Early winners and losers from NBA’s Trade Deadline

Sam Greenwood/Getty Images/ZimbioThe NBA trade deadline has come and gone and what was anticipated as a pretty active deadline did not see some of the big names expected get moved. There was still a flurry of moves as the deadline quickly approached and lots of late-running negotiations had teams and players on pins and needles to the final moments.

There were no seismic moves. Those might have been made earlier when Houston acquired James Harden and Toronto acquired Rudy Gay. There were still moves that will affect the Playoff races the rest of this year and helped shape the future of several teams. And inaction might have had a bigger consequence than making a deal.

Here are three winners and three losers at the trade deadline at least by our gut reactions:

Winners

Milwaukee Bucks

The Bucks shot for the moon and you have to give them credit for doing so to get into the Playoffs for the first time since 2010. Holding on to the eighth seed is paramount for the Bucks.

They did not get Josh Smith, the supposed big prize of the trade market this February, but they got one of the other big ones. Orlando delivered Milwaukee J.J. Redick, giving Milwaukee a saavy guard who can spread the floor with his shot and make the right play on offense and defense. The Bucks got a very good player that will help them this year.

Now, perhaps the Bucks are in trouble down the road. Redick is a free agent this summer and could garner a pretty penny in the open market. But Milwaukee gave itself the inside track to bring him back. And if the Bucks do not want to keep Monta Ellis, Redick could be a good player to pair next to Brandon Jennings, whom everyone expects the Bucks to match when he hits restricted free agency.

This gambit from Milwaukee is all about making the Playoffs this year. If they fail in doing that, this deal could be a massive failure if the Bucks end up striking out on all three of these free agents-to be.

Rocky Widner/Getty Images/Sports IllustratedHouston Rockets

The Rockets may have gotten the biggest steal if Thomas Robinson turns out to live up to his potential and be worth the No. 5 pick Sacramento used on him. This move though was not earth shattering by any stretch. It probably will not change Houston's fate in fighting for the final spot in the Western Conference Playoffs. These were minor pieces involved in this deal.

However, Houston and Daryl Morey picked up a talented player and some players that could contribute while shedding some salary and clearing cap room. And that is what Houston wants.

Consider that the Rockets now have $40.2 million commited to next year, the first year of that large James Harden extension. That could leave somewhere near $10-15 million in cap space to use in free agency.

The Rockets have not made it a secret that they would like to see Dwight Howard in a Houston uniform. With him hitting free agency, Houston may still get that chance. Amazingly after all that money they spent this past summer on Harden, Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik.

Portland Trail Blazers

Portland is in the midst of the Western Conference playoff race but have one major concern — a woeful bench. The Trail Blazers have one of the worst benches in the league and so much of the game is put on the starters that it has become tiresome. And it can only get worse as the season goes on.

So the minor move the Trail Blazers made could be a big move if the Trail Blazers are going to make that push.

Portland acquired Eric Maynor for a second round pick. Maynor has the potential to be a really valuable player off the bench. He had fallen out of favor in Oklahoma City behind Reggie Jackson for the back up point guard spot. But he can contribute and he can be a scorer and playmaker in limited minutes from that position. He certainly is an upgrade. 

Losers

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images/Sports IllustratedAtlanta Hawks

Throughout much of the buildup to this trade deadline, it seemed almost certain that the Hawks would trade Josh Smith. Smith had previously stated he felt he was a max contract-type player and that he was not too keen of staying in his hometown next year. Knowing they were likely to lose him in free agency, Atlanta seemed certain to move him before the deadline to get something for him.

Yet, here we are past the trade deadline and Smith will still be in an Atlanta uniform. And the Hawks will still be stuck in the middle of the Playoff race and out of the lottery. The horrible purgatory for this team continues. And likely it means Atlanta will take a larger nose dive next year when they lose Smith for nothing (if he still intends to lead).

Maybe that changes between now and July when free agency opens up. But the Hawks missed their chance to gain some assets and position themselves strongly for the free agent class. Their run at Dwight Howard is likely now thwarted too (if that ever stood a chance). So Atlanta did not get done what it needed entering the deadline.

Sacramento Kings

The Kings made one of the more shocking moves of the trade deadline season Wednesday night when they traded fifth overall draft pick Thomas Robinson to the Rockets. Robinson was not having a great season — 4.8 points and 4.7 rebounds per game in 15.9 minutes per game — but he is still a rookie learning life in the NBA. To give up on him that fast? It made little sense

And then you took a look at what Sacramento got for him.

The Kings acquired gunning point guard Toney Douglas, underachieving forward Cole Aldrich and forward Patrick Patterson. It is hard to see what the purpose of this deal was. It has no future or present value. And so the Kings appear to be just shedding cash for the new owners.

Sacramento fans have to be extremely upset at this turn of events.

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images/ZimbioUtah Jazz

The Jazz have a free agent problem. Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson will both be unrestricted free agents this summer and there is no guarantee that they will be able to persuade either of them to stay in Salt Lake City. They very well could and make this whole thing a moot point.

You figured though that the Jazz had to move one and get something in case the other one left. Millsap and Jefferson were involved in several rumors and trade talks entering the trade deadline. Ultimately though, Utah left its future up to chance. It traded neither of them.

It is quite a risky move for this franchise which is rarely thought of as a primo free agent destination. This is a team that is in the back-end of the Western Conference playoffs now for the second straight year and so it is still unclear what the future holds.

That kind of uncertainty is the reason why Utah needed to make a deal. That failure could really make the organization pay down the line.

Philip Rossman-Reich

About Philip Rossman-Reich

Philip Rossman-Reich is the managing editor for Crossover Chronicles and Orlando Magic Daily. You can follow him on twitter @OMagicDaily

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