Every year on NBA Trade Deadline Day, I’m reminded that we really don’t know much at all about the trade conversations that happen between GMs. The exception, of course, is Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, who knows way too much and actually frightens me a little. More than any other year in memory, I found myself flabbergasted and gobsmacked by the number of trades that seemed to come completely out of nowhere in the days and hours leading up to today’s 3pm ET deadline.
If I was to rank today’s trades on an “OMG Scale” from 1 to 10 — and that’s exactly what I’m going to do — the news that the Celtics traded Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson to the Thunder for Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic ranks as an 8.7. (A LeBron trade would be a 10, the D-Will trade was an 8 and the Carmelo trade was a 1.) It’s not just that nobody saw it coming, it’s that it seems to make so little sense for the Celtics.
I’ve wrapped my shell-shocked mind around why Celtics general manager Danny Ainge pulled the trigger on this deal — Perkins is an unrestricted free agent after this season and Ainge must have concluded that he would be unable or unwilling to sign him for the amount of money Perkins wanted. But still! It’s become conventional wisdom that Perkins was a key part of the Celtics’ core of defense and toughness. How often does a championship-contending team that prides itself on those two tenets trade its defensive-minded starting center?
The trade is a landscape changer in both conferences because a healthy Perkins gives the Thunder a defensive backbone to complement the scoring prowess of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. Perkins also gives them an answer for Andrew Bynum, Pau Gasol, Tim Duncan and Tyson Chandler in the Western Conference playoffs. His acquisition has to be viewed as a stunning success for Thunder GM Sam Presti.
As for the Celtics, we can only assume that Ainge believes that his team can go all the way this season without Perkins. Their championship window is small, and they have the best record in the East despite the fact that Perkins has only played 313 minutes this season. Celtics fans will not be forgiving if their team fails to win it all this season — but on the flipside, if the Celtics can achieve ultimate success, Ainge will look like a genius. Regardless of the fact that Perkins’ ex-teammates are understandably furious about the move, even they will eventually have to admit that Ainge’s cojones are daunting.
OK, let’s plow through the rest of today’s reported trades, post-haste.
Bobcats trade Gerald Wallace to Trail Blazers for Joel Przybilla, Dante Cunningham and two first rounders
Phenomenal acquisition for the Blazers, obviously. Wallace should fit in nicely as the second banana to LaMarcus Aldridge in Portland. Przybilla is a $7.5 million expiring contract and Cunningham is essentially filler. It’s basically a Charlotte salary dump for those two picks. OMG Scale: 7.1
Rockets trade Aaron Brooks to Suns for Goran Dragic and a lottery-protected first round pick
So much for Dragic being anointed as Steve Nash’s replacement in Phoenix. Both players have fallen off after impressive showings last season and they could both benefit from a fresh start. OMG Scale: 5.9
Rockets trade Shane Battier to Grizzlies for Hasheem Thabeet and a first round pick
Well, it’s official — the Grizzlies really, really screwed up that second overall pick in the 2009 draft. You can’t teach height and sometimes you can’t unteach “suck”. I’m guessing the Rockets value the pick more than Thabeet. OMG Scale: 4.8
Celtics trade Semih Erdan and Luke Harangody to Cavaliers for a second round pick
The Cavs acquire a semi-promising, legitimate center with decent offensive skill in Erden and a guy who probably isn’t cut out for this league in Harangody. They’re both second rounders on rookie contracts, so the Celtics get minimal savings out of this. OMG Scale: 4.2
Bobcats trade Nazr Mohammed to Thunder for Morris Peterson and D.J. White
Mohammed will be a serviceable starting center for OKC while Perkins heals his strained MCL and he’ll be one of the better backups at his position when Perkins returns. Both big man additions make the Thunder’s frontcourt significantly manlier. D.J. White is a tough, strong big man who can rebound and block a few shots while Mo-Pete will likely witness the end of his NBA career when his $6.6 million contract expires at the end of the season. OMG Scale: 2.8
Celtics trade Marquis Daniels to the Kings for cash money
I have no opinion about this move, but I’d like to point out that all these transactions mean that the Celtics will only have eight players in their lineup (Garnett, Pierce, Allen, Rondo, Davis, West, Wafer, Bradley) and just two legitimate big men when they face the Nuggets tonight. Bradley has played just 72 NBA minutes before tonight, so you know he’s secretly excited. OMG Scale: Meh