The dust has finally settled following the NBA trade deadline.
Despite the bevy of big-name players that were waved around, this year's deadline didn't bring a lot of action. A lot of guys are changing cities, but for the first time since 2007, no All-Star was dealt.
The Thunder elected to do a little shopping, dealing Eric Maynor's expiring contract to the Portland Trailblazers for a trade exception, or in other words, they dumped his salary for some extra financial flexibility in a future trade. Many are sad to see Maynor depart, especially for nothing tangible in return, but the Thunder had no interest in his services beyond this season so this deal made sense.
The bigger of the two trades was OKC's acquisition of Ronnie Brewer from the Knicks for a second round pick. Brewer won't make much of an offensive impact, but he might end up making a big difference on the defensive end.
The seventh-year wing-man from Arkansas has been a starter most of his career; pretty incredible when you consider the fact that he's a career-26 percent 3-point shooter. That means the quality of his defense has long-outweighed his lack of offensive consistency.
Brewer will step into the rotation immediately, likely logging solid minutes with the second unit. His defensive versatility will allow Scott Brooks to run a smaller, more athletic lineup more often, something Thunder fans have wanted to see for some time. The acquisition of Brewer probably means the end of DeAndre Liggins' playing time and will likely eliminate Hasheem Thabeet's minutes in many matchups.
There is also a chance that Brewer will take some of Kendrick Perkins' minutes against smaller opponents. Although the Thunder reportedly shopped Perkins, clearly they couldn't find anyone to take on his gaudy contract. Perkins, set to make over $17.5 million in the next two seasons, has struggled mightily this year. Out of the combined 150 regular starters from the 30 NBA teams, Perkins' 9.46 PER (player efficiency rating) ranks No. 148. That means there are only two starters in the entire league (Austin Rivers, Avery Bradley) that have been less efficient than Perkins (he's dead-last among post-players). He has improved recently on the offensive end, shooting 64 percent over his past 13 games, but that comes on the heels of shooting a dismal 29 percent in his previous 21 outings.
Like Maynor, Brewer is set to become a free agent at the end of the 2013/2014 season. He makes just over $1 million this year, and if he plays well, the price might be right for the Thunder to consider resigning him in the offseason. Due to Maynor's departure, OKC will need to fill its third-string point guard role, and will likely explore free agency to find Reggie Jackson insurance.
The Thunder certainly got better today, but how much better remains to be seen. As for now though, it's time to say goodbye to Maynor and hello to Brewer as the Thunder attempts to make another run to the NBA Finals.