Take 5: NBA trade deadline takeaways
Turns out, Kevin Durant and Donald Trump have never been more in lockstep.
The 2019 NBA trade deadline was so engulfed in fake news, the real stuff
became hard to digest.
Amid the smoke:
A team nobody is taking seriously (Milwaukee) got a little more dignified.
A club everybody thinks is too young (Philadelphia) got a little older.
And the Kings turned out to be kings after all.
Other than that, wave goodbye to Anthony Davis, and hello to the
basketball-friendly media's next attempt to inject interest into American
Sports Dead Month -- NBA buyouts.
Here's my Take Five on the happenings and non-happenings at the deadline:
1. No doubt, the biggest loser when the horn sounded at 3 p.m. Eastern on
Thursday was Pelicans general manager Dell Demps. He had to see this coming.
It's been that kind of a year.
First off, ex-commissioner David Stern basically labeled Demps a buffoon when
going public with his REAL reasons for blocking the Chris Paul-Lakers deal.
Then, Davis asked Demps and the Pelicans for a divorce.
And just when it seemed like the Lakers were offering a majority of the
players LeBron James deemed attractive enough to join just seven months ago,
someone said no. It might have been LeBron. Chances are, it was Pelicans
ownership, which finally got around to asking itself: Why are we letting this
guy dictate our future when he has no future here?
2. A handful of teams improved.
Some did so by adding guys they hope you'll be watching into May. Like the
Bucks with Nikola Mirotic, the 76ers with Tobias Harris and the Raptors, to a
far lesser extent, with Marc Gasol.
Some did so by paving the path to a potentially brighter future. The Knicks
and Mavericks stand out in this area.
And then there's the real winner: Sacramento. The California capital is so
insignificant in the pro sports world, it requires a state designation in its
dateline in most news reports. That's what happens when your pride and joy
fails to make the playoffs pretty much since Chris Webber stopped dictating
Adding Harrison Barnes and Alec Burks doesn't make the Kings a contender. But
it does make them a likely playoff team in the West, where if you can avoid
the Warriors in the postseason, anything's possible.
3. Ah, the buyouts.
The NFL has reviewing pass interference on its offseason agenda, and baseball
is still dealing with speeding up its game. And now the NBA's decision-makers
have something to talk about this summer -- how the real powers in the game
are no longer major players at the trade deadline, because more attractive
assets become available basically for free shortly thereafter.
Effective 3:01 p.m. Thursday, Davis became a nobody (until the summer,
anyway). Now the NBA news-gatherers have started flocking to DeAndre Jordan.
Or a "source," such as Jordan's agent.
"Hello, Dell. This is Aaron Mintz. Julius Randle wants a buyout."
Surely, so do Jordan, Derrick Rose, the Lopez twins, Jeff Teague, Taj Gibson,
the Matthews boys (Wes and Wilson), Elfrid Payton, Kent Bazemore, Terrence
Ross, Garrett Temple.
Kanter and Wes Matthews got a goodbye gift from the Knicks already.
And let's not forget Carmelo Anthony, who has already beaten these guys to the
"NBA markdowns" line.
Here's the best part: You get these guys basically for free. Basically, there
are no restrictions. So now the Warriors, Thunder, Rockets and Celtics are all
players. This could get exciting.
Or once again, maybe not.
4. My choice for most underrated move: The Wizards getting Bobby Portis and
Jabari Parker from the Bulls for Otto Porter, Jr.
Yeah, I know. To this point in their careers, Portis is best known as the guy
who slugged Mirotic and Parker as the worst No. 2 overall pick in ages.
Whoa. Anybody planting that label on Parker clearly is not familiar with the
ugly history of second picks. Among the other guys selected No. 2 since Kevin
Durant in 2007: Michael Beasley, Hasheem Thabeet, Evan Turner, Derrick
Williams and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.
So let's admit it: Parker is actually UNDERRATED. The perfect guy to acquire
in the final year of his deal (2020 is a team option). A guy who once averaged
20 points a game. A real wild card.
And then there's Portis, another potential free agent who packs some
basketball punch, too.
A team with John Wall, Bradley Beal, Parker and Portis in an era of
high-scoring basketball sure beats what the Wizards are putting on the floor
now. If Wall ever plays again, that is.
5. And in the What In The World Are They Doing category, I offer up the Los
First, Davis lets it be known that the Clippers are on his short list of
possible future destinations. That's hard to believe, but it did make for a
Then the Clippers swallow it whole, sell off their best player (Harris)
basically for peanuts, and start preparing for a glitzy future.
All while their present wasn't so dull.
You're ahead of the Lakers in the standings, for crying out loud. What more do
Fake news. It's an epidemic.
--By David Del Grande, Field Level Media