Winderman: CBA rules grind NBA player movement to a halt

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Donte Greene to the Nets, Martell Webster to the Wizards . . .

If it seems like the NBA is in a bit of a personnel limbo, it is because, well, it is.

For as much as the floodgates open with the July start of free agency, and for as much as things can change on a Dwight Howard whim, there also are plenty of regulations in the collective-bargaining agreement that can just as quickly stem the tide of transactions.

To a degree, the NBA’s personnel calendar is a time-release process.

The Howard trade has been the NBA’s only trade during August. Why? The rules, that’s why.

Foremost, teams are not allow to trade a player for the later of three months or Dec. 15 after signing him as a free agent or matching an offer sheet. Under the new collective-bargaining agreement, the trade ban extends to the later of three months or Jan. 15 for players re-signed as free agents with Bird Rights or Early-Bird Rights for teams over the cap (with a few caveats to that process).

So for those wondering why there has been no follow-up move from the 76ers with Kwame Brown, Lavoy Allen or even Spencer Hawes after obtaining Andrew Bynum, the reality is nothing can happen with any of those three until Dec. 15 at the earliest.

Similarly, for those wondering exactly what the Lakers are still doing with Chris Duhon on a roster that already features Steve Nash and Steve Blake, the rule is that a player acquired in a trade cannot be combined with another player in a trade by a team operating above the salary cap for two months. (And it’s safe to say there hardly is a stand-alone market for Chris Duhon and his contract.)

One restriction that largely already has been overcome, though, is the ban on trading draft picks for a month after they sign.

By and large, the NBA personnel market, particularly the trade market, is designed to be on hiatus during periods such as these.

So, instead, we’re left to chronicle the movement of Donte Greene and Martell Webster, play out the final days of free agency with the likes of Andray Blatche and Darko Milicic, while waiting, essentially, for the trade restrictions to ease and the pre-Christmas shopping to begin anew.

To be continued . . . in December.

Ira Winderman writes regularly for NBCSports.com and covers the Heat and the NBA for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. You can follow him on Twitter at @IraHeatBeat.

Trail Blazers beat Suns by 48, biggest season-opening rout in NBA history

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Any controversy over C.J. McCollum‘s suspension for the season-opener should be put to rest. The Trail Blazers fared fine without him.

More than fine.

Portland beat the Suns, 124-76, Wednesday. The 48-point margin is the largest ever in a season opener, even as the Trail Blazers let a 58-point fourth-quarter lead dwindle.

Here are the most lopsided season-openers in NBA history (openers for both teams appearing twice):

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The 48-point defeat is also the Suns’ worst lost in franchise history, topping a 44-point loss to the Seattle SuperSonics in 1988. It could be a long year in Phoenix.

Marcus Smart and Matthew Dellavedova scrap (video)

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Marcus Smart and Matthew Dellavedova thrive on aggravating opponents, so when matched up, of course they aggravated each other.

Deduct points from Smart for pulling the hold-me-back charade behind a referee. Plus, Dellavedova’s Bucks beat Smart’s Celtics, 108-100.

Report: ‘Tremendous concern’ for Jeremy Lin’s knee injury

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The Nets’ projected record this season came under greater scrutiny when the Celtics traded Brooklyn’s unprotected first-round pick to the Cavaliers in the Kyrie Irving trade. After finishing third-to-last and last the previous two years, were the Nets poised to take a step forward, or would they convey a very high pick to the Cavs?

Jeremy Lin, who missed 46 games last season, getting healthy was a reason for optimism in Brooklyn and pessimism in Cleveland. But it appears the veteran guard could be out a while.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

Billy Reinhardt of Nets Daily:

If the injury is as bad as feared, what a bummer for Lin. He came to Brooklyn expecting to play a leading role on a developing team, and he just can’t stay healthy.

The Nets were probably more focused on developing their younger players, but – especially without their own draft picks – there was no harm in shooting for the playoffs. This appears to a blow to that (already unlikely) dream.

It’s a boon to the Cavaliers, though. And whenever something significantly affects LeBron James‘ team, it has ramifications into the entire power dynamic of the Eastern Conference. For an injury to a player on a team most expect to be bad, the medical developments here will be tracked closely around the league.

Aaron Gordon throws himself alley-oop off backboard (video)

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Remember when Aaron Gordon was a promising fun player?

The Magic sidetracked him by playing him at small forward most of last season. But back at power forward, Gordon showed how he could push the pace as a four in Orlando’s season-opening win over the Heat.

There’s obviously flair in passing to yourself off the backboard, but it’s a sound way to improve position. Gordon did that to fantastic effect.