Seattle's Sam Presti was the most active general manager before the NBA's trade deadline, shipping away Kurt Thomas, Wally Szczerbiak, and Delonte West. The key to the Sonics trades were not the players they recieved in return, but rather the fact that they will be at least $26 million under the projected salary cap in 2009 and armed with six first-round picks and seven second-round choices in the next three drafts, as well as two trade exceptions totaling $5.1 million. This allows the Sonics to draft a series of players, some of which have to pan out, and throw some money at free agents in the offseason. They will probably parlay some of those picks and exemptions into acquiring a proven player or higher draft pick. While the arena situation in Seattle looks dire, at least it appears management knows what it is doing in regards to positioning themselves to build a good roster soon.
The Spurs received Kurt Thomas, who will be key in defending the tough big men in the west, keeping Duncan fresh. The Cavaliers received Ben Wallace and Delonte West, providing Lebron some help which may be enough for them to play with the Pistons and Celtics in the East. I am not a big fan of the Kidd deal, because Dallas gave up Devon Harris, a good young point guard who has a longer future than the aging Kidd, and DeSagna Diop, a much needed big man in the growing West. This season has seen all the western contenders bulk up with big centers and power forwards. While the rest of the conference got bigger and better, the Mavs went smaller, trading away a big body needed to bang with the likes of Shaq, Stoudemire, Boozer, Yao, Camby, Gasol, Bynum, Duncan.
The past ten days have been the craziest the NBA has ever seen in terms of big names being traded, all loading up for playoff runs for what has to be the most wide open race with the greatest number of legitimate championship contenders ever. Now the fun begins.