The trade season is over. That is unless you are a team that has open spots on the roster, trade season isn’t over though. Sacramento Kings headlined the trading activities after shipping out DeMarcus Cousins for less valuable pieces in return and were declared outright losers of the trade between them and New Orleans Pelicans.
Though they have been panned for the move, NBA’s most frustratingly complex franchise might just be on to something particularly seeing how the team has played without Cousins this season.
Close to the All-Star Weekend, Boston Celtics lost to the Kings without its lead scorer and rebounder. After finding playing time hard to come by, Willy Cauley-Stein scored a career high 20 points with Buddy Hield (16 points) and Skal Labissiere pouring in good performances as well. Allotting extensive minutes to the young guns could be the long term solution to this long suffering franchise.
As much as Oklahoma City Thunder getting Taj Gibson and Doug McDermott is a huge plus, Russell Westbrook’s team is still bound to have a weak defensive bench especially in the frontcourt. Pairing Taj Gibson and Steven Adams in the starting lineup is a win-win for Oklahoma but same cannot be said about Enes Kanter and Domantas Sabonis pairing in the second unit as neither player is a good defender.
Somewhere in Philadelphia, the Sixers are in serious talks with Andrew Bogut and his agent to waive the big Aussie which will be good news for the team he is likely heading to; the Cleveland Cavaliers. Bogut’s former teammate Deron Williams has already been waived by Dallas Mavericks and is per reports, 88% on his way to Cleveland according to ESPN.com. This means the defending NBA Champions can have two experienced and very good albeit injury prone players for the postseason. Both players until recently were part of the Mavericks latest attempt to contend for a title in Dirk Nowitzki’s final days in Dallas. However, a bad start and chemistry issues mainly in having Dirk play alongside Bogut derailed all plans plunging the side into the Draft pool.
Curiously the team has since come back into playoff contention in light of Yogi Ferell’s ascension to the starting lineup at a time when Guards J.J. Barea, and Williams were sidelined. Having enjoyed a successful stay as an elite point guard, Williams is in the twilight of an injury marred career whereas Dallas has finally accepted its fate and started retooling for the future with a couple of young selections hence the buyout. In Cleveland, King LeBron James has been wailing for a Point Guard to play behind Kyrie Irving and nabbing Williams would be a near perfect solution. Deron has played with James on the 2008 and 2012 USA Olympic Basketball Teams so bedding in is sure not to be a problem same way chasing a title benefits the 12 year veteran Williams since Cleveland is almost guaranteed to be in the Finals.
The postseason is definitely a place for Deron Williams to thrive given the considerable drop in pace from the regular season. After suffering multiple ankle injuries, Williams speed has been sapped but his playmaking skills remain intact to use in a half court offense for Cleveland’s second unit. The Cavs starting lineup is well set with the inclusion of injured duo J.R. Smith and Kevin Love with James, Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson occupying the remaining spots. Andrew Bogut isn’t going to start a lot of games rather he will be in a tussle with Channing Frye for secondary duties. Neither Frye nor Bogut is springy but both men can shoot and that is a good thing for Coach Tyronne Lue since he wouldn’t have to worry much about a steep drop in production when his starters sit.
A possible bench lineup could have Bogut at Center, Derrick Williams at Power Forward, Kyle Korver at Small Forward, Iman Shumpert at Shooting Guard and Williams at Point Guard. Richard Jefferson and Jesse Jones can also fill in here and there. The league is in fast and furious land right now but plodding rim protectors like Bogut are still relevant for the skill they bring on board. Case in point, Bogut’s injury in Game 5 of last year’s finals sparked a major Golden State Warriors meltdown which resulted in the Warriors blowing a 3-1 series lead to the Cavs.
Should the reports hold, Cleveland could add two veterans with playoff experience to readily step in and deliver. After looking from the outside, Cleveland could end up the biggest winner of the trade season.
By Yaw Adjei-Mintah
@ YawMintYM on Twitter