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The Spurs didn't make a move at the trade deadline, but the lack of activity league-wide kept them in a good position moving forward
The trade deadline came and went and none of the stars rumored to be on the move left their teams. You can go here for a full list of transactions and analysis on them. But since you are probably more interested in how things affected the Spurs, let's get to that, starting with the trades made by West playoff teams.
Eric Maynor (OKC) to Portland for a trade exception and Ronnie Brewer (NYK) to OKC for a second round pick.
The Thunder drafted Reggie Jackson likely anticipating the day in which Maynor would simply be too good to bring off the bench. Before his injury, Maynor seemed to have that much potential. But he could never get back to that level after his knee injury and Jackson actually beat him out of the back up PG role, which made trading him almost necessary for both the player and the team.
While Jackson is a solid defender, doesn't go off-script often and has gotten better numbers with increased minutes, a healthy Maynor was a better distributor and a much better three point shooter. Westbrook will probably get 40 minutes per game in the playoffs, so the loss won't be great. Still, the tendency of the Thunder to get younger is smart from a financial stand point, but could hurt them long term if their prospects don't pan out.
After ridding themselves of Maynor's contract, the Thunder went out and took Ronnie Brewer from the Knicks. Brewer is a familiar name so this might sound like a great get for OKC, but the reason the Knicks disposed of the former Jazz player is because he faded out of their regular rotation due to his three point shooting woes. After starting the season scorching hot from three, Brewer, never known for his shooting, has gone 4-15 in the last 20 games for 26.7%. If you are familiar with Brewer's game, you know that he can't dribble, can't create for others, is a solid but unspectacular rebounder and not much else. His defense is well above average, but he simply replicates what Sefolosha does for OKC, so his impact should be minimal.
Thomas Robinson, Tyler Honneycut and Franciso Garcia from the Kings to the Rockets for Toney Douglas, Cole Aldrich and Patrick Patterson.
The Kings made this deal to save a little money because the Maloofs are awful and Geoff Petrie is a shell of his former self who probably has no power within the organization anymore. The Rockets, on the other hand, made a strange little trade that could work out great for them. They sent three players that were getting playing time, including starter Patrick Patterson, for someone that has struggled mightily but might become an impact player later on his career. While this seems like a long term type of deal, (Patterson is better than Robinson right now), it might actually help the Rockets, who currently occupy the 8th seed in the West, to solidify their position
There is such a thing as too much depth and the Rockets took care of it with this trade and the one sending Marcus Morris to join his brother in Phoenix. With the mediocre Douglas gone, Lin won't have to worry about being benched late in games as Patrick Beverly is not good enough to be a threat. Depending on the match-up, The Beard could also be used as the backup to Lin. Since Douglas was far from your typical pass first PG, and considering Carlos Delfino and Garcia can both space the floor and take care of secondary playmaking, the trade shouldn't affect the Rocket's high octane offense.
But the biggest plus might come on the front court rotation. With Patterson and Morris' departure, Chandler Parsons might see more time at the four spot, a situation that is very favorable for the Rockets but was often ignored because of the amount of big forwards they had. That doesn't mean the Rockets are now forced to go small; they still have Greg Smith in tow and could finally get to see what they have in Donatas Motiejunas. Houston cleared the deck of mediocre former late first rounders and got a former top five pick with three more years left on his rookie contract and the chance to get a set rotation. Unless Robinson blows up with this change of scenery, (doubtful), the Rockets are still first round fodder for the first or second seed, but this is a good trade nonetheless.
The best trades are the ones that didn't happen
The Spurs perhaps benefited the most from trades that didn't happen. The Grizzlies were rumored to be pursuing J.J. Redick and a shooter of that caliber would have made them much more dangerous. It was also rumored that the Hawks wanted to send Josh Smith to the Western Conference, which might have shifted the balance of power. The Bledsoe and Jordan for Garnett talk died out, but that trade would have made the Clippers tougher to beat in this post season even if the deal limited their long term potential.
There were also a lot of solid role players like J.J. Hickson, Gerald Henderson and Beno Udrih, to name a few, that were reportedly on the block but none were traded to a serious threat of the Spurs. A quiet trade deadline benefits the teams that are already good, and when it became apparent a big trade was not in the cards for SA, it was the best PATFO could hope for. OKC, the Heat and the Clippers didn't get worse, but they didn't get better either, and the second tier remained basically the same; so it all stays as it was a few days ago.
The big trades that did happen benefited the Spurs
There were four major trades this year, if we count the off-season: James Harden for Kevin Martin, Rudy Gay for Tayshaun Prince and the Lakers getting Dwight Howard and Steve Nash. They happened weeks and months before the deadline, so they might get lost in the shuffle, but teams did make moves. Fortunately for the Spurs, the moves weakened the Grizzlies and OKC to varying degrees. I've already broken down the particulars in both cases, but It still bears reminding; while the Spurs have improved from last season and have the benefit of continuity, two of the teams that were considered huge threats have ridden themselves of great perimeter creators for downgrades. As for the Lakers, you know how things have gone. With Gasol injured, Nash playing tentatively and Kobe and Howard not seeing eye to eye, their once almost inevitable playoff push seems more and more doubtful.
Will that be enough for the Spurs to come out of the West? Who knows, but the fact that some of their direct competitors have been sellers should at least keep the Spurs' chances intact. No one got better as the season went on and that's clearly a positive.
A few words on DeJuan Blair
Blair wasn't traded and will play out the remaining season with the Spurs. It's sad that a trade couldn't be reached because it would have likely been good for both the team to get something back for DeJuan before he inevitably leaves, and for Blair himself, who would have gotten a shot at auditioning for a big contract this off-season. Alas, he is still with the Spurs and I'm rooting for him. Who knows? Maybe he gets back on Pop good graces and gets his spot back in the rotation.
Stats via NBA.com/Stats