The NBA trade deadline is nearly here, but it may be a relatively quiet one for the 2012-13 season if the latest buzz is any indication. Plenty of rumors have been swirling around, yet even teams that have reportedly been among the most aggressive may not pull the trigger on a deal by Feb. 21.
All the drama will culminate in a highly intense and active next 30 hours or so, but it is still worth separating some of the speculation by utilizing the most recent information available.
Here are several teams that have generated plenty of speculation but are more likely to stay pat with their current rosters.
Aggressive pursuit of Atlanta Hawks forward Josh Smith and Utah Jazz big man Paul Millsap (h/t ESPN New York)—among others—is apparently not going to land the Nets a new marquee player to make a title push.
Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News took to Twitter to document what general manager Billy King had to say about the team's likelihood of involvement at the trade deadline:
Considering the reported high level of activity amongst King and the Nets' front office, that is a somewhat surprising estimate provided by the GM.
Ultimately, though, the Nets probably didn't have enough assets in the first place to land yet another player to join the likes of Brook Lopez, Joe Johnson, Gerald Wallace and Deron Williams. The proposed package to Atlanta included MarShon Brooks and Kris Humphries.
That's simply not good enough to land an All-Star caliber player, especially considering the inflated salary that Humphries' contract contains.
As reported by ESPN's Marc Stein, the Raptors were considering a possible deal involving Andrea Bargnani heading to the Chicago Bulls in exchange for Carlos Boozer.
FOX Sports Ohio's Sam Amico also heard whispers about Bargnani possibly going to the Philadelphia 76ers in a trade that would likely involve Sixers C Spencer Hawes:
The Raptors have also engaged the Sixers in conversations centered on Bargnani, sources said. No word on what the Sixers would need to offer in return, although a Western Conference executive suspects it would involve center Spencer Hawes.
Unfortunately, it's hard to sell an exorbitant contract of a former No. 1 overall pick that hasn't shown the ability to live up to the hype. Bargnani is an intriguing seven-footer with a guard-like offensive skill set, but his defense isn't good and he simply doesn't play to his talent level.
A Tuesday report by CBS' Ken Berger notes that the Raptors are still willing to deal Bargnani in the right scenario, but that they have not shown the same sense of urgency. So despite the prior efforts, it seems Bryan Colangelo and Co. are resigned to retaining Bargnani for the foreseeable future.
Colangelo also addressed the media to discuss the issue, as reported by Sam Amick of the USA TODAY.
We began this year with Bargnani as our No. 1 scoring option. He’s now No. 3 because Rudy has arrived and DeMar (DeRozan) has emerged...There’s talk about possibly moving him...because maybe sometimes a change of scenery is the best thing for somebody. But sometimes a change of scenery can happen just by redecorating the room.
All of a sudden the outlook and the presence of a guy like Andrea is entirely different now. He’s not relied on as a No. 1 guy...I’ve always felt like he’s been slotted in salary-wise as a No. 2 or No. 3. Maybe he’s kind of fitting in nicely now.
The acquisition of Rudy Gay and the changed dynamic of the team may allow Bargnani to stay after all, although Colangelo does acknowledge that a deal is still possible.
In the context of Berger's account, though, it doesn't seem as likely as it once did—ironically due to the long-term injury that kept Bargnani out of the lineup for 26 games this season.
Rumors of a deal involving Kevin Garnett going to the Los Angeles Clippers in exchange for promising young PG Eric Bledsoe and big man DeAndre Jordan have persisted.
The Big Ticket did his best to squash the chatter, as logged by Marc J. Spears of Yahoo!
But in a followup tweet, the story was given fresh legs:
The Clippers are legitimate contenders, and the Celtics have been doing just fine even without star point guard Rajon Rondo, too. That makes the resilience of this rumor all the more perplexing.
But as Berger reports, the "live green and die green" comments have left a big impression on the front office and on other executives around the league. That has pumped the brakes at least a little bit on negotiations.
Rival execs believe Celtics president Danny Ainge understands that if he trades Garnett, he must also trade Paul Pierce, and vice versa. It's not clear yet in league circles whether the Celtics are ready for such a sudden and irreversible cultural change.
Berger also notes that the talks between L.A. and Boston have become "dormant." While it's mainly because of the situation with Garnett, it's also due to the possible unwillingness of the Clippers to part ways with Bledsoe.
Considering Garnett recently said this was his last All-Star game, it could very well be his final NBA season. To break up the strong chemistry the current patchwork Celtics team has now wouldn't be the most logically sound thing to do, and Ainge has to be reluctant to blow up the squad just yet.