Today, we're going to keep it mostly NBA, as the deadline really dominated sports headlines Thursday. The Warriors made a few more moves to better their position heading into the 2012 draft. They swapped Stephen Jackson for Richard Jefferson, taking on an extra year of a $10M salary but gaining the Spurs first rounder in the upcoming draft. It's no surprise that Jackson was dealt before arriving in Golden State, as he left here after his first stint under some pretty bad terms. The Warriors didn't want to take the chance of having Jackson become a cancer in their clubhouse again, like he did in Milwaukee and nearly every other destination during his career, besides San Antonio. This move makes sense for both squads, as the Spurs get a tough defender at SF and at this stage, a better player than Jefferson, while the Warriors pretty much ensure they get to pick in the first round in this years draft, albeit a likely low-20's pick. Here are the three other big moves that went down on Thursday:
Gerald Wallace to New Jersey for their protected first-rounder: This was probably the 2nd biggest deal of the day, as it was one of many moves made by Portland Thursday. The Blazers went through a mini fire-sale before the deadline, dealing away Wallace and starting center Marcus Camby, who was dealt to Houston. They then axed long-time head coach Nate McMillan, in a somewhat surprising move. I know Portland had been struggling this season, but I was surprised they didn't wait until after the year to dismiss McMillan. Anyway, as long as the Blazers end up with the Nets first rounder, which is protected through pick 3 (their likely pick would be 5 if the season ended today), then they make out just fine in this deal, especially as they're obviously moving towards rebuilding. At the same time, although he's had somewhat of an off-year, the 29 year-old Wallace is a rare talent on both ends of the court and may help the Nets chances of resigning Deron Williams over the summer. A potential lineup of Williams, impressive rookie MarShon Brooks, Wallace, Kris Humprhies and Brook Lopez, with Anthony Morrow and Gerald Green coming off the bench for 2012-13, isn't a bad look.
Ramon Sessions to Lakers for first round pick: The Lakers got something they really haven't had in years, and that's a young, explosive point guard who can put up some points and is one of the more underrated players in the NBA. Sessions assists-per-minute ratio is the best in the NBA and he didn't have much of a spot in Cleveland behind star rookie Kyrie Irving. For that, I like this deal for both squads. The Lakers were also trying hard to acquire T-Wolves forward Michael Beasley, and would have been even better off had that gone through, but they have to be happy with their shiny new point guard, who should make everyone on that team better, including Andrew Bynum, and that's scary to think! The Lakers, in response, shipped their long-time PG, Derek Fisher, to Houston.
Three-Way Trade- Clippers acquire Nick Young, Nuggets acquire JaValle McGee, and Wizards end up with Nene: Now, this was the last, but the biggest deal to go down on before the deadline Thursday, and it's a deal that makes a lot of sense for all parties involved. The Clippers get former USC guard Nick Young, bringing him back to SoCal, where they really need some scoring help at the off-guard and small forward position. He's a young perimeter player who should mesh well with CP3 and Blake Griffin and when he's one, he'll even make Clipper fans forget about Eric Gordon. Also, JaValle McGee, who's one of the most talented big men in the game, got the change of scenery he so badly needed, as he was dealt to Denver with Nene heading back to Washington. Nene will give the Wizards a solid veteran front-court influence and should play well with Andre Blatche. However, I think the winner of this deal, if I had to pick one, are the Nuggets. They get a star, 23 year-old center who should fit in well with Denver. George Karl has has the leadership skills and Denver has enough veteran influence that McGee should be on his best behavior. When this guy plays 30+ minutes a night, it's rare if he doesn't wind up with 15 points, 12-15 boards and 3-4 blocks. That's dominance on both ends.
Again, the Warriors and the 49ers were the two Bay Area franchises leading headlines Thursday, as the 49ers are apparently looking very deeply into the possibility of signing either Mario Manningham or Brandon Lloyd. Either would be a tremendous addition alongside Randy Moss and Michael Crabtree. Lloyd is a bit older, but has been one of the most underrated WR's in the NFL in recent years. He's accumulated 2,300 yards recieving and 16 TD's over the last two seasons with Kyle Orton and AJ Feely throwing him the ball, but is going on 31 years of age and the 49ers may want to go with the younger Manningham. The 25 year-old Manningham is coming off an injury-plauged year, which he only played in 12 games, but had 13 catches and 3 touchdowns in the 2012 postseason to finish strongly. With Victor Cruz's emergence, Manningham isn't as high a priority for the Giants as he would be for a team like the 49ers, but with receivers going off the board like crazy, Manningham is now one of the most coveted wideouts left and will be in demand. Luckily for the 49ers, they do have him Santa Clara Thursday, and maybe they can convince him, like they did Randy Moss, to ink a deal within hours of meeting the coaching staff. Wouldn't that be something! If both are going to cost about the same, I'd roll with the younger Manningham, as his speed could really help this offense, but I think either would be a welcome addition and really help shore up the 49ers receiving core and allow them to look elsewhere with their first round pick, like another impact DB.