A rumor here, a whisper there, and suddenly silence. This 2014 NBA trade deadline was more active than the last, but aside from one surprise move between Indiana and Philadelphia, teams did little more than fiddle with the back end of rosters.
It’s all about financial flexibility and acquiring draft picks nowadays, and the Phoenix Suns didn’t see enough reason to sacrifice what they already have. Knee-jerk moves are no longer part of the NBA landscape, and even big buyers like the Los Angeles Lakers, Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks can’t play that way. They’ll be laughed at.
The Suns did their due diligence and made all the calls. When Pau Gasol and Zach Randolph didn’t seem like possible moves, the Wednesday rumors swirled around Jordan Hill. The forward ended up remaining with the Lakers, who couldn’t even sell Hill or center Chris Kaman for a second-round choice, according to CBS Sports’ Ken Berger.
The value of a second-round pick has never been so high and Mark Deeks of ShamSports and SB Nation explained the value of late second-round picks earlier this season.
Philadelphia, who like the Suns are rebuilding by way of draft picks, gobbled up second-rounders in dealing center Spencer Hawes to Cleveland and then getting in on a three-way trade that helped the Wizards acquire Andre Miller from Denver. I thought Hawes would be a fun addition to Phoenix as an inexpensive poor man’s Gasol, by the way, but the price for him showed just how stingy of a market it is. The Cavaliers sent two second-round picks, former Sun Earl Clark, and center Henry Sims to Philly in exchange for Hawes.
So with the second-round pick of such high value, why Phoenix was not willing to hand the Cavs a first-round pick for Luol Deng makes sense. Deng, who ironically was originally drafted by the Suns for the Bulls, is on an expiring contract worth $14.3 million and would have been a perfect fit for the Suns’ Emeka Okafor contract in terms of the financials.
But as Ryan McDonough made clear speaking on Phoenix radio Wednesday, he wasn’t about to give up future picks if there’s a chance it’s only for a rental. Deng wants to test the free agent market, and without his willingness to sign an extension with any team, Cleveland failed to trade him to the Suns or anyone else.
Such was the trade deadline.
The Pacers and Sixers surprised at the buzzer by swapping Danny Granger for Evan Turner and Lavoy Allen as the rich get richer and Philadelphia, well, stands waist deep in second-round picks over the next few years.
The Suns moved 11 games above .500 with a win against the Boston Celtics on Wednesday night. Cap space, savings with insurance paying for most of Okafor’s contract henceforth, and keeping picks for down the road remain the priority.
Chemistry is the reason the Suns got to where they are, and the biggest acquisition this season is already on the Suns’ roster.