High hopes, what ifs, and fake news: The NBA Trade Deadline

Wally Szczerbiak Delonte West Ben Wallace Cavs
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Ahh, the NBA trade deadline is fast approaching. This Thursday marks one of the most exciting times of the season. It’s a chance for teams on the edge of the playoffs to make moves that may put them over the top and give them a chance to get swept in the first round by the Cavs or the Warriors. It’s also a chance for teams like the Sacramento Kings to trade a top ten player in the league for absolutely nothing.1

Trades often make no sense at the time. Like in 2011 when the Cavs, who were well out of contention, traded Jamario Moon and Mo Williams to the Clippers for Baron Davis and a pick. But then you realize that pick became Kyrie Irving, a key member to Cleveland’s first championship in 68 years, a team that also included Mo Williams, and you get to laugh about it. And sometimes trades bring us some of the best moments in television history. Like in 2008 when the Lakers traded Kwame Brown to the Grizzlies for Pau Gasol, and Stephen A. Smith gave us one of the greatest quotes of all time:

“Did LA give up too much to get a guy, who has been labeled soft, although he puts up 19 and nine, which only 11 other guys do?”

[Stephen A. Smith gives puzzled stare]

“Is that a trick question? They gave up Kwame Brown. Who cares?! First of all, understand something, when you’re giving up first round picks, if you are a quality team in playoff contention, it really doesn’t mean that much. That’s number one. Number two and more importantly, Kwame Brown is gone! The City of Angels, Hollywood, they should be celebrating. Throw a parade already, whether you win a championship or not. This man was a bona fide scrub. He can’t play! No disrespect whatsoever, but I’m sorry to go on and tell everybody the truth, the man can’t play the game of basketball. He has small hands, he can’t catch the ball. He has bad feet, he can’t really move. Even though he’s mobile, he doesn’t really know what he’s doing. He doesn’t have a post move that he puts to memory that he can do two times in a row. He has no game whatsoever, plays no defense, doesn’t have the heart, the passion, or anything that comes with it, and you’re asking me if they gave up too much? Please. The Los Angeles Lakers knew exactly what they were doing, they should be celebrating right now, and Kobe Bryant should not be saying a word!”

The Cavs have made their fair share of deadline deals the last 10-plus years or so. Back in 2008 the Cavs made a huge splash at the deadline to acquire Joe Smith, Wally Szczerbiak, Delonte West, and Ben Wallace’s biceps, in return giving up Larry Hughes, Drew Gooden, Cedric Simmons, and Shannon Brown. What an absolute insane deal. Three teams, eight players, four of which developed into a very solid core around LeBron James, and eventually helped the Cavs win 66 games the next season.

There’s also the deals that never get done, and make you wonder “what if” for the rest of time. Remember how Amare Stoudemire was rumored to be coming to the Cavs for about, thirty consecutive seasons? Remember when I was in high school and using my non-smart phone that still had internet, but cost a bunch of money to use, using the internet anyway, risking detention, just to read an article saying that Chris Broussard had “sources” telling him that Stoudemire was on a plane, on his way to Cleveland? And then I told the whole school the Cavs got Amare Stoudemire, and then we didn’t get him. Remember when I did that? Good times, good times.

Then there was last season when the Cavs traded fan-favorite Anderson Varejao away for Channing Frye. And everyone kind of just said, “why the hell did we trade for Channing Frye?”2 It turned out Frye was a big part in the Cavs’ run to the finals and has been a huge role player for the Cavs this year, a role that has gotten even bigger with the injury to Kevin Love.

My favorite part of the NBA trade deadline is Twitter. There are a bunch of NBA trade truthers out there right now saying “hmmmm?” Currently Jimmy Butler does not have a Chicago Bulls header picture on his account anymore. And Jae Crowder no longer has a Celtics header on his. Isaiah Thomas just followed Carmelo Anthony on Instagram, and then tweeted the eye emoji. Last time Thomas did that, the Celtics landed Al Horford. There are also numerous Twitter reports linking Paul George to the Celtics. Is it possible that the Celtics traded everyone except for Thomas and Horford for George, Butler, and Anthony? This will be interesting. There’s also the fake accounts that go by names like “NBAEPSN” or “WojVeritcalNBA” that Tweet out trades that haven’t happened, just to ruin some people’s day. Real winners, those guys.

The trade deadline will be awesome this year for a single reason: Either the Celtics or the Wizards are going to make a deal with the idea of beating the Cavs in mind. As if that is an actual possibility.3

Deadline week is a great week. What are some of your favorite trade deadline memories? Trades that happened or didn’t happened, rumors that never came about, rumors you heard at school from that one asshole who told everyone FAKE NEWS. Share your favorites in the comments below.

  1. The Kings owner said he thinks Buddy Hield, currently averaging 8.6 points per game on 39.2% shooting, can be the next Steph Curry. So maybe I shouldn’t say they got “nothing” in return. []
  2. Editor’s note: Not everyone. []
  3. I am going on record now in saying that there is not a single player in the entire NBA that can be moved right now that would help Boston or Washington beat the Cavs. Book it. Kevin Durant is not available. No combination of Thomas, Horford, Butler George, and Melo, or John Wall, Bradley Beal, and literally anyone, will beat the Cavs. You know why? Because LeBron James is on the Cavs. Nothing. Else. Matters. The Celtics can trade for whoever they damn please, but guess what? Cavs in four. []