Jeff Green could give the Clippers a better shot in the West and Markieff Morris might strengthen a Wizards playoff push in the East.
Still, the possibilities were more interesting than the realities of the NBA’s trade deadline.
There were no deals involving Dwight Howard, Kevin Love, Pau Gasol, Al Horford, or any other All-Star caliber player whose named was floated in recent days.
Major moves will wait for the summer, when a soaring salary cap and a strong free agent class could provide the fireworks that never materialized Thursday.
Washington and most of the other teams battling for a spot at the bottom of the Eastern Conference race may have improved, though the Knicks couldn’t come up with anything.
“There’s probably, maybe two teams in the league that feel like they don’t have to make any improvement or adjustment. But everybody else feels like there’s areas that we can improve our ballclub, so those are things that we discussed,” interim coach Kurt Rambis said shortly before the 3 p.m. EST deadline. “The reality is all of these rumors and all this talk that’s gone on, what 99 percent of it never is going to happen?”
All deals had to be approved by the NBA league office, which was still completing the process a few hours after the deadline.
Houston, Cleveland, Chicago and Atlanta all made trades, though mostly minor ones. Teams interested in their top players not only had to weigh giving up assets versus signing them in the summer, but also whether they wanted to acquire a player who could be a free agent and command a huge salary when the cap increases to around $90 million in July.
Veteran players can earn 25 percent or more of the cap as their first-year salary.
Green went from Memphis to the Clippers, giving them another versatile forward while Blake Griffin is sidelined. Morris, unhappy this season in Phoenix, joins a disappointing Washington team that is 10th in the East.
Speaking to reporters while riding a hoverboard on his way out of the Suns’ arena Thursday, Morris expressed his thanks to that team and said: “I’m just ready to move on.”
A look at some of the key deals:
uCLIPPERS GO GREEN: Doc Rivers brings in another of his former Celtics and ships out Lance Stephenson, who disappointed in Los Angeles just as he did in Charlotte. The Grizzlies also acquired a future first-round pick. But most importantly, Rivers acquired a Green of his own to play small-ball against Golden State and versatile forwards Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala.
uMORRIS MOVES ON: The Wizards gave up a first-round draft pick and forwards Kris Humphries and DeJuan Blair for Morris. Despite his outbursts in Phoenix this season after the Suns traded his twin brother, Marcus, to Detroit, Morris was the Suns’ third-best scorer and should benefit from playing with the backcourt of John Wall and Bradley Beal.
uFRYE’S THEIR GUY: The Cavaliers dealt seldom-used Anderson Varejao to Portland and brought in Channing Frye from Orlando, giving them another perimeter-shooting big forward like Love to help spread the floor for LeBron James and Kyrie Irving.
uHAWKS ON POINT: Instead of trading point guard Jeff Teague, who was involved in a number of potential trade talks, the Hawks brought in a new potential backup in a three-time trade. They sent Shelvin Mack to Utah and Justin Holliday to Chicago, which also got a second-round pick from the Jazz.
uD-MO IN MOTOWN: Detroit made its second deal of the week, acquiring forward/center Donatas Motiejunas and guard Marcus Thornton from Houston for center Joel Anthony and a protected 2016 first-round draft pick. Motiejunas, a Lithuanian nicknamed D-Mo, joins Tobias Harris, acquired earlier from Orlando, in bolstering the Pistons’ frontcourt.
uTHUNDER STRIKE: With D.J. Augustin’s playing time as backup point guard reduced following the emergence of rookie Cameron Payne, Oklahoma City sent him and Steve Novak to the Nuggets for Foye, a veteran who can play both guard positions.