The Golden State Warriors benefitted greatly from not making a certain trade during the offseason (Klay Thompson and whoever else for Kevin Love), so it’s no surprise that the best team in the league only made one move today. It wasn’t a trade, either — the Warriors signed James Michael McAdoo for the rest of the season.
Trading for Kevin Garnett probably would’ve meant making McAdoo available to another team, and Garnett ended up going back to Minnesota. That’s a cute story, and probably the best place for Garnett at this point of his career. The idea that he was going to come to Golden State and actually contribute to a playoff push made no sense unless the Warriors suffered a rash of frontcourt injuries.
The Warriors are 42-9 and they’re the current favorites to win the title, so why make a move? Who’d they even trade? No one, obviously. So the rest of the season is about fine-tuning the operation and keeping Andrew Bogut in bubble wrap.
If the top seed remains Golden State’s, they’ll almost certainly face the Suns (5.5 games behind the No. 7 Spurs) or the Thunder (0.5 games behind Phoenix).
Phoenix’s busy day
The Suns sent both Dragic bros (Goran and Zoran) to the Heat in a three-way trade. The Suns get Danny Granger and two first round picks. The Pelicans, who are just 1.5 games behind the Suns but seem destined to miss the playoffs, sent John Salmons to Phoenix while landing Norris Cole and Shawne Williams.
They Suns also acquired Brandon Knight from the Bucks in a separate three-team deal. The Bucks get Michael Carter-Williams, Tyler Ennis and Miles Plumlee, while the Sixers get … wait for it … a top-five protected first round pick from the Lakers via Phoenix.
Then the Suns dealt Isaiah Thomas to the Celtics for Marcus Thornton and Cavs’ first round pick in 2016.
- PG Brandon Knight
- SG Eric Bledsoe
- SF P.J. Tucker
- PF Markieff Morris
- C Alex Len
- Reserves: Marcus Morris, Gerald Green, Salmons, Granger, Thornton, Brandan Wright
Oklahoma City’s busy day
No more Perk! The Thunder sent Kendrick Perkins to Utah for Enes Kanter, while dealing Reggie Jackson to Detroit for Kyle Singler and D.J. Augustin. The Jazz will also send Steve Novak to OKC.
This doesn’t change Oklahoma City’s starting lineup, but the bench has undergone a full-on facelift since the year began.
- PG Russell Westbrook
- SG Andre Roberson
- SF Kevin Durant
- PF Serge Ibaka
- C Steven Adams
- Reserves: Dion Waiters, Kanter, Augustin, Anthony Morrow, Nick Collison, Jeremy Lamb, Novak
A quick glance at where both of these teams are going, and the moves they made today, tell us that the Warriors are on their way to a first round best-of-seven series with the Thunder.
No, not that Thunder.
If the Warriors somehow take a tumble into second place (they’re four games up on the Grizzlies), they could end up facing one of four teams in the first round: the Blazers (who acquired Aaron Afflalo today from the Nuggets), Rockets, Mavericks and Spurs are all separated by two games.
The Warriors don’t have to worry about fitting a new player into their rotation and locker room over the next 31 games. All they have to figure out is how to stay on top, and that’ll start tomorrow night with the Spurs coming to town before a six-game road trip against Eastern Conference teams. The road they don’t want to take to the Finals would include series against the Thunder, Spurs and Grizzlies. By the looks of things right now, unless the Suns or Pelicans surprise us all, they’re not going to be able to avoid the first step of that perilous journey.