Welcome to the weekly NBA stock report where we go around the league and examine whose stock is rising and whose is falling.
In this week’s edition we look at the aftermath of the NBA’s trade deadline.
Cleveland’s grip on the East: While the addition of Channing Frye was nice and all – he’s a solid veteran big who can stretch the floor with his excellent three-point stroke – the Cleveland Cavaliers were mostly helped at the deadline by the Toronto Raptors and, to a lesser extent, the Boston Celtics not making a splashy move.
Look, it’s entirely possible that a deadline move wouldn’t have made the Raptors or Celtics good enough to get over the hump and actually challenge LeBron James’ reign over the East, but given some of the names that were rumoured to be available it’s a little disappointing that neither team went out and tried to get something done to at least put a little pressure on Cleveland as we head into the home stretch of the regular season.
Detroit’s playoff chances: Unlike the Raptors and Celtics, the Detroit Pistons were very active at the deadline, something that should give a boost to what is clearly a playoff push from Stan Van Gundy.
The Pistons are currently just a half-game back of the No. 8 seed in the East. The additions of Tobias Harris, Marcus Thornton and Donatas Motiejunas (if he’s healthy that is) tacked onto a pretty solid core of Andre Drummond and Reggie Jackson should see Detroit shoot up the East standings over the next eight weeks.
The Grizzlies’ entertainment value: After the deadline the Memphis Grizzlies now have a team that features Zach Randolph, Chris Andersen, Matt Barnes, Mario Chalmers and now Lance Stephenson. How can you not want to watch this team?
The deadline itself: Let’s be real: Thursday’s deadline was a complete dud. When the biggest move was a toss-up between Stephenson being swapped for Jeff Green, and Markieff Morris finally getting shipped out of Phoenix then it’s safe to say that Trade Deadline 2016 kind of sucked.
This isn’t all that surprising given the NBA’s trade deadline history has never traditionally moved the needle all that much, but after last year’s flurry of activity with multiple big names moving about you can’t help but be disappointed by this year’s outcome.
The Hawks’ seemingly last-minute change of heart: A big reason why the deadline ended up being so blah is because the Atlanta Hawks, who were rumoured to be selling their core, in the end decided to stick with what they had and try to make another run at it.
People change their minds all the time, but the optics on this was that the Hawks decided they weren’t going to be sellers anymore just a few hours before the deadline when they shortly afterwards made a minor addition in Kirk Hinrich. It’s fine that they decided to call off the fire sale and all, but you’d think they’d want to let that be known a little earlier than when it was first reported.
Brooklyn’s hiring timing: Ultimately the Brooklyn Nets hiring of San Antonio Spurs assistant general manager Sean Marks as their new GM is solid move from Mihail Prokhorov and co., but could it couldn’t have come at poorer timing just hours before the 3:00 p.m. ET deadline on Thursday.
The Nets, man. Even when they do something right they still manage to muck it up somehow.