The quietest trade deadline in years came and went without much production, but after plenty of fanfare.
When Jason Kidd and Vince Carter left Continental Airlines Arena on Thursday, both men felt they had played their final game in a New Jersey Nets uniform. As it turned out, Rod Thorn kept his team intact, shutting down a deal that would've landed Kidd with the Lakers.
|Jason Kidd remains in New Jersey as the trade deadline passes. (Getty Images)|
There's also no telling how much impact Dwyane Wade's shoulder injury had on New Jersey's negotiations, as Thorn could've figured that with Richard Jefferson back at some point in March, his team might have an opportunity to make waves in the playoffs if Miami is out of commission.
Wade's injury definitely played a role in Pat Riley getting busy Thursday afternoon in an attempt to make a deal. Sources told CBS SportsLine.com that Udonis Haslem, James Posey and Dorell Wright were offered up for Sacramento's Mike Bibby, but wasn't enough to get a deal done. Philadelphia's Andre Miller was also inquired about without success.
Cleveland tried desperately to acquire trade partners to help facilitate the acquisition of Bibby right up until the deadline, to no avail. Considering Danny Ferry had hinted that he would be willing to do whatever it takes to bring a point guard of Bibby's caliber to the Cavaliers, him being unable to do so tells you how gun-shy many organizations wound up being when push came to shove.
One Western Conference executive told me his team's strategy was to "walk away from deadline deals, because teams tend to get a little emotional when it gets close. An atmosphere of fear about this process has been established."
Apparently, most everyone felt the same way.
It's amazing how many teams held on to pieces they were intending to move, such as Portland's Jamaal Magloire, who was extremely attractive due to his size, experience and expiring contract. The Blazers were trying to squeeze a first-rounder out of someone for him, while the L.A. Lakers were said to make a play for him in order to entice another team, more than likely New Jersey.
Detroit held on to both Nazr Mohammed and Flip Murray, considered goners just a couple of weeks ago when it was thought the team would try to trim payroll given its formidable depth. Mohammed was almost dealt to Minnesota for Troy Hudson, but that fell through late, too. Orlando stayed put despite its guard glut, San Antonio remained patient and kept its pieces in place, and Denver held on to the coveted Eduardo Najera despite being in the market for a shooter.
The Chicago Bulls had been expected to come to an agreement with Sacramento for Shareef Abdur-Rahim, dealing multiple expiring contracts to get him, but that deal fell through the cracks, too. Abdur-Rahim would've given the Bulls the low-post scorer they coveted without giving up much in return.
Of course, the name Chicago was tied to for months was Pau Gasol, but that move was nowhere close to being done with the Grizzlies looking for a package involving untouchables Luol Deng and Ben Gordon. Jerry West decided to go for the throat, and once it became apparent he wasn't going to get a satisfactory proposal, he opted to keep the Spanish star with the intention of getting something for him in the offseason.
Among the deals that were made, the biggest was a swap of shooting guards who had fallen out of favor with their teams.
Fred Jones, who fell out of Sam Mitchell's rotation in Toronto, was shipped out to Portland in a straight swap for sharp-shooter Juan Dixon. Although Jones' athleticism is a major asset, the Raptors felt comfortable with Anthony Parker and Joey Graham as their primary perimeter defenders and opted to bring in another scoring threat with a history of being able to deliver in the clutch. Jones, an Oregon native who played his college ball in state, has the type of intensity Nate McMillan covets.
Anthony Johnson was deemed expendable as the third point guard in Dallas, fetching a potentially high second-round pick in this year's draft. The Mavericks would rather take a chance at a potential long-term piece and cut salary in the process, while the Hawks get a veteran body at a position that has been injury-riddled all year, with Tyronn Lue and Speedy Claxton constantly hampered.
Utah got big body Alan Henderson from Philadelphia for the right to swap second-round picks.
Indeed, it seems that unless teams were giving players away, everyone was more content to stand by and talk shop rather than make a move.