Well, maybe it does when the league imposes its trading deadline in late February, but even then general managers are reliving deals gone awry — and dreaming of the day when they can perhaps be revisited.
That’s not to say NBA GMs run their teams like owners in rotisserie leagues. But they do often keep one eye on their own roster and another eye on the rosters belonging to everyone else.
And yes, that’s true even at this time of year, with just one week remaining before the regular season. Granted, most GMs want to see how well their offseason work (draft, free agency, trades) has paid off before making another move, but they do at least crack the window of opportunity and keep an ear to the ground.
Last year, the Oklahoma City Thunder traded James Harden to the Houston Rockets on the day before the regular season. No one reported it beforehand, no one saw it coming. It just sort of happened, and it ended up being the most meaningful trade of 2012-13. The Rockets reached the playoffs and the Thunder failed to make it back to the Finals.
A similar dramatic and unforeseen deal may not take place this season, but it’s not because GMs are ignoring calls or refusing to make some themselves. While the noise isn’t as intense at this time of year, the potential for trades certainly exists.
Among the names generating whispers by NBA insiders as possible pre-regular season (or early regular season) trade bait: Sacramento Kings guard Jimmer Fredette, everyone who plays for the Philadelphia 76ers except rookies Nerlens Noel (injured) and Michael Carter-Williams, and especially, Houston center Omer Asik.
One GM told FOX Sports Ohio there is also strong league-wide interest in Toronto Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan — but seemingly nothing that would entice DeRozan’s current employer to take the plunge.
Along with potential trades, several veteran free agents remain unsigned and may get a call and a tryout, either before the regular season begins or shortly into it.
Shooting guard Richard Hamilton, most recently of the Chicago Bulls, is said to be drawing loads of interest. (According to one report, the Minnesota Timberwolves have shown the most.) But considering Hamilton is 35 years old, nobody is any sort of rush to commit.
Bottom line: There’s still plenty of time for GMs to make one last-ditch transaction to alter their season, slightly or otherwise. About the only thing they need to ask themselves is whether to do it now or sometime closer to February, when everyone else is trying to do it, too.
Off the Bench
• Portland Trail Blazers forward Thomas Robinson said he’s saved all those press clippings that labeled the former No. 5 overall draft pick a bust. Robinson was traded by the Kings to the Rockets last season as a rookie. “I use that trade and the negative articles that I got saved from last year where people were writing me off,” Robinson told CSNNW.com. “I use that as motivation.”
• Former first-round pick James Johnson was waived by the Atlanta Hawks on Monday, and is said to already be on the radar of several other teams. Johnson was drafted 16th overall by the Bulls in 2009. He has also spent time with the Raptors and Kings.
• Meanwhile, the Hawks will soon have to choose between either Royal Ivey or Shelvin Mack as their third-string point guard behind Jeff Teague and rookie Dennis Schroeder. Expect the one who gets waived to be gobbled up by another team fairly quickly.
• Andrew Bynum has joined his Cleveland Cavaliers’ teammates on their preseason swing through Columbus and Cincinnati, leading to further speculation that the 7-footer is indeed creeping closer to playing. Bynum missed all of last season with the Sixers with knee issues. Twitter: @SamAmicoFSO