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No blockbuster moves at NBA trade deadline as stars stay put

Atlanta Hawks’ Al Horford, right, drives past Portland Trail Blazers’ Damian Lillard. The pending free agent centre was one of the all-star-calibre players whose name was floated in recent days.

Craig Mitchelldyer/AP Photo

Jeff Green could give the Clippers a better shot in the West and Markieff Morris may strengthen a Wizards playoff push in the East.

Still, the possibilities were more interesting than the realities of the NBA's trade deadline.

There were no deals involving Dwight Howard, Kevin Love, Pau Gasol, Al Horford or any other all-star-calibre player whose name was floated in recent days.

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Major moves will wait for the summer, when a soaring salary cap and a strong free agent class could provide the fireworks that never materialized Thursday.

Washington and most of the other teams battling for a spot at the bottom of the Eastern Conference race may have improved, though the Knicks couldn't come up with anything.

"There's probably, maybe two teams in the league that feel like they don't have to make any improvement or adjustment. But everybody else feels like there's areas that we can improve our ballclub, so those are things that we discussed," interim coach Kurt Rambis said shortly before the 3 p.m. ET deadline. "The reality is all of these rumours and all this talk that's gone on, what 99 per cent of it never is going to happen?"

All deals had to be approved by the NBA league office, which was still completing the process a few hours after the deadline.

Houston, Cleveland, Chicago and Atlanta all made trades, though mostly minor ones. Teams interested in their top players not only had to weigh giving up assets versus signing them in the summer, but also whether they wanted to acquire a player who could be a free agent and command a huge salary when the cap increases to around $90-million in July.

Veteran players can earn 25 per cent or more of the cap as their first-year salary.

Green went from Memphis to the Clippers, giving them another versatile forward while Blake Griffin is sidelined. Morris, unhappy this season in Phoenix, joins a disappointing Washington team that is 10th in the East.

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Speaking to reporters while riding a hoverboard on his way out of the Suns' arena Thursday, Morris expressed his thanks to that team and said: "I'm just ready to move on."

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