The NBA trade deadline was the ultimate tease, a promise of grandeur that produced a grand bore. Three deals were completed involving just four players -- but none of them involved Jason Kidd wearing purple and gold in Los Angeles, Vince Carter taking his high-wire act to Orlando, Pau Gasol lining up next to Ben Wallace in Chicago or Mike Bibby going to Cleveland to provide outside shooting for LeBron James.
Although New Jersey President of Basketball Operations Rod Thorn was considering remaking the Nets, who have been a major disappointment, he wasn't staging a fire sale, which explains his desire to get Andrew Bynum from the Lakers in any deal for Kidd and his willingness to hold on to Carter, although the all-star guard has made it clear that he would like to become a free agent this summer. "If you can make a deal you feel is a good one, you do it. If you can't, then you don't. You don't do deals just to do deals," Thorn said in a telephone interview on Friday. "You're talking about great players. You can't give them away."
There is considerable risk in making midseason trades because most teams in contention don't want to disrupt chemistry. Bulls General Manager John Paxson didn't believe Gasol was the missing piece and was unwilling to surrender Luol Deng, one of his core young players, to make a deal happen with Memphis.
In 2004, the Pistons were certain to make the playoffs, but President of Basketball Operations Joe Dumars believed that Rasheed Wallace could put them over the hump. Dumars made the deal -- without surrendering any of his core players -- and the Pistons went on to win the championship four months later. But for every Wallace deal, there is a Chris Webber deal that can potentially send the franchise spiraling.
Philadelphia 76ers General Manager Billy King's acquisition of Webber initially was praised two years ago, but today neither Webber nor Allen Iverson resides in Philadelphia and the 76ers are one of the worst teams in the league.
Wizards President of Basketball Operations Ernie Grunfeld hasn't made a deal at the trade deadline since joining the team, but he made one of biggest deals this decade in his last season in Milwaukee, when he traded Ray Allen to Seattle for Gary Payton in 2003.
Two years ago, 11 deals involving 35 players were made in the final 24 hours. "These things go in cycles," Grunfeld said. "I remember one year  in New York, there was one deal. We traded Brian Quinnett for James Donaldson because we needed a backup center. That was it."
But just because nothing happened last Thursday, it doesn't mean that these players won't eventually be moved. "More teams are more inclined to make trades and changes in the offseason," Grunfeld said.
Until then, the Nets, currently seeded ninth in the Eastern Conference, have enough talent to sneak into the playoffs with Kidd, Carter and Richard Jefferson, who is expected to return from his ankle injury in a few weeks. "We have a chance," Thorn said. "Obviously, with Dwyane Wade getting hurt, it brings another spot into play. Whether we can do it or not, we'll see."