2013 Trade Deadline

Winners, Losers In Deadline’s Big Chill

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DALLAS –
The Big Chill.

If Thursday’s NBA trade deadline was a movie, the audience would have walked out in the middle from boredom. This freeze came straight from the script that is the league’s new collective bargaining agreement — with its harsher luxury tax penalties and diminished roster flexibility for tax offenders — it put the clamps on a stunningly uneventful deadline day.

The big names were on the opening credits: Josh Smith, Paul Millsap, Al Jefferson, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Eric Gordon, Eric Bledsoe, Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis.

Yet, when the curtain closed at 3 p.m. ET, Orlando Magic sharpshooter J.J. Redick stole the show as the lone player of significance to switch teams. The Milwaukee Bucks acquired the career 39.8 percent 3-point shooter in a six-player deal that involved five other relatively anonymous NBA names.

Only one potential blockbuster deal percolated, but ultimately died on the vine with the Atlanta Hawks going the distance in an attempt to strike a deal with the Bucks for Smith before pulling back. One reason so few big deals were discussed was simply because there wasn’t much talent realistically in play, a point that goes beyond any ramifications of the CBA.

The CBA that took effect in December 2011, and begins to smack tax-paying teams with stiffer fines next season, has clearly put franchises on the defensive. Teams that were once willing to add salary to consummate a deal no longer are. Teams that once didn’t think twice about sweetening a deal with a first-round pick, suddenly guard them with their lives.

“Cap room and draft picks, which are usually the currency of how these [big] deals get done, were at a huge premium and are something that everyone wants to have,” said Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey, who steered the most active club at the deadline with a couple of lower-tier deals.

There’s really no greater example of the effect of these changes than the Dallas Mavericks and their braintrust, owner Mark Cuban and president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson. Chronic and strategic over-spenders and tax payers under the old CBA, Cuban, who took on salary in deadline deals for Jason Kidd in 2008 and Caron Butler, Brendan Haywood and DeShawn Stevenson in 2010, analyzed the new rules and reversed field last year.

He dismantled the 2011 championship team, choosing to covet cap space and the roster flexibility granted to teams that remain under the tax threshold, as well as newfound valuing of first-round draft picks as low-priced labor and trade assets.

It’s a strategy that no longer has the Mavs on speed dial of teams looking to make a deal and dump salary.

“It’s definitely a factor,” Nelson said of the CBA’s chilling effect Thursday after the deadline expired. “There’s no question that folks have their eye on the inevitable, and there’s no question that people are getting their collective houses in order.

“There’s some teams that see that on the horizon and act early, and other teams that will procrastinate and pay a dear price. But I think we’re right in the middle of that. It’s not brand-new news and so, yeah, I think you’re going to see a lot of teams try to correct themselves financially.”

The so-called “repeater” tax really has teams scared. Several clubs tried to deal away lost-cost players to avoid the repeater tax, which will whack franchises with an additional fine if they go over the tax line in three of four seasons. Golden State was successful in this venture. Chicago was not and will pay a luxury tax for the first time since its implementation.

This “repeater” penalty deterred teams from making deals that would have pushed payroll even slightly over the tax line, deals they might have normally green-lighted in the old days. So, is this the way of the future under the current rules?

“I can’t predict the future,” Morey said, “but I think the trend is more this way.”

WINNERS

Rockets: Morey’s stockpiling of assets the last couple years has been questioned, but he’s turned it into quite a haul starting with James Harden prior to the start of the season. The day before the deadline, Morey acquired the No. 5 overall pick, Thomas Robinson, from Sacramento. Morey’s dealing didn’t damage an abundance of cap space next summer that will be used to pursue a top free agent such as Dwight Howard and Josh Smith.

Bucks: GM John Hammond didn’t get his big fish in Smith, but he pulled off the deal for Redick, who should really help a club that’s been skidding down the East standings and needs a boost. Hammond held onto Jennings and Ellis and will have room to maneuver in the summer to add more pieces.

Thunder: GM Sam Presti continues to make shrewd moves. The acquisition of Ronnie Brewer from the New York Knicks for a second-round pick gives OKC another strong perimeter defender to help Thabo Sefolosha.

Celtics: Jordan Crawford might not be Jamal Crawford, but he can score in bunches and Boston was desperate to bolster its injury-ravaged guard backcourt. Boston fans are the winners here, too, with the team’s heart and soul, Garnett and Pierce, staying put.

Mavericks: Sure, on the surface, picking up 3-point specialist Anthony Morrow for defensive-minded guard Dahntay Jones doesn’t sound like much. But then SheridanHoops.com reminded us of this Dwight Howard interview in Russia when he named Morrow as one of a handful of players he’d like to have as a teammate.

Blazers: The team with the leanest bench in the NBA finally got some help in a minor deal that netted OKC guard Eric Maynor, who lost his job early on to Reggie Jackson. Maynor will help Rookie of the Year frontrunner Damian Lillard reduce his 38.5 mpg workload.

LOSERS

Hawks: They didn’t get the deal done to ship out Smith and now it seems they will lose him for nothing in free agency. On one level, however, it’s hard to say that this is a definitive loss. They’ll keep Smith (who might or might not come away from this experience deflated) for the rest of the season, and, with any luck, try to keep him while recruiting friend and fellow Atlantan Howard next summer. If GM Danny Ferry wasn’t pleased with the deals presented, it doesn’t always pay to take something, anything just because in the end you could be left with nothing. If Smith leaves, the Hawks will take the cap space and look to spin it in their favor.

Magic: They deal away a useful player and one they drafted in Redick and hand over his Bird Rights to the Bucks. There was no guarantee that Redick would re-sign with Orlando, but he at least had said the door was open to a return.  The Magic’s Josh McRoberts to Charlotte deal for Hakim Warrick is a head-scratcher.

Knicks: They didn’t upgrade at any position and gave away a solid defender in Brewer, who was starting for the club during their hot start out of the gates, but had slipped out of the rotation. New York did use the roster vacancy to sign veteran power forward Kenyon Martin.

Nets: They failed to land another high-priced player in Smith and failed to unload one of their own, Kris Humphries.

Landscape Unchanged As Deadline Passes

HANG TIME NEW JERSEY – The 2013 trade deadline will be remembered more for the lack of movement than for any deal that was made. We had a handful of transactions in the final hours before the deadline, but the best player dealt this week was a guy who has started a grand total of 52 games over seven seasons.

That would be J.J. Redick, who is heading to Milwaukee in a six-player trade. The Bucks are also getting Gustavo Ayon and Ish Smith from Orlando. The Magic will receive Beno Udrih, Doron Lamb and Tobias Harris in return.

Redick is a role player, but one who should help the Bucks, who have struggled on both ends of the floor as they’ve lost eight of their last 10 games, dropping below .500 for the first time since early December. Now in eighth place in the Eastern Conference, they’re just three games in the loss column ahead of ninth-place Philadelphia.

The Bucks were reportedly the leaders in the race for Josh Smith, who is surprisingly staying in Atlanta … for the next few months or so. The Hawks apparently did not have a deal they liked, and will have to hope for a sign-and-trade deal in July if they want something in return for Smith. Our own Sekou Smith says that the Hawks will have “no chance” to re-sign Smith.

Atlanta did make a minor move, sending Anthony Morrow to Dallas for Dahntay Jones.

As much as the lack of a Josh Smith move was a surprise, so was the fact that the Utah Jazz stood pat. With Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter waiting in the wings, the Jazz have both Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap on expiring deals. We don’t know if the Jazz had an opportunity to upgrade their backcourt this week, but maybe, like the Hawks, they’d prefer to let one (or both) of those guys walk in the summer.

The Boston Celtics made a minor deal, but held on to both Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett for the stretch run. They’ll be adding Jordan Crawford to their backcourt, sending Jason Collins and the contract of Leandro Barbosa to Washington in exchange for the volume scorer who has been out of the Wizards’ rotation for the last couple of weeks.

Other moves:

  • The Heat sent Dexter Pittman and a second-round pick to Memphis.
  • The Bobcats traded Hakim Warrick to the Magic for Josh McRoberts.
  • In order to get under the luxury tax line, the Warriors are sending Jeremy Tyler to Atlanta and Charles Jenkins to Philadelphia.
  • The Raptors traded Hamed Haddadi and a second-round pick to the Suns for Sebastian Telfair.
  • The Thunder sent Eric Maynor to Portland.
  • The Knicks sent Ronnie Brewer to OKC for a pick.

In addition to Smith, Richard Hamilton (Bulls), Andrea Bargnani (Raptors), Kris Humphries (Nets), Ben Gordon (Bobcats), DeJuan Blair (Spurs) and Evan Turner (Sixers) aren’t going anywhere. The Denver Nuggets didn’t get a shooter, the Brooklyn Nets didn’t get any of their targets (Smith, Millsap, etc.), and the Los Angeles Clippers will try to get past the Spurs and Thunder with what they have.

The new collective bargaining agreement certainly had a role in the inactivity. The new, steeper luxury takes goes into effect next season, so contracts that don’t expire this season are a heavy burden to bear. Two years from now, the repeater tax goes into effect, so there’s plenty of incentive for teams to get under the tax line this year as well.

And now that the deadline has passed, we can get on with the remainder of the season, knowing that the landscape hasn’t changed one bit.

Deadline Passes Without ‘Smoove’ Move

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From NBA.com staff reports

Days, weeks and, in some cases, months worth of hype about the future of Josh Smith in Atlanta ended up being just idle talk. The Hawks’ star forward was the centerpiece topic on trade deadline day 2013, yet will play out the season in Atlanta — a move that surprised many observers around the league. Leading up to the trade deadline, Smith — an unrestricted free agent this summer — had been mentioned in possible deals with Brooklyn, Phoenix, Milwaukee and a host of other cities.

Our own Sekou Smith heard rumblings as of deadline day that Boston and Phoenix were making a push for Smith. But perhaps most valuable to the Hawks in a new NBA economic world is the cap space they’ve created for themselves with last summer’s trades of big earners like Joe Johnson and Marvin Williams. Atlanta has hopes of a spending spree of sorts this summer on a free-agent class that includes the Lakers’ Dwight Howard and the Clippers’ Chris Paul. And, as Smith himself told NBA.com: “Atlanta will be on my list in free agency.”

While the man known as “J-Smoove” is staying put in Atlanta, there were a few deadline-day deals. You can get a full recap on all of these and others on our Trade Tracker, but here’s a quick look:

Twitter Reacts: Trade Deadline Day 2013

From NBA.com staff reports

As trade deadline day gets rolling and heads toward the 3 p.m. deadline, folks all throughout Twitter — from players to media types — are chiming in on rumored deals, deals that are dying off and the rarest bird: deals that actually take place.

Below is a smattering of the latest comments. Refresh often:

Stats Notebook: Rockets Make Two Deals

HANG TIME NEW JERSEY – On the day before the trade deadline, the Houston Rockets were active, making two trades with the Pacific Division and shaking up their frontline.

Less than eight months after he was selected with the No. 5 pick in the Draft, the Kings gave up on Thomas Robinson, sending him, along with Francisco Garcia and Tyler Honeycutt, to Houston for Patrick Patterson, Cole Aldrich and Toney Douglas.

In a separate deal, the Rockets reached an agreement to send Marcus Morris to Phoenix.

Robinson has been somewhat of a disappointment so far, but it’s hard to judge a rookie after just 51 games. It’s especially to hard to judge a rookie after 51 games with a dysfunctional franchise.

Time will only tell whether the Kings made a mistake in drafting Robinson with the No. 5 pick or if they made a mistake in trading him. Either way, they made a mistake.

Here are some notes on the players that were dealt on Wednesday, from the new NBA.com/stats…

Lowest FG%, restricted area (minimum 100 FGA)

Player FGM FGA FG%
Austin Rivers 55 131 42.0%
Kevin Love 48 107 44.9%
Roy Hibbert 115 248 46.4%
Luc Mbah a Moute 64 138 46.4%
Brandon Jennings 115 242 47.5%
Thomas Robinson 74 152 48.7%

Smith At Practice, Hawks Sifting Through Offers?


 

ATLANTA – Josh Smith walked through the door to the Atlanta Hawks’ practice court, flashed a quick smile and walked to the opposite end of the floor just minutes before he and his teammates took to the floor.

That means as of this morning he is still a member of the Hawks. How long that lasts, however, remains to be seen. The Hawks are sorting through the offers they have on the table for Smith and still trying to decide if they are indeed going to move the nine-year veteran before today’s 3 p.m. trade deadline.

After the Hawks’ home loss to the Heat Wednesday night, Smith said he’ll just be glad to have the deadline behind him, no matter what happens.

“I think it will be a relief for all the questions I keep answering,” he said. “Whether it happens or not, I’m going to still play hard. This organization gave me so much over the years. They gave me a chance to (live) my dream, so we’ll just have to wait and see what happens.”

Hawks general manager Danny Ferry has refused to talk about any trade speculation, particularly anything regarding Smith. But Ferry, according to sources, is weighing options that include trading Smith within the conference (to either Milwaukee or Brooklyn) or to a Western Conference team, which is the Hawks’ preferred move.

The one wild card in the equation is Boston, which, according to a source, is willing to include Paul Pierce in a potential deal. But the Hawks have been lukewarm on the idea of getting Pierce, who has played his entire career in Boston, and his $15 million salary next season. Using Rajon Rondo in a deal to get Smith would make no sense for Boston, if they are interested in keeping the Hawks’ free-agent-to-be this summer. Rondo and Smith are good friends and played together at Oak Hill Academy as high school seniors.

The Phoenix Suns remain an option in the Western Conference, according to sources, and posses some of the assets (draft picks and players like Marcin Gortat) that could interest the Hawks.

But the Hawks’ main objective is the preservation of the cap space they created by trading Joe Johnson (to Brooklyn) and Marvin Williams (to Utah) last summer. With plans to pursue other free agents, like Dwight Howard, the Hawks won’t do anything to hinder that process today.

There is still a chance that the Hawks hold on to Smith and ride out the remainder of this season with their roster intact. And if they did that, the two sides would simply part ways amicably this summer.

Morning Shootaround — Trade Deadline Edition

As today’s trade deadline approaches at 3 p.m., we’ll have coverage throughout the day on all the latest buzz and Twitter chatter. Here’s your dose of what’s buzzing as deadline day rolls along:

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3:10 P.M. UPDATE

3:03 P.M. UPDATE

2:59 P.M. UPDATE

2:52 P.M. UPDATE

2:25 P.M. UPDATE

1:50 P.M. UPDATE

1:22 P.M. UPDATE

1:14 P.M. UPDATE

12:57 P.M. UPDATE

12:40 P.M. UPDATE

Spurs miss out on Redick? — As of trade deadline day, the Spurs were one of several teams hot on the trail of Magic guard J.J. Redick. But despite a push to acquire him, it looks like San Antonio can forget about adding another shooter to the league’s best team, writes Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News.

11:55 A.M. UPDATE

A couple more quick hits from the world of Twitter …

10:44 A.M. UPDATE

A few quick hits from around the world of Twitter (which you can keep up with via our Twitter Reacts post, BTW)

And a quick note from Memphis, too …

Small move — or no move at all — likely for Grizz Unless someone pulls off a major blockbuster between now and the 3 p.m. finish line, the Memphis Grizzlies will be the team on record in 2012-13 for pulling off the biggest trade after they shipped out Rudy Gay on Jan. 30. That said, it doesn’t look likely that Memphis will pull off another big deal, but a minor one may be in the cards. Ronald Tillery of the The Commercial-Appeal has more on what the Grizz may do:

The reality is that Griz brass is trying to be opportunistic today in hopes of getting something for nothing at the 11th hour (Orlando has made it clear J.J. Redick can’t be had for anything less than a first-round pick). As of this morning, the Griz were looking at their exceptions one of three ways: 1) acquiring a guard/swingman they like from the end of another team’s bench 2) grabbing an established big man only if he’s accompanied by a second-round pick 3) not using the exception at all.

The Griz need more size and could always use more shooting. However, they don’t want to acquire a guard who has no shot at cracking the rotation. It’s been difficult enough for Austin Daye to get minutes now that Quincy Pondexter is healthy.

So don’t be too surprised if the Griz did something minor today or nothing at all. But as is the case at the trade deadline, you can always expect the unexpected. Doing nothing would mean the team would likely pick up a D-League player they like to occupy the 13th roster spot. (more…)

Frustrated Redick Ready To Learn Fate

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DALLAS –
Orlando Magic guard and wanted sharpshooter J.J. Redick is so tired of receiving texts from friends with the latest trade rumor and being asked by reporters where he thinks he’ll play after Thursday’s 3 p.m. ET trade deadline, that he proposed his own three-way trade Wednesday night.

It’s a doozy: “Between the Cincinnati Reds and Baltimore Ravens,” Redick said. “[The Magic] pick up [Joe] Flacco.”

So where’s Redick headed?

“The Reds.”

Utility infielder?

“Second base.”

Apparently the Reds player in the deal is TBD.

“For me, it’s just annoying if anything,” said Redick, who struggled for a second consecutive game with just 10 points on 3-for-12 shooting in yet another loss, 111-96, to the Mavericks. “I want to play, no matter what happens, I just want to play and not have to deal with this. I’m getting a new phone number; friends have been texting me crazy stuff all day. Probably should have just cut it off the last couple of days. You know, it comes with the territory, I guess. It’s for the birds, though.”

Redick is a coveted 3-pointer shooter that any contender would love to have coming off the bench. While Redick has said he’d be fine finishing the season with the only team he’s ever known in his seven-year career, he also dropped some hints that suggest he wouldn’t mind escaping a losing situation for the chance to chase a ring.

After saying he wouldn’t be “disappointed” if he is not traded, Redick followed by saying, “Look, if any player is in this situation and they’re on a team that’s one of the five or six teams in the league that has one of the worst records and they go to a contender, it’s not a bad thing. If I were to stay here, though, it would be great.

“Again, the issue is if I get traded to the Reds. That’s the issue.”

Right.

Redick said he’s had no conversations with Orlando management about the remainder of this season or beyond. He will become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. He said he is open to a return and he believes the Magic are, too, but that there has been no commitment from either side.

Orlando (15-39) has lost 15 of their last 16 and have the worst record in the league since Dec. 20, at 3-26. Redick had a key blunder late in the third quarter, having a layup that would have put the Magic up eight, blocked from behind by O.J. Mayo. It led to an alley-oop dunk and a complete reversal of momentum.

Dallas outscored Orlando, 28-14, in the fourth quarter and 21-2 after it was a 90-88 game.

Wouldn’t a trade be a refreshing reboot to a season that has provided little relief from last season’s Dwightmare?

The Magic head to Memphis on Thursday for a game on Friday night. At least Redick’s bags are packed if gets the call that he’s gone.

“In terms of speculating, there’s no point,” Redick said. “You’ve obviously seen 72 different trade rumors regarding Josh Smith and different players around the league. Iman Shumpert has been rumored to go to every team in the NBA. Until something happens, there’s really nothing to make a worthwhile comment on.

“Wherever I am when tomorrow afternoon, I’ll just be focused on finishing the season well.”

Hang Time Podcast (Episode 105) Featuring Steve Smith and Bill Russell

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – Before we could unpack from our trip to Houston for All-Star Weekend the news hit us all. Hall of Fame Los Angeles Lakers owner Dr. Jerry Buss lost his battle with cancer Monday.

It was a bittersweet start to the busiest week of the NBA season, what with Thursday’s 3 p.m. ET trade deadline usually dominating the headlines and airwaves. And it should prove to be just as compelling as usual, with the rumors always outpacing the actual deals in terms of sizzle.

We did our best to squeeze all of that and more into Episode 105 of the Hang Time Podcast, which also features a guest appearance from recent Michigan Sports Hall of Fame inductee and NBA TV’s very own Steve Smith.

In addition to our chat with Smitty, we also got some quality time with the greatest winner in the history of the game, Bill Russell. The living legend and 11-time NBA champion with the Boston Celtics (which should explain our penchant for referring to him as “The Lord of the Rings”), sat down for an interview during All-Star Weekend and shared some insights on the past, present and future of the game.

Do you agree with Michael Jordan‘s “five is better than one” choice of Kobe Bryant over LeBron James? What did Rick Fox say to Dwight Howard when they met face-to-face during All-Star Weekend? And where in the heck is Hawks forward Josh Smith headed, if anywhere, before Thursday’s deadline?

Check out all of that and more on Episode 105 of the Hang Time Podcast.

LISTEN HERE:

As always, we welcome your feedback. You can follow the entire crew, including the Hang Time Podcast, co-hosts Sekou Smith of NBA.com,  Lang Whitaker of SLAM Magazine and Rick Fox of NBA TV, as well as our new super producer Gregg (just like Popovich) Waigand and the best engineer in the business, Jarell “I Heart Peyton Manning” Wall.

– To download the podcast, click here. To subscribe via iTunes, click here, or get the xml feed if you want to subscribe some other, less iTunes-y way.

Business Slow As Clock Ticks At Bank of Cuban

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DALLAS –
The Bank of Cuban remains open, but they’ve sent most of the tellers home and future transactions of any significance aren’t anticipated.

“Nothing going on,” Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said before his team returned to action Wednesday night. “Surprisingly quiet.”

Cuban said that goes for the league as a whole as the hours count down to Thursday’s 3 p.m. ET trade deadline. The normal frenzied action — even the rampant rumor mill — hasn’t developed. Save for a couple of low-level moves by the Houston Rockets on Wednesday, any seismic activity remains either bubbling beneath the surface or is simply nonexistent.

But why?

“I couldn’t explain what other teams are thinking,” Cuban said. “But at some point it has a market impact. So we’ll see.”

“It,” is the new CBA, the harsher, more punitive collective bargaining agreement, and Cuban, no fan of the revamped set of playing rules, knows it’s thrown a wrench into the trade machine more than he was willing to let on.

“Every team looks at it differently,” Cuban said. “I thought there’d be more activity, at least discussions.”

In the Mavs’ case, the Bank of Cuban might be stocked wall-to-wall with Benjamins, but it’s lacking the player assets needed to make a meaningful deal. Dallas isn’t going to take back salary because it’s dead set on keeping its cap space intact for next summer’s free-agent/sign-and-trade pursuit (Dwight Howard being 1A on its cross-your-fingers wish list). So there’s little sense in the Mavs dealing, say, hot commodity Vince Carter, one of the bigger bargains in the league at $3.1 million, if it’s not going to net a young player with tantalizing upside.

“We have lots of good pieces, but not that anybody’s going to give us back something better,” Cuban said. “No one’s going to do a stupid deal with us.”

Cuban said he’s not even getting many calls from teams looking to dump salary.

So what’s going on with the rest of the league during this buzz-less buildup to the deadline?

It’s the CBA. Teams are watching the luxury line closely for two reasons. Financial penalties become more punitive the higher you go over the tax line starting next season, so adding salary for 2013-14 is largely unwanted. Teams close to the tax line this season don’t want to go over even by a small amount because it starts the clock on the “repeater” tax — spend over the tax line in three of four seasons and another significant penalty is levied.

Then there’s the roster inflexibility that comes with being over the tax “apron” — $4 million over the tax line. Those teams will not be allowed to work sign-and-trade deals in the offseason. For instance, the Nets, well over the current luxury tax line, covet Hawks forward Josh Smith. If they can’t make a trade now they won’t be afforded the chance in the offseason.

Another factor for the lack of trades is that teams are less likely to cavalierly give up first-round draft picks to sweeten deals, a practice the Mavs made commonplace under the old rules throughout Cuban’s ownership. Now teams value rookie contracts as a form of cost control.

Cuban believes he was ahead of the curve when he decided to dismantle the 2011 championship team. He feared being stuck with an aging roster and not having the flexibility to alter it under the new rules. He decided cap space was the way of the future. So far, it hasn’t panned out. Deron Williams stayed in Brooklyn and odds of signing Howard are stacked against Dallas.

We’ve already seen two big deals go down directly related to the new order. Oklahoma City traded James Harden to Houston rather than make him a third max-contract player on their roster. Had they signed Harden to the max deal he wanted, and could earn elsewhere, OKC would have been over the luxury tax for years to come. A few weeks ago, Memphis traded Rudy Gay to Toronto.

Part of Cuban’s plan is to pull a Houston, in other words, accumulate enough assets in players and picks to make a trade with a team looking to (or forced) to trade a top player.

For now, that’s not going to happen.

And so with the trade deadline ticking down, the winds are surprisingly calm, the buzz eerily low.

“You never know,” Cuban said. “Maybe the last second, things will happen. But everybody wants a super-sweetheart deal and nobody wants to give it.”