There were three minor deals Thursday involving four players. Jason Kidd and Vince Carter stayed put in New Jersey. Pau Gasol will end the season in Memphis. Mike Bibby's staying in Sacramento.
Even the teams expected to make moves were surprised so little happened.
"There was so much speculation, so many things going on regarding some pretty high profile players, for none of it to come to fruition is a little surprising for me," New Jersey president Rod Thorn said. "But historically, 98 percent that might be talked about of a serious nature never gets done at this time of year, for whatever reason."
Thorn held on to All-Stars Kidd and Carter, who were frequently mentioned in trade speculation. The slumping Los Angeles Lakers were trying to land Kidd, who sounded resigned to a deal in the last few days.
Instead, the Nets will hope to get healthy _ they confirmed Thursday that Kidd has a cracked rib along with the sore back that knocked him out of the All-Star game _ before the end of the season and try to make a run in the weak Eastern Conference.
"Knowing the competitive spirit that Rod Thorn has, he was never going to go into fire sale mode," Toronto general manager Bryan Colangelo said. "It probably was an option that they considered."
Colangelo made the only trade that involved multiple NBA players, sending guard Fred Jones to Portland for guard Juan Dixon. Jones, who played at Oregon and lives in the Portland area, had fallen out of the Raptors' rotation.
The Dallas Mavericks dealt backup point guard Anthony Johnson to Atlanta for a second-round pick, and Philadelphia sent veteran Alan Henderson to Utah in another deal where picks were involved.
So where were the big trades?
"It sounded like there were deals that were on the table as late as noon today," Colangelo said. "Why they didn't happen, I can't tell you."
Cleveland was hoping to make one, talking to Sacramento about acquiring point guard Mike Bibby. But the Cavaliers weren't interested in including any of their younger core, so decided to keep what they have surrounding LeBron James.
"My job is to look at how we can have sustainable success to go for it this year, but have sustainable success," Cavs GM Danny Ferry said. "Putting all that together, the deals that were brought to us, I didn't think they made sense. And ultimately we couldn't find a good partner."
The Cavs may not need a deal, anyway. They entered Thursday with the second-best record in the East, and are one of a number of teams who have to like their chances better now that the Miami Heat could be without Dwyane Wade for a while.
"I didn't get involved in any trade talks and none of my teammates did either. Whatever happened, happened," James said. "As professionals we move on, but we're very excited that we're all together still. ... At the end of the day, we're happy that we have some stability and guys are ready to move on and play the second half of the season."
Wade's injury Wednesday night may have made a team such as New Jersey think twice about making a move. He went down with a dislocated left shoulder, an injury that could leave the Heat without the NBA finals MVP for quite some time.
Miami is eighth in the East, with no guarantee of a playoff spot if Wade has an extended absence.
"You look at the landscape and it is exactly where it was yesterday with one big exception: I think Miami is probably reeling after the injury to Dwyane," Colangelo said. "You hate to see that, but it will affect the playoff race. Everyone else is largely the same."
There's also the lure of a strong draft class that could be highlighted by freshmen Greg Oden of Ohio State and Kevin Durant of Texas. The Memphis Grizzlies have been looking for a deal for Gasol for some time, but realized they may have better options by waiting fo the summer, after they know where they land in the draft lottery.
So, the big deals will have to wait.
"There's always much more rhetoric at this time of year from people," Thorn said, "and seldom does anything of substance get done."
AP Sports Writers Rob Gillies in Toronto, Tom Withers in Cleveland, and Associated Press writer David Porter in East Rutherford, N.J., contributed to this report.