Boston Celtics Critics
The Boston Celtics were thought to be the biggest trade deadline movers as they sat on a gold mine of assets, including Brooklyn’s first-round pick this year. Danny Ainge had discussions with Indiana for Paul George and was rumored to be interested in Danilo Gallinari for the umpteenth year in a row, but in the end nothing happened. Ainge might come across as “all talk, no walk” but in the end is Boston really a loser? They have a team that can win 50 games, make some noise in the playoffs and still might end up with the No. 1 overall pick. And they didn’t sell the farm yesterday. The Celtics are in a good spot and are very enviable right now.
Bryan Colangelo/Philadelphia 76ers
The Sixers are having a couple of issues as of late - their lack of transparency in dealing with injuries and getting fleeced by Dallas in the Nerlens Noel trade. As far as the injuries go, basically GM Bryan Colangelo has been mum on disclosing the severity of Joel Embiid’s meniscus tear. Reports indicate that Philly knew about the tear on January 20, but instead declared it was a bone bruise and even played Embiid after that. Not a good look for a rebuilding team ripe with young, injury-prone players like Embiid and Ben Simmons.
After dangling Jahlil Okafor around for the past week on the trading block, Colangelo ended up trading a different center instead by sending Nerlens Noel to Dallas in exchange for buyout candidate Andrew Bogut, Justin Anderson and a protected (1-18) 2017 first round pick, which turns into two second round picks if not used. The Mavericks basically picked up their center of the future for two second-round picks. Huge win for them, and Philadelphia is still stuck with the problematic Okafor.
Vlade Divac/Vivek Ranadive/Sacramento Kangz
This would sound a lot better if Sacramento didn’t just trounce Denver, but it was such a bad trade that it has to make the list. Everyone knows the details: DeMarcus Cousins and Omri Casspi for Ranadive love interest Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans, Langston Galloway and two picks. Of course, the Kings didn’t get anywhere close to equal value and basically handed New Orleans the best frontcourt in the NBA. To make matters worse, in a press conference Divac publically announced that he turned down a better offer for Cousins just two days prior. Finally, Boogie was unhappy with the unprofessional way the situation was handled - and he’s right. You don’t treat your franchise player who has been with the team for seven years by telling him he won’t be traded, then trade him anyways. Sactown is still a mess.
The Nuggets made an offer for PG13 but ultimately got turned down, which is fine. But what’s lame is what Paul George reportedly said about Denver afterwards:
Denver today made a "monster" offer to Indiana for Paul George, league sources tell @ChrisBHaynes and me, but the talks gained no traction.— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) February 23, 2017
Sources tell @ChrisBHaynes and me that it's been conveyed to Denver that Paul George would be highly unlikely to commit there long term.— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) February 23, 2017
Paul George respects what GM Tim Connelly is building in Denver, but with San Antonio, Golden State in the West, there's no path to Finals.— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) February 23, 2017
I repeat: Paul George - barring a title chance in Indy - is hell-bent on heading for Laker Land. This message has been sent throughout NBA.— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) February 23, 2017
I perfectly understand why he might not want to commit to Denver long-term. Sure, the Nuggets have a young roster with a lot of potential, but they still have nothing to show for it. They might not even make the playoffs this season. But to then to be “hell bent” on going to the Lakers when citing that Denver isn’t ideal because of Golden State and San Antonio is just ridiculous. The Lakers are far behind the Nuggets in the process and don’t have anyone nearly as talented as Nikola Jokic. It’s not really logical, but what sucks is that it’s just another indication of how the outside world views Denver as a basketball destination, which is not in a good light. Maybe someday a few years from now the Nuggets will be good enough to attract other talent. In the end, Denver probably avoided disaster by not trading for George as he would be out the door in 2018 anyways.