Deadline trades can have a major impact on a playoff race. But don’t look for many blockbuster deals in the Western Conference. Cleveland? Yes. The Cavaliers might acquire Antawn Jamison or another veteran.
Dallas? Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is never afraid to spend money. But other Western Conference teams? Probably not. The reason is simple: Teams with payrolls under the $57.7 million salary cap at the Feb. 18 trading deadline will receive an estimated $4.5 million windfall this summer. Teams over the luxury tax threshold pay dollar for dollar. Toronto star Chris Bosh, a free agent this summer, might be traded. The Raptors also could keep Bosh and ship him this summer in a sign-and-trade deal. Houston has been mentioned as a Bosh suitor. So has Oklahoma City. That’s highly unlikely. Thunder general manager Sam Presti repeatedly has said he’s building for the long term. That’s why it’s doubtful Presti would trade for a player who could sign elsewhere in July. One intriguing rumor is the Lakers trading Andrew Bynum for Bosh. But the Lakers will be in good shape whether they make a deal or not.