Landing backup point guard Eric Maynor just before yesterday’s trade deadline was a good move for the Portland Trail Blazers. They got rid of a trade exception and the rights to Georgios Printezis and were also forced to waive Ronnie Price.
In return, they get a proven point guard who can play quality minutes to spell Damian Lillard or even play alongside him. Compared to Price and other backup Nolan Smith, Maynor is a huge upgrade.
The Blazers also held onto JJ Hickson, making today a successful trade deadline for the Blazers.
Over the last few years, the Blazers have been an active player in the February trade market. Some of those trades have worked out well, others not so much. This is a look at the three best and worst 11th-hour deals conducted by Portland’s front office.
(A lot of those moves have come in the days leading up to the trade deadline and not on the actual deadline date. Those deals aren’t included in this list.)
3. In 2008, Portland made one of the most confusing deals on this list. The Blazers sent Taurean Green to the Denver Nuggets for Von Wafer. This is a classic “We better do something and do it quick!” moves. It didn’t pay dividends for either team and the only benefit it paid to anyone was making people realize parents out there somewhere on separate occasions decided on the names Von and Taurean for their children.
2. At the time, this trade looked like a steal. In hindsight, it wasn’t great – although it led to a key acquisition that appears later on this list. That butterfly effect is why it makes grading this one difficult. I had deemed it the worst deadline deal originally, then bumped it up to No. 2 because of what it ultimately led to. In 2011, Portland snatched up Gerald Wallace from Charlotte for cents on the dollar: The Vanilla Gorilla, Dante Cunningham, Sean Marks, a first-round pick (Tobias Harris) and a protected first-round pick that hasn’t been dealt yet. Wallace provided an immediate boost to the Blazer lineup and it carried over for the second half of the 2010-11 season. Then he disappeared for most of last season. Until he reappeared at the trade deadline…
1. Last season Portland traded Marcus Camby at the deadline to the Houston Rockets for Jonny Flynn, Hasheem Thabeet and a second-round pick (that ultimately turned out to be Will Barton). Camby didn’t have a whole lot left in the tank, but he is the ultimate – for lack of a better term – locker room guy. Camby is a de facto player-coach who can mentor the younger guys while still collecting a few rebounds and blocked shots each night. He also offers the intangibles – he’s one of the few NBA players who places his right hand over his heart during the national anthem, he invented the back-handed high five, and his jump shot competes with Shawn Marion’s for most fun to watch in the league. And look what they got in return: Two players no longer with the team – one of whom is impossibly bad for being 7’3” – and the other is full of energy but hasn’t shown much as a rookie.
3. The Jail Blazers. It was the franchise’s darkest period. During that time the only thing that ever cast any light on Portland’s team was the flick of a lighter from Damon Stoudamire or Qyntel Woods. A deadline day deal in 2006, however, allowed a brighter light to be shown near the end of the tunnel. Portland didn’t upgrade on the court much that day – getting Voshon Lenard and Brian Skinner – but the Blazers did rid themselves of convicted sex offender Ruben Patterson. The Blazers shipped out Patterson and the unheard of Sergei Monia and Charles Smith. As far as basketball trades go, this wasn’t the best deal for the Blazers. But as far as what it represented for the franchise, it was huge. This deal helped usher in a new era at The Rose Garden – one in which the fans could root for the players and not worry about them knocking on their doors to introduce themselves as dangers in the community.
2. Way back when, the Blazers had a guy by the name of Kiki Vandeweghe who was blessed with a nice jump shot and the name Kiki Vandeweghe. He was a two-time All-Star who averaged around 25 points a game with Portland. In 1989, Portland shipped him to the New York Knicks for a first-round draft pick that turned out to be Byron Irvin. What that trade really did, however, is signaled to Clyde Drexler that the Blazers belonged to him now. He became The Guy on the team. Sure enough, the Blazers reached the NBA Finals in two of the next three seasons with Drexler running the show.
1. Remember that Gerald Wallace deal from earlier? Well in 2012, he popped up on deadline day again. While the short-term grade for acquiring Wallace was high, the short-term grade for getting rid of him was low. The Blazers sent him to the then-New Jersey Nets for Mehmet Okur, Shawne Williams and a draft pick. It seemed like they got rid of him for less than they gave up to get him (Przybilla, Cunningham, Marks and a draft pick) after only one season. But then the lottery balls fell into place. Portland obtained New Jersey/Brooklyn’s No. 6 pick. That, as you surely know, turned into Damian Lillard. In a nutshell, Portland traded a slow-footed, tough-as-nails, defensive-minded center who was a fan favorite and a couple of castoffs for the guy who is shaping up to be a franchise player. Good move. Also, Wallace is averaging way below his career numbers this season, which makes the trade ultimately the best deadline deal in franchise history.
Kyle Boggs is on Twitter. Follow him at @KyleKBoggs