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Why the bottleneck on NBA trades? Calendar and Howard.

Feb 13, 2012, 12:04 PM EDT

Dwight Howard AP

We’re a couple months into the NBA season, and there have been very few trades.

Before the season we had some biggies — Chris Paul to the Lakers, er, Clippers — but once the season started, that has dried up.

And you can expect things to stay pretty much dry past the All-Star game at the end of the month. Why? A couple reasons, neither of which will be resolved by then.

We’ll let Marc Stein at ESPN explain the first.

In a normal NBA season, free agents who ink contracts in the offseason can’t be traded for three months from the date they signed or Dec. 15, whichever falls later. The rule, though, had to be amended because of the lockout, which pushed free agency back to Dec. 9 for the 2011-12 season.

Free agents who signed contracts for this lockout-shortened campaign thus can’t be traded for two months from the signing date or March 1, whichever falls later. In 20 days, then, every team in the league will have more contracts to plug into deals to satisfy salary-cap requirements, which could serve as a useful impetus to help trigger activity before the March 15 trading deadline.

Put simply, the Nets would love to make a big move but can’t trade Kris Humphries, DeShawn Stevenson, Shawne Williams or Shelden Williams before March 1.

The other issue, as we have discussed here before at PBT (and Stein mentions as well) is the Dwight Howard situation. As happened with Carmelo Anthony and other big deals in the past, sometime smaller trades get bottlenecked behind a big one as teams hold on to their cards seeing if they can get in the game. To use an example, again with New Jersey, if the Magic were to suddenly trade Howard to the Lakers (not likely but possible) then the Nets would have a lot of players they could move and likely would shop Deron Williams around.

But until the Magic make a move, the Nets and a lot of GMs will keep their powder dry. And the Magic aren’t making any move before the All-Star weekend.

So, we wait. There may be a small deal or two, but don’t expect much.

  1. baseballplayer24 - Feb 13, 2012 at 4:34 PM

    Any word on the rondo deal?

    • Kurt Helin - Feb 13, 2012 at 5:56 PM

      Don’t expect one.

  2. Justin - Feb 13, 2012 at 4:46 PM

    Not to mention the return of some players from China that some teams may be waiting for hoping to fill needs that way.

  3. goforthanddie - Feb 13, 2012 at 7:53 PM

    Dollar says Howard gets traded the day after the All-Star game. Or right after halftime.

  4. glink123 - Feb 13, 2012 at 9:48 PM

    Lolz on the Howard trade after halftime of the all-star game.

  5. thelakeshow562 - Feb 17, 2012 at 12:57 AM

    Dwight in purple and yellow all day

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