Nets, Knicks pass on NBA trade deadline

Nets GM Billy King put the chances at "10 percent" for his team to make a trade. Credit: Getty Images
Nets GM Billy King put the chances at “10 percent” for his team to make a trade.
Credit: Getty Images

Nets general manager Billy King handicapped the odds of a trade before the deadline as 10 percent on Tuesday.

As the 3 p.m. deadline passed on Thursday, it turned out that King’s prognostication was accurate as the frenzy passed without any move.

Knicks head coach Mike Woodson, who doubted his team’s interest in making a trade all week, proved correct as well. The Knicks let the deadline pass with only a minor deal. Reserve guard Ronnie Brewer was traded to the Thunder for a second-round draft pick. Brewer had played just 25 minutes total in the past 14 games.

Rumors of a deal involving guard Iman Shumpert abounded all week, but they didn’t come to pass in the end.

The Net roster remained the same and it seemed to reiterate the confidence King has in the team that spent $330 million on an overhaul this summer

“To be honest with you, Billy King has said from the beginning that if there is something out there that will make us a better team going forward, he’s gonna do it,” Nets interim head coach P.J. Carlesimo said on ESPN radio earlier Thursday afternoon. “But, the thing that all GMs say is that they are not gonna do a deal for the sake of doing one. So, you know, it’s really what’s gonna happen in the last couple hours.

“If someone changes off of what they’re offering or what they’re looking for, Billy’s not afraid of doing something. We have some pretty good pieces if we want to make a deal, but unless it’s something he feels is gonna help us long term, then he’s not gonna do it.”

King’s last two trading deadlines have seem him acquire Deron Williams and Gerald Wallace from Utah and Portland respectively. Along the way he acquired Joe Johnson, tried to trade for Dwight Howard but re-signed Brook Lopez when he was unable to swing a deal with Orlando.

The Nets had been linked to Josh Smith, a restricted free agent not expected to re-sign with the Hawks. They also had been linked to Paul Millsap of Utah and Ben Gordon of Charlotte, but nothing seemed to develop to the point where King was willing to pull the trigger.

Had King been able to swing a deal for Smith, the move would have upgraded the power forward position. The current rotation is Reggie Evans, whose offensive shortcomings don’t necessarily overshadow his rebounding ability, and Kris Humphries, who began the year in the starting lineup and is having a disappointing season.

“I like to make trades when I think there’s a trade to make that can help the team,” King said Tuesday. “And I think we’re at a point now where this group’s gotta play together more than shaking it up and bringing in a bunch of pieces.”

Humphries was among the Nets being mentioned in trade rumors, but being in the first year of a two-year, $24 million deal may have shied some trade partners away, since expiring contracts are considered the most attractive asset in many NBA deals.

Humphries was re-signed after averaging career highs of 13.8 points and 11 rebounds during the lockout-shortened season while on a one-year, $8 million contract.

The other potential assets for King in any deal would have been second-year guard Marshon Brooks and a first-round draft pick. Brooks has struggled to crack the rotation though he has shown flashes. With the Nets being 33-22, the pick is likely to be past the 20th selection in the first round and King surrendered three first-round picks in the deals for Wallace and Williams.

The Nets currently are $13.5 million over the salary cap negotiated in the last CBA and even if Smith does not return to Atlanta, it seems unlikely he will come to Brooklyn even in a sign-and-trade since the team has $85 million in salary commitments for next season.

Ironically, Smith seemed close to joining the Bucks, whom the Nets just swept a home-and-home from. Reports, however, indicated that the Hawks backed out of a deal at the last minute that would have sent Ekpe Udoh, Luc Mbah a Moute, Beno Udrih and a protected first-round pick from Milwaukee.

Smith is part of a free agent class that includes Dwight Howard, Chris Paul, Brandon Jennings, Millsap, Manu Ginobili and Andre Iguodala.

Follow Nets beat writer Larry Fleisher on Twitter @LarryFleisher.


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