Kevin Pritchard On The Trade Deadline Aftermath
By caseyholdahl Posted in: kevinpritchard
The 2010 NBA trade deadline will go down as one of the busiest in recent memory. The run-up unofficially started off with a bang on Feb. 13 when the Mavericks sent Josh Howard, Drew Gooden, James Singleton and Quinton Ross to the Wizards in exchange for Caron Butler, Brendan Haywood and DeShawn Stevenson. It ended with a whimper on Feb. 16, with the Wizards sending Dominic McGuire to the Kings in exchange for a second round pick and cash money. Somewhere in between, the Trail Blazers acquired Marcus Camby from the Clippers in exchange for Steve Blake, Travis Outlaw and cash considerations.
All told, 15 trade-related transactions where carried out in the final four days before the deadline, making it one of the busier mid-February’s in recent memory. Some teams cleared cap space for the vaunted 2010 free agency class, while others stockpiled talent for the upcoming playoff run.
The Blazers fall into the second category. After losing both Greg Oden and Joel Przybilla to season-ending injuries, the decision was made to do everything within reason to shore up the Trail Blazers’ front line, which is why you’ll see Camby make his debut Friday night against the Celtics at the Rose Garden.
“I believe what you do is look at your team, build it the best you can in the summer, then you make some adjustments if need be,” said Trail Blazers General Manager Kevin Pritchard. “We really felt like we needed to, but we wouldn’t do deals just to do deals; we want to do deals that make sense for us, both long and short term. We want to start this relationship with Marcus and hopefully it turns into a longer-term deal.”
According to Pritchard, the Trail Blazers did what they needed to do keep pace in the Western Conference race, even if they didn’t take some of the more drastic steps teams like the Rockets, Cavaliers and Mavericks opted to take.
“The Eastern Conference, there’s some high-level teams, but there’s a lot of good teams in the Western Conference that are just vying to get into the playoffs,” said Pritchard. “And I wouldn’t say it was Armageddon, but I felt like a lot of teams were willing to make changes they haven’t been in the past. I do like that it’s going to be competitive. And I’ve always said if we’re going to be the best, we’ve got to go through the best. We feel like Marcus gives us a chance to be a tough out.”
Which is good news if you’re a Trail Blazers fan, but Pritchard obviously wasn’t the only general manager that made his team a tougher out. The addition of Kevin Martin gives the Rockets another potent scoring option in the backcourt to go along with Aaron Brooks and Trevor Ariza. The Mavericks, in trading for Butler and Heywood, get shooting, slashing and size to a team that was already at the top of their division. And of course there are teams like the Lakers and Nuggets that are already contenders without adding pieces.
“I think it’s going to be a little challenging,” said Pritchard of the Western Conference playoff race. “Teams got better. The next 26 games we’re going to see what we’re made of, but I know we’re going to compete like crazy.”
When asked if the rash of activity at the deadline surprised him, Pritchard noted that in the business of trades, nothing is all that shocking.
“Nothing really surprises me at this point,” said Pritchard. “Everything gets talked about, but at the end of the day you don’t know what is actually real and what is smoke and mirrors.
“It’s our job to know those kinds of things. We work the phones. We’re not afraid to get on the phones and call. We make a lot of outbound calls, and that’s fine. We’re OK with that.”
And in the end, Pritchard ended up getting the player he coveted while also disproving the knock that he was either unwilling in incapable of making an in-season trade.
“I’ve made (in-season trades),” said Pritchard jokingly. “They were not big ones. This is a big one. This was a doozy. Any time you get one of the best defensive players in the league that can immediately impact the game; it’s a big trade for us.”