Dwight Howard

Why the bottleneck on NBA trades? Calendar and Howard.


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.

Dwight Howard crushes Kristaps Porzingis with dunk (video)

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Sometimes – as Kristaps Porzingis sees against Dwight Howard – it’s more flattering just to play James Harden-level defense.

Marc Gasol heads ball into basket after drawing foul (video)

Marc Gasol
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This was not Marc Gasol‘s first attempt to head in the ball after a whistle, but this time, he converted.

Here was his January try:


James Harden’s defense: Stop and point while opponent flies to rim (video)


As Rockets general manager Daryl Morey once noted, cherry-picking James Harden‘s worst defensive plays to create a video is unfair. Many players would look awful by that measure.

But Harden provides serious ammo for these worst-of videos.

This non-attempt to stop Lance Thomas is just brutal.

At least Houston buckled down to beat the Knicks, 116-111 in overtime. The Rockets have climbed to 26th in points allowed per possession.

Jerry Colangelo says Kobe Bryant could still make 2016 U.S. Olympic team

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So, Kobe Bryant‘s NBA career is officially going to come to an end after the 2015-16 season. That part he announced on Sunday.

What’s still up in the air is Bryant’s participation in one last Olympics. Bryant has been in consideration to make Team USA this summer at the games in Rio de Janeiro, and USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo tells ESPN.com’s Marc Stein that he hasn’t ruled that out yet:

Kobe was asked about this at his post-game press conference Sunday and said it was not a goal, but if it was offered he’d consider it.

“I’d be honored if that was there, it would be fantastic to be around that group and spend kind of the last journey with them,” Bryant said. “That being said, it’s not something that I’m obsessing over.”

‘When Bryant made it known that he wanted to play in Rio, he made it clear to Colangelo and Team USA coach Mike Krzyzewski that he wanted to earn a spot, not be given one as a lifetime achievement award. Watching him so far this season, it’s almost impossible to imagine him making the roster on merit.

But nobody should begrudge him if he wanted to extend the farewell tour just a little bit longer.