Friday , Feb , 25 , 2005 C.Y. Ellis

Winners and losers at the trade deadline

By Warren Blatt, Sports Network NBA Editor

(Sports Network) – The NBA trading deadline passed at 3 p.m. (et) on
Thursday. It was a very busy day, as All-Stars were traded and teams were able
to clear up salary cap space that will hopefully help them build a brighter
future.

Thursday turned out to be an exciting and interesting day for anyone who loves
the NBA. It was surprising to see a team like Minnesota not do anything,
while it was shocking to hear that Sacramento and New Orleans had traded,
arguably, its best players.

Here are the winners and losers at the deadline.

WINNERS

BOSTON CELTICS – The Celtics brought three-time All-Star Antoine Walker back
to Beantown, as they sent disgruntled guard Gary Payton, veteran forward Tom
Gugliotta, center Michael Stewart and a first-round draft choice to Atlanta
for the former Celtic. Walker, who spent seven seasons in Boston before being
traded to Dallas in October 2003, will be reunited with Paul Pierce to give
Boston a potent one-two scoring punch.

Boston is battling for the Atlantic Division title, and with the acquisition
of Walker the Celtics have improved themselves enough to at least qualify for
the postseason if the don’t capture the division. Danny Ainge, who is the head
of basketball operations for the Celtics, has righted a wrong as he should
have never dealt Walker to Dallas in the first place.

DALLAS MAVERICKS – Milwaukee traded forward Keith Van Horn to the Mavericks in
exchange for center Calvin Booth, forward Alan Henderson and cash
considerations. Van Horn will play for his fifth team in his eighth year in
the league.

The 29-year-old Van Horn struggled for the Bucks this season, but he can
score and adds more depth to the Dallas roster. He should fit right in with
high-scoring Mavericks and could make a difference if he finds his game. If
Van Horn feels wanted in Dallas, the Utah product could find a new lease
on life in the NBA.

GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS – Golden State obtained two-time All-Star guard Baron
Davis from the New Orleans Hornets for guard Speedy Claxton and center/forward
Dale Davis. The Warriors are going to miss the playoffs for the 11th straight
season, but with the addition of Davis, who has played just 18 games this
season because of injuries, the future looks a whole lot brighter for Golden
State.

By acquiring Davis, Golden State now has a nucleus that consists of the two-
time All-Star, high-flying Jason Richardson, and forward Troy Murphy and Mike
Dunleavy. The real impact that Davis will have on the Warriors will be felt
next season. Warriors’ fans should be excited with what executive vice
president of basketball operations Chris Mullin did at the deadline.

MILWAUKEE BUCKS – By trading guard Mike James and forward Zendon Hamilton to
the Houston Rockets for guard Reece Gaines and two future second round picks,
and dealing Keith Van Horn to the Mavericks in exchange for center Calvin
Booth, forward Alan Henderson and cash considerations, the Bucks have cleared
future salary cap space. Why did the Bucks make these moves?

Milwaukee will be hard pressed to make the playoffs this season. The Bucks
best move was the one they did not make at the deadline. Rumors of Michael
Redd being traded were very real, but what the Bucks did was clear up space
under the cap the will allow them to sign the sharp-shooting guard to a long-
term deal in the offseason. The only thing Redd does is make Milwaukee a
better franchise.

PHILADELPHIA 76ERS – With the acquisition of five-time All-Star Chris Webber,
who was sent to Philadelphia late Wednesday night from the Kings along with
forwards Michael Bradley and Matt Barnes in exchange for Kenny Thomas, Corliss
Williamson and Brian Skinner, team president and general manager Billy King
has transformed the Sixers into a contender over night. Webber and Allen
Iverson will team up to give Philadelphia a lethal scoring combination.
Iverson has gotten what he has asked for, as the former Sacramento star will
help take a lot of the pressure off the All-Star guard.

Philadelphia also acquired forwards Rodney Rogers and Jamal Mashburn from New
Orleans in exchange for forward Glenn Robinson at the deadline. However, the
Webber deal was the one that makes the Miami Heat and Detroit Pistons worry
about the 76ers. With Iverson and Webber leading youngsters Samuel Dalembert,
Andre Iguodala and Kyle Korver, Philadelphia has a great chance to win the
Atlantic Division and make some serious noise in the playoffs.

LOSERS

MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES – This team needed to do something. After winning 58
games in the 2003-04 regular season and advancing to the Western Conference
finals, the Timberwolves are in serious danger of missing the postseason.

Veterans Sam Cassell and Latrell Sprewell have been distractions, an excellent
head coach in Flip Saunders was fired and reigning league MVP Kevin Garnett is
visibly frustrated with the way his team is playing. Minnesota management
should have been creative and found a way to help get a new supporting cast
for Garnett. The coach wasn’t the problem here, its the players. The
Timberwolves needed some change on their roster, and management didn’t get it
done.

NEW YORK KNICKS – What is Isiah Thomas doing? Without going into specific
details of the two trades that the Knicks made, Thomas tied up more money for
the cap-strapped Knicks and did not get any players that will help them now or
in the future.

Does Isiah have a plan? If so, what is it?

SACRAMENTO KINGS – Do the Kings know something about Webber that Philadelphia
doesn’t? It is hard to believe that Sacramento could not get more than three
average forwards for the five-time All-Star.

By dealing Webber, the Kings have showed that they will make a strong run at
re-signing forward Peja Stojakovic, who was rumored to be at odds with Webber,
to a long-term contract in the offseason. Webber was arguably Sacramento’s
best player, so it would be hard to say that the Kings are a better team after
the blockbuster trade with the Sixers.