Last February was crazy. Just under 10% of the NBA switched teams in a record NBA Trade Deadline Day. The best part of it all was that no one saw it coming. On Twitter, the collective confusion was enveloped in a big glob of fun. Not even the "experts" knew what was happening, and that was pretty awesome. Remember how epic that was? Don't expect that to happen again this season.
First of all, we're still feeling the effects of that day currently. The Milwaukee Bucks stumbled their way into the postseason last spring after dealing away Brandon Knight and receiving Michael Carter-Williams, and they haven't recovered since. A team known for their defense under Jason Kidd last year, the Bucks are sitting not-so-pretty as the 28th worst team on the defensive end with a defensive rating of 109. That's really bad. When you look at that number, it explains their record, a measly 8-13. It's ugly. Michael Carter-Williams hasn't hit a jumper since, well, ever, it seems, and it's killed their already-awful spacing. It's understandable that the Bucks didn't want to pay Brandon Knight the sum that he would likely command (one that Phoenix was happy to pay him last summer), but Michael Carter-Williams hasn't filled the void. It's not all on his shoulders, though, as the Bucks lost a few veteran voices in the locker room to (again) cut costs last offseason. Players are looking at . . . OJ Mayo . . . for veteran . . . guidance? Send help.
The Boston Celtics are faring much better. After dealing away Rajon Rondo (who's having an excellent season so far after the post-trade disaster in Dallas) the Celtics were without an identity. They started to go on a run in late January and early February, but things really kicked off at the trade deadline when they acquired Isaiah Thomas from Phoenix. He's not the star they're still looking for, but he's played a part in allowing Boston to be in the playoff picture while not having to worry about tanking this season to get a good pick (Hello, Brooklyn). One could also argue that the post-break tear that Boston went on (24-12, good for second in the East) that Thomas spurred was a motivating factor for free agent Amir Johnson to sign an unbelievably favorable deal this past summer. There's really so much to love about how he plays the game. Thomas isn't the only reason the Celtics are relevant again; they've established a tough, gritty defensive identity, and they're going to play hard for 48 minutes. The team has a bright future with the Nets being awful and Boston being decent this season.
The Miami Heat is sitting on top of the East (by percentage points) because they're finally starting to click with their deadline acquisition from last season, Goran Dragic. His re-emergence the last few games along with the entire team's stingy defense have put them in prime position to stay in the upper echelon of what seems to be the tougher conference so far this year. They look like the #2 to Cleveland's #1 so far, and that's without mentioning Chicago who hasn't looked awful this year.
These examples are just to show the catalytic nature of last season's deadline. With things having been shaken up so much last season, General Mangers aren't sitting, itching to make another move like most NBA 2K armchair GMs. They have their own job security at stake, so they're privy to be more patient. Also, take a look at the standings. The difference between first and 10th in the East is just two games, and we're about one-fourth of the way into the season. Besides the Warriors being world-crushers and the San Antonio Spurs being sneaky good, things are pretty tight over in the West as well. With everyone being a fringe team, it's way too soon to blow it up. Maybe closer to the All-Star break there will be more movement, but don't expect most of the normal December rumors to make their rounds. Very few teams are completely out of it this early (sorry, Philly. You too, L.A.). Most teams will be in wait-and-see mode until they're ready to make some changes, and even those changes likely won't be overly drastic. Naturally, because I wrote this, Paul George and DeMarcus Cousins will switch teams this season (joking).
Stay tuned, but not too tuned because you'll bore yourself with all the nothing that will happen. Unless something happens, but that's not likely (unless it is likely). What I'm trying to say here is that in the wise words of Kevin Maurice Garnett,
(Don't hold your breath, though).
All stats mentioned in this article were grabbed from basketball-reference.com