The big names stay in place on NBA trade-dead­line day

Cape Breton Post - - SPORTS - BY TIM REYNOLDS

Paul Ge­orge stayed put. So did Jimmy But­ler, Carmelo An­thony and Der­rick Rose.

And as the trade dead­line passed Thurs­day, the NBA land­scape seemed re­mark­ably un­changed. In all, seven dead­line-day trades were put to­gether by the 3 p.m. Eastern dead­line — but no last-minute block­busters. All-Star DeMar­cus Cousins was traded to New Or­leans by Sacra­mento a few days ear­lier, yet ev­ery trade that fol­lowed paled in com­par­i­son.

“You know where all those big domi­noes are? They’re still home, with the ex­cep­tion of one,” Mi­ami Pres­i­dent Pat Riley said. “I’m sure there were peo­ple that prob­a­bly made some pretty sig­nif­i­cant of­fers. ... When you have that kind of player ... it takes a lot to say, ‘OK, we’re go­ing to let this guy go.’ You stay with the sure thing there.”

Ge­orge re­mained with the In­di­ana Pac­ers, even though the four-time All-Star knew other teams sought his ser­vices. Jimmy But­ler stayed with the Chicago Bulls, and the New York Knicks held onto Rose and An­thony — the lat­ter of whom would have had to waive his no­trade clause to make any deal oc­cur any­way.

“I wasn’t con­cerned,” Ge­orge said. “At the end of the day, I’m in a good sit­u­a­tion . ... I heard the ru­mours, dif­fer­ent ru­mours, but I can’t con­trol what was go­ing to hap­pen one way or an­other.”

The big­gest moves of this trade sea­son came long be­fore dead­line day.

Toronto get­ting for­ward Serge Ibaka from Or­lando last week for Ter­rence Ross fig­ures to im­prove the Rap­tors’ chances in the Eastern Con­fer­ence, and Thurs­day’s move to land P.J. Tucker from Phoenix gives them an­other out­stand­ing on-the-ball de­fender. And the deal for Cousins that went down on All-Star Sun­day — in New Or­leans, no less — gives the Pel­i­cans a front­line like no other in the NBA with him now along­side An­thony Davis. Plus, Cleve­land snagged Kyle Korver last month.

But con­tenders mostly stayed quiet Thurs­day. An ear­lier agreed-upon trade of note was of­fi­cially com­pleted, the one that sent Lou Wil­liams to Hous­ton from the Los An­ge­les Lak­ers and adds more se­ri­ous scor­ing to the Rock­ets’ bench.

Bos­ton, cur­rently No. 2 in the East, has the right to swap picks with Brook­lyn in this year’s draft, and the Nets right now would be favoured to win the lot­tery and the No. 1 pick — some­thing the Celtics would grab. Any big ad­di­tion made Thurs­day al­most cer­tainly would have cost the Celtics that chance.

“It is a del­i­cate bal­ance of short-term goals and long-term goals,” Bos­ton gen­eral man­ager Danny Ainge said.

Per­haps the most in­ter­est­ing moves Thurs­day were not trades at all. Dal­las put five­time All-Star point guard Deron Wil­liams on waivers, and a per­son briefed on the sit­u­a­tion told The As­so­ci­ated Press that when Wil­liams clears he plans to sign with the Cleve­land Cava­liers, which would give LeBron James the ex­tra play­maker he cov­ets for the loom­ing ti­tle de­fence.

An­other no­table player who may get to choose his next spot is An­drew Bogut, who was traded by Dal­las to Philadel­phia — and fig­ures to be a buy­out can­di­date. Bogut’s in­jury in last sea­son’s NBA Fi­nals co­in­cided with the start of Golden State’s wast­ing of a 3-1 series lead against Cleve­land, and he’s still con­sid­ered an elite rim pro­tec­tor.

Of the play­ers traded Thurs­day, only Roy Hib­bert — traded for the sec­ond time this month, this time from Mil­wau­kee to Den­ver — has been an All-Star in the past.

AP PHOTO

Eastern Con­fer­ence for­ward Paul Ge­orge of the In­di­ana Pac­ers re­acts dur­ing the sec­ond half of the NBA All-Star game in New Or­leans on Feb. 19.

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