The NBA: Trade Grading

Otis Smith (R) is all smiles as Dwight Howard finally clears up the air
and decides he's sticking around in the Magic Kingdom.
*All images are from the Associated Press.

“S/O to @dwighthoward for being loyal and not following this whack trend in the league of dudes trying to team up.#standonyourown2” – tweet from Jarrett Jack (@Jarrettjack03)

“Loyalty hahahahaha” – tweet from Dwyane Wade (@DwyaneWade)

I wouldn’t go as far as Jarrett Jack and say that Dwight Howard’s loyalty is nonpareil, but I would go on to say that Dwyane Wade’s tweet is very, how shall I say it, telling of what kind of player he has become (ironically, this guy laughing at loyalty stayed “loyal” to Miami).

But I won’t go on harping about such something so out-of-fashion as the value of loyalty.

This time I just want to keep it simple and give very short comments on some transactions that went down on March 15, 2012 (Eastern Time).

Derek Fisher getting shipped to Houston: Fisher is such a likeable guy, and I love the Rockets (my sentimental faves), but I feel bad for D-Fish. He essentially got dumped for cap space. It’s a vicious business and a sad reality, but that won’t stop me from seeing this as fodder against the Lakers. Tsk tsk. I’m giving LAL a D here.

Marcus Camby becomes a Rocket: I like this for Houston. Camby gives them added depth at the slot. Now they have three potential rebound demons who can maybe counter the twin towers of the two LA teams, and maybe contend with the imposing bigs of OKC and SAS. I feel bad for Camby, though. For a guy who gives so much, I just feel he hasn’t been appreciated enough. I’m giving HOU a B here and POR a C.

Nets land Gerald Wallace: Portland was the unexpected trigger-happy trader on this day, and only God knows why they made the previous deal and this one. I also don’t really like that NJN agreed to this. Wallace is a potential stat-filler, but he doesn’t exactly fill in the empty spots on New Jersey’s roster. With him joining Brook Lopez, the improving Kris Humphries, MarShon Brooks and D-Will in the starting five, the Nets might be a fringe playoff team, but when Williams becomes a free agent this June, all that will blow up in Brooklyn. NJN gets a C+ here.

San Antonio welcomes Stephen Jackson back with open arms: And I’m not sure this helps, because Richard Jefferson has been the holding the fort relatively well I think. Jackson helped out with San Antonio’s title in 2003, which was NINE YEARS AGO, but I am not sure he’ll still be the big time shotmaker he was back then. I think he’ll be a tough customer who won’t be afraid to bruise the likes of Kobe, Westbrook or Vince Carter, but I think the Spurs were better off keeping RJ instead. I’m giving SAS a C here.

Ramon Sessions moves to Hollywood: Big time trade with potentially world-shattering ramifications in my book. The Lakers leveled up at the one spot, though I’m not sure Sessions addresses all their concerns, especially on the playmaking side. He should, however, help with the scoring and maybe a little bit of defense. He should definitely take some heat off from KB24. I would’ve given LAL an A here if the Beasley deal had pushed through, but seeing things as they are, I’m giving them just a B+.

Leandro Barbosa to Indiana: And for practically nothing to boot! Barbosa hasn’t been the super speedster he once was in Phoenix, but he can still hack it. He’ll be a fine addition to an already vastly-improved Pacer backcourt. He should back-up Paul George quite well, and may surprise some foes in the postseason. Indiana gets a B here.

Nick Young goes to Lob City: As if the Clippers didn’t have enough scorers already. Young is probably pumped to join BG and CP3 in LA, and perhaps even at the prospect of playing a playoff series, but I doubt he’ll be the big lift the Clips will need to get past the favorites out West. Maybe LA is counting on Caron Butler mentoring Young for next season? LAC gets a C+ here.

Javale McGee climbs the Rockies and becomes a Nugget: I’m not sure what Denver was thinking here. They traded maybe their best low post threat for a guy who’s pretty much a more unpredictable version of Chris Andersen. What? Andersen and McGee in one frontline? The Nuggets might just lead the league in blocks, but they might also lead the league in crazy YouTube clips. DEN gets a C here.

Nene becomes a Wizard: Nene with John Wall looks mighty fine, and the Wizards might actually have come out the winner in this three-team merry-go-round. He has never really been THE star, and he still won’t be that in Washington, but he should be a good, stabilizing presence for this young team. Together with Wall and Jordan Crawford, this Wizard team has the potential to mature and be a whole lot better as soon as next year. WAS gets a B here.

Dwight Howard sticks with Orlando: I wouldn’t label Big D as the paragon of loyalty just yet, but at least his “indecision” ended up a lot better than someone else’s “Decision.” Props to Howard for at least sticking with his current teammates and simply for not bailing on the franchise. Props to the franchise, too, because they didn’t really get anyone new to help D, but somehow they still managed to convince him to stay. ORL gets an B+ here.

After the JUMP, March 14, 2012 stat-stuffers:

IND over PHI, 111-94
Danny Granger had 20 points to lead five Pacers in double figures, as Indiana averaged over 63 percent shooting in the second and third quarters to rout the 76ers. David West finished with 18 points, George Hill contributed 17 and Tyler Hansbrough and Roy Hibbert had 14 apiece for the Pacers, who won their second game in as many nights. Evan Turner's game-high 21 points on 9-of-11 shooting were not enough for Philadelphia. Jrue Holiday netted 17 points and Elton Brand donated 16 for the Sixers, who saw a three-game winning streak snapped. 

NJN over TOR, 98-84
Gerald Green scored 16 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter, as the New Jersey Nets took down the Toronto Raptors. Kris Humphries added 16 points and 21 rebounds for the Nets, who went 1-2 on a three-game homestand. Anthony Morrow tallied 15 points. Jerryd Bayless ended with 16 points and 10 assists for the Raptors, who have lost three of four. 

NYK over POR, 121-79
Perhaps motivated by the end of Mike D'Antoni's reign on the bench, , the New York Knicks snapped a six-game losing streak by rolling to a blowout victory over Portland. Carmelo Anthony scored 16 points and handed out 7 assists. LaMarcus Aldridge and Gerald Wallace each scored 15 points for the Blazers, who are mired in their own 2-7 funk. 

HOU over CHA, 107-87
Luis Scola scored 23 points and Goran Dragic added 14 and 10 assists for the Rockets in their rout of the Bobcats. Jordan Hill had 14 points while Samuel Dalembert finished with 12 and 10 rebounds for the Rockets, who have won three of four after a five-game slide. Derrick Brown scored 15 points to pace the Bobcats, who fell to an NBA-worst 6-35.

MIL over CLE, 115-105
Drew Gooden had his second career triple- double, netting 15 points, dishing out 13 assists and grabbing 10 rebounds to help Milwaukee take down Cleveland. Ersan Ilysova led all Bucks with 22 points, Mike Dunleavy poured in 21 off the bench and Brandon Jennings and Carlos Delfino finished with 17 apiece for Milwaukee, which has won four in a row. Kyrie Irving had a game-high 28 points and Alonzo Gee donated 19 for the Cavaliers, who dropped their second straight. 

LAL over NOH, 107-101 (OT)
Kobe Bryant dropped in 33 points as the Los Angeles Lakers rallied in the second half to down the New Orleans Hornets in overtime. Andrew Bynum added 25 points and 18 rebounds, while Pau Gasol finished with 18 points and 10 boards for Los Angeles, which was coming off a double-overtime victory over the Memphis Grizzlies. Jarrett Jack scored a season-high 30 points with 6 assists for the Hornets, who have dropped 10 of their last 13 games. 

SAS over ORL, 122-111
Tony Parker had 31 points and 12 assists, helping the Southwest Division-leading San Antonio Spurs hold off the Orlando Magic. Tim Duncan added 21 points and 13 rebounds for the Spurs, who went 4-3 on a seven-game homestand. Dwight Howard had 22 points and 12 boards for the Magic, who had a three-game winning streak snapped. 

CHI over MIA, 106-102
Without Derrick Rose, the Bulls got 24 points from John Lucas in their win over the Heat. Chicago had lost five straight to Miami dating back to last year's Eastern Conference finals and was missing Rose due to a sore groin, but Lucas made 9-of-12 shots, scored 11 in the fourth quarter and knocked down a pair of free throws with six seconds left to seal the final result. Joakim Noah added 14 points in the win while Ronnie Brewer finished with 12 for the Bulls, who improved to an NBA-best 36-9 on the season. The Heat were coming off of consecutive overtime games, beating Indiana on Saturday before falling to Orlando on Tuesday. They have lost four straight on the road.

DET over SAC, 124-112
Rodney Stuckey dropped in 35 points as the Detroit Pistons overcame a slow start to down the Sacramento Kings. Greg Monroe added 32 points and 11 rebounds, while Tayshaun Prince finished with 28 points, 7 assists and 5 rebounds for Detroit, which won for the fourth time in five games. Tyreke Evans netted 23 points in the Kings' third straight loss. 

BOS over GSW, 105-103
Kevin Garnett hit the eventual game-winning jumper with 6.6 seconds remaining, lifting the Celtics over the Warriors. Garnett broke a 103-103 tie with a 19-footer as the shot clock was winding down, and the Celtics improved to 2-1 on their eight-game road trip. Klay Thompson, in his second straight start since the trade of Monta Ellis, scored a career-high 26 points for Golden State, which saw its three-game win streak snapped. 

LAC over ATL, 96-82
Mo Williams scored 25 points as the Clippers defeated the Hawks. Eric Bledsoe added a season-high 14 points, Caron Butler had 13 and Blake Griffin finished with 12 and 10 rebounds for the Clippers. They had dropped two straight and eight of 12 coming in. Joe Johnson scored 19 points and Josh Smith had 18 for the Hawks, who have lost four of their last five. 

PHX over UTA, 120-111
Channing Frye netted a season-high 26 points as the Phoenix Suns downed the Utah Jazz. Marcin Gortat added 25 points, Jared Dudley had 21 and Steve Nash finished with 12 points and 16 assists as the Suns finished a four-game homestand with a 3-1 record. Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson scored 18 points apiece to pace Utah, which lost for the third time in four games. 

Super Scorers (Top scorers of the night!)
Dwyane Wade (MIA) – 36
LeBron James (MIA) & Rodney Stuckey (DET) – 35
Kobe Bryant (LAL) – 33
Greg Monroe (DET) – 32 

Ragin’ Rebounders (Top rebounders of the night!)
Kris Humphries (NJN) - 21
Andrew Bynum (LAL) – 18
Jason Thompson (SAC) – 15 

Kris Humphries has been steadily improving
for the New Jersey Nets.

Dynamic Dishers (Top playmakers of the night!)
Steve Nash (PHX) – 16
Rajon Rondo (BOS) – 14
Drew Gooden (MIL) – 13 

Terrific Thieves (Top thieves of the night!)
Raymond Felton (POR) – 6
A LOT with 4!!!

Raymond Felton lost out to his former team
at the MSG.

Boomin’ Blockers (Top blockers of the night!)
A LOT with 4!!!

Sharpshooters (Top 3-point shooters of the night!)
JR Smith (NYK) – 7
Steve Novak (NYK) – 6
A LOT with 5!!!

March 14, 2012 First Five
C – Greg Monroe (DET) – 32pts, 11rebs, 3asts
F – LeBron James (MIA) – 35pts, 5rebs, 4asts, 4stls
F – Tayshaun Prince (DET) – 28pts, 7asts, 5rebs, 2blks, 1stl
G – Rodney Stuckey (DET) – 35pts, 6asts, 5rebs, 4 treys
G – Tony Parker (SAS) – 31pts, 12asts, 2rebs

Tayshaun Prince might be looking at another
long summer in Michigan.
Honorable Mention:
Andrew Bynum (LAL) – 25pts, 18rebs, 4asts, 2stls, 2blks
Dwyane Wade (MIA) – 36pts, 7rebs, 2blks, 1ast, 1stl
Jarrett Jack (NOH) – 30pts, 6asts, 3rebs, 2blks, 1stl

Daily Zap:

*Game recaps were compiled and compressed from the Sports Network.

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