1 - The dust has settled after a crazy trade deadline. Which team was the biggest loser?
Michael Erler: Believe it or not, I think it was the Spurs. I'm not sure how aggressive they were (I don't think very) but I think Pop and R.C. Buford are living in some kind of denial if they think they're serious contenders after standing pat. The season is 2/3 over and they're still the seventh seed. You can blame injuries and schedule but after a certain sample size threshold you are what your record says you are. The Spurs are losing the lion's share of their games to anyone worthwhile, especially on the road, and their scoring differential stinks. Almost every man on the roster is playing worse than last season. They have a clear problem with their stretch fours and aren't getting consistent play from anyone. They desperately needed an infusion of talent and energy and did nothing. It's hard to make a case for them even as a darkhorse at this point.
Bruno Passos: The Suns. Sure, their hand was forced at that point by Goran Dragic's comments, but they put themselves in the situation they were in, having to sell the Dragon for pennies on the dollar and losing their Lakers draft pick in the process.
Jesus Gomez: The Nuggets. They got a good haul for Afflalo but had to send a pick to Philadelphia to get rid of McGee and they failed to move Wilson Chandler and Ty Lawson. They needed a complete teardown and didn't go for it. Next season they will still have the chance to move Lawson, but Chandler will be on an expiring contract and it's hard to imagine anyone giving them anything of value for a possible rental.
Chris Itz: I've been in the let-the-roster-ride camp, but I think Erler is right. The Spurs should have tried to make a move with the team looking lethargic and stale. We can hope for a return to last season's magic with this roster, and its not out of the realm of possibility, but it's clear this squad needs something to shake them out of their funk. The special on-court-chemistry that SA shared last season is strangely absent.
2 - Which was the biggest winner?
Erler: Miami got the best player in Goran Dragic, but he'd have to sign long-term for the trade to be worthwhile, and even then I'm not sure it will matter much at all since I just can't imagine Dwyane Wade ever staying healthy enough for two months of playoff basketball ever again. Luol Deng has deteriorated too. On a short-term basis I'll give it to OKC for upgrading their bench, but I think it'd be a grave mistake for them to sign Enes Kanter long-term for eight-figures per year. That's the kind of thing that could harm their cap the way Kendrick Perkins did.
Passos: I like Portland's pickup of Afflalo, but the Heat getting Dragic still should top this list. They got the best player available, even if he won't push them over the top this year. Pat Riley may very well be Al Pacino in the The Devil's Advocate.
Gomez: The Sixers. They landed The Lakers' pick, a Thunder pick, a second round pick and get to tryout Isaiah Canaan and Javale McGee for their troubles. People hate the transparent way in which they are tanking but that's a good haul for an impending free agent and Michael Carter-Williams. It's year two of the rebuild and the 76ers could have a couple of real cornerstones on their roster next season thanks to all those picks. Don't listen to the haters, Sam Hinkie. You are doing great.
Itz: I would have said Miami before the sad news about Bosh, but their season took a turn for the worse and they're probably headed for a first round exit. The Thunder, who have the league's best net-rating in February, improved even more by losing Perkins and cobbling together an actual bench but KD'S foot issues loom large for OKC.
3 - The Spurs signed Reggie Williams for the rest of the season. Was that a wise decision or should they have left a roster spot open for the buyout market?
Erler: It wasn't wise at all, but it's another indicator that they want to stay pat and try to make it work with the guys they've got. I don't know what they're seeing that I'm not.
Passos: I like to think they could've picked up someone better, although who would've suspected so many players (I think I read 8% of the league) would be moved around. I guess the Williams signing is the Spurs hedging their bets and hoping for a bit more insurance to ride out the rest of the regular season.
Gomez: I don't mind that they didn't wait for the buyout market, necessarily. Kirilenko signed in Russia and there aren't many guys out there that could help. I just don't like that they settled on a 28-year-old wing who can't defend. I would have loved for that roster spot to have gone to young, raw prospect to mold for next season.
Itz: I'm not sure it was an unwise decision -- they can always cut him and his ~$500k contract if they want to sign someone that they think could help them -- as much as a seemingly irrelevant one. If he plays a significant role I'd be shocked.
4 - Danny Green has struggled recently. He has already played more minutes than last season and is on his way to a career high in total minutes. Should Pop monitor his playing time?
Erler: More than any "good" player on the Spurs, Green has a built-in governor on his minutes and that's Manu Ginobili. No matter how well or poorly Green is playing, Pop has to give Ginobili playing time, which will naturally cut into Green's playing time. With Kawhi Leonard and Marco Belinelli also healthy, I think the problem is finding enough minutes for them all, not worrying about them playing too many.
Passos: He should definitely keep an eye on it, but I don't think we're at that point, yet. Danny's still young, and with less miles on him than others his age. I expect him to bounce back soon.
5 - The Timberwolves just got Kevin Garnett back to change their locker room culture. If you had to bring a former Spur back ONLY for his locker room impact would you choose David Robinson (professionalism), Bruce Bowen (tenacity), Stephen Jackson (swag/confidence), George Gervin (assertiveness) or Avery Johnson (discipline)?
Erler: If I could get Robinson's talent to go with his professionalism, he'd be the easy choice. If it's strictly a personality addition though, I have to go with Bowen's tenacity. Too often it just feels like the Spurs are going through the motions and not playing hard enough. It's got to be driving the coaches crazy.
Passos: Swag! The team's already professional, assertive and disciplined enough, and I'm not sure tenacity is good for some of these guys at their advanced age, so it's swag by default. Championship grills all around.
Gomez: I'm going with Johnson's discipline. The Spurs are taking short cuts at times, thinking someone else will cover for their mistake or bail them out. Pop has chewed out the starters for a lack of effort and I think that's what he means: No one is focused on doing all the little things. A demand for accountability coming from someone other than Pop would be useful.
Itz: I have an affinity for the irrationally-confident Stephen Jackson and confidence is what the Spurs need right now. Just about everyone seems tentative to be the guy to take the shot and the shots that are taken feel kind of forced lately. SA could use a guy that "makes love to pressure" and had a history of delivering.