Thoughts on Tuesday’s Trades

With the draft almost here, things are really heating up in front offices. Tuesday was a particularly exciting day with two very notable trades going down. The first resulted in Richard Jefferson heading to San Antonio, expiring contracts and Amir Johnson headed to Milwaukee, and an expiring and partially guaranteed contract headed to Detroit. The big winners in this trade seem to be the San Antonio Spurs. While Jefferson’s contract is a bit hefty, the Spurs made the correct decision in trying to win now as the window of opportunity for Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili closes. As they learned last season, especially when Ginobili is hurt, they simply lacked a scoring threat beyond Duncan and Tony Parker. With Jefferson now on board, and Ginobili coming back healthy, they should have an abundance of offense to go along with their usual stellar defense. They are a defensive big man away from being a huge threat to the Lakers.

For Milwaukee, it was also a solid move but not a home run. They essentially gave away Richard Jefferson for the right to not pay anyone in the near future. Because of the move, they may have the cap flexibility now to re-sign Ramon Sessions and/or Charlie Villanueva. Clearly, they value that over the play of Jefferson. While it may be a correct assessment, don’t underestimate the skills of Jefferson and their need to replace them.

Finally, for Detroit, I just don’t get it. I understand this move saves them a couple million in an offseason where they are trying to stockpile as much cap room as possible, but they never gave Johnson the chance he probably deserved. In limited minutes he always ranked well in Composite Score. If given the opportunity in Milwaukee, he could become a very useful big man and a player the Pistons may one day regret giving away for a cheap buck (no pun intended). Let’s hope this move gives them the perfect amount of cap room to make all their offseason dreams come true.

The other notable trade was Minnesota trading Randy Foye and Mike Miller to the Wizards for the #5 pick and undesirable contracts. Let’s start with the bad. Even though many experts seem to be on board with this move for the Wiz and think they’ll be a contender in the East next year, to me it seems like a typical Washington short-sighted decision. Foye and Miller have talent, to be sure, but is this what Washington really needs right now? Their problem has always been defense and neither one of those players is going to turn things around in that department. In addition, with players like Gilbert Arenas, Nick Young, and DeShawn Stevenson already on the roster, how necessary is Randy Foye? On paper he sounds like a great partner in the backcourt for Arenas, but unfortunately that sounds like a pair that will get lit up defensively. Miller will provide some nice outside shooting. Is that worth the fifth pick in the draft?

I love the move from Minnesota’s perspective. Foye and Miller are useful but not championship-caliber players. Now that they own picks #5 and 6, the Wolves can select the remaining two of Stephen Curry/James Harden/Ricky Rubio/Tyreke Evans. My personal favorites are Curry and Evans, but any two of those along with Kevin Love and Al Jefferson form a nice core. All they need is a shot-blocking big man and they could be a playoff team immediately and a contender in the not-so-distant future.

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