One of the most active trading seasons in recent NBA memory came to a conclusion with a bang Thursday as the Cavaliers, Bulls and Sonics worked an 11-player deal at the deadline. Aside from a few minor deals, the deadline saw a handful of title hopefuls significantly change their DNA in hopes of raising the O'Brien trophy in June. To summarize the major additions:
Lakers: Pau Gasol, PF/C, from Memphis
Suns: Shaquille O'Neal, C, from Miami
Mavericks: Jason Kidd, PG, from New Jersey
Cavaliers: Ben Wallace, C, from Chicago; Wally Szczerbiak, SG, Delonte West, PG, from Seattle
Not to be outdone, the defending champion Spurs added Kurt Thomas while the upstart Hornets picked up Bonzi Wells and Mike James from the Rockets, who added Bobby Jackson to their mix. Even the Hawks joined the frenzy by acquiring point guard Mike Bibby for a run at a weak group of Eastern Conference playoff contenders.
So who made out best? More important, which deal will help advance its team the farthest come the postseason? While most agree the Lakers made out like bandits in teaming Gasol with Kobe Bryant, the depth of the West playoff pool could still see L.A. dispatched quicker than a lesser Cleveland team, which has the advantage of playing in the East.
From this corner, we still think the Lakers deal will pay the best dividends come spring, which we believe as much for who is stalking the Lakers' sideline, and the depth of their bench, as much for Gasol.
What do you think?