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The Josh Smith-Monta Ellis Trade That Wasn't
The 2013 NBA trade deadline came and went without any blockbuster deals coming to fruition. In fact, the biggest story around the league is a trade that didn't happen, a three team blockbuster involving marquee names Josh Smith and Monta Ellis.
A deal that would have landed Josh Smith and J.J. Redick in Milwaukee fell apart in the final minutes before the deadline, reportedly due to the Bucks' refusal to include an unprotected 1st round draft pick with Monta Ellis in the deal.
It's a shame, too, because the deal could have been beneficial to both sides.
The Bucks have missed the playoffs 5 of the last 6 seasons. They haven't made it out of the first round since Ray Allen, Sam Cassell, and Glenn Robinson led them to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2001. It's safe to say that this is a team in need of a major shakeup.
The Brandon Jennings-Monta Ellis experiment is not working, was never going to work, and could never work. These are two guards who are the epitome of ball-dominant, and neither seems to be learning to play off-ball.
Dealing Monta to Atlanta would have handed the keys to Jennings, who is still just 23 years old and has shown flashes of all-star talent. With Jennings running the offense, Smith and Sanders protecting the paint, and Illyasova and Redick to knock down open 3s, the Bucks could have really had something.
The Hawks have fared better than the Bucks in recent years, making the playoffs each of the last five seasons. Still, they've never reached the Eastern Conference Finals in their 40+ year history. Floundering in first-round-exit-mediocrity is arguably worse than being a perennial lottery team. At least lottery teams get young talent to improve.
If Josh Smith cares at all about winning, he'll ditch Atlanta at the end of the season and escape to a team that is actually relevant. The Hawks will be left with nothing in return, and will waste Al Horford's prime trying to rebuild.
I'm not the biggest Monta Ellis fan, but at least he would have provided the Hawks with something. He could have been a decent fit with Jeff Teague, and they could have built around the pair of guards and Al Horford. Or if it didn't work out, they could have turned around and flipped him at next year's deadline.
But alas, the deal did not happen. These teams seem content to bounce around in the NBA's pit of mediocrity for all eternity. As a Knicks fan, I won't complain.