Portland’s 2014 NBA trade deadline was one of the quietest in recent memory, with the team making no moves as the noon deadline came and went Thursday afternoon.
A trade was always unlikely, as the Trail Blazers have no draft picks to include in trades, no room on the roster with 15 players already under contract and, maybe most importantly, no heartfelt feelings within the organization that a move needed to be made at this time.
“We like our team, we like our players, we like where we are and what we’ve done so far this season,” said Trail Blazers head coach after Portland’s practice, which didn’t commence until after the noon deadline on Thursday. “We’ve been very competitive with the roster that we have.”
Not only did the Trail Blazers not make any trades at the deadline, they weren’t even mentioned as a team considering trades. Not a single rumor regarding a current Trail Blazer ever made it to the light of day in the run up to Feb. 20. That doesn’t necessarily mean general manager Neil Olshey and his staff weren’t working the phones, but if they were, they did so quietly.
“I haven’t heard all the trades today, but how many of them had you heard about before the trades were made?,” said Stotts. “I don’t know, in this day and age, there’s a lot of chatter and a lot of rumors and innuendo and things like that about trades and possibilities and most of them are not true. Most the trades that do happen, you don’t know about until they happen.”
There’s something to be said for players not hearing their names mentioned in trade rumors, which seems to play into Olshey’s goal of making the Trail Blazers a “players first” organization. The Trail Blazers used to be featured prominently in trade rumors, though that doesn’t seem to be the case under Olshey. And while that might just be the way he does business, it also serves in lessening the chance of players becoming disgruntled or distracted on and around the trade deadline.
“Everybody handles (the trade deadline) differently,” said Stotts. “I don’t know that anybody necessarily sensed (that they might be traded). Over the years, I think think there is an underlying concern this time of year… When your name is being thrown around, different guys handle it different ways, but the other part of it is there were a lot of names being thrown around before the trade deadline and those guys are still with the same team. You take it with a grain of salt, you get through it then finish the season.”
This year, there were no salt grains necessary in Portland’s locker room. At least one player, albeit one who had no chance of being traded, didn’t even know the deadline had arrived.
“I thought it was further out,” said Damian Lillard of the trade deadline. “I didn’t even know it was today until yesterday I saw trades started happening. I didn’t hear anybody say anything. I don’t think anybody was really worried. Of course, things could happen but I don’t think anybody was worried.”
And with the way the deadline ended, no Trail Blazers needed to.