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NBA Midseason Review: heavy trade winds

Published: February 3, 2006
Section: Sports


Every team has reached 41 games played and the trading deadline is approaching. In the coming weeks, trades that will change the looks of many teams will occur. This past week, two major trades went down. Ron Artest was traded for Peja Stojakovic. Wally Szczerbiak was traded for Ricky Davis in a seven player deal.

Ron Artest had been the subject of many trade rumors for the past month. Back in December, the Indiana Pacers placed him on the inactive roster saying that hed never play for the Pacers again. Last week, after several days of complete confusion in which Artest tried to undermine the trade talks, he was traded for Peja Stojakovic to the Sacramento Kings.

This deal was important for the Pacers to complete. The Pacers were on a losing streak as the Ron Artest situation was distracting to the whole team. Then Jermaine ONeal got hurt and is expected to miss two months. Stojakovic gives the Pacers a talented scorer to pair up with Stephen Jackson and ONeal once he returns.

Stojakovic had been ineffective in Sacramento after they traded his front court mate Chris Webber last season.

This deal did not help Sacramento much. Ron Artest is a talented player, but he does not improve the Kings. They lost their first two games with Artest in uniform. Both of those loses came to teams that are well under .500, Boston and Toronto. Sacramento had beaten both of those teams earlier in the season.

The other aforementioned major trade saw the Boston Celtics trade the Ricky Davis, Mark Blount, Marcus Banks, and Justin Reed to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Wally Szczerbiak, Michael Olowokandi, and Dwayne Jones. A deal of Blount for Olowokandi had long been discussed. Banks had also recently entered trade rumors with the emergence of Delonte West and Orien Greene.

This trade both helped and hurt the Timberwolves. On one hand, they traded away Olowokandi, who was not doing well at all. In return, they got Mark Blount, who had an 18 point showing against the Spurs in his second game. Also, Ricky Davis has meshed well with Kevin Garnett so far. Davis scored 26 points in his debut and added 20 the next night.

On the other hand, the Timberwolves gave away Wally Szczerbiak, who was enjoying a career year. The decision to trade away Szczerbiak was heavily criticized by the media. Charles Barkley compared Kevin Garnett having no partner in crime to being dateless to the prom. The Timberwolves have not done well at all while having one of the best players in the league. They need to stop dumping talent and acquire more.
This trade was good for the Celtics. They did not want to play Blount and he had several more years at an expensive price left on his contract. They got rid of him for Olowokandi, who they wont play much at all and will be gone after this season. Now they can play Al Jefferson and Kendrick Perkins more.

In Wally Szczerbiak, Boston gets a talented scorer that can complement Paul Pierce. He also adds experience to a young team. Last Friday, he entered the game with 3:30 left in the second quarter to a rousing chorus of cheers. In fact, every time he got the ball, he was cheered by the crowd. He finished the night with 10 points and helped the Celtics win against Sacramento. Two nights later, he had a team-high 20 points in a close loss to Milwaukee.

It remains to be seen what effect these two trades will have in the long-term. But one thing for sure is there will be more trades.