NBA Trade Rumors: Breaking Down Post-2016 Deadline Buzz and More

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured ColumnistFebruary 19, 2016

Dwight Howard was the biggest name to stand pat at the deadline.
Dwight Howard was the biggest name to stand pat at the deadline.Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

With the NBA trade deadline in the past, Dwight Howard, Kevin Love and other major names remain with their original teams.

Based on the rumor mill, though, efforts were certainly made to move those guys and others.

This shouldn't come as a surprise, as teams would be silly not to listen to offers for a player to see what they could get back in return. Contender and pretender alike have to at least do the so-called due diligence.

Though nothing major went down, the post-deadline mill certainly makes for some eye-opening "what if?" scenarios.

 

Price Wasn't Right for Raptors

The Toronto Raptors looked like one of the teams most ready to make a deal.

While sitting second in the Eastern Conference to only the Cleveland Cavaliers, the position didn't stop the front office from looking for a floor-stretching presence who could knock down shots and clear the paint.

While the Luis Scola-Patrick Patterson combination next to center Jonas Valanciunas hasn't been miserable, there was nothing wrong with looking for a tad more versatility to sprinkle into the rotation.

For the right price, of course.

According to Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca, the Raptors made the right calls but balked at asking prices:

League sources made it clear the Raptors kicked all the right tires. They inquired about deep shooting New Orleans Pelicans forward Ryan Anderson and the Brooklyn Nets’ Thaddeus Young, but dropped out when the asking price would have included the likes of Luis Scola, James Johnson and Pat Patterson to make salaries match and a first-round pick in addition.

The Raptors were right to bow out of conversations given the course of the talks. Ryan Anderson shoots 38 percent from deep, but that's quite a costly rental for a guy heading to the open market.

Thaddeus Young made even more sense, but despite a career 32 percent conversion rate from deep, he's hitting on just 22 percent this year.

The Raptors had a need and attacked it well. But again, the need couldn't have been that bad for a team sitting in second place. Rather than surrender future assets, the team decided to continue rolling with what's been working.

These days, that's not such a bad thing.

 

Cutting the Love Deflections

Cleveland shopped Kevin Love to no avail.
Cleveland shopped Kevin Love to no avail.David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Now that the trade deadline has passed, everyone can agree on one thing—the Cavaliers absolutely shopped Love.

Why wouldn't they? Love is 27 years old and has been an odd fit with the team since joining. A team that willingly canned a head coach despite controlling an entire conference would undoubtedly ponder the idea of moving such a guy.

Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com seemed to confirm the news Friday: "Despite [general manager David] Griffin's constant dismissal, Love's named was tossed around in trade speculation. The power forward heard the chatter during the All-Star break, but never believed any of it."

Little in the way of details will ever come out about the who and why, but Griffin had every right to explore his options.

Last season, Love averaged 16.4 points and 9.7 rebounds, his lowest numbers since 2009, his sophomore season. This year he isn't doing much better, scoring 15.7 and grabbing 10.4 boards while his shooting percentages have dropped.

A guy like Love, especially given the question marks, will always attract phone calls even if the Cavaliers hadn't wanted to listen. Again, he's 27 and did much better in a different situation. Keep in mind, too, he's locked into a max contract through his aged-30 season.

Knowing these things, it only makes sense the Cavaliers listened, or maybe offered. Like the Raptors, the team will continue going as is, which has worked thus far.

 

Dwight Howard's Trip to the Block

Easily the biggest name on the block, for a moment it seemed like the Houston Rockets shipping Howard out of town would be a sure thing.

Howard, 30, quickly turned into the scapegoat from a trade standpoint this season despite a mature, productive performance before the break because of his ability to opt out of his contract this summer, which he will undoubtedly do.

Houston, eighth in the Western Conference and still fading, needed to test the waters. According to ESPN.com's Marc Stein, the Rockets got serious about moving the star center ahead of the All-Star Game and went on to detail some of the franchises involved:

Sources said that the Rockets talked about potential Howard deals in recent days with a list of teams including Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Miami and, most recently, Milwaukee. Sources say Houston, however, told several teams that it wasn't prepared to trade Howard without receiving at least one frontline player and a future first-round draft pick in return.

Step back and think about some of those names for a moment.

What if Atlanta, fourth in the Eastern Conference, swapped out Al Horford (who heads to free agency this summer) for Howard? How about Boston, owners of a stockpile of future assets and third in the conference? Or maybe Miami dumped Hassan Whiteside to climb from fifth.

The newest and latest development, Milwaukee, might be the most interesting. The Bucks, 13th in the East with just 22 wins, could have moved Greg Monroe and paired Howard with Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jabari Parker—a scary thought if the Bucks could have turned around and inked Howard to an extension.

As everyone already knows, though, Houston wouldn't back down from its asking price. The front office found it better to stand firm and risk losing Howard this summer than surrender and take less than what he's worth.

For a team on rocky footing, it's quite the gamble, but Houston does remain in the hunt for the postseason, as well as keeping Howard next summer. Thursday, though, will stand out in hindsight if the decisions the team made backfire.

Howard watch is off. For now.

 

All stats and info via ESPN.com unless otherwise specified.

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