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.

Khris Middleton dunks, Jimmy Butler can’t stop him (VIDEO)

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Khris Middleton has more expectations and more pressure on him after a breakout season in Milwaukee, followed by him getting him PAID this summer.

Well, he looked pretty good on this play against the Bulls, making the steal then throwing down despite Jimmy Butler‘s efforts to stop him.

Middleton finished with 10 points on 5-of-7 shooting for the Bucks. However, Butler had the last laugh as he went off for 23 points on 12 shots and led the Bulls to the (meaningless) preseason win.

Somebody looks comfortable: Paul George drops 20 in first quarter

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Paul George‘s first experience starting as a power forward was going up against Anthony Davis — not just one of the best power forwards in the game, one of the handful of best players in the game period. That didn’t go well for George, and he wasn’t happy about it.

His second experience was in another preseason game Tuesday, going up against the Pistons and their four, Ersan İlyasova. He’s not quite as intimidating.

George scored 20 points on 7-of-8 shooting, 4-of-5 on threes — and that was just the first quarter (you can see it all in the video above).

As we have said before, George at the four is not a bad call by the Pacers, but some of that depends on the matchup. On the nights the Pacers face Davis or Blake Griffin or LaMarcus Aldridge or Zach Randolph (or a handful of others) the Pacers’ coaching staff is going to have to adjust. But there are a lot of nights where George at the four is going to force the other team to adjust, and that will play into the Pacers’ hands.