The Atlantic Division has three teams that were said to have been considering making a major move before Thursday’s trade deadline. Whether or not those moves will actually end up happening is something we'll find out within the next three hours – but the speculation was definitely there throughout.
Interestingly enough, though, as of this point, it’s the two teams that nobody talked about from this division that wound up participating in a couple of pre-deadline trades. Go figure.
Update: Add the Nets to the list.
Here is the latest on the Atlantic Division’s finest:
Philadelphia is on a good run this year. With a 25-18 overall mark (fifth in the East), this team could have comfortably stayed pat knowing that they didn’t need to make a move. That being said, the Sixers still actively explored all options.
As first noted by Philly.com, Rod Thorn made no qualms over the last 24 hours about his desire to add a wing to the rotation – should he find one for the right price. Well, apparently he has. Per Bob Cooney, Philly has reportedly agreed to a trade with the Memphis Grizzlies that will land them Sam Young. The Sixers will presumably give up a second rounder to make this deal work.
The Celtics were supposed to be players leading up to the trade deadline. Most figured that Boston would either find a way to upgrade this team and try to make one final run at a championship, or that it would give up on the season and break the squad up entirely. At this point, it looks like neither will happen.
According to ESPN (via WEEI), Danny Ainge reportedly tried to move Paul Pierce to the Blazers; nobody seems to know what Boston was looking to get in return for their marquee superstar, though.
A couple of days ago Yahoo! Sports reported that the Celtics were in the running for Josh Howard’s services, but that wound up going nowhere. Discussions with the New Orleans Hornets for Chris Kaman flopped too, apparently (per WEEI).
Barring a last second Rajon Rondo trade motivated entirely by Ainge's hatred of him, this team looks like the one that will ultimately play out the year together.
Outside of ex-head coach Mike D’Antoni wanting to trade Carmelo Anthony, per CBS Sports, the Knicks have mostly steered clear of trade talk. There was talk about Toney Douglas possibly getting shipped at some point (per ESPN), but D’Antoni’s departure has thrown things in New York into a state of flux. This team will likely remain intact and try its best to not completely self-destruct before the end of the year.
Whereas the Orlando Magic have gotten most of the attention in between Dwight Howard’s barely coherent rationales for leaving, then staying, then leaving, then staying – it’s New Jersey who gets impacted most by the decision. All signs, at the moment, seem to point to Howard staying with the Magic. That means New Jersey must now adjust accordingly.
According to Chris Broussard (on SportsCenter), the Nets have contingency moves in place should Howard stay in Orlando. Moves that don’t involve trading Deron Williams, he said. What that means is anyone’s guess at this point. The only rumor this squad has been involved with, recently, is some sort of deal for C.J. Miles, per HoopsWorld. You have to figure that Broussard was talking about something bigger than that, though. We’ll continue to monitor the situation.
Update: According to Yahoo! Sports, "Nets are close to sending Mehmet Okur, Shawne Williams and a protected 1st round pick to Portland for Gerald Wallace. The proposed 2012 draft pick the Nets would send to Blazers in Wallace deal would be protected only through the top 3 spots."
Toronto has reportedly traded Leandro Barbosa to the Indiana Pacers, per Yahoo! Sports. The Raptors will reportedly get a second round draft pick in the move. Outside of that, it would seem as though this squad won’t make any other major trades before the deadline (there hasn’t been any other speculation).