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NEW YORK (AP) - The only trade involving Dwight Howard came last summer. The potent scorers that moved did so long ago.
There was no eye-catching activity left for deadline day, resulting in minor deals Thursday to the disappointment of those hoping for a frenzy.
There were nine moves, nothing approaching a blockbuster and none to jump-start the Lakers.
“I don’t think I’ve seen fewer trade deadline deals, ever,” said Houston general manager Daryl Morey, who completed two trades Wednesday. “But I think it’s a one-year blip.”
The Atlanta Hawks held onto Smith, and Utah kept both Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson on a day when much attention was focused on both situations, since those players have value and could leave their teams this summer as free agents.
The long-shot deals never materialized. Howard remained in Los Angeles, just what Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak repeatedly said would happen. Howard’s unhappiness and struggles since he was acquired from Orlando last summer fueled speculation that the Lakers might move him before possibly losing him for nothing as a free agent.
“It took a while for league to understand our position was exactly what we stated,” Kupchak told reporters. “I think they finally got it.”
Those were the types of trades that were left after the big names that were available had already been moved. Oklahoma City sent All-Star Harden to Houston the preseason, fearing it couldn’t pay what last season’s top sixth man would want after already giving lucrative long-term deals to Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.
The Memphis Grizzlies broke up their frontcourt when they sent Gay to Toronto in a three-team deal with Detroit
“I think normally a point was made, normally you would see big deals being made. We cannot forget, Andre Iguodala, that deal was made in the summer. That could have potentially been a trade deadline move,” said Denver Nuggets president Masai Ujiri, referring to the player he acquired in the four-time Howard trade in August.
“Harden was traded right before the season started. That could have been a potential trade deadline move. Rudy Gay was started a couple weeks ago. There was some cleanup before this date. Apart from a couple guys who were out there all the time in terms of big names, it just went by. I can’t explain it.”
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