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NBA Beat: As the world turns on trade deadline

Utah Jazz center Enes Kanter reacts after a foul in the second half during an NBA basketball game against the Miami Heat in December in Salt Lake City.
Utah Jazz center Enes Kanter reacts after a foul in the second half during an NBA basketball game against the Miami Heat in December in Salt Lake City. The Associated Press

There were breakups that went public and sentimental reunions. Some sought fresh starts and others closure. Others admitted they made mistakes and looked for the best way to fix them.

It was all a part of the soap opera known as the NBA trade deadline Thursday.

From Goran Dragic disclosing his trust issues with management in Phoenix to Kevin Garnett waiving his no-trade clause to return to Minnesota, it was dizzying right up until the noon PST deadline.

The moves capped what has been a busy trade market. Five of the top eight teams in the Western Conference made major moves to improve their chances in the postseason.

Oklahoma City was the biggest mover among them.

Having made one big play already in adding Dion Waiters, the Thunder picked up center Enes Kanter from Utah along with guard Steve Novak in part of a deal that sent Kendrick Perkins to the Jazz.

The Thunder also added guard D.J. Augustin and forward Kyle Singler from Detroit for guard Reggie Jackson.

In one day, the Thunder remodeled its second unit with hopes of having an effect in the postseason.

Oklahoma City has overcome a slow start due to injuries to Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook and is now looking to climb the standings.

The Thunder is possibly the most dangerous eighth seed the league could see, boasting the reigning league MVP in Durant and Westbrook, who has played at an MVP-level this season.

“We feel we have added talent, toughness and commitment to our roster and we are excited about the depth and versatility these additions provide,” said Thunder general manager Sam Presti in a statement. “It is a rare opportunity to acquire a player like Enes who will be an added dimension to our frontcourt and has his best basketball in front of him. Kyle, D.J. and Steve are professionals of the highest order and players that we believe will be committed now and in the future.”

Oaklahoma City has maintained all season it isn’t worried about the standings, believing it would finish in the top eight in the West to make the playoffs.

The team hasn’t expressed any dire concern over where it’ll be seeded either.

But as Thursday showed, the Thunder isn’t satisfied with the status quo. Now it’s time to see if all the moves will lead to playoff success.

Trending up

It’s not often a player has the opportunity to learn on a daily basis from a player he admired.

Michael Carter-Williams will have that chance after being traded to Milwaukee as part of a three-team deal involving Philadelphia and Phoenix.

Before the 2013 NBA draft, Carter-Williams said he modeled his game after Jason Kidd. Now the 2014 Rookie of the Year plays for Kidd, who is in his first season as coach in Milwaukee.

Kidd was a playmaker without much of a jump shot early in his career, the same knock on Carter-Williams.

The Bucks were already one of the NBA’s surprises, and this pairing could help Carter-Williams become a star.

Trending down

The Washington Wizards began the season as a favorite to win the Southeast Division. Atlanta might have taken that from them, but the Wizards have been in a tailspin.

They’ve dropped seven of their last 10 games entering Saturday.

The All-Star break did nothing to rejuvenate the Wizards as they lost to Cleveland by 38 at home in their first game after the break.

Even as the Hawks have stumbled a bit lately, the Wizards aren’t playing like a team that can capitalize. It’s looking more like Washington will not have homecourt advantage to open the playoffs, which was a goal this season.

Last words

“Our response to that, I think, is that Eric Bledsoe and Markieff Morris are still in Phoenix Suns uniforms.” – Phoenix general manager Ryan McDonough at a news conference, responding to critics who said the team dealt its best player, Goran Dragic.

Follow The Bee’s Jason Jones on Twitter @mr_jasonjones and read more about the team at www.sacbee.com/kings.

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