Trade Deadline: Be Careful What You Wish For

It's late January in the NBA, and a day without a major new trade rumor is like a day without sunshine. Today's rays have Amar'e Stoudemire headed to Chicago, and Ray Allen and Monta Ellis switching places.

(I particularly enjoy the rumors that suggest teams will part with twentysomething stars on the rise in return for veterans with deals that expire after this season. If you're Ray Allen, you can't want to re-sign with Golden State, this summer, am I right?)

Most of the league's title contenders are reportedly mulling deals in the hopes of putting themselves over the top. Before the Ellis rumors, Boston was reportedly inquiring about Nate Robinson. The Lakers were kicking the tires on Devin Harris and a Chris Bosh for Andrew Bynum deal. And if you believe the rumor mill, the Cavaliers are considering deals for every player in the NBA. Plus three quarters of the D-League.

The Magic have been noticeably quiet. There might be a very good reason for that: Orlando's last big deal hasn't exactly worked out all that well. Vince Carter is in the midst of his worst season as a pro, is regularly being outplayed by J.J. Redick, and the team is in danger of losing the top spot in the Southeast to Atlanta.

For NBA teams, major personnel moves always have a potential down side -- until you've seen the players on the floor together, you can't know for sure whether or not they'll fit. Look at some of the biggest moves of last summer; Ron Artest isn't playing in crunch time, Andre Miller's biggest highlight of the season was a 30-minute shouting match with Nate McMillan, Hedo Turkoglu is complaining about his role, Richard Jefferson has struggled, and Carter has been awful. Meanwhile, the move that was panned almost universally -- the acquisition of Zach Randolph by the Memphis Grizzlies -- has been a huge hit.

Even players that work out well -- Miller, for example, has been a big positive for the Blazers in recent weeks, take a little time to gel with teammates and learn new systems.

And that's the biggest reason NBA GMs -- and fantasy owners -- should be wary of deadline deals.


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