As every NBA fan knows by now, an onslaught of last minute trades that narrowly squeaked in before the 3:00pm ET deadline on Thursday and prompted NBA trade whisperer Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo to tweet “Good lord” made for a truly newsworthy deadline day.
You can find no shortage of trade coverage around the web (I loved the way that Grantland tackled trade-mageddon and enjoyed Bruce Arthur’s take on the madness in the Star). For my purposes, though, I’m focused more on the Raptors’ involved on a whirlwind day of activity.
Short and to the point: the Raps did nothing.
Despite some jokes by Masai Ujiri on TSN Radio that he was pretty sure his club hadn’t done anything amidst the mayhem, the GM elected to stand pat and stick with the roster that got him to 36-17 despite evident flaws.
Ujiri wasn’t the only one, either. For the 11 trades made, 41 players changing jerseys and 12 draft picks swapped on Thursday, Toronto wasn’t really impacted all that much. None of the East’s home court contenders – the Hawks, Cavs, Wizards and Bulls – did anything to boost their current rotation (the only addition made among the four was Washington swapping out point guards, sending Andre Miller to Sacramento for Ramon Sessions).
While no one stocked up to make a run for the Raps’ No. 2 spot in the conference, the second tier playoff hopefuls in the East may have made Toronto’s first round series a little tougher. The Miami Heat earned kudos for landing Goran (and Zoran) Dragic in a deal that looked to solidify their starting five, but their status as a dark horse threat took a potential hit with the news of Chris Bosh’s scary health situation. Meanwhile, the Milwaukee Bucks basically exchanged Brandon Knight for Michael Carter-Williams (while adding young pieces who aren’t likely to impact this year’s postseason in a meaningful way).
In the race for No. 8, the Detroit Pistons got Reggie Jackson to fill the void created by Brandon Jennings’ season-ending injury, the Brooklyn Nets fell short in their Jackson bid but turned Kevin Garnett into Thaddeus Young and the Boston Celtics added Isaiah Thomas.
It all adds up to some potential tweaks to the playoff landscape, but hardly a significant shift. A first round series against Dragic and Miami would be a challenge, albeit with Bosh’s status looming large. Otherwise, the Pistons are the only East club that look appreciably better today – and they still aren’t scaring anyone. Jackson doesn’t do anything for them that DJ Augustin, whom they surrendered along with Kyle Singler, couldn’t in their last visit to Toronto.
In fact, you could say that the moves with the greatest Raptor impact occurred a conference and a time zone away. The Denver Nuggets clearly signaled their intent to blow up their roster in shedding both Arron Afflalo and Javale McGee. The 2016 draft remains 16 months away, but the Raps, armed with the lesser of Denver’s and New York’s first rounder, look to have a major asset on their hands.