Wed 17/02/2016 - 12:38 EST

NBA Trade Deadline Rumors 2016

NBA Trade Deadline Rumors 2016

Approach the NBA's trade deadline with extreme caution.

Whether you're looking to gain some insight on a potential wager or just following your favorite team, hoping against hope it acquires a needle-nudging player before it's too late, do not buy into the hype.

Scenarios are bandied about relentlessly this time of year, each one as unlikely to be actualized as the next. Even when reports come from trusted scribes, there is still only a puncher's chance of them making that jump from theory to fact.

Deals that do go down usually come out of nowhere. They are often reported on beforehand, but the resulting action comes quick. Rarely has this hypothetical been festering months, only to reach that initial outcome. The Carmelo Anthony trade in 2011 and Dwight Howard trade in 2012 are exceptions. Everything else is, usually, subject to this rule.

Take the first "big" trade of the season. The Orlando Magic sent Tobias Harris to the Detroit Pistons in exchange for Brandon Jennings and Ersan Ilyasova, a transaction that came out of nowhere. Harris had meandered in and out of the rumor mill, and you knew the Magic, driven by the disappointment of falling out of the Eastern Conference's playoff picture, were up to something. 

Tobias HarrisBut what? Were they after Jeff Teague of the Atlanta Hawks? Would they join the, depending on the day, imaginary or authentic Blake Griffin sweepstakes? Anything that seemed remotely plausible or even likely turned out to be nothing. Harris was sent to Detroit at a moment's notice. Michael Scotto of Sheridan Hoops reported on the talks, and less than 20 minutes later, the deal was confirmed by ESPN's Chris Broussard.

That's how this works. That's the standard for the trade deadline. It happened with Isaiah Thomas and the Boston Celtics last season, it happened with Harris this year and it's going to happen again before the Feb. 18 cutoff comes to pass.

Which is to say there's no point planning around it. If you're worried about the San Antonio Spurs covering against the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday because the latter might flip Griffin for more immediate, available depth, don't be. If you're holding off on doubling down on the Golden State Warriors or Spurs as title favorites because you're wondering if there's a team in the West that might make a landscape-shifting deal ahead of the deadline, stop.

Spurs and Warriors.Seldom, if ever, do midseason trades truly impact championship odds, or conference odds, or even divisional odds. The only way you might get burned is if a team sells off a ton of pieces just before a game. But that's extremely rare, and not one of the six teams slated for action on Thursday night is a rumor-mill fixture. The lines will not move an iota because of what does or doesn't happen at the deadline.

Until a rumor comes out of left field, there's no sense placing stock in it. The NBA's trade deadline is, above all else, lots of smoke and mirrors.

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