INDEPENDENCE, Ohio -- The Cleveland Cavaliers remained silent as the NBA's trade deadline passed quietly Thursday. It was one of the rare years when the Cavaliers failed to complete a deal at the deadline, and the first time it has happened since 2009.
"Not much for Cavs to do but not mess up space," a rival front office executive said in the hours leading up to the deadline.
Now they'll turn their focus to free-agent center Greg Oden, who could sign a deal within the next week even though he isn't expected to play until next season. Cavs General Manager Chris Grant confirmed the team's interest in Oden, and a league source confirmed the team is expected to offer him a two-year deal with a team option for a third year. Then it's up to Oden and his agent, Mike Conley, to decide if he wants to sign this season or wait until the summer when they can perhaps drive up the bidding since more teams will have cap space.
The Miami Heat, another team in the bidding for Oden, cleared a roster spot by trading Dexter Pittman to the Memphis Grizzlies.
"Obviously we've spoken to Greg, we've had him in, we've done a lot of due diligence with him," Grant said. "He's a great kid, wonderful heart. We'll see. We'll still talk to them and see what his position is and what his goals are. Just like any other free agent, if we're able to make something happen that makes sense for us, we'll do it. And if not, that's OK."
The Cavs made their big trade last month when they acquired Mo Speights, Wayne Ellington, Josh Selby and a future first-round pick from the Memphis Grizzlies in exchange for Jon Leuer.
They still aggressively approached this trade deadline searching for one more first-round pick but lacked the assets to pull off a deal. Their most valuable players comprise the young core around which this team is rebuilding. The available veterans, such as Luke Walton, Daniel Gibson and Omri Casspi, were more attractive because of their expiring contracts than their on-court ability. But a number of "bad" contracts teams were trying to move this trade season were already expiring contracts, which compounded the Cavs' struggles.
They tried earlier this week to swing a deal with the Sacramento Kings that would've removed some of the lottery protections from their previous trade involving Casspi and J.J. Hickson, but the parameters of that deal crumbled Wednesday night when the Kings and Houston Rockets completed a six-player trade headlined by Thomas Robinson, the fifth overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft.
Speights can opt out of his contract at the end of the season, but he wasn't the only available big on the market. The Portland Trail Blazers were reportedly shopping Hickson for a first-round pick, and Hickson is likely more appealing to other teams than Speights. But the Blazers couldn't pull off a deal, either.
Speights is expected to finish the season with the Cavs and opt for free agency this summer.
"We've been extremely happy with him, how he's played and really fit into the culture. It's really like he fit in here from Day One," Grant said. "If you're a good player in the league, people are going to call and see if you're available, which is a compliment to a guy. We're happy with him and we'll see what happens come the end of the season."
It was a relatively quiet deadline day, with the Atlanta Hawks opting not to trade Josh Smith after taking negotiations all the way up to the deadline. That left J.J. Redick as the biggest name traded when the Orlando Magic moved him to the Milwaukee Bucks.
The Cavs will enter the summer with two first-round picks and only seven players under contract for next season that total about $33 million.
"There's always an emotion about the trade deadline, about the draft and free agency where you're excited to potentially do something," Grant said. "Our guys do a great job having a process in place understanding this is our walk away and we can't let emotion get into this too much and do something crazy.
"We always joke if you go to buy a car, if the price is 40, don't pay 45. Sometimes that can happen on draft and trade deadlines. Certainly we're excited about the team, but we try to stay away from emotional decisions."
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