There was an Allen Iverson blockbuster in December, followed by an eight-player megadeal between Golden State and Indiana in January, after which we were treated to the unexpected free-agent availability of Chris Webber, Eddie Jones and now a 41-year-old comeback kid named Scottie Pippen.
Talkin' the trade talk
Sure you do.
The following, then, is the latest trade chatter dribbling in to Stein Line HQ as of 2 a.m. on Wednesday, just over 36 hours away from NBA's Thursday 3 p.m. trade deadline:
Unless one side budges from their respective hard lines in the next day-plus, New Jersey won't be trading Jason Kidd to the Lakers.
The Nets, as you've surely heard by now, are holding out for 7-footer Andrew Bynum, who happens to have Jersey ties in addition to his prodigious potential.
The Lakers refuse to include Bynum -- as well as obvious untouchables Kobe Bryant and Lamar Odom -- and thus can't offer the Nets much more than cap relief, future draft considerations and role players like Kwame Brown, Luke Walton or Jordan Farmar.
Who blinks? My sense is neither side will, at least not between now and the trade buzzer.
The Lakers aren't parting with Bynum, and the Nets, according to one insider, are well short of certain that parting with Kidd and/or free agent-to-be Vince Carter this week is the best course for their future.
They're still in the East, after all. Who says New Jersey can't try to sign and trade Carter in the summer or move Jefferson as part of a smaller shakeup that surrounds Kidd and injured center Nenad Krstic with a new supporting cast that keeps the Nets in the East elite?
Sources close to the situation say Kidd never asked Nets owner Bruce Ratner to trade him. But Kidd got excited, I'm told, when informed that the teams were talking and that a move to the Lakers was a possibility.
Kidd did not respond with the same excitement, sources say, when word leaked of possible interest from his hometown Golden State Warriors. He apparently isn't itching to leave Jersey unless it's clearly a more attractive situation.
It's likewise believed that the Nets will take Kidd's wishes into account to some degree after he chose to re-sign with them in the summer of 2003 despite strong interest from San Antonio.
One of the more interesting scenarios I heard Tuesday came from my ESPN colleague Ric Bucher, who reported on NBA Coast to Coast and SportsCenter that the Lakers recently had a deal in place to acquire Mike Bibby from Sacramento before Kings owners Joe and Gavin Maloof vetoed it, unable to stomach the thought of helping their playoff rivals of yesteryear.
Had that deal gone down, there would be no Kidd-to-the-Lakers talk.
Bibby going to Cleveland, however, remains a possibility. The Cavs lack the trade assets to complete a trade for Bibby, but one scenario in circulation Tuesday had Minnesota joining in on a three-team deal that would potentially send Mike James, among others, to Sacramento as Bibby's successor at the point.
The Wolves, according to NBA front-office sources, have committed to trying to move James before the deadline after he lasted just a half-season as the No. 1 point guard in Minnesota before ceding his starting spot to rookie Randy Foye.
Of course we haven't forgotten Pau Gasol.
But there's a reason we haven't mentioned him until now: Gasol-to-Chicago, by all accounts, is less likely to happen at this point than anything involving Kidd, Bibby or Carter.
The Bulls, according to NBA front-office sources, are the only bidder at the moment, but the Grizz have abandoned hope of convincing Chicago to part with Luol Deng. Ben Gordon, sources say, is the only member of Chicago's core four youngsters -- along with Deng, Kirk Hinrich and Andres Nocioni -- who has been made available.
Chicago simply isn't convinced that Gasol, who has never won a playoff game, is an over-the-top acquisition, even in an Eastern Conference seemingly there to be won and in spite of its obvious need for a low-post scoring threat. The Bulls also believe that this won't be their only shot at Gasol, assuming the Spaniard is shopped again around the draft.
It seems clear, furthermore, that teams like Memphis, Chicago and Boston -- pretty much anyone with any sort of shot at a top-two pick in June -- has incentive to wait until the draft lottery in May before making major moves. Landing one of those first two picks, provided Greg Oden and Kevin Durant are both declaring for the draft, can change a club's long-term outlook in a hurry.
The Clippers never looked more like a (miserable) team waiting for a trade than they did in their humbling home defeat to Phoenix on Tuesday night.
Yet the signals I'm getting from Clipperland continue to suggest that Corey Maggette -- still a Donald Sterling favorite, remember -- isn't going anywhere.
I should note, however, that the most recent of those signals came before Tuesday's debacle of a loss to the Suns. The word at that hour was that Sterling has made it clear he expects coach Mike Dunleavy to reach a truce with Maggette and start getting this group playing the way it did in the franchise breakthrough of last season that suddenly seems forever ago.
It's too soon to say whether L.A.'s surrender in the Suns' 115-90 cruise in the first game after the All-Star break might alter that position, but I do know that the organization considers making the playoffs imperative after Sterling spent money on players (and his coach) like he's never spent before.
Marc Stein is the senior NBA writer for ESPN.com. To e-mail him, click here.
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AP Photo/Gus Ruelas
In his return to the lineup, a 115-90 win over the Clippers, Steve Nash served up a dozen assists, including this second-quarter dish.
Chad Ford and John Hollinger got down to specifics in discussing what could -- and should -- happen during the last 72 hours before the trade deadline.
Yes, Steve Francis is still in the league -- and with his 5-for-5 performance from the foul line for the Knicks on Tuesday night, he lifted his free-throw percentage for this season to 91.5 percent and took over the league lead in that category from Charlotte's Matt Carroll (91.1 percent).
In the team's 60 previous seasons, only one Knicks player has finished the season leading the league in free-throw percentage: Allan Houston had that distinction in 2002-03 (91.9 percent).
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East-leading Pistons hold off Bucks, 84-83
AP Photo/Rick Havner
"We're very good friends, but at the same time he's just like any other point guard in the league," said Chris Paul (20 pts., 7 asts.) about Raymond Felton (21 pts., 11 asts.). The Bobcats beat the Hornets 104-100 on Tuesday.
Quote of the Day
-- Royce Webb
SPEED SHIFT: We all know that Manu Ginobili is crafty. But the main reason he can play craftily is that he plays at so many speeds. Most players can play at two or three speeds, but Ginobili seems to have several more. Consequently, defenders are always off balance and cannot accurately anticipate the timing of his moves.
RIGHT HOOK: Al Jefferson may own the most accurate jump hook in the league right now. Since he is a bit undersized he over-rotates on the shot, which makes it vulnerable, but his patience and timing give him the small window of space he needs to release it cleanly.
NASH CRASH: Steve Nash is not a lock-down defender, obviously, but he makes far too many defensive plays to be labeled as a weak defender. He is gritty, too: The charge he took in the third quarter (up 20 points) from a hard-driving Elton Brand was the third one he had taken up to that point (two from Brand) and came immediately after falling on his right shoulder. That being said, his shoulder is sore again, so a little discretion might be called for, too.
-- David Thorpe of Scouts Inc.
Lakers fans -- and everyone else -- gave the Trade Machine a great workout on Tuesday.
Here are the 25 "most traded" players on Tuesday, from midnight to 5 p.m.
1. Jason Kidd, 18,955 trades
In his latest blog entry, Chris Sheridan talks about the possibility of Jason Kidd moving to the Lakers and discusses a dark horse in the Kidd sweepstakes:
The Cleveland Cavaliers have been trying to get in the mix on Kidd, too, and apparently are willing to discuss everyone on the roster outside of LeBron James.
A package of Larry Hughes and Anderson Varejao would be something the Nets would have to consider, although the consensus in front offices around the league is that Hughes would be worth taking a chance on only if his contract were half as big as it actually is.
Another factor working against the Cavs: They do not have a No. 1 pick in the upcoming draft to trade, having shipped it off for Jiri Welsch two years ago.
The Miami Heat, also looking for a point guard, are willing to deal away their No. 1 -- and you have to wonder whether a package of that pick, James Posey and Jason Kapono wouldn't be enough to get them Kidd or Mike Bibby.
Kidd is warm to the idea of playing in Los Angeles alongside Kobe Bryant, but he's not enamored of the idea of playing alongside LeBron James.
That's even though the argument could be made, due to the tougher competition in the Western Conference, that the Cavs with Kidd would have a better chance of reaching the NBA Finals than the Lakers would with Kidd.