The trade deadline has come and gone, and unlike what we expected, the Wizards did indeed make a move, acquiring Ramon Sessions to head up the team's second unit. Meanwhile Andre Miller is off to Sacramento, where he'll be reunited with his old coach, George Karl. In light of this move, and a few others that went down around the NBA, you probably have some questions. Let's try to hit on all of it.
Did the Wizards get better today?
The answer is probably yes, but there's still reasons to worry the answer could be no.
In a lot of ways, this move is similar to the Gilbert Arenas-Rashard Lewis trade, albeit on a much, much smaller scale. Both teams are swapping undesirable assets in the hopes a change of scenery can make things work. In the Arenas-Lewis deal, the Wizards took on the player who was generally considered less talented in exchange for a contract that was slightly more palatable. This time around, they're taking on the Orlando role, getting a player who is slightly better, but has a longer contract, extending through the 2015-16 season.
Once you get past the salary implications, and focus on team fit, this is a deal both teams should welcome. Washington and Sacramento both needed different things out of their backup point guards than what they were getting. Miller needed spacing that he wasn't getting alongside Kris Humphries and Kevin Seraphin. Sessions gets to go somewhere that can take advantage of his drive and kick game.
But let's be clear, even though the Wizards are making a slight upgrade, there's some risk involved here. There's a reason Sactown Royalty wrote "Sacramento's asking price should be "just give us enough money for the plane ticket"." when the Sessions rumor popped up Wednesday night. And it probably has something to do with averaging 11 points per 36 minutes and shooting 34 percent from the field this season. If Sessions keeps those numbers up in Washington, the Wizards just gave up cap space this summer for another year and a half of MaynorTime.
Like the Okafor-Ariza trade, the Wizards are opting to use a trade to bypass shopping for a new backup point guard in free agency. If Sessions proves to be a clear upgrade over Miller, that's a win for Washington, but if he's only a minor upgrade or a wash, the Wizards are going to be back at the same spot they've been the last two seasons at the deadline: Desperately looking for a better option behind John Wall with little to offer other teams in trades.
Did the Wizards miss out on Jarrett Jack?
For a few moments, it looked like the Wizards were close to bringing in Jarrett Jack this afternoon, presumably for Martell Webster. A straight Jack-for-Webster swap, or even a Jack-for-Webster and a 2nd rounder would have been a win for the Wizards in terms of pure value, but with the Sessions deal already in place, it would have made for some tricky lineups for Randy Wittman, because the Wizards would be doubling-down on what they already have. Sessions, Jack, Porter, Humphries and Seraphin is a dream five-man unit for defenses that like baiting teams into all the midrange jumpers they can handle.
Plus, with Jack's contract, you're making it even more difficult to shore up the bench around him when Gooden and Butler's contracts expire at the end of the season.
Did the teams ahead of the Wizards in the East get better?
Nope. Atlanta, Toronto, and Chicago all stood pat at the deadline.
Does the Sessions trade push the Wizards ahead of any of these teams?
Maaaaaaaaaaaybe Chicago if the trade works out well, but they're only one game ahead of Washington at the moment anyways.
Did the teams behind the Wizards in the East get better?
Yup. Cleveland didn't make a move at the deadline, but they already made big moves to bring in Timofey Mozgov, J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert. And if we're being honest with ourselves, it's hard to argue Cleveland won't be ahead of Washington and Chicago by the end of the season, given how they've played since those trades.
If that plays out, it sets up Chicago and Washington to fight over the fourth and fifth seed to see who gets homecourt advantage when they face each other in the playoffs. Of course, given Washington's recent success against the Bulls, putting in that extra effort to secure homecourt from Chicago might not be a priority for the Wizards.
The Wizards might have a little extra breathing room behind them, thanks to the Bucks' moves today. They made a move towards the future, acquiring Michael Carter-Williams and Tyler Ennis, but they gave up borderline All Star candidate Brandon Knight in the process. Even if you want to argue the Bucks are more talented today than they were yesterday, they're still 2.5 games back of Washington and they're going to have to integrate MCW on the fly.
More worrisome is the news out of Miami. The Heat acquired Goran Dragic, which emphatically resolves the team's abysmal point guard situation, and clears some roster spots for the Heat. This is key because now the Wizards have more competition on the buyout/free agent market. It's going to be a lot harder to sell players on Washington with Pat Riley out there reminding suitors about the lovely weather in Miami this time of year.
Did today's move Kevin Durant closer to the Wizards?
Probably not. The good news is, the Wizards have just as much cap space open for 2016 as they did at the start of the day. Plus, the Thunder dealt away Reggie Jackson to Detroit, after Jackson refused the Thunder's low-ball extension and asked for a trade.
While we're guessing Kevin Durant isn't thrilled to see the Thunder choose to trade away another young player rather than go over the cap, Oklahoma City got a pretty good haul back that should keep Durant happy. In the three-way trade they received Enes Kanter, Kyle Singler, D.J. Augustin and Steve Novak.