Trade deadline winners

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Raffy Ledesma

Raffy Ledesma

The 2015 trade deadline was marked with a flurry of trades right before the final buzzer (February 19). Seventeen teams were involved in various trade activities. Here are the big winners after the dust settled:

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1) Miami Heat—The Heat were able to muster enough pieces to land the best player on the trading block. The Heat added Goran Dragic and brother Zoran Dragic by giving up players that are not really part of their future and picks down the road. Goran is an All-Star caliber point guard and last season’s Most Improved Player. He is a major upgrade from the erratic Heat guards Mario Chalmers and Shabazz Napier. Goran solves the Heat’s biggest need at the point. Additionally, he can easily stretch the floor (he is a 40% 3-point shooter) and has the knack in finding the open man, especially on transition. Hopefully, Goran can help turn the 22-30 Heat around and make them reach the playoffs.

2) Oklahoma City Thunder— The Thunder have gone all in with their latest acquisitions. The Thunder let go of disgruntled swingman Reggie Jackson, overpaid center Kendrick Perkins and a protected first-round pick.  In return, they got a solid big man in Enes Kanter and help in the backcourt in D.J. Augustin. To sweeten the deal, they also acquired
3-point specialist Steve Novak and swingman Kyle Singler. All of a sudden, the Thunder have a more potent bench to give its superstars the needed rest. The team desperately needed to make a move, any move, if they wanted a shot in the playoffs in the loaded West.

3) Portland Trailblazers—Another team smiling after the trade deadline are the Blazers. Rip City added defensive minded center Alonzo Gee to add more depth at the 5 position.  Their biggest addition is Arron Afflalo who brings a lot of offensive punch to the table. A known scorer and shooter, he will probably be the 6th man off the bench and bring instant offense.  The Trailblazers acquired the two without losing any major piece.  This deal is definitely a steal.

4) Boston Celtics—Yes, the Celtics are still wheeling and dealing after gutting their team early in the season. The Celts traded superstar guard Rajon Rondo and the versatile Jeff Green a few months back and they have done another masterful trade. They acquired point guard Isaiah Thomas, Jonas Jerebko and Gigi Datome while losing Tayshaun Prince and Marcus Thornton. The centerpiece of this trade is Thomas who is a dynamic point guard and is a great dribble penetrator.  Better yet, he has a relatively small contract ($27 million, 4-years) and easily complements the young Celtics guard rotation of Avery Bradley and Marcus Smart.
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5) Houston Rockets—The Rockets just keep on getting better and better.  The Rockets added two more role players to help their playoff bid.  The team just got deeper at the point by trading Alexey Shved for the more versatile Pablo Prigioni.  The more intriguing addition is rookie K.J. McDaniels who is showing a lot of upside.  He is very athletic on both ends of the floor and may be too good to sit on the bench.
raffyrledesma@yahoo.com

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