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The Top 5: Best New York/New Jersey Deadline Deals

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 26:  Cecil Fielder is introduced during The New York Yankees 65th Old Timers Day game on June 26, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 26: Cecil Fielder is introduced during The New York Yankees 65th Old Timers Day game on June 26, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
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The NBA trade deadline is only days away, which is a perfect time to look back on the most successful deadline deals completed by the local teams. The point of most of these deals (if the team is a buyer and not seller, that is) is to give them that one (or more) player that puts them over the top to win a championship. Getting that one wily veteran, that one missing link, that one final piece to the puzzle. So to qualify for this list, the trade must have taken place during the season with that team going on to win it all that same year. Which disqualifies Dave DeBusschere, Earl Monroe, Keith Hernandez, Gary Carter, Mark Messier and Paul O'Neill. All of those deals played huge roles in eventual championship teams but all took a few seasons to complete their mission. So as we wonder if the New York Knicks will do anything of substance (send Carmelo Anthony packing, perhaps? Ok, probably not) or if the New Jersey Nets can pull off that Dwight Howard trade, here are the Top 5 best deadline deals.

5. Cecil Fielder to the New York Yankees, 1996: The Yankees hadn't won the World Series in 18 years and hadn't established themselves as the powerhouse that they would become, so nothing was a given yet. On July 31, they sent Ruben Sierra and Matt Drews to the Detroit Tigers for Fielder. In 53 games, Fielder blasted 13 home runs, drove in 37 runs and slugged .495. In the Division Series, he had a 1.053 OPS with a home run and four RBIs. He only had three hits in the Championship Series but two of them were home runs and he drove in eight runs. And in the World Series victory over the Atlanta Braves, he put up a .391/.440/.478 line, with two RBIs.

4. Claude Lemieux to the New Jersey Devils, 1999: This one wasn't really a deadline deal because it came earlier in the season (Nov. 3, 1999, acquired from the Colorado Avalanche), but Lemieux was that gritty player that every successful NHL team needs to thrive in the playoffs. His pest-ness may have crossed over to dirtiness at times (ok, many times), but he was a proven playoff winner, having already been a part of three Stanley Cup champions, with the Montreal Canadiens, Devils and Avalanche, and winning the Conn Smythe with New Jersey in '95. Lemieux totaled 10 points in 23 playoff games in 2000, as the Devils won their second Cup and he won his fourth.

3. Stephane Matteau and Brian Noonan to the New York Rangers, 1994: Take your pick of which of the many deals worked out best for the '94 Rangers, but we'll choose this one because of "Matteau! Matteau! Matteau!" Acquired from the Chicago Blackhawks on March 21 with Brian Noonan for Tony Amonte, Matteau scored the overtime game-winners in Game 3 and Game 7 of the memorable series with the Devils before helping his team win the Stanley Cup. Matteau tallied seven points in 12 regular-season games and nine points in 23 playoff games, while Noonan chipped in with six points in 12 regular-season games and 11 points in 22 playoff contests. The Rangers mortgaged their future but grabbed that elusive Cup after 54 long, long years.

2. Butch Goring to the New York Islanders, 1980: This was the classic deal for a grizzled veteran who helps teach his new team what it takes to win. Goring had made the playoffs with his old team, the Los Angeles Kings, six times before being traded for original Islander Billy Harris and Dave Lewis on March 10. In the last 12 games of the regular season, he recorded 11 points, and he kept up that pace in the playoffs with 19 points in 21 games. A great two-way center who rarely took a penalty (he had four different full seasons with only two penalty minutes), Goring was a big reason the Islanders won their first Cup in 1980. He won the Conn Smythe the following year and was around for all four of the Islanders' Cups.

1. Donn Clendenon to the New York Mets, 1969: This deal is the winner because not only did Clendenon help his team win a championship, but he was named the World Series MVP as well, after coming to the Mets from the Montreal Expos for Steve Renko and three other players on June 15 (the old trade deadline). The lanky first baseman was the big bat the Mets needed in the middle of the lineup, and in 72 games that year, he hit 12 home runs with 37 RBIs. Clendenon led the Miracle Mets to their Series win over the powerhouse Baltimore Orioles by hitting three home runs, driving in four runs and putting up a .357/.438/1.071 line. And in the Series clinching Game 5, he followed Cleon Jones' infamous shoe-polish play with a two-run homer for the Mets' first runs of the game. The next season he set a franchise RBI record when he drove in 97 runs.