Didn't get a chance to point this out at the time, so as we brace for the (potential) debut of Nate Robinson and the return of Eddie House (and J.R. Giddens and Bill Walker) Tuesday night at the TD Garden, here's a look at how ESPN's John Hollinger (Insider) graded the five-player swap:
Celtics: This was something of an emergency deal, given that the Celtics were desperate for more scoring and House wasn't delivering at his 2008-09 level, but Boston traded three players for which it didn't have plans so as to acquire a potential playoff difference-maker in Robinson. Say what you want about him, he can fill it up: He averages 21.7 points per 40 minutes, which is more than any current Celtic, and he does it with solid percentages. Obviously, there are drawbacks to employing Robinson. He hasn't been big on things like defense and discipline, which have been the Celtics' calling cards in recent years, and his tendency to dominate the ball could ruffle some feathers. However, this is a risk worth taking for Boston. The Celtics desperately need the infusion of energy, athleticism and scoring that Robinson provides, even if it comes with some negatives. They weren't getting out of the second round if they stood pat; now they might have a fighting chance against the likes of Orlando and Atlanta. Grade: B+
Knicks: Well, they made lemonade. Robinson was gone after the season and the Knicks' playoff hopes are toast (a nice, round 0.0 percent, according to today's Playoff Odds), so the best thing left to do was parlay him into some kind of asset, however meager. New York gets a free look at House, Giddens and Walker before deciding whether to resign any of the three next season; Walker, with a player option for $854,389, is particularly enticing because the Knicks will have to fill out their roster with minimum-level contracts if their dream scenario of signing two max free agents comes to fruition. New York also might try to keep House if he plays well, as his shooting ability should translate well into coach Mike D'Antoni's system. Grade: C+
Chad Ford (Insider) also chimed in with some thoughts:
Positive spin: Nate Robinson is full of energy. He can be a dynamic scorer off the bench and should punch a little life into what's been a pretty lifeless Celtics team this year.
Negative spin: I'm not sure Nate's going to be enough. The Cavs got significantly better. The Magic and Hawks also appear to be better positioned. Not moving Ray Allen (the Celtics did try) could haunt them. They may not be able to make another significant trade to start rebuilding until 2012.