Flurry of NBA Trades Should Make for Great Finish
Even after the Lakers, Suns and Mavericks made trades to strengthen their chances of going to the NBA Finals, a flurry of NBA trades change the landscape across the league.
The Western Conference is still the dominant force it has been all season (for a few seasons actually), but the Eastern Conference has also changed significantly.Â The Celtics and Pistons are still the favorites to get the Finals for the East, but Cleveland’s monster 11-player trade may just get Lebron & Co. back to the championship game for a 2nd year in a row.
Cleveland made arguably the biggest move of the season, as part of an 11-player trade involving the Bulls and the Sonics.
- Cleveland got: Ben Wallace, Joe Smith, Delonte West, Wally Szczerbiak & Bulls 2nd round pick in 2009
- Chicago got: Drew Gooden, Larry Hughes, Shannon Brown & Cedric Simmons
- Seattle got: Ira Newble, Donyell Marshall, Adrian Griffin &
This move was obviously made to appease the King (James), so that he doesn’t bolt in 2 years when his contract is over.Â The problem w/ the trade, however, is that they are now locked in for 2 more years w/ the current roster, which includes several new players that other teams are not going to be seeking.Â It’s make it or break it for the Cavs…
Ben Wallace adds defense and rebounding, but nothing else.Â Joe Smith adds a reliable scoring threat & rebounder (that’s more than you can say for Gooden) and Wally Z & Delonte should help the Cavs shoot better from the outside.Â Had Gibson not turned his ankle, this would be a pretty dangerous squad immediately, but they’re going to struggle to mesh.Â Look for Lebron to carry the team and show them how to win… just not all the way to the Finals.
The best move in my opinion, which is still developing (as far as chemistry), is the acquisition of point guard Mike Bibby by the Atlanta Hawks.Â Atlanta has been short on PG play for years, but management has finally addressed that issue.Â It will be interesting to see how Bibby fits in w/ the other players.Â They got beat hard by the Lakers in Bibby’s first game, so tonight’s game against the Warriors could be a better gauge of how well the team is going to wrap up the season.Â I see them making the playoffs and being a threat in the first round, but they aren’t advancing (unless they play Orlando or Cleveland).
Some smaller transactions occured including Bonzi Wells (Hornets), Gerald Green (Rockets) and Juan Dixon (Pistons).
Still, theÂ move that may have the most impact is theÂ Lakers’ trade for Pau Gasol.Â Â Memphis basically gave him away toÂ LA, without getting anything back in return (thanks Jerry).Â Â TheÂ trade instantly made the Lakers championship contenders in a tight Western Conference.Â TheyÂ areÂ big, they are agile, they are quick, they can adapt,Â they are confident and they have Kobe Bryant… what else do they need.Â Â Even after adding Shaq to their lineup, the Suns couldn’t even handle the Lakers, who have dominated PHX all year long (watch out in the playoffs).