Late trades punctuate crazy trade deadline

The trade deadline ended at 3 PM ET Thursday, but that doesn’t mean the news of just-completed trades is going to stop coming in. Here are a few deadline deals that broke just before or after the league cutoff.

Blazers acquire Gerald Wallace. (Ken Berger, CBSSports.com)
The Bobcats get Dante Cunningham, Joel Przybilla and two first round picks. Since Przybilla’s deal is expiring, this is a salary dump for Charlotte. They’ll come away with Cunningham and two first rounders out of the deal. Wallace can play either forward spot, so he could play alongside LaMarcus Aldridge and Nicolas Batum if the Blazers want to play small ball.

Nate Robinson and Kendrick Perkins to OKC for Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic. (Adrian Wojnarowski, Y! Sports)
Interesting trade for the Thunder, who are going to have trouble shooting the ball if they start Perkins, Serge Ibaka and Thabo Sefolosha. They’ll have plenty of size down low and appear to be gearing up for a potential matchup with the Lakers and/or Spurs. Perkins is widely regarded as one of the best defensive centers in the league and Ibaka is no slouch either. The C’s must feel like they have plenty of size with Shaq and Glen Davis, who usually finishes games for Doc Rivers. Green will back up Paul Pierce and/or Kevin Garnett. Krstic is a serviceable center as well, and there are rumors that Boston will be looking to add Troy Murphy if he clears waivers.

Aaron Brooks to Phoenix for Goran Dragic. (Marc Stein, ESPN)
Brooks was thought to be a cornerstone of Houston’s youth movement, but one temper tantrum and one suspension later and he’s on his way to the Suns for Dragic, who was thought to be the point guard of the future in Phoenix once Steve Nash moved on. But Dragic’s three-point shot has disappeared (28% this year after 39% last season) and his numbers are down as a result. If he gets back to form, the 24-year-old could be a steal — and the Rockets got a first round pick to boot.

Rockets send Shane Battier to Memphis for Hasheem Thabeet. (Adrian Wojnarowski, Yahoo! Sports)
The Rockets get another first round pick as part of this deal. Thabeet isn’t ready for prime time, but maybe the Rockets still see potential in him. Battier’s contract is expiring and he obviously wasn’t in Houston’s long-term plans so they got what they could for him. The first round pick should be useful, even if Thabeet is not.

In another trade that “almost-was,” O.J. Mayo was going to be moved to the Pacers for Josh McRoberts and a first round pick, but the NBA didn’t receive the fax in time, so the trade was nullified. Insert Michael Heisley joke here.

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Five trades that should happen (but won’t)

Phoenix Suns Steve Nash stands next to head coach Alvin Gentry in the second half against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden in New York City on January 17, 2011. The Suns defeated the Knicks 129-121. UPI/John Angelillo

GMs around the league were worried that there wouldn’t be much action leading up to Thursday’s trade deadline, but once the Carmelo Anthony trade went down, there has been a flurry of activity highlighted by the Nets’ acquisition of Deron Williams.

Here are five more trades that should happen, but probably won’t. They generally include one older player on a bad team that isn’t going anywhere.

Click on each trade’s headline to see it in the ESPN Trade Machine.

1. Steve Nash to Atlanta for Jamal Crawford and two first round picks
Free Steve Nash! The Hawks aren’t the ideal destination for Nash, but the Hawks really need a floor leader and the team has the defensive frontcourt (Josh Smith, Al Horford) to make up for Nash’s weakness on that end of the court. Smith and Horford would work well in Nash’s patented screen-and-roll and he would take the pressure off of Joe Johnson to create as the shot clock is winding down. The Suns aren’t going to get much out of this deal other than cap relief (Crawford’s deal is expiring) and a couple of first round picks, but Nash is 37 years old and deserves to play in the postseason. The Suns aren’t going anywhere anyway.

2. Rip Hamilton to Chicago for Kyle Korver and Ronnie Brewer
Rip can still play. He’s averaging 13.3 points per game and his shooting 40%+ from 3PT even though his minutes are sporadic. He works hard on defense and has kept himself in great shape throughout his career, so he should be able to contribute for the remainder of his contract. His spot up jumper would be a nice fit alongside Derrick Rose in the Chicago backcourt. The Pistons would be rid of the headache of keeping Rip on the roster without playing him and would get a couple of youngish wings in Korver and Brewer that could actually contribute.

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Larry Brown out, Paul Silas in

Per ESPN:

After a miserable start to the season in which he took shots at his players and himself, Larry Brown is out as coach of the Charlotte Bobcats in another messy exit in his well-traveled career.

The team announced later Wednesday that former Charlotte Hornets coach Paul Silas, who lives in the Charlotte area, will take over on an interim basis.

Here’s what team owner Michael Jordan had to say about the move:

“I met with Coach Brown two weeks ago about the team’s performance and what we could do to improve it,” Jordan said. “We met again this morning after practice. The team has clearly not lived up to either of our expectations and we both agreed that a change was necessary.”

Charlotte is 9-19 on the season and has lost four straight. The Bobcats won 44 games last season, so their start is obviously a big disappointment. Brown has a reputation for being able to turn around a franchise, but he has a tendency to wear out his welcome when things aren’t going well.

SIlas is a pretty good coach. His teams in Charlotte always played hard, so his presence should (somewhat) revitalize the roster. We’ll see.

For what it’s worth, Brown’s camp is saying that he fully intends to coach again.

2010 NBA Preview: #16 to #20

Phoenix Suns guard Steve Nash points down court after sinking a three-point shot against the Los Angeles Lakers during Game 6 of the NBA Western Conference finals in Phoenix, Arizona May 29, 2010. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)

This year, I’m going to preview the NBA season by starting with the lowest of the low and working my way up to my Finals picks. If a franchise is a legitimate championship contender, I’ll focus on what stars have to line up for a title run. If a team is a playoff also-ran, I’ll identify the weaknesses that have to be shored up via trade, free agency or draft over the next couple of seasons to make it a contender. If a team is likely to miss the playoffs, I’ll take a look at the salary cap, and provide a blueprint for how the team should proceed in the near future to get back in the postseason.

#20: Charlotte Bobcats
One thing’s for sure – Larry Brown will have his team competing. But with the loss of Raymond Felton to free agency, Charlotte turns to D.J. Augustin as its starting point guard, while Shaun Livingston is expected to back him up. Unless the light suddenly goes on for one of these guys, the Bobcats are going to struggle to make the playoffs in the much-improved Eastern Conference. I think their main competition for the #8 spot is the Knicks, which should be interesting because the two teams play such different styles. Cap-wise, the Bobcats won’t have any financial flexibility until 2012 when Boris Diaw, Eduardo Najera, and (probably) Gerald Wallace come off the books. The Bobcats are in no man’s land. They’re not good enough to compete for a title, but just good enough to miss landing a sure-fire star in the lottery.

#19: Phoenix Suns
I feel bad for Steve Nash, who will likely go down as one of the greatest players never to play in a Finals. The former back-to-back MVP lost Amare Stoudemire to the Knicks, and the Suns replaced him with Hedo Turkoglu, Josh Childress and Hakim Warrick. I do like the addition of Childress, but if they’re asked to play power forward, Turkoglu and Warrick are going to have a lot of trouble on the defensive end. If Phoenix can keep the incredible chemistry that it developed last season, the Suns could finish a few spots higher and compete for a playoff spot, but without Stoudemire’s finishing ability, the team is going to be overmatched most nights. Payroll-wise, the Suns will have the flexibility to add a good player next summer, but it will mean the loss of Jason Richardson, who is in the final year of his deal. Sadly, I think the days of Nash playing for a legit contender are over. It was fun while it lasted.

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Chris Paul still wants out

NEW ORLEANS - FEBRUARY 16:  Chris Paul of the New Orlenas Hornets prepares to participate in the Playstation Skills Challenge, part of 2008 NBA All-Star Weekend at the New Orleans Arena on February 16, 2008 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Ken Berger of CBSSports.com says that what we saw from the Hornets’ brass on Monday was a ‘smokescreen’:

“The telltale thing is that Chris Paul won’t comment publicly other than what was released about it,” said a person familiar with Paul’s strategy. “Leon Rose didn’t come out and say, ‘Chris is happy in New Orleans.’ If he was happy, they would’ve said that. … The only way they can get close to full value is to say, ‘You guys can’t make trade demands.’ They’re orchestrating this thing to likely move him.”

The Hornets, meanwhile, have been looking at Orlando, Charlotte and New Jersey as potentially attractive trade partners once the firestorm settles down, according to one of the people with direct knowledge of the Hornets’ strategy. Two other sources familiar with the situation confirmed prior discussions involving the Bobcats and Nets and said those talks are expected to advance in the coming days.

Berger has emerged as one of the league’s more plugged-in writers, but one has to wonder how close this ‘person familiar with Paul’s strategy’ actually is to the man himself.

Paul doesn’t have a no-trade clause in his contract, so the Hornets can send him wherever they want. The Nets are interesting trade partner due to the upside of Derrick Favors. I doubt New Jersey would give up Brook Lopez, but a deal that included Favors along with salary cap relief might be appealing to the Hornets.

As for Charlotte, it just doesn’t look like the Bobcats have a young piece on the level of Favors (or the Gallinari/Randolph combination from the Knicks). Tyrus Thomas has spent most of his potential capital and Gerald Wallace is getting on in years.

Favors can’t be traded until August 15, though an agreement in principle could be made sooner than that. If the Nets can come out of the summer with a core of Paul and Lopez (while possibly turning Devin Harris into some help on the wing), it will salvage an otherwise disappointing summer.

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