The NBA trade deadline has come on and flurry of small moves were made while marquee players stood still. Heading into Thursday, several franchise stars were considered on the chopping block as teams aimed to move expiring contracts with hopes of getting something in return. However, none of that ended up coming to fruition as players like Al Horford, Dwight Howard and Kevin Love remained with their respective teams.
The Atlanta Hawks were a team expected to get heavily involved in the trade deadline. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports had reported that everyone from Horford to Jeff Teague and Dennis Schroder were up for grabs. The Hawks were particularly interested in moving Horford out of fear that he would depart in free agency and leave them with nothing in return. The Boston Celtics were deemed the frontrunners for the center while the Knicks aimed for Teague. However, Wojnarowski reported mid-way through Thursday that the Hawks shutdown trade talk on all of their key players and will instead look to re-sign Horford come the offseason.
Howard is another player that was expected to get moved at the deadline. ESPN Marc Stein had reported the Houston Rockets were willing to deal the center on his expiring contract as the team slipped further in the Western Conference rankings. However, despite calls from the Celtics and Charlotte Hornets, Howard stayed put. The center told the media that he was more focused on improving his game than worrying about trade deals.
"I don't pay attention to none of that stuff," Howard said, via ESPN.com. "I came out here to Arizona and spent some time here in the mountains, and I got away. I just trained, and I got ready for the second half of the season. No matter what's being said, the only thing I can control is what I do on the floor. That's been my only focus."
One big trade that did end up taking place at the deadline was one for Markieff Morris. After much back and forth between the forward and the Phoenix Suns, Morris was traded to the Washington Wizards on Thursday according to ESPN.com. Morris had publically requested a trade prior to the 2015-16 season starting after his brother was traded. Morris then struggled on the court while having issues in the locker room. Now he is headed to Washington in exchange for Kris Humphries and DeJuan Blair along with a protected first-round draft pick.
Marquee trades rarely happen at the deadline and this year was no different. The offseason could paint a different picture. If the Cavaliers struggle in the playoffs, a deal for Love could be a priority while Howard and Horford will not hesitate to leave their respective teams in order to chase the money in free agency.