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And They’re Off!

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For all the awesome product the NBA has churned out over the past two years, one of the larger gripes has been the lack of blockbuster trades. Bill Simmons rewarded himself a cookie when he deemed the league the No Balls Association vis a vis these lack of trades. Also, because he was a bit peckish. Alas, with the looming specter of the 2010 Off Season cresting the horizon, many teams found themselves shuffling players like cards as the trade deadline came and went on Thursday. While the biggest name involved was an aging former All Star, significant moves were made all around the league. Most of them were financial strategies meant to prepare for the Off Season but a few will have immediate effects on teams vying for the playoffs. Let’s break those down, shall we?

In the end, no one made more moves than the Knicks. The boys from Manhattan made a series of salary dumps that should net them about $32 million in cap space after the season. They gained Tracy McGrady which would’ve been much bigger news had McGrady done anything of significance ever in his career. They also traded Darko Milic, ensuring there’ll be six more weeks of winter. All in all, the Knicks spent the day sending coded messages to Dwyane Wade & Chris Bosh in the event they don’t land LeBron.

The Rockets are now biding their time until the next tall foreign player becomes available. (Oh, to be the fly on the wall at the Applebees that Hakeem & Yao take that gargantuan person to.) They’ve got a strong core, and the addition of Kevin Martin from the Kings is a solid pick up, but I still don’t see them beating the Lakers, Nuggets, and a slew of other Western Contenders.

In the East the biggest improvement, goes to the Bobcats, a scrappy high seed who just made themselves a lot scarier with the addition of Tyrus Thomas. I loved Ty’s game at LSU; he’s lanky and dunktastic. Unfortunately, he’s been coached by a series of spineless, gutless imps who knew not how to reign in his swagger. Luckily for the Bobcats, their head coach has a Masters in this sort of thing having done two tours with Iverson and Sheed. The Cats also picked up Theo Ratliff to probably help guide Thomas through the murky waters that can be LB’s disciplinarian ways. I expect his game with improve all around, and the Bobcats now become that feisty motley crew no one wants to meet in the first round.

The Celtics have to be mentioned, despite not really improving much. They picked up Nate Robinson, who will surprise me only if he discovers osmosis and humility, because he could learn quite a bit from Rondo in how to be the kind of point guard the Celtics need. I’m not sold he’s the right fit for the club, but they had to do something ever since the Lone Wolf defected to the commies. The Celtics are a very dangerous team, but they don’t seem terribly bright, especially in the coaching department. The sun is setting on their Great Tanking Experiment so I’m more interested to see what they try and do in the off season than the post season.

The Cavs made a solid pick up with Antwan Jamison, and they should be pleasantly poised to make that elusive Title Run. I’ve mentioned previously I thought the addition of Shaq would be enough to get them over the hump, but Mike Brown could fuck up instant oatmeal, so the insurance of Jamison should improve their chances considerably. The Cavs also moved big Zydrunas Ilgauskas as well, which kinda makes me sad for some reason. I associate him with Cleveland basketball almost as much as LeBron.

Elsewhere in the league the words “Primoz Brezec” and “serious trade talks” collided for the first time, as the towering Slovenian was sent to the wilds of Wisconsin to follow his first love: trapping and trading woodland animal pelts. Ronnie Brewer went to Memphis, paving the way for Rudy Gay to be picked up by a better team (hint hint Bobcats.) The Blazers improved their chances of upsetting someone in the playoffs with the Marcus Camby pick up earlier this week and the Wizards and Mavs swapped a bunch of guys who were good in 2005.

As of press time, Adam Morrison remained a World Champion.

If you thought this past week’s actions and today’s wacky trades were fun, just wait until draft day and the off season. This was the teaser, next comes the full international trailer, then the release date. Should be fun.

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  1. Jacob Nitzberg says:

    No love for the Bulls dumping John Salmons’ $5.8 million player option for next season to put them $20 mil under the cap?

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