What a wild and woolly past few days it has been in the NBA. A week that started with a blockbuster trade that sent Carmelo Anthony to the Big Apple ended with a head-scratching move that shipped Boston Celtics' starting center Kendrick Perkins, Nate Robinson to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Jeff Green, Nenad Krstic and a first-round pick.
With other deals that involved Deron Williams, Baron Davis and Gerald Wallace amongst those leaving one team and going to another, it was one of the busiest NBA trade deadlines in recent memory. You'd literally need a scorecard to track all of the moves around the Association. (Of course the parent .com is all over that sort of thing). But it was a fun, fun day to be a basketball fan.
Let's take a look at the Eastern Conference's winners and losers at the trade deadline.
They Made Out Like Kings (and we're not talking about that woeful team from Sacramento): What can you say about a savvy Russian billionaire that drives up the stakes in his arch-rival's quest to get the guy they want before swooping in under the radar and landing one of the best players in the game?
New Jersey Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov forced the Knicks to give up everything and the kitchen sink to acquire Anthony from the Denver Nuggets and then quietly acquired the superstar he wanted in Williams from the Utah Jazz. What an evil genius.
The Biggest Loser: The true title of this should be "the Smaller Loser." No team has you shaking your heads more than the Celtics, who shipped away a lot of that tough physical presence that was a hallmark of the Eastern Conference defending champions in three separate deadline deals.
The first one shipped Perkins, the C's tough starting center, and sparkplug Robinson to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Green, Krstic and a first round pick. The second shipped rookie C Semih Erden and PF Luke Harangody to the Cleveland Cavaliers for a second round pick. Boston ended its night by trading SG Marquis Daniels to the Sacramento Kings for cash.
Someone must have photographs of Boston GM Danny Ainge in a compromising position. The one advantage the Celtics had over its opponents in the East was size and toughness. Now a lot of that size and tenacity has moved over the Western Conference where the Thunder went from instant pretenders to contenders.
Any Elite Team in the East Other Than the Celtics: The Miami Heat, Chicago Bulls and Orlando Magic may not have made a major move near the deadline, but Boston's trade to get smaller makes the East Miami's to lose. (I don't consider Chicago shipping away James Johnson to the Toronto Raptors for a first round pick "major" under any stretch of the imagination).
If Boston faces Orlando in the second round, the Magic will have a size advantage in the post with Dwight Howard. If Boston faces the Heat or the Bulls in the Eastern Conference Finals, size and physicality will not be as much of an issue in the series. Advantage Bulls and Heat.
The Cavs: Rebuilding seems to be in earnest in Cleveland, which shipped away Mo Williams and Jamario Moon to the Los Angeles Clippers for Davis and a non-lottery protected first round pick. They also picked up two imposing prospects from Boston and only gave up a second rounder.
It's not the pickup that Davis that we care about, it's the first-round pick that the Cavs need to get better.
Your Atlanta Hawks: Think of this one of more of a single than a home run. The Hawks desperately needed to upgrade at point guard and made a deadline move with the Washington Wizards, trading Mike Bibby, Maurice Evans, Jordan Crawford and a first round pick to the Wiz for Kirk Hinrich and Hilton Armstrong. Hinrich > Bibby, at least defensively. The move made the Hawks marginally better down the stretch and helped their chances in a potential first round matchup against the Magic.
It would have been nice to pick up a big man like Brad Miller so that Al Horford could move over to the four and Josh Smith slide over to the three, but a deal with the Houston Rockets that would have sent Zaza Pachulia to Texas fell through at the deadline.
Lala Vazquez: The beautiful former MTV veejay and wife of Anthony desperately wanted to get her husband out of Denver so that she could resume her television career. With Melo going to the Knicks, Vazquez got her wish. While she may not be so-MTV anymore, Vazquez and Anthony already have a reality TV show in the works on VH1.
Charlotte Bobcats: Yes, they got a pair of draft picks in the trade that shipped Wallace to the Portland Trail Blazers, but it's rebuilding time again for Michael Jordan's Cats, even though they are in the thick of the playoff hunt in the East.
New York Knicks: Not for the reason you think. While the trade for Anthony and Chauncey Billups will make them winners in the long run, they're not a very deep team this year. And despite what the pro-New York Kool-Aid drinking clowns on ESPN like Skip Bayless are saying, they gave up way too much to land Anthony -- even if it was a bunch of spare parts and draft picks.
But it's not necessarily the deal that makes them losers. It's the addition of Isiah Thomas in the Anthony negotiations that should strike fear through the hearts of Knicks fans everywhere. That dude has the reverse Midas touch. Everything diamond he touches turns to cubic zirconium.
Detroit Pistons: De-troit basket-ball is in the de toilet right now and the Pistons needed to make some sort of move to rebuild. They tried to move Richard Hamilton (along with a pick) to the Cavs, but Hamilton balked at the notion of taking his services to the team that LeBron James left in the offseason.
In the end, Detroit did nothing, dooming the franchise to an even longer rebuilding process.
Washington picked up a late first-round draft pick in the Hawks deal. That should help them, but the team has a long way to go to be competitive again.
The Indiana Pacers had a deal with the Memphis Grizzlies for O.J. Mayo, but didn't get the call into the league office until one minute after the trade deadline passed and the deal went the way of Cinderella's stagecoach at midnight. Ultimately, that deal would have made the Pacers a little better. But let's face it, Indiana's looking at a first-round playoff exit either way, so it's much ado about nothing.
Likewise, the Philadelphia 76ers were spectators at the deadline. But they're in the same playoff position as the Pacers. The Bobcats -- the only other legitimate team in the race for the final two playoff spots -- got worse at the deadline.
Milwaukee Bucks. See Pacers, 76ers.
Toronto skips to the beat of a different drum and actually traded away a pick instead of acquiring picks at the deadline. This team was terrible before the trade deadline, is terrible after it and would be terrible even if they made a flurry of moves. Woe Canada.