NEW YORK — The only trade involving Dwight Howard came last summer. The potent scorers that moved did so long ago.
There was no eye-catching activity left for deadline day, resulting in minor deals Thursday to the disappointment of those hoping for a frenzy.
Josh Smith stayed put and the Boston Celtics’ core stayed together, leaving J.J. Redick, dealt to Milwaukee, as the biggest name to be traded.
There were nine moves, nothing approaching a blockbuster and none to jump-start the Lakers.
Players such as James Harden and Rudy Gay were traded far before the deadline, but with teams perhaps fearful of new penalties for the biggest spenders, Thursday was mostly quiet.
“I don’t think I’ve seen fewer trade deadline deals, ever," said Houston general manager Daryl Morey, who completed two trades Wednesday. “But I think it’s a one-year blip."
The Atlanta Hawks held onto Smith, and Utah kept both Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson on a day when much attention was focused on both situations, since those players have value and could leave their teams this summer as free agents.
The long-shot deals never materialized. Howard remained in Los Angeles, just what Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak repeatedly said would happen.
Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce will continue wearing Celtic green, as will Rajon Rondo when he’s healthy enough to put on a uniform again.
The Celtics did make one deal, acquiring guard Jordan Crawford from the Washington Wizards for center Jason Collins and injured guard Leandro Barbosa.
Finances certainly played into it. The collective bargaining agreement that went into effect in 2011 came with much more punitive penalties for teams that repeatedly exceed the luxury tax and limits the options of those over the salary cap, and decisions Thursday were made with that in mind.