New Balls: The NBA Ups Its Game

The sudden surge in trades moves the league in the right direction.

(Continued from Page 1)

So will the big trades work in Phoenix and Dallas? In the Suns case, it comes down to whether they can keep Shaq on the court. He missed 23 games with injury in 2005-06, and 42 last season. Phoenix won't be the fast little team that can anymore, but they will still be formidable. The Dallas deal is harder to figure. Devin Harris, the centerpiece in the package of players traded to New Jersey for Kidd, is by most standards a better, younger, and cheaper player right now. Dallas is one of the few teams with an NFL-like staff doing player evaluation and projections (it's a Texas thing, San Antonio and Houston are the other two "geek" franchises), so perhaps they have something up their sleeve here. I can't see it.

If I were in the Dallas or Phoenix front office I wouldn't have made either of these trades, but as a fan, I'm glad the deals got done. The plot is going to be very thick for the remaining two months of the season in the Western Conference.

Martin Johnson is a regular contributor to The Root.

Martin Johnson writes about music for the Wall Street Journal, basketball for Slate and beer for Eater, and he blogs at both the Joy of Cheese and Rotations. Follow him on Twitter.

Like The Root on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.