Baseball Magazine

Why Are NBA GM's Playing This Trade Deadline Conservatively?

By Beardandstache @BeardAndStache

Why are NBA GM's Playing This Trade Deadline Conservatively?

Photo: Reuters - Joe Skipper

- Troy Ballard

For some NBA fans, the trade deadline is the most exciting time of the season, as any given team can acquire or trade away pieces to push themselves into contention or towards the future.
As usual, rumors of trades have been swirling around for weeks leading up to the deadline, which in this condensed season is March 15. To add to the suspense, there is a laundry list of big name players that have the possibility of being shipped off. We're talking about franchise defining players.
And yet -- no trades have been completed.
Why are NBA GM's not making moves this season?
Off the top of my head I can list five players that need to be traded before the deadline:
Dwight Howard - The Magic are crazy if the front office thinks he will re-sign with the team this off-season. He's the highest valued player in the NBA, and the team is spoiling an amazing chance to get back serious talent.
Steve Nash - Phoenix needs to go into full rebuilding mode, and Nash is the highest valued player on the team. He has practically begged the team, (without asking, he's too polite for that), to trade him for the past three seasons, but the front office remains in denial.
Pau Gasol - Los Angeles' needs -- 1. Point Guard - 2. Bench Players - 3. A Serviceable Back-Up to Kobe Bryant - 4. Draft Picks - 5. Cap Space. This process starts with trading away the consistently underwhelming Gasol.
Rajon Rondo - The Celtics have been flirting with blowing up the roster for several seasons, and it's reached the point where the team has no other choice. Rondo may be racking up triple-doubles like a machine, but he doesn't fit with the team and his value is through the roof.
Josh Smith - Atlanta is stuck in nasty place with hefty contracts, and Smith has been on the 'imaginary trade block' for the past three seasons. Even though he is an excellent talent, the Hawks need to move forward with knocking off some cap and improving the team.
What's the hold-up?
NBA GM's seem to be stuck in a rut of denial. With the lack of big name players being dealt away, there really is no other explanation than fear. The NBA front office is a game of high-risk high-reward, and not a single GM is willing to roll the dice.
It's like the group of them are locked into a mind-set of -- If it's broken, don't fix it. 
There are teams in the NBA that so desperately need to make moves, obvious ones at that, either by looking forward to the future or making moves to stay in contention. But NBA GM's are afraid to trade away that superstar in fear that the one the team is getting back wont' be as good, as talented, or as effective.
Of course, there are emotional attachments to some players too. That makes trading them away difficult,  (listen up Phoenix), but the NBA is a business, and emotion can't interfere with moving the organization forward. That means severing ties with players that have had long standing relationships with the team, and it's tough. But that's the reality of winning in the NBA.
Without a doubt, there will be some moves before the trade deadline. Will it be the big blockbuster trades that fans are looking for? My guess is no. Aside from a few small moves involving bench players, I'd bet that team's rosters moving into the second half of the season are going to look about the same as ever.
NBA GM's -- take a risk and make things interesting. Let's see what happens.
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