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NBA Trade Rumors at All-Star Weekend: The Game Behind the Game

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 27:  NBA Commissioner David Stern (L) and Los Angeles Lakers Executive Vice President of Business Operations Jeanie Buss present the Los Angeles Lakers with the championship rings before the season opening game against the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center on October 27, 2009 in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2009 NBAE  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
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Avi ScherContributor IIFebruary 13, 2010

When we were young, all we thought about is what dunk Michael Jordan will do or what blind pass Earvin "Magic" Johnson will make during the NBA All-Star Game.

Making sure not to miss the Slam Dunk Contest, to see Dominique Wilkins vs. Jordan, Spud Webb beat the giants, or Larry Nance dunking with two balls. Watching Larry Bird rising his finger before the shot went in, or Craig Hodges hitting 19 in a row in the semifinals of the Three-Point Shootout in 1991.

Today, the most interesting part is happening behind the scenes, as the general managers and owners are talking about potential trades.

So many names are out there today (Amar'e Stoudemire, Tracy McGrady, Ray Allen, Andre Iguodala, etc.), so many dissections need to be made...so many questions left unanswered.

Like:

  • What will the salary cap be in 2011?
  • Can you offer players smaller contracts?
  • Do we want to save costs now so we can prepare for 2011?
  • Do we want to save now under the cap so we can sign a max deal with one or two of the top players this coming summer?
  • Do we want a player that can opt out this summer?
  • Do we trade a player that can opt out this summer?
  • Do we kick out the old and bring in the young?
  • Rebuild?
  • Take apart?
  • Sell?
  • What? What? What?

So many decisions, so little time (or not).

After the second month of play, you know where your team is headed; you are either on the top, bottom, or in the middle.

The teams in the middle are usually the teams that need to deal the most. They either try to get rid of the big contracts for a good draft pick and monetary savings to try and sign a big name, or they try to trade for a big name that can help put them over the top now.

The GMs should have answers by now, but we all understand the importance of keeping it to themselves. Still, why wait to the last minute if you are one of the teams that wants to make it to the top?

All the GMs are meeting now face to face—not on the phone, face to face—talking about what they want and what they need. There is no doubt that when you meet face to face you can get a deal done.

Most businesses have a plan for the future and know what they plan on doing in the future, so most likely the GMs have a plan too.

We are all writing about trades (including me), and we will be writing much more until the 18th (including me), but, like many past seasons, at the end, what we see is what we get.

Or maybe this year will be the big year, when several All-Stars are moved around.

So what will it be? Is the second half of the season going to be like a totally different season, or is what we see what we get?

In five more days, we will know the answer.

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