Swapping garbage: The truth about NBA trades

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Dwight Howard and Andrew Bynum

Too often in the NBA the term blockbuster gets associated with trades or potential trades.   The fact of the matter is that there are only four teams with a legitimate chance to win an NBA title this year.  The Los Angeles Lakers, Oklahoma City Thunder, Chicago Bulls, and Miami Heat.  Thunder, Heat and Bulls already have the rosters in place to get it done, the Lakers would have to make a trade.  If, and only if, one of the four previously mentioned teams decided to acquire talent via a trade could the transaction be considered blockbuster.  Otherwise, trades in the NBA are  just teams swapping garbage.  Don’t believe it?  When was the last time you saw a significant trade in the NBA – one that truly made a difference?  How about 2010 when the Heat did sign and trades to acquire Lebron James and Chris Bosh?  Before that, try 2008, when the Lakers traded for Pau Gasol.

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In between those two blockbuster trades that propelled both teams to the NBA Finals, dozens of players have been traded and for what?  To be 10th best rather than 11th?  It doesn’t make sense.  Names like Deron Williams, Kirk Hinrich, Carmelo Anthony, and Amar’e Stoudemire have all been traded and it didn’t make a difference.  The Elite teams were still the elite teams and everyone else is clumped together at the back of the pack.  Trade anyone of those players to one of the big four and you’ve got a blockbuster.  Anywhere else and you’re just swapping roster pieces.  Now take a look at some almost and potential current trade scenarios in the NBA.

Chris Paul to the Lakers would have been a blockbuster trade.  The Lakers desperately need a point guard to remain serious contenders in 2012 and Paul would have been the perfect fit.  Teamed with Kobe Bryant and Andrew Bynum, the Lakers would have had a big three that would have given the Western Conference fits and rivaled any starting lineup in the East.  As it is, Paul got traded to the Los Angeles Clippers.  Nice roster addition for the other team in L.A. but so what.  Where Paul makes the Clippers better, he doesn’t make them legitimate NBA title contenders.

Dwight Howard to the Lakers would be a blockbuster trade.  Although Howard is not what the Lakers need, especially at the cost of Bynum, the combination of the Black Mamba and Superman would give the Lakers the ability to contend for a title this season.  On the other hand, if Howard lands in New Jersey the Nets become a second round playoff team at best and would still be nowhere near ready to contend with the Bulls or Heat.  So why do it?  It’s not going to make a difference.

As fans of the game we love to hear about trades and player movements.  The speculation alone often consumes us.  But the next time a  so-called blockbuster trade is announced in the NBA take a look at the teams and the pieces that are being swapped.  Chances are, a better label for the deal would be a buster trade as the majority of the time the players and teams involved are insignificant factors in the championship competition.  Yeah, the truth hurts.

Aaron Moon is the CEO and a Featured Journalist for The Penalty Flag. You can contact Aaron on facebook or follow him on Twitter @DA_Bear_Truth. Contact Aaron directly by emailing him at amoon@thepenaltyflagblog.com.

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One Response to Swapping garbage: The truth about NBA trades

  1. Sykes says:

    The Heat didn’t sign and trade to get James and Bosh, they did it via free angency. As for the better example than Miami, you cited L.A getting Gasol, and there was also during the same season (months earlier) Boston traded for Allen and Pierce.

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