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Stein On Hawks, Bucks, Josh Smith, Spurs, Blair

It's more than a week after the trade deadline, but the stream of rumors is far from an end. In his Weekend Dime, Marc Stein of puts a bow on last week's proceedings, and provides some scuttlebutt related to tonight's buyout deadline as well. Here's what Stein has to share:  

  • The Hawks wanted to trade Josh Smith at the deadline, and expected they'd get a deal done. But when the Bucks refused to part with Monta Ellis, Atlanta's main target, or Ersan Ilyasova, Plan B for the Hawks, GM Danny Ferry and company walked away from a package that would have featured Beno Udrih's expiring contract and Luc Mbah a Moute, who has two years and $8.97MM remaining on his deal this season.
  • DeJuan Blair has been seeking a buyout from his expiring $1.054MM contract with the Spurs, but San Antonio is reluctant to grant his wish, fearing he'd sign with another playoff team. If he's not bought out before tonight's 11pm deadline, Blair would be ineligible for the postseason if he signs elsewhere this season. Stein says it's clear that neither Blair nor the Spurs wish to continue their working relationship in 2013/14, so perhaps Blair could be a buyout candidate after tonight, but that's just my speculation.
  • The Spurs were seeking a first-round pick in offers for Blair at the trade deadline, but like everyone seeking that kind of return, they were rebuffed, as Stein notes the increasing value of those picks and the rookie-scale contracts that come with them.
  • According to Stein, industry standard dictates that prospective owners in the midst of a pending sale may designate two or three players they wish the team to keep, freeing current management to trade anyone else on the roster. That makes it easier to understand why the Kings shed salary, including last June's No. 5 overall pick Thomas Robinson, at the deadline, even though we heard the Chris Hansen/Howard Ballmer group from Seattle was consulted before the move was made.
  • Stein sizes up the competing chances of Gregg Popovich and Doc Rivers to become the next coach of Team USA, while adding that USA Basketball executive director Jerry Colangelo wants to wait until he hears from Mike Krzyzewski after the college season to definitely rule out the Coach K's return.
  • The scribe also checks in with new Bucks shooting guard J.J. Redick, who felt like he was going to stay with the Magic right up until they traded him. 

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