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Joint Base Andrews Features

NEWS | March 6, 2009

NBA trade deadline: winners and losers

By Airman 1st Class Patrick McKenna Capital Flyer sports writer


1. Orlando Magic- Point guard Jameer Nelson was enjoying a breakout year before being lost for the season following shoulder surgery. The Magic quickly realized having Anthony Johnson be their starting point guard for the stretch run was not an ideal situation. So, unlike most teams in the league that made deals for financial reasons, the Magic went out and made a deal that made - gasp - basketball sense.

The Magic acquired point guard Rafer Alston from the Houston Rockets for forward Brian Cook. Alston provides the Magic with a veteran point guard capable of keeping the Magic among the Eastern Conference's top three teams.

The Magic have gone 5-2 since the trade and are poised to make a deep run in the playoffs.

2. Chicago Bulls- The Bulls have languished in mediocrity this season, unable to find their identity under new coach Vinny Del Negro. They have a roster full of high draft picks with lots of talent, but absolutely no chemistry on the court.

In an attempt to give themselves a jump-start, they made two solid moves. The first was trading forwards Andres Nocioni and Drew Gooden to the Sacramento Kings for Brad Miller and John Salmons.

The second trade was sending Larry Hughes, with his bad contract and even worse attitude, to the New York Knicks for a few role players.

Not only did they add two solid players to their rotation in Miller and Salmons, but the Bulls put themselves in a fantastic position to become big players in the 2010 free agent bonanza.


1. Cleveland Cavaliers- There's no question the Cavaliers are enjoying a fantastic year. The recent addition of forward Joe Smith will definitely benefit them when the playoffs roll around but there's no question they missed out on a buyer's market.

Media reports suggest star players such as Antawn Jamison, Vince Carter, and Shaquille O'Neal were available for the taking if the Cavaliers were willing to give up Wally Szczerbiak, or to be more specific, his expiring contract.

Lebron James has taken his game up another level this season, and while the addition of Mo Williams in the off-season has been a positive one, the Cavaliers missed a clear opportunity to add an impact player at the deadline and solidify themselves as the top team in the East.

They are still a great team and most likely have a date with the Celtics in the Conference Finals, but they'd undoubtedly be the runaway favorites in the conference if they'd added a star player to pair with King James.

2. Oklahoma City Thunder- The Thunder are on this list for a trade that was oh-so-close to being completed. They acquired center Tyson Chandler for forwards Joe Smith and Chris Wilcox only to have the trade rescinded due to Chandler's inability to secure a clean bill of health.

The Thunder has an extremely bright future with young players such as Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Jeff Green all looking like future all stars. The Tyson Chandler trade would have given them an athletic 26-year-old center to add to their promising core and made them a future force in the Western Conference much like Portland is turning out to be.

Chandler is back in the Hornets lineup and over his last five games has averaged a double-double while playing 35 plus minutes a night.

Quality centers do not grow on trees and the Thunder very well might spend the next few years wondering what might have been.