The Golden State Warriors walked away after Thursday’s 3pm trade deadline with the same team that they went into the week with. Yet having done absolutely nothing, the Warriors became the biggest winners of the day, and their dominance so far this season had a large impact on other teams around them.
In case you haven’t caught up on the NBA trade deadline, there was very little wheeling and dealing done, especially in the Western Conference where Golden State is well ahead of every other contending team. The largest move made in the West was the trade of small forward Lance Stephenson from the Clippers to the Grizzlies for Jeff Green who excelled under current Clips coach Doc Rivers while in Boston. And although the trade also cost Los Angeles its 2019 1st round draft pick, no team wagered its future for an all-star that would make them more of a contender this season. And there were presumably a lot of talented players available before the deadline. Rumblings of Cleveland’s Kevin Love, the Hawks’ Al Horford, and Milwaukee’s Greg Monroe all being available for a price were all the buzz over the past week. Even the Clippers’ own Blake Griffin was rumored to be on the trading block. In Houston there was little doubt that Dwight Howard would be suiting up for the Rockets after the deadline passed, as the 8x All-Star was basically up for grabs with a very low asking price from Houston.
Still nobody bid on the 5-time 1st team All-NBA center. As a matter of fact, nobody bid on any of the available stars in hopes of improving their teams for a deep playoff run. And the reason wasn’t necessarily the price they would have to pay for just a year or two with the All-Star, but because teams looking up at Golden State’s 48 wins and the dominating fashion in which they have acquired those victories have almost conceded the season to them.
There are still a few teams that have not given up in their pursuit for this season’s Finals Trophy. However, even those teams made did little in the way of trades to improve themselves. The 45-8 San Antonio Spurs who may only be 3.5 games back for the top seed in the West, seem much further behind after a 30 point blowout on January 25th. And much like the Spurs have done in the past under Gregg Popovich, the front office was quiet during the trade deadline, believing their team to be set for another shot at a title. As for the Thunder who sit 9 games behind the Warriors, and only lost by 8 on the road against Golden State earlier this month, Billy Donovan’s bunch has been quiet in hopes of saving their money for the offseason where they will look to re-sign stars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.
As for teams that might face off with the Warriors in the NBA Finals this year, despite the overall growth of the Eastern Conference, the Cavaliers seem to be the only real threat to cause any kind of fit for the Warriors squad that has lost only 2 games this season to Eastern Conference teams. And the Cavaliers didn’t do much to improve on their team that just got destroyed by 34 points at home by the Warriors last month. The addition of a decent shooting power forward in Channing Frye does little to alleviate the pressure that presumably will again be on Lebron James’ shoulders in this year’s Finals.
Still maybe the Spurs’, Thunder’s, and Cavs’ lack of action at the deadline is just a form of inaction that displays the confidence that the organization has in its ability to win with the roster it has in place. But it is coming off as a concession of the season to a team that is obviously head and shoulders above any team in the league right now. And we can’t really blame them. Golden State is so good, they just won the trade deadline without making a single move.