Over the last two weeks, much noise has been made in both the NBA and NHL regarding the trade deadlines. However, with the NBA deadline passing last week and the NHL deadline expiring this afternoon, the trade news in Texas was far from blockbuster. While the world was watching as the “Melo” drama unfolded between Denver and New York, the Mavericks, Spurs and Rockets made few moves in the spotlight. Sitting atop the Western Conference, the Spurs and Mavericks both saw little need to make deadline moves. Experts are also speculating that with the Nuggets’ trading away of Carmelo Anthony and the Jazz’s trade of Deron Williams, the Western Conference actually got weaker, at least in the short-term. This perceived weakness is likely another reason that Western teams like the Spurs and Mavericks failed to see the need to make any blockbuster trades.
According to Mavericks General Manager Donnie Nelson, who spoke to KCTK The Ticket last week, the Mavs talked to other teams and “threw stuff against the old whiteboard,” but did not feel that additions to the team would be enough of a boost to justify the potential disruption of team chemistry. The Mavericks feel that Peja Stojakovic has been a quick study in their free-flowing offense and has made a real impact on the team. In addition, they are hoping to get Caron Butler healthy again before the playoffs.
As far as the Spurs are concerned, sitting comfortably in first-place is likely enough of a reason to resist the urge of a blockbuster trade this season. On their roster, they have signed D-League call up forward Steve Novak to a second 10-day contract. In addition, they have recalled first-round draft pick James Anderson from their own D-League affiliate, the Austin Toros. It remains to be seen how the calf injury Tony Parker sustained on Sunday will affect the team moving forward. He is projected to be out 2-4 weeks with a strained left soleus and will begin rehab in San Antonio, not joining the team on their upcoming road trip.
The only team making waves last week in Texas was the Houston Rockets. Currently hovering near the other end of the Western Conference standings, the Rockets traded fan-favorite Shane Battier and Ishmael Smith with the Memphis Grizzlies for center Hasheem Thabeet, forward DeMarre Carroll and a future first-round draft pick. The Rockets also acquired guard Goran Dragic and draft considerations from the Phoenix Suns for guard Aaron Brooks.
Many are calling Houston’s moves an act of desperation, saying the team took the only deal that was available to them to add a “big man.” The good news for Houston? They will likely discover quickly just what they have in forwards Chase Budinger and Terrance Williams, as much will be expected from the pair with the departure of Battier. Since the trade, the Rockets have won games against Cleveland, New Jersey and the Hornets.
In the NHL, the Dallas Stars actually dominated the trade deadline speculations and rumors, as offensive powerhouse Brad Richards faces free agency this summer. However, as the deadline came and went today, the team chose not to deal Richards after all. The Stars did make a trade earlier in the week when they sent young forward James Neal and defenseman Matt Niskanen to the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for defenseman Alex Goligoski. “Goose,” as he is affectionately referred to by fans, has already made an impact for the Stars, scoring two assists and one goal in his three games with the team.
After the deadline today, Stars’ general manager Joe Nieuwendyk reinforced the team’s stance on Brad Richards, saying that, “In my mind I wasn’t going to move him unless somebody really knocked our socks off with something that we couldn’t refuse. We’ve always said all along that we want to sign Brad and we still feel that way. We want to sign Brad Richards to be a Dallas Star for a long period of time.” Fans in Dallas were on pins and needles today waiting for the deadline to pass, as they know he is an integral piece of the team’s push for the playoffs.
Fans in both the NBA and NHL will follow the trades in the upcoming weeks, speculating on who got the better end of the deal with each win and loss on the schedule. The important thing for these teams though is focusing on the playoffs. NBA playoffs start on Sunday, April 16th. In the NHL, playoffs will begin on Wednesday, April 13th.