ATLANTA- With just a few hours remaining on the NBA Trade Deadline, teams are hurriedly evaluating the moves being made. The right trade could give a team just enough to push them into championship contention.
Orlando fans are breathing a sigh of relief as All-Star center Dwight Howard scribes his name on the dotted line ensuring his return for one more season. In doing so, Howard left a lot of money on the table had he tested the free agent market. What changed the smiling shot blockers mind? Did the Magic ownership promise to make significant off-season moves, possibly towards Nets point guard Deron Williams and a quality shooting guard?
Milwaukee parted ways with injury plagued center Andrew Bogut in a mult-player deal with Golden State. In exchange, the Bucks get scoring star Montae Ellis, well traveled center Kwame Brown and second year center Ekpe Udoh. Stephen Jackson was included in the deal but the veteran swing man was subsequently traded to the Spurs before the ink dried. The trade sends forward Richard Jefferson to the Warriors instead.
Washington orchestrated a three way trade with the Nuggets and Clippers sending away center JeVale McGee, forward Ronny Turiaf and guard Nick Young in exchange for forward Brian Cook, center/forward Nene and a future second rounder. Denver picks up McGee and Turiaf and the Clippers get additional back court support in Young.
The Lakers made headline news trading fan favorite Derek Fisher, again. Fisher made his way back to LA in 2007 after stints in Golden State and Utah. While Fisher heads to Houston, forward/center Jordan Hill will take up residence in Southern Cal. Hill will allow Coach Mike Brown flexibility at both the 4 and 5 spot. His arrival could also clear the way for a Pau Gasol trade in the off season. Luke Walton also bids farewell as the Lakers ship the forward with a 2012 first round pick to Cleveland in exchange for guard Ramon Sessions and forward Christian Eyenga.
Fisher's departure leaves Kobe Bryant as the only Laker with more than 10 years of tenured service in the purple and gold. After 15 years it is highly likely Bryant will retire a Laker like many of the greats that donned the uniform. An ending that may have had a different outcome for the All-Star guard. Before signing the 7-year $136.4 million contract in 2004, Bryant showed interest in joining the Atlanta Hawks among other teams. If there is an Atlanta Hawks fan standing nearby you may want to revive him after watching this clip.
Neither team sparkled in the half court set. Atlanta simply hit the shots when they needed them. Willie Green provided another spark for the home team tossing in 10 of his 14 points in the fourth quarter.
Defensively, the Hawks team defense limited Orlando's Dwight Howard to a spread out 12 points. As Howard struggled to get quality touches, the rest of the Magic starters struggled to find the rim. Orlando's starters were 19 of 55 from the field.
Both squads will get a few days rest as the All-Star Game takes center stage in Orlando, Florida this weekend. Atlanta gets three home games (Warriors, Bucks, Thunder) when the second half of the season gets underway next week.
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