15 December 2010
Yesterday's three team NBA trade may not seem like a big deal right now, but it doesn't mean that there are not some huge implications down the road. While only three players were involved, it could be the two first round draft picks that wind up making the biggest impact, but not necessarily with the team who just acquired them.
The Players and Teams Involved:
New Jersey Nets: Send Terrence Williams to the Houston Rockets and Joe Smith to the Los Angeles Lakers
Los Angeles Lakers: Send Sasha Vujacic and a 2011 First Round Pick to the New Jersey Nets
Houston Rockets: Send 2012 Lottery Protected First Round Pick to the New Jersey Nets
What Each Team Receives:
New Jersey Nets: A 2011 NBA Draft pick that will most likely be in the 28-30 range as well as a 2012 Draft pick that would have to be 15 or worse as well as Sasha Vujacic - 1.8 PPG, $5.5 million salary
Los Angeles Lakers: Joe Smith (Has played in just 4 games this season) - 0.5 PPG, 08 RPG, $1.4 million salary
Houston Rockets: Terrence Williams (Has played just 10 games due to discilinary reasons and D-League play) - 6.7 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 3.1 APG
What It Means Right Now:
The New Jersey Nets dealt away one player (Smith) who was not going to play much for them anyway, while dealing another (Williams) who has nothing but a headcase. Vujacic was not really in the Lakers' plans anymore, and will give the Nets some minutes off the bench (if nothing else, it will give the fans something to watch if Maria Sharapova comes to the games). Smith will add a little bit of depth to the Lakers' frontcourt with some much needed experience. Williams is a mystery, because he possesses the talent, but he can't seem to grow up fast enough. The Lakers also receive some financial freedom by getting rid of Vujacic.
What It Could Mean In The Future:
The Lakers know they are getting a 35 year old with a lot of wear and tear on his body. At 35 years old, he may have only a little left in his tank. By trading away Vujacic, they gain some financial freedom in case anyone becomes available through a trade. They will be giving up a late first rounder next year, but this team builds through free agency and trades anyway. The Rockets get a player in Williams who could turn his career around, or be out of the league within the season. It could go either way at this point. Giving up a lottery protected pick in 2012 could hurt, but it would not be a pick in the top 14 anyway. Still, it could be too much to lose by gambling on Williams.
The Nets remain the unknown. Yes, they acquired two more draft picks, but I do not see them looking to hold on to those picks for all that long. They have countlessly offered numerous packages to the Denver Nuggets for Carmelo Anthony, only to be turned down. By adding two more draft picks, they now feel that they may have the pieces to acquire the soon-to-be free agent. While Anthony has said he will only sign an extension with the New York Knicks, the fact that the Nets are moving to Brooklyn for the 2012 season could change his mind, since that is Anthony's hometown. Even if the Nets are unable to acquire Anthony, they could still put together a very lucrative offer to another team in need of moving a future marquee free agent.
It is tough to tell the impact this move will have in the Western Conference. The Lakers get a little deeper up front, but this move will not alter their gameplan at all. The Rockets get a player who could make a huge impact if he can get his head screwed on right, but that may be asking too much. The fact that either the Nets or Knicks should be able to acquire Anthony at some point takes him out of the West, which is good for every team in the conference, including the Oklahoma City Thunder. That is certainly not a bad thing.
* Make sure to follow Kelley on Twitter @RobKelley24
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