Shaquille O’Neal and all the other big names stayed put on trade deadline day, with owners perhaps scared of making moves that added salary in an uncertain economic climate.
The Cleveland Cavaliers were among the suitors that reportedly reached out to Phoenix to inquire about O’Neal, but they couldn’t close a deal for him or any other big man they sought to battle defending NBA champion Boston.
Amare Stoudemire and Vince Carter headlined the stars who had space on the rumor mill in recent weeks but went nowhere, with teams having to balance a player’s impact on the court with his effect on the wallet.
“If anybody hasn’t figured out that the economy is hitting every company in the country and in the world, they’re not very bright,” Dallas owner Mark Cuban said Wednesday. “Of course it’s hitting everybody and everybody has to be considerate of it.”
The Suns were believed to be one of the teams considering financial-based moves during a disappointing season. But after Phoenix fired Terry Porter on Monday and scored 140 points in consecutive wins under new coach Alvin Gentry, owner Robert Sarver gave the go-ahead to keep the team together.
The only top contender to make an upgrade was Orlando, which landed Rafer Alston from Houston in a three-team deal that also included Memphis. The Magic needed a point guard to replace All-Star Jameer Nelson, who they announced had season-ending shoulder injury Thursday.
• The Chicago Bulls traded unhappy guard Larry Hughes to the New York Knicks for Tim Thomas, Jerome James and Anthony Roberson. Chicago also traded guard Thabo Sefolosha to the Oklahoma City Thunder for a 2009 first-round draft pick.
• The Knicks also acquired Chris Wilcox from Oklahoma City for Malik Rose and cash considerations in a swap of forwards with expiring contracts.
• The Minnesota Timberwolves shipped Rashad McCants and center Calvin Booth to Sacramento for forward Shelden Williams and point guard Bobby Brown.
• The Boston Celtics traded center Patrick O’Bryant to Toronto as part of a three-team trade also involving Sacramento. The Celtics acquired a future conditional second-round draft pick from the Kings, who received guard Will Solomon from Toronto and cash considerations from Boston.
The Kings also waived Mikki Moore after continuing their salary-cap purge.