Sunday could be the start of one of the most intriguing Decembers in recent memory, with Omer Asik, Luol Deng, Dion Waiters, Iman Shumpert among the names coming up in trade rumors. We’ve already seen one deal this season, with Derrick Williams heading to the Kings and Luc Mbah a Moute going to the Timberwolves, but there’s a strong chance that’s not the only one that happens before New Year’s Day. Most free agents who signed this summer become eligible to be traded on December 15th, and that will open the door for plenty of action.
There weren’t any December trades last season, and while there were many in December 2011, the lockout-shortened calendar fueled those moves. We’ll instead look back on the six December trades that happened in 2009 and 2010, when two dozen players changed hands.
December 18th, 2010: The Wizards traded Gilbert Arenas to the Magic for Rashard Lewis.
- The Magic began dismantling the core of their 2009 Finals team with a pair of significant deals this day. They swapped one regrettable contract for another, acquiring Arenas, whom they later waived via amnesty clause. Arenas doesn’t count against the Magic’s cap anymore, even though they’ll still be paying off his $111MM contract through 2016. Lewis never made a significant contribution to the Wizards, who traded him to New Orleans last year for another pair of overpriced contracts.
December 18th, 2010: The Magic traded Vince Carter, Marcin Gortat, Mickael Pietrus, cash and a 2011 first-round pick (Nikola Mirotic) to the Suns for Earl Clark, Jason Richardson and Hedo Turkoglu.
- Orlando is still paying Arenas, but the team’s more egregious mistakes were in this deal. The Suns reaped a first-round pick for Gortat last month, while Carter is still a productive player for the Mavs, and Mirotic might be the best player outside the NBA. Clark and Richardson were valuable for the Magic only in the sense that they served as ballast in the Dwight Howard trade, and Orlando is trying without much luck to find a taker for Turkoglu’s bloated contract.
December 15th, 2010: In a three-team trade, the Lakers traded Sasha Vujacic and a 2011 first-round pick (JaJuan Johnson) to the Nets; the Rockets traded the rights to Sergei Lishouk to the Lakers, the Rockets traded a 2013 first-round pick to the Nets (Shane Larkin); the Nets traded Terrence Williams to the Rockets; the Nets traded Joe Smith, a 2011 second-round pick (Darius Morris) and a 2012 second-round pick (Robert Sacre) to the Lakers.
- The most significant part of this convoluted deal was the 2013 first-rounder that the Nets got from Houston. Brooklyn sent the pick that became Larkin to the Hawks last year in the Joe Johnson trade, and Atlanta sent it to Dallas on draft night this past June.
December 15th, 2010: The Rockets traded Jermaine Taylor and cash to the Kings for a protected 2011 second-round draft pick (the pick was never conveyed under the terms of the protection).
- This was purely a financial move for the Rockets and GM Daryl Morey, who greased the skids for their involvement in the three-way deal that took place the same day. Taylor played out the season before the Kings waived him in June, and he hasn’t been back in the NBA since.
December 29th, 2009: The Timberwolves traded Jason Hart to the Suns for Alando Tucker, cash, and a 2010 second-round draft pick (Hamady N’Diaye).
- This one didn’t move the needle much, though Minnesota traded the N’Diaye pick on draft night in 2010 for a package that included Lazar Hayward. The Wolves later traded Hayward to the Thunder, and Oklahoma City included Hayward in the James Harden deal. It’s the NBA’s version of the domino theory at work.
December 22nd, 2009: The Jazz traded Eric Maynor and Matt Harpring to the Thunder for the rights to Peter Fehse.
- Harpring had already played his final NBA game by this point thanks to injuries, but he continued to have a major effect on the Jazz because of his $6.5MM contract. Utah had to throw in its first-round pick from the previous June to unload Harpring’s salary and reduce its luxury-tax bill. Oklahoma City wound up with a promising young bench piece who played a significant role on the Thunder’s first deep push into the playoffs.
Storytellers Contracts was used in the creation of this post.