All that talk of big deals and big names was just talk. Amare Stoudemire is still with the Phoenix Suns. Vince Carter is still with the New Jersey Nets. Shaquille O’Neal wasn’t traded to Cleveland. What happened? Phoenix decided to try to make a playoff run instead of shedding salary. New Jersey wanted to get rid of Carter’s huge salary over the next three years but didn’t find a team willing to make that kind of commitment. "A lot of the things talked about have no basis to them,” said Thunder general manager Sam Presti. "It’s hard to get trades done that have never been discussed. Doing trades in the NBA is not easy. You have to find balance and a partner.” Still, it was obvious many teams wanted to shed payroll. The problem was few teams were willing to acquire guaranteed contracts. There were a lot of sellers but few buyers. "As a business, the NBA is no different,” Presti said. "Obviously, teams will be impacted by different things (like the economy).”
Notable February tradesPlayers acquired →Boston: G Will Solomon. →Charlotte: F Vladimir Radmanovic. →Chicago: C Brad Miller, F John Salmons, Tim Thomas, Jerome James, Anthony Roberson. →LA Lakers: F Adam Morrison. →Miami: F Jermaine O’Neal, F Jamario Moon and future first-round pick. →Milwaukee: G Keith Bogans. →Minnesota: F Shelden Williams, C Bobby Brown. →NY Knicks: G Larry Hughes, F Chris Wilcox. →Oklahoma City: Malik Rose, Thabo Sefolosha. →Orlando: G Rafer Alston, G Tyronn Lue. →Portland: G Ike Diogu, F Michael Ruffin. →Sacramento: F Andres Nocioni, F Drew Gooden, F Cedric Simmons, G Rashad McCants, C Calvin Booth. →Toronto: F Shawn Marion, G Marcus Banks, C Patrick O’Bryant and cash. Winners → Chicago: The Bulls put themselves in position to make a run at the playoffs by adding a veteran center (Brad Miller), talented forward (John Salmons) and Tim Thomas (9.6 average). →Miami: Adding Jermaine O’Neal, a veteran inside presence, should improve the Heat’s playoff positioning. Jamario Moon provides depth. →New York Knicks: Larry Hughes replaced Jamal Crawford’s scoring, and Chris Wilcox bolsters depth. Is it enough to reach the playoffs? Maybe not. But they shed salary cap space and actually improved their current roster. →Orlando: Landing Rafer Alston provides insurance if Jameer Nelson (shoulder) is out for the season. Losers → Cleveland: The Cavs failed to trade Wally Szczerbiak’s expiring contract for a key player to help make a run at an NBA title. →Oklahoma City: Rescinding a trade for Tyson Chandler, Presti got virtually nothing for Joe Smith’s and Chris Wilcox’s expiring contracts. →Portland: The Trail Blazers owned the most coveted asset (Raef LaFrentz’s expiring contract) but failed to swing a major deal for Richard Jefferson or Vince Carter. →Sacramento: The Kings dumped a lot of salary, proof Sacramento is in a rebuilding mode that will last far beyond this season. →Toronto: The Raptors have been a disappointment all season and might have problems signing Chris Bosh next season.