Magic acquire Alston; Knicks make two trades; Kings stay busy
The Knicks are getting Larry Hughes from Bulls and Chris Wilcox from Thunder
The Magic obtained Rafer Alston in a three-team trade with Houston and OKC
The busy Kings pulled off a four-player trade with the Timberwolves
The NBA trading deadline passed at 3 p.m. ET Thursday. Rafer Alston, Kyle Lowry, Larry Hughes, Tim Thomas and Rashad McCants were the biggest names involved in trades. Refresh this page for late-breaking news from SI.com's Ian Thomsen and Chris Mannix.
Thursday, 4:05 p.m.: Kings, Moore to part ways
The Kings are prepared to buy out the contract of forward-center Mikki Moore, who could be an option for the Celtics to add to their frontcourt.
Thursday, 3:55 p.m.: Bulls send Sefolosha to Thunder
Chicago is dealing Thabo Sefolosha to Oklahoma City for a 2009 first-round pick, a league source said. The Thunder own the first-round picks of the Suns and Nuggets, and will send the least valuable pick to Chicago in exchange for Sefolosha.
Thursday, 3:40 p.m.: No deals for Cavs, Bucks
Cleveland and Milwaukee, two of the more active teams in trade talks over the last week, let the deadline pass without making any deals.
Thursday, 3:35 p.m.: Celtics deal backup center
In a minor three-team deal, Toronto is sending Will Solomon to Sacramento, the Celtics are moving Patrick O'Bryant to Toronto and Boston is receiving a conditional second-round pick from the Kings, according to a league source. The Celtics may never use the pick because it is so heavily protected, but they will save money by dumping O'Bryant's salary.
Thursday, 3:10 p.m.: Magic to acquire Alston
The Rockets have agreed to trade Rafer Alston to Orlando as part of a three-team deal, a league source confirmed. Houston is getting Kyle Lowry from Memphis and Brian Cook from Orlando, which is sending a first-round pick to the Grizzlies.
Thursday, 2:15 p.m.: Knicks complete two deals
From SI.com's Chris Mannix: The Knicks have made two trades, a league source confirmed. New York is acquiring Larry Hughes from the Bulls for Tim Thomas, Jerome James and Anthony Roberson. In the other deal, the Knicks are receiving Chris Wilcox from the Thunder for Malik Rose and cash. Wilcox was part of the Tyson Chandler deal that was rescinded Wednesday.
Thursday, 1:15 p.m.: Quiet deadline for Celtics
From SI.com's Chris Mannix: Not surprisingly, there will be no significant deadline-day trade for the Celtics, according to a source close to the team. Boston is holding out hope that Joe Smith will stay with the Thunder through the deadline and then negotiate a buyout, after which the Celtics could use their open roster spot -- created by the recent trade of Sam Cassell to Sacramento -- to sign him. If Smith does not get dealt (his trade to New Orleans was rescinded Wednesday), the Thunder are now believed to be willing to buy him out of his contract. Cassell, who was waived by the Kings on Wednesday, will not return to Boston as a player but may be brought back in an assistant coach/player development role.
Thursday, 12:30 p.m.: Shaq to the Cavs?
From SI.com's Chris Mannix: The Cleveland Plain Dealer is reporting that the Cavs are in serious trade discussions with Phoenix for Shaquille O'Neal. The Cavs are believed to be offering Ben Wallace and Sasha Pavlovic for O'Neal. "It makes a lot of sense," said one NBA executive who does not have direct knowledge of the talks. The sticking point is said to be Wallace, who has one year and close to $15 million remaining on his contract. Phoenix is believed to be more interested in Wally Szczerbiak, whose contract expires after this season.
Thursday, 12:02 p.m.: Lee deal would have to include Curry
From SI.com's Chris Mannix: There's "no chance" the Knicks would move David Lee without including Eddy Curry in the trade, according to an executive of a team that inquired about Lee. "Without Curry," the executive said, "any conversation about Lee is a non-starter."
Thursday, 11:50 a.m.: Jamison staying put
From SI.com's Chris Mannix: It appears Antawn Jamison, who has been targeted by Cleveland and other teams, will remain with the Wizards. An NBA source said the Wizards are insisting that Etan Thomas be a part of any deal involving their two-time All-Star power forward. With Jamison (three years, $40 million left on his deal) already wearing a hefty price tag, teams have shown no interest in taking on Thomas, who is due $7.3 million next season.
Thursday, 11:35 a.m.: Kings, Wolves make four-player trade
Thursday, 11 a.m.: Pacers interested in Chandler
The big surprise of the morning was interest from the Indiana Pacers in making a run at Tyson Chandler, who was back in New Orleans after his trade to Oklahoma City had been rescinded. The Pacers could offer a combination of expiring contracts attached to center Rasho Nesterovic ($8.4 million), forward Marquis Daniels ($6.8 million) and point guard Jarrett Jack ($2 million), in addition to center Jeff Foster.
A potential trade for Chandler would come with a lot of luggage: Would he be able to pass his physical with Indiana, and would the Pacers -- who like a lot of teams are losing money -- be willing to take on salary and bump against the luxury tax ceiling next season? But Chandler would definitely improve the team in the company of a healthy Mike Dunleavy and All-Star Danny Granger next season.
Otherwise, the market was looking increasingly scarce just hours before the 3 p.m. ET deadline. Both the Cavaliers and Trail Blazers were running into dead ends in their search to acquire a big-time player in exchange for an expiring contract. Richard Jefferson had been pulled off the market by the Milwaukee Bucks, leaving Portland to mull over potential moves for Vince Carter or Gerald Wallace.
League sources were emphatic that the Cavaliers would be unable to pry Antawn Jamison from the Washington Wizards. This led to speculation that Cleveland may consider moving Wally Szczerbiak's expiring deal to Oklahoma City for the expiring contracts of big men Chris Wilcox and Joe Smith, which would have the dual effect of blunting efforts of the Boston Celtics to acquire Smith in a potential buyout after the trading deadline.
The Denver Nuggets had been trying to package their most attractive asset -- a first-round pick obtained from the Charlotte Bobcats last June -- - to acquire Foster, the Knicks' David Lee or the Bulls' Joakim Noah. But nothing was doing on any of those fronts.
Wednesday, 11 p.m.: Deadline buzz
Will the NBA trading deadline of 3 p.m. ET Thursday elevate an ambitious team or two into title contention? Or will these negotiations merely shuffle a number of expensive contracts from the have-not franchises to the haves?
The latter trend was exemplified by the six-player move Wednesday of the big-market Chicago Bulls as they took swingman John Salmons and former All-Star center Brad Miller off the hands of the suffering Sacramento Kings, who will save close to $10 million next season on the expiring contract of Drew Gooden in addition to forward Andres Nocioni.
In another attempted salary dump this week, the Oklahoma Thunder tried to acquire center Tyson Chandler from the New Orleans Hornets in exchange for the expiring salaries of Joe Smith and Chris Wilcox. But SI.com confirmed Wednesday that the trade collapsed because Chandler failed his physical based on a toe injury -- forcing him back to the Hornets, who cannot afford his salary next season because of associated luxury tax penalties. It also put the Thunder back in play to potentially move Smith and Wilcox at the deadline.
The important issue of the day was whether any of the contenders would steal a valuable player as the trading window was closing shut. The teams that were driving the high end of the market were the Cleveland Cavaliers and Portland Trail Blazers.
The Cavaliers spent the the final hours in search of a skilled big man to enhance their size advantage over the champion Boston Celtics, who entered Wednesday with a two-game lead over Cleveland in the crucial race for the East's No. 1 seed. As proud as Cleveland has been of its balanced rotation and experienced depth around LeBron James, the Cavs couldn't afford to ignore the value of their hole card -- the expiring $13.8 million salary of eighth man Wally Szczerbiak.
In recent days the Cavs have investigated possible trades for Miller as well as Antawn Jamison (which was rebuffed by the Washington Wizards), Marcus Camby (who thus far had been made unavailable by the Los Angeles Clippers) and Richard Jefferson (who can be acquired from the Milwaukee Bucks as they're pressed by the luxury tax) in hopes of seizing a frontcourt advantage over the Celtics, who have no expiring contracts or an expendable salary valuable enough to be dealt. Could they find their midseason version of Rasheed Wallace (who helped the Pistons win the 2003-04 championship) or Pau Gasol (who shot the Lakers to the NBA Finals last season)?
As much as they were concerned about disrupting team chemistry, the larger issue driving the Cavaliers had to be the continuing speculation that James will depart in 2010. They must do everything possible to win a championship -- not only to exploit his presence while they have him, but also to convince him that his best hope of winning multiple titles is to re-sign with Cleveland.
The Blazers were dangling an expiring contract of their own -- the $12.7 million salary of Raef LaFrentz -- in pursuit of a number of rumored talents including Jefferson, Charlotte Bobcats forward Gerald Wallace and Philadelphia 76ers point guard Andre Miller. LaFrentz's expiring money will supply the Blazers with less than $10 million in cap space this summer, which is why they were seeking deals for him now at peak value. The question for Portland was whether the Blazers should acquire a blue-collar veteran to complement their emerging trio of Brandon Roy, LaMarcus Aldridge and Greg Oden, or an established star to lead the young roster.
The other title contenders appeared to be less ambitious. Neither the Celtics nor the Lakers were expected to make an important move at the deadline. The San Antonio Spurs had investigated a number of ambitious deals before appearing to pull back in recent days, though they continued to seek a role player to extend their rotation for the playoffs.
Denver was proffering a package that included young forward Linas Kleiza and the first-round pick of the Charlotte Bobcats; the Nuggets were looking for another contributor in hope of building on the momentum of their November trade for Chauncey Billups. The Houston Rockets, Dallas Mavericks and Detroit Pistons were other playoff teams with the ambition and wherewithal to make improvements at the deadline.
One player who appeared to be off the market was Amar'e Stoudemire, though rivals hadn't stopped trying to convince the Phoenix Suns to let him go. Another big name who remained available was the New Jersey Nets' 32-year-old star Vince Carter, though his age and expensive contract ($48 million over three years) threatened to scare off potential traders.