The NBA trade deadline markets itself as a big budget movie. The days prior to it are filled with rumors, fake Twitter accounts and more screenshots of ESPN's NBA Trade Machine than I thought I would ever see. Hopeful fans clench their hands with hope that their respective team will either make a splash to propel their playoff chances (Toronto, Boston, Los Angeles Clippers), or punt on the season and acquire pieces for the future.
Barring some kind of final hour blitz that springs fond memories of last year, this year's deadline is like a big budget movie with a plot that goes NOWHERE. Rumors, tweets and a whole bunch of noise that translates into very little substance.
Case in point with the New Orleans Pelicans. Early on, there were rumors of a Rudy Gay for Ryan Anderson swap. Then Toronto came into the picture with the allure of a potential first round pick. Not far behind was Detroit to swoop in with a first round pick of their own.
There have been Jrue Holiday offers with smart teams trying to buy low on the fragile guard, banking on a desperate Pelicans front office to swap one of their better players for future returns. Thankfully, those offers were dismissed immediately.
For those asking re: Jrue Holiday: Pelicans rebuffing all inquires so far.— Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) February 17, 2016
Even the pipe dream of unloading Omer Asik's albatross of a contract on GM
David Griffin LeBron James in Cleveland as a part of a three-team blockbuster was a trending story last night. As of this writing, the Cavaliers have all but confirmed that Kevin Love, Iman Shumpert and Anderson Varejao will not be going anywhere.
Once again, a ton of smoke with no fire.
So what does this all mean?
After speculating for months about stealthy moves the Pelicans can make, how should the fan base react when Dell Demps (who may or may not even have final say on trades at this point) inevitably elects to stand pat?
I have a thought: everyone should be proud.
Sometimes in sports, the best trades are the ones that you choose not to make. Trading Anderson sounded great in a vacuum. This is the apex point of his value, he is entering the free agency bonanza this summer and there was a time when netting a first round pick in the late teens or early twenties was a likely outcome given the apparent interest.
Since no trigger has yet been pulled, Demps must not be receiving those kinds of offers. It may be a bunch of: "Well, the best we can give you is Varejao and a second rounder."
If this is the case, then bravo, Dell. There should not be pressure to trade a player just for the sake of making a trade. The grass is not always greener on the other side, and for what it's worth, Anderson has been really good this year. It may not be the worst thing in the world to enter the summer stages with his bird rights in hand and let the market play itself out.
As for the rest of the season, New Orleans is at a crossroads. If the roster is held in tact, there is still in-house incentive to play the season out and win games to accumulate moral victories to build on for 2016-17 and beyond. On the other hand...
It wouldn't be the worst thing in the world for Anthony Davis to "injure his hamstring" for a few months or for Holiday to "fall ill" during that same time frame. Let the ship go down and flames and build it back up with a high draft pick and maybe, MAYBE a new coach if a certain front office is feeling frisky enough.
The worst case scenario is for everyone to rally around each other and finish the remaining 29 games with a 19-10 record. False hope would be served once again at season's end with a hint of undeserved optimism as dessert.
Ultimately, change is going to be needed in New Orleans. Whether it involves tinkering with the core, the coach, the front office or all of the above, change is in order.
If it does not happen today then that is fine. We will need something to ruffle our NBA fandom feathers during the summer anyway.