In honor of the recently passed St. Patrick’s Day, which is a BIG deal in the greater Boston area, for those who aren’t from around here, I will rank the recent NBA trades from mildest to boldest, pairing them with beers I may or may not commonly consume. With the big day having landed on a Saturday this year, I am simply grateful that (to the best of my knowledge) no friends or family perished in the weekend festivities. Now on to determining whether or not anyone’s playoff chances were resuscitated or are now deceased based on their deadline moves.
1. Michelob Ultra
Yes, this is very much a woman’s beer. However, now that I’m at an age where it is VERY easy to gain weight, and VERY tough to lose weight, I have no shame knocking a few of these back if socializing on a day when my caloric intake is already a bit excessive. I also regularly open myself up to ridicule by rocking 12 packs of these to cookouts and other outdoorsy type summer gatherings.
Memphis gets a 24 year old mystery man from the Sixers for Young, a 2nd Round wing from a few years ago who had fallen out of the rotation in Memphis. I really liked Young coming out of Pitt; but then again, I tend to like many Big East standouts, seeing it’s the league I follow the closest. Young probably won’t play much for Philly, and I’m gonna go out on a limb and say Sanchez won’t exactly be an impact guy. You could have MANY trades similar to this one go down without it having any impact whatsoever…not appreciably different from a Mick Ultra when you think about it.
2. Bud Light
A local sports radio show declared this the “official beer of Massholes” a while back, and it still holds true. For the uninitiated, Masshole is a term of “endearment” for folks from the state of Massachusetts. As a native Rhode Islander, this is the kind of garbage I don’t have to worry about, as people fear giving those of us from the “Great State” derogatory nicknames due to our assumed mob connections.
Indiana – Leandro Barbosa
Toronto – 2nd Rounder
The Pacers get a shooter/scorer having a pretty decent year in Barbosa, and give up very little to get him. His contract also expires after this season, so it’s not a major commitment. While this is not the type of move that will get the Pacers over the top in the East, it gives them another player who can score, which is always a valued skill. Scorers are always welcome on a basketball team, just as a case of Bud Light is always a welcome addition to a party, tailgate, or softball postgame shenanigans.
3. Sam Adams Light
Sam Adams, for those who are unaware, is a very popular locally brewed beer that is ubiquitous at every bar (except for the “diveyest” of locations) and liquor store in New England. Their light version, which I believe they advertise as a fully flavored light beer, is what they say it is. If you want a flavorful beer, but will feel better about yourself if “Light” appears somewhere on it, Sammy Light is a wise choice.
Hill, the 8th overall selection in 2009, has never come close to living up to his draft slot. He has rebounded well in limited minutes this year, and will be an upgrade over Josh McRoberts from a rebounding/defense perspective if that’s what the Lakers need at a given point in a game. Fisher, the beloved but no longer useful Laker, gets shipped to a team a may never play for. The pick Houston gets will be a low one, but in a good draft this year it provides more value for them than they anticipated Hill giving them.
4. Blue Moon
A summery selection typically served with orange slices, Blue Moon is a nice choice if you’re looking for something between a light and a full-bodied beer. The following trade was light on impact, but heavy on bodies that starred in college at schools in the northeast.
Contractually this is a wash, as all of their deals expire after this season. Camby gives Houston an elite rebounder and another guy who can protect the rim behind Dalembert. Flynn and Thabeet are former lottery picks and Big East superstars (so I obviously thought they were going to succeed) who may or may not get an opportunity for playing time in Portland. The Blazers probably wouldn’t deal an expiring contract like Camby’s if they didn’t think they MIGHT get something of value in return, so increased playing time may very well be in their future. This doesn’t improve Houston too much, but it does improve them.
5. Shipyard Pumpkin
The 1st weekend you can find this beauty on draught is always an event here in New England. Typically served with orange-colored sugar on the rim (I typically opt out of that option…not my thing) it’s the perfect fall beer.
So the Lakers give up their other late 1st Rounder this year in hopes of solving their point guard issues with Sessions. Sessions is a solid passer who typically puts up a good assist to turnover ratio and is even shooting the 3 a bit this year. Eyenga is a throw in. The Lakers would also much rather have Sessions under contract for next year than pay Luke Walton another 6 million bucks. From a basketball standpoint, Cleveland doesn’t really get impacted by the deal, other than losing an above average backup for Kyrie Irving, so it makes sense for them to grab another 1st Rounder in a loaded draft.
6. Newcastle – This full-flavored beer is one of my favorites to grab on draught any time of year. It’s the kind of beer you go for when you’re anticipating a great night; San Antonio was hoping for some great nights in their future when they took a chance with the following deal.
The Spurs welcome Captain Jack back to town, hoping he can be a better all-around contributor to a title team than Jefferson. Jackson’s shooting percentages are atrocious this year, so I guess they thought a change of scenery would be a huge help. Jefferson, while younger than Jackson, was also having a very tough season. The contracts are virtually identical, so the Warriors add a draft pick and must think the odds are better of Jefferson become a useful wing player once again than they would be for Jackson, which I agree with. I’m not sure this makes the Spurs better, but it may well have been a locker room move more than anything, as Jackson, while criminally insane, allegedly has solid leadership skills.
7. Sierra Nevada – Another favorite, like Newcastle, it is quite a bit hoppier, which, when the mood strikes, can be a wonderful thing.
So the Nets take a big risk on someone, like Sierra Nevada, who is known for his hops. Oddly enough, the Nets, who are looking to be big players with this year’s free agent class, lose about $11 million to play with if Wallace picks up his player option for next season, which I imagine he will. Wallace certainly brings more to the table as a player than Okur or Williams, but I’m not sure why the Nets would care, given their lowly place in the standings. I don’t think Wallace will be a valuable enough contributor on what the Nets hope will be a contending team next year to merit tying up more cap space this off-season and give up a top-3 protected lottery pick. As a matter of fact, I’m POSITIVE Wallace is not worth this…a head scratcher.
8. Oatmeal Stout – I don’t specify a maker here, as usually I’ll grab these at one of those bars that makes one on site. These can be quite a treat on a winter night when you want a drink that lets you know its there. Oatmeal Stout has a lot going on, much like this next deal.
Wow. The Wizards CHOOSE to add Nene’s obscene contract, rather than allow McGee to walk at the end of the year. I guess free agents aren’t exactly clamoring to play in D.C., but Nene isn’t going to make these guys contenders any more than McGee was going to. McGee gives Denver major athleticism down low and could really make them a better team going into the playoffs; he could also make them a worse team, given his infinitesimal basketball IQ. For Denver, the trade is a major coup simply because it allows them to reverse the mistake that was the Nene contract this off-season, well-played Denver! To add insult to injury, Washington gives up Nick Young, who admittedly is not the sort of player you build winning teams around, but will end up being instant offense for the Clips off the bench, who give up nothing of note to get him. Big wins here for the Clips and Denver, more sand in the eyes of Wizards fans everywhere. That Nene contract is going to sit on Washington’s cap for a LONG time, not unlike the “brick in your belly” feeling that too much oatmeal stout can result in.
9. Guinness – The prince of all heavy, Irish beers, I tend to avoid this classic unless I am feeling awfully frisky for something seriously heavy. A frisky beer for the friskiest deal of this season’s trading deadline.
The Bucks give their playoff hopes for this season a MAJOR boost by turning what would’ve been 2 more months of an inactive Bogut into 2 months of featuring what may now be the most explosive backcourt in the NBA in Ellis and Brandon Jennings. Unlike the Ellis/Curry backcourt, Ellis’ talents should be more of a complement for Jennings, who unlike Ellis & Curry, is comfortable running an offense. Ellis is also under contract for 2 more seasons after this, so the Bucks manage to add an elite talent for the long term, something they could NEVER do in free agency. Udoh was the 6th overall choice in the 2010 draft, but had been a disappointment, something Kwame can certainly relate to. Between Ilyasova, Drew Gooden, Udoh, Brown, and Larry Sanders, the Bucks have enough guys to rebound and protect the rim to get by underneath. As for the Warriors, they add someone who, if healthy, is a top 5 center in the league that will play for them the next 3 seasons. It also cleared up a mismatched backcourt for them, which was a major problem, and brought back top talent in the process. This deal made perfect sense for both sides, just as Guinness on St. Patty’s Day is always a proper move.
Finally, a brief commentary on contending teams that stayed quiet at the deadline:
Wisely Stayed Home and watched the NCAA Tournament
1. OKC – Look good to me
2. Miami – No real assets to move to fill minor weaknesses
3. Chicago – D. Rose’s health their only major concern
4. Orlando – Best chance to keep D. Howard was to keep D. Howard, if that makes any sense.
5. Atlanta – For better or worse, they seem content with the mix of players they’ve got…I don’t anticipate a breakthrough, but I’m not sure re-tooling would do it either, so you may as well contend and continue selling tickets.
6. Minnesota – Playing for next year after the Rubio injury anyway
7. Dallas – Playing with house money after last year’s title, no real valuable assets, may as well let them defend their crown.
8. Philly – Sixers have a deep roster, but no real stars. This will have to be adjusted at some point, but I can’t blame them for letting a young, talented, and relatively successful team shake itself out.
9. NYK – Moving ‘Melo the only move, but his value has never been lower, so not moving him was smart, I guess.
Should’ve Went on a Bender for the Ages
1. Phoenix – Free Steve Nash! Free Grant Hill! Free Jared Dudley! These are all players who would be wonderful on contenders, but will continue being wasted on a team that SHOULD be rebuilding. Mike D’Antoni is available for next season if they would like to continue living in the past.
2. Utah – Just an oddly constructed roster, with little wing scoring to speak of, and a glut of talented players (Jefferson, Millsap, Favors, Kanter) at the 4/5 spots. Moving a Jefferson or Millsap for a wing would’ve made all the sense in the world.
3. Boston – Danny Ainge stubbornly kept the old gang together. While I was personally relieved that Rondo and Pierce stuck around, 2 other players I really like (Allen & Garnett) probably should’ve been moved. However, if Boston really received no offers that were particularly enticing, I guess I can’t blame the Celts for keeping a team together that could at least sniff the 2nd Round if everything goes right. BTW, 2 players (Chris Wilcox & Jeff Green) out with major heart issues this season?! Talk about luck of the Irish…