge) IBAKA!!!!! I know, I know. He’s only played two games, but this trade has pumped energy back into the Raptor fans and players, and has given us hope once again. With Serge (and the also newly acquired, PJ Tucker), the Raps look poised to make a run once again this spring, and maybe even take that next step. Serge is the guy the Raps have been looking for since Bosh left. He can shoot the lights out from behind the arc, but it doesn’t take away from his post game either. He’s not one of those bigs who just roams the three point line – he bangs down low as well and he is an elite offensive rebounder. He also averages over 2 blocks per game and will provide the Raps with much needed rim protection. The acquisition also allows Patterson (when he is healthy) to resume his role as sixth man, where he is most comfortable. Essentially, with Ibaka, the Raps have more lineup flexibility than ever before. He can play the 5 or the 4 which allows the Raps to have him in both smaller and bigger lineups. If coach Casey decides he wants to go small, he can put Serge at the 5 with PJ Tucker at the 4. In my opinion, it’s a perfect fit. With Kevin Love being injured and this deal being made, I think the Raps are more poised than ever to take a run at the Cavs. Don’t you?

Rossy: K-Love will be back in the playoffs, which is all that really matters for the Cavs. Ibaka is a great addition to the Raptors, rounding out their lineup with spacing, defence, and all the intangibles you could ask for. Add in that they only had to give up Terrence Ross and one of their first rounders, and the Raptors acquired substantial value. I wouldn’t say that the Raptors are any closer to beating Cleveland yet – we’ve only seen him play two games in a red and black uniform. Also, the Celtics and Wizards are looking pretty good these days too.

Let’s talk about the Magic here for a bit, because it is really a curious case of asset management. Before I get into that though; Ross and Aaron Gordon in warmup? Who needs the dunk contest (FLOP). The Magic essentially turned Tobias Harris, Victor Oladipo, and Domantis Sabonis into Ross and a decent first round pick in a loaded draft. While this looks terrible on paper, it isn’t as bad as it could have been. If Orlando held on to Serge, and lost him for nothing this offseason, that would have been worse. At least they got Ross, a perimeter player who can stretch the floor and create his own shot, which is something Orlando lacks in abundance. Also, as previously mentioned, the draft class this year is loaded with talent throughout the first round. Who knows, Orlando could find a diamond in the rough.

Speaking of this upcoming draft, the Celtics had the most attractive trade chip going into the deadline – Brooklyn’s first round pick this season, which potentially will be the #1 overall selection – and they ultimately did nothing with it. Do you think that was a mistake?

Adam: It’s hard to tell right now, obviously, as we have no idea what that pick will turn out to be. In my opinion, though, they should have probably traded it for Paul George or Jimmy Butler. This pick was most likely the only thing standing in the way of acquiring one of those two star players. Could you imagine a team, already with a great group of players, with PG or Jimmy Buckets?!?!?! They would instantly become title contenders and a huge threat to the Cavs. Yeah, they could end up drafting Markelle Fultz or Lonzo Ball, but do they really need to add another young guard? They have I.T and he’s not the type of guy who’s looking to give up minutes to a rookie. Plus, with Paul George or Jimmy Butler, you have someone who is a star player and can help you make that leap. So in short, it may not be a mistake, but the risk is also so low – why not do it? Best case, you make a deep playoff run and have a core of I.T, Horford, George/Butler, Brown, Smart. Worst case, the Pacers/Bulls draft the next star player and you still have a couple stars of your own and a better overall team.

Enough about the Celtics though, I hate them (sorry Bill Simmons). Lets talk about some of the more minor (but incredibly smart and effective) trades that went down last week. First, Lou Williams to the Rockets for Corey Brewer and a pick. Thoughts?

Rossy: I just want to add in that maybe keeping on to the pick had something to do with the King’s Reign. LeBron has a stranglehold over the Eastern Conference, but it isn’t going to last forever. By keeping on to the pick, Ainge is building a team that will be able to capitalize on LeBron’s aging body in a couple of years.

Lou Williams first game as a Rocket? 27 points on 7 three-pointers. It’s eerie to see Lou in another red jersey, after already being a Hawk and a Raptor. Seeing him that game gave me de-ja vu of his days with the Raps. I think this trade is going to boost the Rockets to a whole other level offensively. The Rockets only have three games this season where they scored less than 100 points, an absurd statistic, and one that is almost guaranteed to stay where it is after this trade. Is it possible for one team to have two 6th Man of the Year candidates? Because both Eric Gordon and Lou are deserving. Also, how fun was it to watch former Pelicans Eric Gordon and Ryan Anderson light it up against their old squad on Thursday? It was funny watching that game, as the Pelicans could really use their help on the wings. And by the way, I feel terrible for our guy Omri Casspi. Just as he gets his first shot to be a vital player on a playoff team, he gets hurt in his first game and released. It sucks for the Pelicans, who could have used his shooting and basketball IQ, but it sucks even more for Casspi. Here’s wishing a speeding recovery, Omri!

Adam: Omri is a legend. Raps should grab him this summer. Back to the topic though, what about the Wizards bolstering their bench and grabbing Bojan Bogdanovic from the Nets? Are the Wizards a true threat in the East?

Rossy: Sure, I’ll do all the writing.

The Wizards genuinely scare me. They finally have a good coach in Scott Brooks, John Wall is one of my favourite players in the NBA right now, and Bradley Beal and Otto Porter Jr. are absolutely killing it. That Wizards trade was a coup, capitalizing on the Nets lack of first rounders.  They got rid of Nicholson’s bad contract, which means they’ll be able to re-sign Otto this summer, and Bogdanovic and McCullough aren’t half bad.

I think the Wizards are right next to the Raptors and Celtics in the East, as their place in the standings indicate. The Hawks are creeping up on those three, but I don’t have them cracking the “second tier” in the East. That being said, I can’t see any of the second tier teams pushing the Cavaliers too much come playoff time. LeBron and co. are coasting to the playoffs now, and once again will have a well-rested and motivated King James to lead them to the Finals.

My favourite thing about deadline season is the buyouts that follow. Every year, it seems like championship teams are bolstered by seasoned vets via the buyout market. This year, the crop will include Jose Calderon, Deron Williams, and Andrew Bogut. It has been reported by multiple sources that Calderon will go to the Warriors, and Bogut and Williams to the Cavs.

Adam: LeBron gets his fucking playmaker.

Rossy: I love it. And Bogut. What a way to stick it to the Warriors. I’m not sure that breakup was very pleasant. It’s funny though, Varajao does it the other way too, and they are similar guys. Both were around for a while and loved by their fanbases, and then when they get bought-out, they go to the rival. I don’t know how, but I think this years finals are going to top last years.

Adam: So much for competitive balance eh?

Rossy: I don’t care, the quality of basketball in these finals is unbelievable. It truly keeps you glued to the screen for the whole game.

Adam: Alright, I have to go to class, we done?

Rossy: Yeah, I’ll go watch Jays spring training.

That does it for this edition of Brother Banter! What did you think of the trades made in the NBA (or the lack thereof) last week? Comment your thoughts below!

Don’t forget to follow SportsNak on Facebook and Twitter, and follow Adam and Rossy on Instagram at: @sportsnak_adam and @sportsnak_rossy


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