Heading into the NBA Draft last night the media had prepared America for a night full of big name players being traded, and that is exactly what happened. The twist though, was that the three big name players that changed teams last night were not Shawn Marion, Kevin Garnett, and Jermaine O'Neal. Instead Ray Allen, Zach Randolph, and Jason Richardson were sent packing. Here is a look at each of the three big deals and how they work out for each of the teams involved:
Seatle Receives: Delonte West, Wally Szczerbiak, and the #5 pick, Jeff Green
Boston Receives: Ray Allen and the #35 pick, Glen Davis
What Gives?: From Seattle's perspective this trade means one thing; Sam Presti and Sonics management want Rashard Lewis more than they want Ray Allen. The trade of Allen opens the door for Lewis to sign with the Sonics during free agency, and with new weapons Kevin Durant and Jeff Green Seattle could be downright fearsome in the next few seasons. Green would be the perfect complement to Durant and Lewis, as he is a player that can make a big impact on the game without taking shots. Green's top notch passing skills will allow Durant and Lewis to quite possibly become the most potent scoring duo in the NBA. I don't really like this trade as much for Boston. The Celtics have already tried pairing Paul Pierce with a high scoring shooter in Antoine Walker, and that duo was never able to get Boston over the hump. I would be afraid that adding Allen's shots to Pierce's might stunt the progress of Al Jefferson, especially since the Celtics had to give up Delonte West who might have been able to keep Jefferson involved in the offense in spite of the 40 shots a night that the Celtics' two stars will require. I thing if Ainge had stayed at #5 and picked a post player to compliment Jefferson (Yi Jianlian? Brandan Wright?) the Celtics would have been much better off in the long run.
Portland Receives: Steve Francis and Channing Frye
New York Receives:Zach Randolph, Dan Dickau, and Fred Jones
What Gives?: From a pure player value perspective Portland got killed in this trade. The benefits of this move for Portland are not in the actual players received however, as the key word for them in this trade is flexibility. Everyone on the planet knew that with Greg Oden coming to town to join LaMarcus Aldridge in the Blazers' frontcourt that Randolph and the four years remaining on his contract were going to be heading out of Portland. Letting go of Randolph in and of itself will free the Blazers' two newest big men to get the appropriate amount of playing time to develop. The deal also grants Portland a great amount of salary cap flexibility as Steve Francis' contract has only two years remaining as compared to the four remaining on Randolph's. The summer that Francis' contract expires coincides with the expiration of Raef LaFrentz's contract, meaning that the Blazers will clear $30 million of contracts off the books after the 2009-2010 season. That kind of cap room is going to give the Blazers the ability to bring in pretty much any free agent they could desire. Who wouldn't want the chance to play with Oden? And as an added bonus, Channing Frye is a great third man for Portland's frontcourt rotation. From the Knick's perspective this trade is fantastic. Pairing Randolph with Eddy Curry? In the East? For only the price of Channing Frye and Steve Francis' terrible contract? Wow. I have not liked a lot of the moves made by Isaiah Thomas in the past, but this one certainly looks like a winner. Curry and Randolph automatically become the most feared frontcourt duo in the East, hands down. Not only that, they are both young and signed through the next four years. This move just might be the one that finally turns the Knicks around. Dickau and Jones are each in the final years of their contracts, so they are essentially throwaways in this trade.
UPDATE: Are the Blazers going after Shawn Marion now? Check here for the latest.
Charlotte Receives: Jason Richardson and the #36 pick, Jermareo Davidson
Golden State Receives: The #8 pick, Brandan Wright
What Gives?: Chris Mullin may not have often gotten the best of Michael Jordan during their playing days, but Mullin completely ate Jordan's lunch on this deal. Let me put it this way; if Golden State could have dumped Richardson in exchange for a 2nd rounder this still would have been a good deal in a lot of ways. Richardson was not performing to the value of his contract, which has 4 years and over $50 million remaining on it. That is certainly not the kind of money you want to pay to a player that just finished a season where he only averaged 16 points per game. Getting rid of Richardson also shows a commitment by the Warriors to Monta Ellis, who will now have an opportunity to show that his breakout season of last year was no fluke. Without Richardson on board the Warriors will also likely be able to re-sign Matt Barnes. So Golden State in one swift move was able to ditch an overpaid player, give an emerging star a bigger role on their team, and give themselves the ability to keep one of their key role players. Oh, and there is also the fact that they also received a prospect that many people had rated as being perhaps the third best prospect in the entire draft in Brandan Wright, a lanky and athletic power forward that will fit perfectly into their system. Are you kidding me? This trade is a massacre of the highest order. Michael Jordan just needs to hang it up as a GM; as an executive he is as dangerous to his own team as he was to his opponents as a player.