Thirty-nine NBA players changed teams Thursday, resulting in the busiest trade deadline in a quarter of a century.
While the dust is still settling, which team made the biggest impact yesterday?
“I don’t think there’s any doubt that Oklahoma City took a pick axe to their bench,” NBA.com writer Sekou Smith said on CBS Sports Radio’s After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “The additions are what strike me. You take Reggie Jackson out of the mix. You get a backup point guard in D.J. Augustin. You get a shooter who’s been on the shelf for a couple years, a floor-spacer in Steve Novak. Enes Kanter was not working out in Utah. You get him. And then Kyle Singler, who I think is kind of an underrated stretch-4 utility guy from Detroit. Some great work by Sam Presti, once again showing off his chops as a GM. There are a bunch of guys around the league who need to ask for his scratch pad so they can figure out how to do this kind of stuff.”
Oklahoma City beat Dallas, 104-89, on Thursday for its fourth straight win. The Thunder (29-25) are now eighth in the Western Conference, with Phoenix (29-25) falling to ninth. The Suns figure to slide a little more the rest of the way, however, after sending their best player, Goran Dragic, to Miami before the deadline.
“I think they got emotional,” Smith said of the Suns. “I think you look at the way they took things apart there – moving Goran Dragic after he comes out and demands it. Anytime a player is that vocal about his distrust of the front office and ownership and what they’re doing, it sends up red flags around the league. Going through the deadline emotionally is not a smart thing to do because you start tearing things apart when you really shouldn’t. You need to step back and take a more measured approach. I think Ryan McDonough has done a fantastic job, and I’m sure that some of this stuff had to be out of his hands.”
Dragic, 28, went from a team barely hanging on in the West to a team barely hanging on in the East. The Heat (22-30) have a one-game lead over Brooklyn (21-31) for the final playoff spot.
“They needed a spark, and I don’t think there’s any question Goran Dragic will provide that,” Smith said. “But you know what? I’m a little hesitant just to anoint them as anything other than the same Miami Heat team we’ve watched all season. Dragic, as good as he is, he hasn’t led a team to the playoffs or been a key component on a team that’s played deep into the postseason. That’s what Miami is used to. That’s what Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh are used to the last four years. They’re going to expect a lot out of Goran Dragic, and he’s going to have to deliver immediately. There’s no time for him to get comfortable and get acclimated. He’s got to come to Miami and hit the ground running and get them up in the standings because it’s going to be a fight for those playoff spots in the East – just like there will be in the West.”