Reactionary Trades Don’t Work
When the Lakers traded for Pau Gasol it was a bold statement to the rest of the Western Conference. The Lakers meant business. Some teams chose to virtually ignore the statement. Others made desperate moves to try to keep up with the Joneses.
New Orleans, for example, basically traded Bobby Jackson for Bonzi Wells. Knowing they had an elite PG in Chris Paul, they felt comfortable trading a backup PG for Wells, who often creates difficult matchups for defenses. The Spurs simply added Kurt Thomas for a draft pick and some spare parts. They are in the first category.
In the latter category you have Phoenix and Dallas, who coincidentally were dealt their playoff death blows last night at the hands of San Antonio and New Orleans respectively. Phoenix traded away Shawn Marion for Shaq. Marion was disgruntled, but had much younger legs than Shaq. The move enabled Amare Stoudemire to have a monster second half, but in the end Phoenix just couldn’t keep up with San Antonio. Dallas traded away Devin Harris, a young talented PG, and a couple of first round picks for Jason Kidd only to find that Kidd just can’t keep up with CP3. Both of these teams took their shot and fell flat on their faces.
Where do they go from here? Well, in the ultra-competitive Western Conference it looks as if their proverbial window of opportunity has closed. They run the risk of missing the playoffs entirely next year. Unless they find a way to reload next year, they have virtually no chance of hanging with the Lakers, Spurs, Hornets, or Jazz. Perhaps that’s why they took their shot now. They had a nice run, but like the Gary Payton/Shawn Kemp Supersonics, Barkley/KJ/Thunder Dan Suns, Mid-nineties Cleveland Indians, Jim Kelly Bills, and many more their run of greatness has expired without a championship. It was fun while it lasted.