It's exceedingly difficult to quantify just how disappointing the 2013 NBA trade deadline was. Former, current and future All-Stars were all mentioned among players who were likely on the move before Thursday's cut-off point.
And then J.J. Redick was the biggest name traded. That's meant as no disrespect to Redick—my adoration of his game's evolution is well-documented. The result of Thursday's glacial movement was just a shocker considering how many logical moves there seemed to be on the table.
I guess it's the NBA equivalent of the spoiled 16-year-olds from the old MTV show "My Super Sweet 16" getting upset about getting a green Mercedes instead of a black one. We still saw Rudy Gay, James Harden and Redick, three exceptional players, be traded at certain points prior to and during the season.
It just wasn't what we wanted.
Why were we disappointed? The biggest reason remains the implications of the new collective bargaining agreement. Teams just aren't willing to take on money—especially in the long term—when a such a punitive tax exists.
As for why the individual deals didn't get done, here is a look at the latest news and notes for why top players weren't sent packing.
Bucks Not Offering Enough to Get Josh Smith Deal Done
Undoubtedly the biggest surprise of Thursday's (in)activity was the Atlanta Hawks pulling out of trade talks for Josh Smith. The embattled forward had been the subject of a hailstorm of trade rumors since the season started, and it had seemed the relationship was past the point of no return.
With the deadline drawing nearer as Thursday went along, it became clear that there was only one serious suitor for Smith: the Milwaukee Bucks. They were reportedly offering a package centered around Ekpe Udoh, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Beno Udrih (for cap purposes) and a protected first-round pick (per Comcast SportsNet's Ric Bucher).
Just when the deal was seemingly on the precipice of being complete, the Hawks pulled out of what would have been a three-team deal and left Milwaukee stranded. The reasoning? General manager Danny Ferry simply did not think it was a good enough offer, per ESPN's Brian Windhorst:
Brian Windhorst @WindhorstESPN
The Hawks decided they valued Josh Smith too much to trade compared to what they were offered, sources said.2/21/2013, 8:12:03 PM
Based on the offer the Bucks put on the table, it's hard to blame Ferry. The deal was such a low-ball that if you tried offering it in NBA 2K13, your XBOX would immediately shut off. Udoh and Mbah a Moute are replacement-level rotation players and the mid-tier first-round pick could be valuable, but this is a perennial near-All-Star we're talking about here.
There was no asset offered that Atlanta could sell to itself or fans, nor was it a deal that would be unattainable this offseason. The Bucks keeping Monta Ellis, Brandon Jennings and Larry Sanders off the table was a calculated risk that nearly worked. It just so happens that Ferry pressed his common-sense button and blew up the deal.
The Hawks may lose Smith in the offseason for nothing, but that's awfully similar to what they were offered on Thursday anyway.
Garnett Told Chris Paul He Wanted to Remain a Celtic
It's beginning to look like Kevin Garnett heeds the lesson "practice what you preach." As his name continually popped up in trade rumors throughout the deadline—specifically with the Los Angeles Clippers emerging as the top suitor—Garnett remained steadfast in his desire to stay in Boston.
Nevertheless, the Clippers were equally confident that they could sell Garnett on coming to Los Angeles. The 36-year-old forward owns a house in Malibu, and though they have played better since Rajon Rondo's injury, he is the leader of a sinking-ship Celtics team. Boston won't compete for an NBA championship this season barring a miracle, while many saw Garnett as the final piece to the Clippers' title puzzle.
Knowing this, the Clippers reportedly enlisted their best player and de facto general manager Chris Paul to sell Garnett on the City of Angels. According to the Boston Herald's Mark Murphy, Garnett rebuffed Paul's advances and made it clear that his public stance was his personal one:
According to several accounts, though, talk between Ainge and the Clippers continued right up until the final hours yesterday. Garnett said during All-Star weekend that he would not waive his no-trade clause, and held true to his vow despite added pressure from Clippers guard Chris Paul.
I'll be the first one to tell you Garnett made a horrible basketball decision. If he wanted a second ring, then Garnett should have been in Danny Ainge's office the second a possible Clippers trade came up.
It's just hard to fault Garnett for wanting to stay in a place he loves and where he's beloved. He was a loyal player through the lean years in Minnesota and his marriage to the city of Boston runs even deeper after winning a championship there.
He asked for a no-trade clause for a reason, so kudos to him for exercising it.
Andrea Bargnani's Injury Affected Trade Status
Once considered a cornerstone of the franchise, Andrea Bargnani is essentially worth his weight in month-old milk at this point to the Raptors. His playing time has cratered since returning from an elbow injury, and fans have relentlessly booed the 27-year-old seven-footer when he comes into games.
The marriage is over and has been for some time. Toronto has just had trouble finding Bargnani a rebound relationship (new team) to smooth over the proceedings. On the trade block seemingly since the beginning of the season, the Raptors had reported dialogue with multiple teams this season, but nothing came of it prior to the deadline.
Part of that obviously has to do with Bargnani's precipitous fall as an offensive force. He is setting career lows in three-point (29.5) and true shot percentage (48.8) while continuing to be the worst rebounding seven-footer in basketball and a deficient defender.
The other part, according to general manager Bryan Colangelo, was other franchises' hesitance to take on Bargnani after his injury (per The National Post's Eric Koreen):
Once the injury occurred, his return, as late as it was in the process, as near to the trade deadline [as it was], it probably did not leave enough runway with respect to a deal being made now. That didn’t stop us from having dialogue with other teams or teams expressing interest.
While Bargnani's health likely played a factor, it was tertiary. His rapidly declining play, basement-level confidence by proxy and his albatross contract had to be far bigger looming factors than an elbow injury that isn't likely to recur.
Toronto will eventually find a trade partner this summer for Bargnani. Just don't expect a fun ride along the way for either side.
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