It was the trade deadline that was nearly D.O.A.
Besides the last-minute deal that sent Evan Turner from Philadelphia to Indiana, it was mostly a day of high-profile inactivity. There have been minute-long slug races that produced more movement.
Pau Gasol, Rajon Rondo and Harrison Barnes all remained with their respective teams. Only two former All-Stars — Danny Granger and Antawn Jamison — changed addresses, and their heydays came last decade.
Theories abounded as to what caused the inertia. There was less of a need to dump salaries among teams already mindful of more punitive luxury taxes, and there was widely believed to be a philosophical gulf between the new wave of analytic-minded general managers and their old-school counterparts.
That’s not to say there weren’t winners and losers among the teams that actually swapped players. Here’s a look at whose moves made sense and whose could leave them with regrets:
Indiana: The Pacers upgraded one of the league’s least productive benches with a proven scorer in Turner.
The question is going to be whether Turner will hoard points or hog the ball in his allotted minutes. He put up shooting lines of three-for-14, two-for-10 and one-for-eight in his final three weeks with the Philadelphia 76ers and can be as erratic as maid service at a one-star hotel.
If the good Turner can nudge aside his maddening counterpart, the Pacers may finally zoom past the Miami Heat.
Golden State: Imagine Stephen Curry with adequate rest. That’s the genius of the Warriors’ trade for Steve Blake, which gives them a dependable backup point guard in the wake of Jordan Crawford’s early struggles in the Bay Area.
Blake also provides a gritty presence undeterred by broken eardrums or parking-lot spike strips.
Cleveland: Maybe the Cavaliers are finally getting it together. They acquired an All-Star in Luol Deng and now have one of the league’s most underrated centers in Spencer Hawes after basically stealing him from Philadelphia.
Amazingly, all it took to get Hawes was Earl Clark, Henry Sims and a pair of second-round draft picks. There are freebies that come cheaper.
Cleveland now has enough talent around dynamic point guard Kyrie Irving to make a playoff push in the awful Eastern Conference. The Cavaliers may also have just given Irving the incentive to stay with them long-term.
Washington: Andre Miller will only go off on opponents now that he’s found a happy home.
The veteran point guard who yelled at Denver Coach Brian Shaw over being held out of a game is eager to show that he’s still got some game at 37. He’ll also serve as a valuable mentor to John Wall as the former No. 1 draft pick prepares for his playoff debut.
Lakers: What, you thought newcomers MarShon Brooks and Kent Bazemore playing well in a victory over the dreadful Boston Celtics would thrust our local team onto the other side of the winner-loser ledger? Surely you jest.
It isn’t so much what the Lakers did — losing Blake for a pair of guys who either won’t be here in a year or will be part of another bad team — but what they failed to accomplish that makes them losers. They were unable to move Gasol, Jordan Hill or Chris Kaman for the thing they need the most to accelerate the rebuilding process: draft picks.
Get ready for at least one more season of mediocrity.
Clippers: Darren Collison for New York’s Raymond Felton would have been a wash, but the Clippers could have used a lockdown perimeter defender like the Knicks’ Iman Shumpert in the playoffs against the likes of Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook and Portland’s Damian Lillard. The Clippers should have shrugged off Shumpert’s mild knee injury and done whatever it took to get the deal done.
On the plus side, at least they rid themselves of the disaster that was Byron Mullens.
Milwaukee: The Bucks were going to be losers no matter what happened short of swapping rosters with Miami.
They shed some long-term salary by sending shooters Gary Neal and Luke Ridnour to Charlotte for Ramon Sessions, who can never seem to keep enough change-of-address cards on hand during a career that has taken him to six teams in seven seasons.
The bottom line is that a franchise perpetually stuck in ho-hum mode failed to move the interest needle once again.
Philadelphia: The 76ers may buy out newcomer Granger’s contract, which would mean they essentially traded Turner and Lavoy Allen for a second-round draft pick and additional salary cap space.
Philadelphia’s flurry of moves left it flush with six second-round picks, but unless they turn out to be the second coming of Willis Reed, Alex English, Dennis Rodman, Dennis Johnson, Manu Ginobili and Mark Price, the 76ers are probably going to be lottery locks for years to come.