There are two times of the year that we see the landscape of the NFL and NBA change drastically, and those are during the free agency period and near the trade deadline. It's a lot of fun to see the different trades and acquisitions that can take a team to the promise land, or send them back to the drawing board. This year is no different. We have seen a few major trades before the NBA trade deadline that have made some teams much more formidable, while other teams have made some questionable moves. Same goes for the NFL, where free agency has led to some teams being considered instant playoff contenders, while others (trying to claim high valued free agents) have been left wondering how they will bounce back. The top acquisitions in my mind are: Brandon Marshall, Michael Bush, and Monta Ellis, which are both discussed here in part one, and Peyton Manning and Remon Sessions, discussed in part two of this article, which will appear next week.
Free Agent: Brandon Marshall and Michael Bush
This is one of the best things that could have happened to Jay Cutler and Chicago Bears. Brandon's combination of size, speed, and hands brings a definitely number one star receiver to Chicago, a city that hasn't had a true number one receiver for years. Cutler is one of the best QBs in the league, and the only thing holding the Bears' offense back was the fact that they had no reliable receiver and a broken down, disoriented frontline. This simple acquisition alone, that is truly a match made in heaven, is likely to take Chicago's last year's 24th-ranked offense to top in the league. Another great pickup for Chicago was the acquisition of Michael Bush, formerly of the Oakland Raiders. Last year when Darren McFadden fell out of the lineup in week 7 due to an injury, Michael Bush took his place. Not only did he pick up where McFadden left off, but he had a dynamic pass catching option out of the backfield. He ended the season just short of 1000 yards and eight touchdowns. He will add a good change of pace behind Matt Forte.
Trade: Monta Ellis, Ekpe Udoh, Kwame Brown for Andrew Bogut and Stephen Jackson
This was one of the most lopsided trades I've seen in a very long time. Monta Ellis is one of the NBA's great young players. He is quick, on point, a great assist man, and averages 24-3-5.5-2 (pt-Ast-Reb-Stl), which are very good numbers for a point guard. He also averages upwards of 40 minutes the last couple of seasons. Along with him, they traded two more young players filled with potential: Kwame Brown and Ekpe Udoh. On the other side of the trade are two players that have not lived up to their star names. Andrew Bogut is a great young player but has been plagued with injuries the last couple of seasons, and Steven Jackson is a player in the twilight of his career and has been more of a locker room distraction as of late. The Wolves definitely came out far on top of this trade, ridding themselves of two players that wanted out anyway and getting in return a superstar Ellis and two great specialty players, while the Warriors received next to nothing and are left in their rebuilding state.