In classic form, the NBA took the last 45 seconds before 3 o’clock yesterday to make as many pointless and confusing trades as possible before the deadline. Dallas has Jason Kidd, Atlanta has Mike Bibby and the Suns have some unknown young gun whose dreams could take him to the top. One of the most complicated trades came in a three-way blockbuster between Chicago, Seattle and Cleveland. Cleveland got Ben Wallace, Joe Smith, Delonte West and Wally Szczerbiak and sent Larry Hughes and Drew Gooden to Chicago and Donyell Marshall to Seattle. Before analyzing this trade, I think you should all take a look at the conversation preceding it:
February 21, 2008 2:45 P.M.
Chicago: *Ring Ring* Hello?
Cleveland: Hey Chicago, it’s me, Cleveland.
Chicago: Oh, ‘sup.
Cleveland: Not much, LeBron is crying about how bad his team is. As if he doesn’t get to play with Ira Newble.
Chicago: Ah, it all becomes clear, you must be calling about Thabo Sefolosha.
Cleveland: Uh, yeah I was thinking more like Ben Wallace and Joe Smith for Larry Hughes and Drew Gooden?
Chicago: *Pumps Fist* OH YEAH! Kiss your spot goodbye Hinrich!
Cleveland: Uh, yeah. Any chance I could dump Donyell Marshall on you, too?
Chicago: Yeah, right. That guy can’t even dress himself. Throw him at Seattle.
Seattle: *Over Enthusiastically* Hey guys, whassuuuuuuup?!
Cleveland: Hey bud, we were just wondering if you’d like Donyell Marshall. He’s averaging 16 and 10 (in 2003).
Seattle: Gosh, really?! Yeah jeez of course. Here, take some key players from my young nucleus that I totally revamped my team to create.
Cleveland: *Snickering* K, see you at the Finals. *Starts Laughing Uncontrollably and Hangs Up*
Seattle: What a nice guy.
Ok so now that you know what happened, here’s the significance. Cleveland got a lot better. I don’t care about fitting in with the team style blah blah blah. Anytime that you can trade Larry Hughes (who has been playing well recently but so has Joe Smith) and Drew Gooden and get a solid power forward (in Smith), an over 40% 3-point shooter (in Wally), a good young point guard (Delonte) who can fill in for Daniel Gibson while he’s hurt and one of the best defenders in the NBA (Ben Wallace). I hate to say it but Big Z just wasn’t getting it done in Cleveland defensively and starting Ben Wallace at the 4 should help. Wally really spreads the floor, giving room for LeBron, and Delonte West isn’t a shabby pickup either. And if you don’t think that having Joe Smith is a step up from Anderson Varejao, you’re crazy.
Chicago also made a good trade, assuming they gave up on getting a title this year. Drew Gooden is a solid scorer and rebounder and Larry Hughes still has a little left in the tank. I don’t know what they plan to do with Hughes, Hinrich and Gordon together but they really can’t all play at the same time. Ben Wallace wasn’t doing anything for Chicago and definitely not enough to help them out of their 21-32 season.
I really have no idea what Seattle is doing here. I guess they’re clearing a lot of cap room and getting ready to sign some expensive free agents over the summer, but they’ve definitely given up on the whole “rebuilding stage” idea. They throw Kurt Thomas over to the Spurs and get the aging Brent Barry. They get rid of Delonte West and Wally Howdoyouspellit and take Donyell Marshall in return. I just feel bad for whatever big time free agent the Supersonics sign, because this team is going nowhere fast.