Spurs and Hornets Beef Up for Post-Season

I found this picture when I googled “NBA Trade Deadline.”  How great a deadline must that year have been!  Vashon Lenard!  Vitaly Potopenko!

There have been only two deals reported prior to today’s 3:00 p.m. NBA trade deadline, but more could trickle in once paperwork is taken care of.  Here’s a quick anlysis of the two trades already consumated.  More thoughts later should other trades be announced.

The Spurs Acquire Kurt Thomas for Expiring Contracts and a First-Rounder

  • The Sonics managed to net only a late first-round pick from the Spurs in exchange for one of the most sought after low-post defenders available at this year’s deadline.  The two players heading to Seattle are nothing more than cap filler, as both Brent Barry (who is actually a pretty good player when healthy; unfortunately, healthy he’s not) and Francisco Elson come off the books at season’s end.  Landing a solid defender and rebounder to pair with Tim Duncan at such a low cost–especially considering Kurt Thomas’s contract expires this summer as well–was nothing short of a steal of a deal for San Antonio.  The Spurs seemed destined for an earlier-than-expected exit from the dogfight that has become the Western Conference play-offs this year, but their smart maneauvering has vaulted the ageing defending champs back into title contention.  This deal has many basketball fans and execs wondering if Sam Presti’s loyalty to his former employer caused him to accept a less-than-stellar package in return, a la Kevin McHale this summer.

Hornets, Rockets Tinker with Rotations

  • While this deal techincally involves the Memphis Grizzles and a whopping eight players and picks, there are really only three names to worry about: Mike James, Bonzi Wells, and Bobby Jackson.  Most importantly, James and Wells head to New Orleans, where they will supplement a weak bench for Chris Paul’s first-place sqaud.  Wells is the best player in the deal, and adding him to an already strong starting line-up while finding a mostly adequate short-term replacement for Jackson as well is a nice move for the Hornets.  On the other hand, Houston gets itself another mediocre option to throw against the wall along with its 87 other failed point guard options in Bobby Jackson.  While not a true point man, Jackson can still score a little bit, and could mesh well with the Rockets under former Sacramento coach, Rick Adelman.  While this deal helps New Orleans increase its rotation to a solid seven on most nights, it still leaves the team short on depth and experience for the post-season.  For Houston, Jackson should do a better job than James has, but he won’t propel them into legit contender status, and losing Bonzi Wells takes away another guy who can score–something the team needed to add instead of lose.

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