NEW YORK (AP) — The Indiana Pacers decided Evan Turner gave them a better shot against Miami than Danny Granger.
Many other teams decided there wasn’t much worth doing.
Big names and big deals were mostly absent Thursday from the NBA’s trade deadline, with the Pacers’ late-day swap with Philadelphia the one that could have the biggest impact on the playoff race.
Indiana sent Granger and a second-round draft pick to Philadelphia in exchange for Turner and Lavoy Allen.
It gives the Pacers a potential upgrade in Turner, the former No. 2 overall pick whose average of 17.4 points is about twice that of Granger, who is still working his back from a series of injuries.
“We felt we needed to make this trade to strengthen the core unit and our bench,” Pacers President of Basketball Operations Larry Bird said in a statement released Thursday night after the trade became official. “In Evan and Lavoy, we think we got two really good players that can help us and we look forward to what they can bring.”
Kevin Love, Pau Gasol and Rajon Rondo spent weeks in trade rumors, but the only mention of Love on Thursday was when he denied that he had already told Minnesota Timberwolves president Flip Saunders that he wouldn’t stay once he became a free agent after next season.
“At the end of the day I just want to play basketball,” Love said. “I don’t want to think about, you know, whether or not I’m going to be here or somewhere else in 2015-2016, whenever it is.”
Gasol stayed with the Lakers and Rondo with the Celtics, two of the many teams around the NBA focused much more on the future.
With the potential for a loaded draft in June, a 2015 free agent class that could include Love and Rondo, and stricter penalties in the collective bargaining agreement, many teams weren’t eager to add salary, especially with so few of them having a realistic chance to win the NBA championship.
The Pacers do, so they traded away their former leading scorer to add Turner after recently signing Andrew Bynum. They entered Thursday two games up on Miami but haven’t been sharp lately and hope Turner can provide a spark.
Andre Miller finally got out of Denver and landed as John Wall’s backup in Washington, while Gary Neal can help Charlotte chase a playoff spot after getting traded from Milwaukee.
The 76ers also dealt Spencer Hawes to Cleveland, which needs a big man while Anderson Varejao remains out with a bad back. Atlanta has even bigger woes in the frontcourt and will try to address them by convincing Antawn Jamison to accept a trade from the Clippers.
The Clippers freed up room to sign a player, as did the Heat when they dealt Roger Mason to Sacramento. The Brooklyn Nets did the same when they traded Reggie Evans and Jason Terry to the Kings on Wednesday for Marcus Thornton, and Jason Collins is one of the players being considered for it.
Collins worked out for the Nets in California during the All-Star break, and would become the first openly gay active NBA player if signed.