Many inside the league, and even many members of the media, didn't think much would happen before this year's trade deadline because teams were so concerned with the upcoming labor negotiations and the impact they would have on each club's ability -- or inability -- to rebuild a team.
Well, so much for that. So which teams engineered the best deals and which ones will regret their moves? Let's take a look:
• What they got: F Antawn Jamison, G Sebastian Telfair
• What they gave up: C Zydrunas Ilgauskas, 2010 first-round pick, rights to Emir Preldzic
• Skinny: One can only assume that LeBron James pressed general manager Danny Ferry to acquire either Jamison or Amar'e Stoudemire. To Ferry's credit, he got the guy who was the best fit, a player who can stretch the floor and whose game does not necessarily conflict with that of Shaquille O'Neal when they are on the floor together. Plus, the Cavaliers may still get back Ilgauskas if he is bought out by the Wizards. A true judgment of this deal cannot be made until two things happen, however: The Cavaliers win the championship and James re-signs. If neither happens, then the move will have been a failed gamble by Ferry, who also gave up a 2010 first-round pick. For now, we'll assume Ferry knows something we don't know and give him the benefit of the doubt.
• What they got: G Tracy McGrady, G Sergio Rodriguez, F Brian Cardinal, G Eddie House, G J.R. Giddens, F Bill Walker
• What they gave up: F Jordan Hill, F Jared Jeffries, G Larry Hughes, G Nate Robinson, F-C Darko Milicic, 2012 first-round pick (top-five protected)
• Skinny: By acquiring McGrady and jettisoning Jeffries, the Knicks have effectively dismantled the roster that Isiah Thomas haphazardly put in place and will now have enough cap space to sign two max players. It certainly is easier to get rid of players than to acquire players; we'll see how Donnie Walsh and Mike D'Antoni do at that task.
• What they got: G Kevin Martin, C Hilton Armstrong, F Jordan Hill, F Jared Jeffries, 2012 first-round pick (top-five protected) from Knicks, the right to exchange first-round picks in 2011 (top-one protected) with Knicks
• What they gave up: G Tracy McGrady, F Carl Landry, F Joey Dorsey
• Skinny: The Rockets picked up some pretty decent talent for a player who was not even in town, a shrewd move by GM Daryl Morey. What remains to be seen is whether these decisions were done for the immediate future, with Houston in ninth place in the West and currently out of the playoffs, or for when Yao Ming returns from his injury. Jeffries should fit in surprisingly well in coach Rick Adelman's offense, which has a proclivity for exploiting the high post, a place Jeffries can thrive. And Martin is, as he showed in Sacramento the past few seasons, a talented scorer.
The only problem is that Martin either has not been pleased with playing second fiddle to Tyreke Evans or, as Kings coach Paul Westphal said Wednesday night, his internal timing device has not kicked in after missing extensive time with a wrist injury. The Rockets can't afford to wait for that to happen if they hope to make the postseason. Beyond that, the Rockets gave up a promising talent in Landry, losing one of their best interior scorers. That is a void that will not be filled by Jeffries. Still, to add talent for a player not playing always helps.
• What they got: F Carl Landry, F Joey Dorsey, G Larry Hughes, F Dominic McGuire
• What they gave up: G Kevin Martin, G Sergio Rodriguez, C Hilton Armstrong, future second-round pick
• Skinny: I have to wonder how much of the Kings' decision-making came into play during Sacramento's lopsided loss to lowly Golden State on Wednesday night. Clearly the fit with Martin and Evans was not working, and Martin's body language was atrocious as he struggled to figure out a way to play with the likely Rookie of the Year. Earlier in the week, Martin told Westphal to keep the second unit in the game because it was playing so well. You can look at that two ways: Martin was being selfless, or he had lost the confidence to lead his team. Either way, something had to be done, and balancing their team by acquiring Landry, a low-post scorer, helps to do that.
• What they got: G-F Caron Butler, C Brendan Haywood, G DeShawn Stevenson
• What they gave up: G-F Josh Howard, F Drew Gooden, G Quinton Ross, F James Singleton
• Skinny: Unlike their Texas neighbors, Houston, the Mavericks were able to double dip: They got rid of an unhappy player and added two talents who were happy to be there. Haywood and Butler must feel incredibly relieved to go from the disaster that is the Wizards to a serious title contender. Acquiring that mental upgrade should not be underestimated. Butler will replace the disgruntled Howard in a straight-up swap, but more important is Haywood's presence in the middle, where Erick Dampier often is missing because of injuries.
• What they got: C-F Marcus Camby
• What they gave up: G Steve Blake, F Travis Outlaw
• Skinny:The Blazers badly needed some interior help with the losses of Greg Oden and Joel Przybilla, and Camby is about as good as they were going to get. He can still block shots, he can still rebound and he can still hit that ugly jumper from the top of the key. Yes, he is a rent-a-player and is likely gone after this season, but he at least gives them the chance to compete in the postseason this year, where the Blazers are desperate to take the next step in their maturation.
• What they got: G-F Josh Howard, G Quinton Ross, F James Singleton, C Zydrunas Ilgauskas, F-C Brian Skinner, F Al Thornton, 2010 first-round pick, future second-round pick
• What they gave up: G-F Caron Butler, C Brendan Haywood, F Drew Gooden (as part of three-way trade with Clippers and Cavaliers, without ever playing for the Wizards), G DeShawn Stevenson, F Antawn Jamison, F Dominic McGuire
• Skinny: It's difficult to say the Wizards are winners given the complete destruction of their team based on the Gilbert Arenas situation, which could have been avoided with a bit more attention in the first place. But, under the circumstances, GM Ernie Grunfeld had no choice but to detonate this thing, and by getting rid of Jamison, Butler and Haywood, he has at least put Washington in a position to begin rebuilding under new ownership. Now the Wizards have to figure out what to do with Arenas.
• What they got: G John Salmons, G Royal Ivey, C Primoz Brezec, three second-round picks, the right to exchange first-round picks in 2010 (top-10 protected) with Bulls
• What they gave up: G Jodie Meeks, C-F Francisco Elson, F Hakim Warrick, F Joe Alexander
• Skinny: This is sort of Winners Lite, but the acquisition of Chicago's Salmons gives the ninth-place Bucks a fighting chance to compete with the Bulls for a playoff berth. Chicago currently leads Milwaukee by 2½ games. Salmons could help make up that difference. Plus, I sort of like Brezec -- which is like saying I sort of like clouds; does it really matter? But Brezec could be helpful in the right situation.
• No moves
• Skinny: The Suns remind me of Carl Spackler in Caddyshack: They made a lot of noise but they got nothing done. Now they have a disconsolate star big man in Stoudemire, who knows the organization neither wants him nor wants to pay him. They have a bunch of players who were expecting a deal. And they have to play out the remainder of the season with a false smile covering their grimaces.
• What they got: G Nate Robinson, F Marcus Landry
• What they gave up: G Eddie House, G J.R. Giddens, F Bill Walker
• Skinny: Methinks the veteran Celtics players are not going to be fond of playing with Robinson. I don't understand this trade.
• What they got: G Acie Law, G Flip Murray, F Joe Alexander, F Hakim Warrick, first-round pick
• What they gave up: F Tyrus Thomas, G John Salmons, two second-round picks
• Skinny: I'm torn here. I know they are trying to free up cap space to pursue Dwyane Wade. But I wonder what becomes of them if they don't land Wade. They have some pieces, but not enough. They are in the worst possible spot, always average, which never allows them to be completely good or completely bad. And they could struggle just to hold on to their playoff spot this season. It all seems a bit hollow. Not to mention they are admitting that giving up LaMarcus Aldridge for Thomas and Viktor Khryapa in 2006 was a miserable failure.
• What they got: G Jodie Meeks, C-F Francisco Elson
• What they gave up: G Royal Ivey, C Primoz Brezec
• Skinny: They worked the phones for weeks trying to unload the contracts of Andre Iguodala, Samuel Dalembert and Elton Brand. Instead they unloaded Brezec and Ivey. Seems like they were just trying to justify making all those phone calls.
• What they got: Future second-round pick
• What they gave up: Theo Ratliff
Skinny: They wanted to unload Richard Jefferson. An unhappy Roger Mason sought a trade. And they look old and beaten down. R.C. Buford is a shrewd GM, but this team needed some infusion of talent or energy.
• What they got: F Drew Gooden, G Steve Blake, F Travis Outlaw
• What they gave up: F Al Thornton, G Sebastian Telfair, C-F Marcus Camby, F-C Brian Skinner
• Skinny: Call me cynical, but does anybody really think that the Clippers can unload contracts in order to attract big-name free agents? Really, is LeBron or Dwyane or Bosh realistically going to go there? With their track record? They had all the talent in the world this year and could not make anything happen, so why is that going to change? And how many times have we heard that the Clippers are rebuilding?
• What they got: C Darko Milicic
• What they gave up: F Brian Cardinal
• Skinny: Darko Milicic? Really? I guess the cash from New York is nice, but what are they hoping to do, revive his career?