What Was The Best Deal Completed By The NBA Trade Deadline This Season?
But, wait just a second. While Anthony going to the Knicks is certainly a big deal—especially if you’re one of the thousands of Knicks fans that’s been ride-or-die through the Stephon Marbury/Eddy Curry/Isiah Thomas years—I actually think it might be the second most important trade deadline deal that got done this week and that will have on impact on this season. In the long run? I have to give it to ‘Melo. He will make the Knicks a legitimate chance to go to the NBA Finals year in and year out (especially if he can talk Deron Williams or Chris Paul into joining him and Amar’e Stoudemire in the Big Apple next year…). But as far as the trade that will have the biggest impact this season, I’m going to have to go in another direction.
So, which one is it? Is it Gerald Wallace going to the Portland Trail Blazers? Ehhh, no. Wallace is a nice player but he’s basically going from one small-market team that few folks outside of North Carolina care about (the Charlotte Bobcats, if you have no idea who I’m talking about) to a team that is nice but doesn’t have what it takes to make a serious run in the playoffs. Is it Aaron Brooks going from the Houston Rockets to the Phoenix Suns? No, it’s not that, either. Mostly because the Suns already have an elite point guard—ever heard of Steve Nash—and Brooks is more of a guy who will ideally pay off in the future. Is it Baron Davis going from the L.A. Clippers to the Cleveland Cavaliers? No. Just no. I don’t think I need to explain that one.
If you haven’t narrowed it down by now, I think that the best deal that got completed this week was—drumroll, please!—the Oklahoma City Thunder trading away Jeff Green for the Kendrick Perkins. Are you looking at me with a blank stare right now? Good. But, hear me out:
Perkins isn’t going to go out to the Western Conference and dominate. He’s not going to take over for the Thunder and carry them to the NBA Finals on his back. But the good thing about that: He doesn’t have to! Instead, he simply needs to control the paint for them, give them a big body that can defend Tim Duncan of the San Antonio Spurs and Pau Gasol of the Los Angeles Lakers once the playoffs roll around, and provide some of his playoff experience to a very young Thunder squad.
I think the fact that the Lakers didn’t make any moves in the days leading up to the trade deadline means that Kobe and Co. could be in real trouble once the playoffs start. And if someone like the Thunder can dethrone them, they could literally set Phil Jackson off into the sunset and put an end to their legacy. Likewise, Perkins is young enough to body up Duncan and send the Spurs—who currently have the best record in the West—home packing. And while you may not think of Perkins as an elite center in the NBA, he is easily one of the best centers out West now which provides a huge advantage for the Thunder.
In a few years, we may very well look back at the Perkins trade and see that it produced a ripple effect in the Western Conference. By obtaining him, the Thunder have showed the rest of the league that they’re ready to win now. They’re ready to put him into the lineup and let him mold with the rest of their young guys to form a real contender. The Thunder already played well in the playoffs last season and, with Perkins, they’re that much better and that much more ready to take on anyone who stands in their way.
So while Carmelo continues to get all of the headlines, don’t sleep on the trade the Thunder just made. Because out West, things just got a whole lot more interesting. Stay tuned.