The most important event on Thursday was actually a non-trade as Dwight Howard committed to staying with the Orlando Magic at least through the rest of this season. By waiving his option to leave his contract a year early he has guaranteed the Magic that he will be on their roster on opening day of next season. At that point, the games will begin all over again because Orlando will be forced to trade him for value by next year’s trade deadline since he has made it clear that he’s not re-signing with them when his contract runs out at the end of next season
Now, on to the actual trades. With the exception of one, all of the trades happened on the deadline day of Thursday before the 3pm cut-off.
Milwaukee Bucks get: Monta Ellis, Ekpe Udoh, Kwame Brown; Golden State Warriors get: Andrew Bogut, Stephen Jackson
Monta Ellis will join Brandon Jennings in the Bucks’ backcourt to form an unbelievable scoring duo. Both of these guards put up big scoring numbers. This should solidify their playoff position as they held the East’s eighth spot as of the trade. Meanwhile, Bogut will be the big man that the Warriors were missing.
Philadelphia 76ers get: Sam Young; Memphis Grizzlies get: draft rights to 2005 second-round pick Ricky Sanchez
Sam Young will add depth to the Sixers bench in the form of a 6-6 ballhandler who can defend the opposing teams’ shooting guards or small forwards. He should fit right in with the Sixers energetic style. The grizzlies will use Sanchez off the bench to back up their frontcourt starters.
Indiana Pacers get: Leandro Barbosa, Anthony Carter; Toronto Raptors get: a 2012 second-round draft pick
The Pacers needed guards for their bench and now they have two. Barbosa will add scoring punch to their second unit as he will most likely back up Paul George at the shooting guard position. The Raptors are in a rebuilding stage so, they will make good use of that draft pick as they need help at every position.
New Jersey Nets get: Gerald Wallace; Portland Trail Blazers get: Mehmet Okur, Shawne Williams, a 2012 1st-round draft pick protected through No. 3
With Dwight Howard opting to stay in Orlando, the Nets went out and acquired Gerald Wallace who plays the small forward and is a big time scorer. Howard was supposed to entice Deron Williams to stay in New Jersey so, it is unclear if Wallace has the juice to keep Deron in Brooklyn next year.
Houston Rockets get: Marcus Camby; Portland Trail Blazers get: Hasheem Thabeet, Jonny Flynn, a 2012 second-round draft pick
The Rockets get a much-needed big man to join Samuel Dalembert and Luis Scola in the frontcourt. With this void filled, they can concentrate on making a run for the playoffs as they were in the Western Conference’s eighth spot as of the trade.
Los Angeles Lakers get: Ramon Sessions, Christian Eyenga; Cleveland Cavaliers get: Luke Walton, Jason Kapono, 2012 first-round draft pick, the right to swap the Miami Heat's 2013 first-round draft pick for the Los Angeles Lakers' first-round selection
The Lakers finally upgraded at the point guard position with the Sessions pickup. He should be able to help them make a playoff run as he is quicker and can score a little bit better than Derek Fisher.
Houston Rockets get: Derek Fisher, a 2012 first-round draft pick (via the Dallas Mavericks);Los Angeles Lakers get: Jordan Hill
Fisher will more than likely be the backup point guard in Houston as they already have a would-be All-Star in Kyle Lowry. Fisher should add some experience to their locker room, though.
Golden State Warriors get: Richard Jefferson, a 2012 first-round pick; San Antonio Spurs get: Stephen Jackson
Richard Jefferson is a shooter and a perimeter player who can balance the team out after the departure of Monta Ellis. Stephen Jackson should be able to do the same thing for the Spurs which begs the question, was this trade really necessary?
Washington Wizards get: Nene, Ronny Turiaf, Brian Cook, a future second-round pick; Denver Nuggets get: Javale McGee; Los Angeles Clippers get: Nick Young
The Wizards has to do something and an upgrade at the center position is as good as any move. Nene should make the team better as he is more level-headed than McGee and has a better basketball IQ. The Clippers will use Nick Young as a replacement for Chauncey Billups, who they lost for the season due to an injury.
Chris Wilder is a Philadelphia and New York-based journalist who covers sports for the Associated Press and ESPNU.com. He also writes for Black America Web and Common Ground News Service. He is the former Editor-in-Chief of The Source Sports. Follow him on Twitter @ceewild