Big Pre-Draft Trades
by Jason Green of Predictem.com
The Draft has come and gone and while there were no big trades on draft day there were 3 big trades before the draft that should help the Spurs, Wizards, and Cavaliers.
San Antonio Spurs
The Spurs made a big splash by trading for Richard Jefferson giving up Bruce Bowen and Kurt Thomas. Jefferson is in the prime of his career and he gives the Spurs a legit chance to win the Western Conference next season. He has not missed a game in 2 seasons and averaged just under 20 points last season. Jefferson in a lineup with Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobili is a stellar one and one that can challenge the Lakers in the West. For the Bucks this was purely a financial move, as they freed up a lot of money to sign a couple of their restricted free agents (Charlie Villanueva and Ramon Sessions). The Spurs are the big winners in this trade, as it greatly improves their team.
The Wizards did not make the playoffs last season, but they may this season with a healthy Gilbert Arenas and the new Wizards of Mike Miller and Randy Foye. The Minnesota Tomberwolves sent Foye and Miller to Oleksiy Pecherov, Etan Thomas and Darius Songaila and the #5 pick in the draft, which turned out the pick to take PG Ricky Rubio. One of the best 3-point shooting players in the NBA Miller only averaged 9.9 ppg last season, which is the lowest total of his career, but he should rebound for a solid season, as he will get many open looks since the Wizards have many players that can take the ball to the hoop. Foye is a solid scorer that averaged over 16 ppg last season. If Gilbert Arenas is healthy and Foye and Miller have productive seasons the Wizards will make the playoffs next season.
Last but not least the Cavaliers pulled the trigger on a deal that was rumored since the end of the season, as they landed Shaq. The Cavaliers sent $500,000 in cash, Ben Wallace, Sasha Pavlovic, and the Cavs’ 46th pick in the draft for the Diesel. The playoffs showed that the Cavs needed more inside presence to deal with Dwight Howard. They did just that in getting Shaq. Shaq and LeBron are in the last years of their contracts and the Cavs may have to win the BBA Championship or LeBron may sign with another team. The Cavs were the favorites to win the Eastern Conference even before Cleveland landed Shaq, but now that they have the big guy in the middle it only helps their chances. Shaq helped Kobe get 3 rings in L.A. and he helped Dwayne Wade get his one ring in Miami and the Cleveland hopes he can get LeBron his first ring.