By Derek Gonzales
The 2016 NBA trade deadline was expected to be as entertaining as the year before, when players like Goran Dragic, Isaiah Thomas, Reggie Jackson, Enes Kanter, and Kevin Garnett were traded minutes before the four p.m. Eastern Time deadline hit.
This year, rumors swirled around the league, from Kevin Love going to Boston, to Carmelo Anthony teaming up with King James in Cleveland. However, none of these came to fruition, with the most notable trades being Cleveland landing of one of the league’s best three-point shooting big men in Channing Frye, and Phoenix finally getting rid of their disgruntled power forward Markieff Morris, sending him to Washington for two expiring contracts and a protected first-round pick.
Let’s take a look at my three likes and dislikes of Week 18 in the NBA, as well as power rankings.
Like: Cleveland acquiring Channing Frye.
This was a low-cost move for the Cavs, sending a first-rounder and Anderson Varajao’s expiring contract to Portland in the three-team deal. Channing Frye, whom Cavs GM David Griffin is familiar with when both were in Phoenix, is a 7-foot center who in his 10th year and shoots 38.7 percent from behind the arc. His ability to spread the floor and pull opposing big men away from the basket to open up driving lanes for LeBron and Kyrie will be a huge plus for the Cavs as we inch closer to playoff basketball.
Dislike: Markieff Morris
Markieff Morris was given a four-year, $32-million contract by the Phoenix Suns. And what did they get from him? Bad publicity: getting charged with assault with his twin brother and fellow Sun Marcus, throwing a towel at the Suns’ coach’s head, shoving a teammate during a timeout, and publicly asking to be traded after Marcus got traded. The unprofessionalism Markieff showed as part of the Suns was wrong. The organization deserved his 100 percent effort on the court, and did not get that, with his scoring average dropping four points from the season before, to add onto his off-the-court antics. Here’s to hoping he grows up in Washington.
Like: The ‘Brow puts up 59 and 20 on Detroit.
The New Orleans Pelicans have been decimated by injuries all year. A team that snuck into the playoffs last year is 11 games under .500 and is falling out of the playoff picture, but Anthony Davis provided a memorable night for the team Sunday. He went 24-34 from the field en route to his 59 points in 43 minutes, and grabbed 20 rebounds against Pistons center Andre Drummond. A team with a special talent like this shouldn’t be 22-33 on the year. GET THIS MAN SOME HELP!
- Golden State Warriors (49-5)—It took an unbelievable performance from Damian Lillard, scoring 51 points to knock off the Dubs. Sitting at 49-5, they are still on pace for 73 wins.
- San Antonio Spurs (47-9)—These Spurs continue to fly under the radar, but they do still face Golden State twice before the end of the season. That’s their chance to get some attention.
- Cleveland Cavaliers (40-14)—It was a toss-up for the third spot between them and OKC, but they knocked the Thunder in Chesapeake Bay Arena on Sunday, which is always tough.
- Oklahoma City Thunder (40-16)—They would’ve liked to have gotten a signature win over LeBron and the Cavs, but this team is clicking. The addition of Randy Foye will only make it tougher for opposing defenses.
- Boston Celtics (33-24)—Brad Stevens has gotten his team to buy into his defense-first mentality. “They’ve got a bunch of junkyard dogs that can play,” said Clippers Coach Doc Rivers after his team lost in Boston.
- Los Angeles Clippers (36-19)—Speaking of Doc, his team just continues to put up better numbers offensively without Blake Griffin. Good win during the week against San Antonio, but they still cannot figure out a way to beat those Warriors.
- Toronto Raptors (36-18)—They have the second-best record in the East, but it’s hard to give love to a team that, with Lowry, DeRozan, Valanciunas, hasn’t been able to get out of the first round of the playoffs.
- Memphis Grizzlies (32-23)—Grit ‘N Grind continues to win games in Memphis. Let’s see if Lance Stephenson can channel that fire that made him popular in Indiana and be productive for the Grizz.
- Miami Heat (31-24)—Chris Bosh has another blood clot-related issue, so let’s keep him in our thoughts and hope for a speedy return to the court. Hassan Whiteside just posted 25 points and 23 rebounds in a win in D.C. on Saturday, as the team sits at fifth in the East.
- Indiana Pacers (30-25)—Paul George, who should win NBA Comeback Player of the Year, leads this team into a big game in Miami on Monday. The game will have playoff/tiebreaker implications.
Be sure to check next week for the next installment of the NBA Column.
Derek Gonzales can be reached at email@example.com
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