The Rockets made a couple of minor moves to shore up their bench a little more, but two or three of their possible playoff opponents in the West went bigger, and look scarier today than they did tomorrow.
The early move of the day was the Blazers trading for Arron Afflalo, who will slot in on the wing and, I imagine, be the first man off the bench for Wes Matthews and Nic Batum. With Batum having a wildly inconsistent year, Portland shored up perhaps its biggest weakness. They will be a hell of a tough out in the playoffs, as opposed to last year's cakewalk. They also currently sport an identical win/loss record with the Rockets.
The Thunder took care of their Reggie Jackson problem in a sweetheart deal for them. They swung a three-team deal to send Jackson to Detroit (which is arguably a perfect fit for him) and Kendrick Perkins to the Jazz for Enes Kanter, Kyle Singler, Steve Novak and D.J. Augustin, which should turn their bench into one of the stronger units in the NBA.
OKC is still locked in a death race for the eighth seed, but I have a hard time believing the Pelicans can keep pace with them, even though they picked up Norris Cole as a stopgap for the injured Jrue Holiday. Of course, the Pelicans' acquisition of Cole was but a sideshow for the three-ring circus out in Phoenix, the other team fighting to get that 8-ball.
With the Suns going absolutely bananas at the deadline, who knows if they're giving up on the playoffs or not. They sent the Rockets' primary target, Goran Dragic, to the Heat, along with his brother. They also sent what some believed would be the Rockets' consolation prize, Isaiah Thomas, to Boston, and rookie point guard Tyler Ennis heads to Milwaukee where he'll be joined by Miles Plumlee, and Michael Carter-Williams from the Sixers.
If that's not crazy enough, they got Brandon Knight from the Bucks, traded their best first-round pick (the protected Lakers pick) and got three different first-rounders in return. I think John Salmons is a Sun too now, somehow. At this point, if you told me Juwan Howard was involved in a Phoenix trade, I might believe you.
Far too many pieces have moved around the Suns for any real chemistry to form so they can hold off the Thunder. I'm not counting them out, but I'm damn close to it. And by the way, that is NOT a complete listing of all of the people/things the Suns traded away and for today. Yeah. It was that kooky.
As it stands, neither the Thunder nor the Blazers would be first round matchups for the Rockets, and looking past the first round is an exercise in hubris. But a lot can change in two months, especially considering how much changed today.
Standing pat were the Warriors, Grizzlies, Spurs, and Clippers. The Mavericks didn't make any trades, but they picked up Amar'e Stoudemire, who will probably make his debut against the Rockets tomorrow night.
Any way you slice it, the stretch run just got even more interesting, if that's even possible. We didn't even cover how the craziness affects the East, because it doesn't matter who gets swept in the Finals by whoever wins the West.
So who do you think got the best of the deadline?