4 Team 5 Player Deal Shakes Up The NBA
The Deal: Hornets trade PG Darren Collison and F James Posey to the Pacers, who trade PF Troy Murphy to the Nets, who trade SG Courtney Lee to the Rockets, who trade G-F Trevor Ariza to the Hornets.
New Orleans: The Hornets cashed in on their best trade chip in Darren Collison and got a fair return for their efforts. Trevor Ariza is a promising athletic wing who does a little of everything well on offense, while at the same time is a stopper on defense. He isn’t going to be a dynamic scorer, but he is a solid 4th option to Paul, West and Okafor. His best asset is his defensive ability as he has the size and quickness to guard pretty much any SF in the league. As for his price tag its not a bad deal for the Hornets since he makes roughly the same as Posey (who at this point is just a high priced back up). Giving up Collison was hard, and I probably would have liked to see a future 1st round pick come back in return (even if it was 2-3 years away), but Ariza alone is a solid return.
Indiana: The Pacers are really the big winners here as they fill their biggest need in PG Darren Collison. Collison had a very nice rookie season and is poised to be a breakout player. He should be a playoff caliber PG and that is exactly what was holding the Pacers back. On top of that, Indiana controls him (cheaply I might add) for the next 4 seasons. They did have to take on an extra year of James Posey, who is a capable backup (though a bit pricey) but it isn’t a significant longterm commitment. Also Indiana saved $4 million this year, plus an additional $4 million in a luxury tax hit, that will more than pay for Posey’s salary next year. Troy Murphy is a nice ball player, and a pretty good trade chip with an expiring deal, but Indiana wasn’t likely to resign him and were able to cash him in for a young talented point guard and some cash.
New Jersey: The Nets did well here in acquiring Troy Murphy. He is a double-double 4 who should fit nicely next to Brook Lopez on the floor. His presence means they can bring Derrick Favors along slowly (which I think is key), and still have a strong starting lineup. They had the cap room so they won’t take on an luxury tax penalty. And while Courtney Lee is a nice promising player, they have some other options on the wing. The best thing about Murphy is his expiring deal, which will likely get shipped to a contender (or just someone trying to clear cap space) by the trade deadline and bring the Nets back some young players/draft picks.
Houston: This was pretty clearly a salary dump for the Rockets. They took on money last trade deadline/ this summer and needed to cut down their luxury tax bill. Giving up Ariza was probably hard, but they didn’t get nothing in return. Lee is a nice SG and is young, cheap and controllable. He should be a good option for the Rockets off the bench, while at the same time saving them some significant money.
Winner(s): I really like what the Nets, and especially the Pacers did in this deal. The Hornets made a solid move in getting Ariza, but sacrificed their best trade chip. The Rockets dumped salary but did take on an inferior player. They are a deep team, but there is no way to sell that they are better over the next few years with Lee over Ariza.