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NBA Power Rankings, 2/24

1. San Antonio (47-10): The Spurs have been conspicuously absent from the trade rumor bonanza. But it makes sense, considering their starters have missed one game all season between the five of them — and they’ve lost as many games as the Cavaliers [1] have won.

[2]2. Dallas (41-16): The Mavericks went hard after Detroit’s Tayshaun Prince [3] (for injured Caron Butler [4] and a first-round pick) and Denver’s J.R. Smith [5], but both deals fizzled quickly. Shocking that owner Mark Cuban was active around the trade deadline.

3. Boston (41-14): Who needs centers, anyway? There are other pieces to fall here, trust me. The Celtics [6] aren’t finishing the season with 10 players. Until I know what their roster is going to look like, I’m not moving them anywhere.

4. Miami (42-15): The funniest tidbit I heard on the rumor mill was this [7]: The Heat shopped Mike Miller [8] in trade talks. Oh, sure, Mr. Riley, I’d love to take a 30-year-old guy with an extensive injury history, literal head problems [9] and four years, $24 million remaining after this season. The one Miami rumor [10] that’s intriguing is buyout candidate T.J. Ford.

[11]5. Chicago (38-17): Both Juwan Howard [12] and Chris Bosh have endorsed Derrick Rose [13] for Most Valuable Player over LeBron James [14]. Is it just me, or does that say a lot about what his Heat teammates think about him? Do you think Joakim Noah [15] would side with James? Would Ron Artest [16] back anybody but Kobe … nevermind, scratch that.

6. LA Lakers (40-19): The Lakers are expected to stand pat with their current roster, even once buyout candidates become available. You mean nobody was interested in Ron Artest or Steve Blake [17], who are owed a combined $33.8 million through 2014?

7. Oklahoma City (36-20): Sure, the Thunder got Kendrick Perkins [18] and Nate Robinson [19], but the real story is that they and the Celtics could be competing [20] for Jason Kapono once the 76ers buy out his contract. That’s kind of like a lion and a crocodile competing over a dead animal carcass. No offense to dead animal carcasses.

[21]8. Atlanta (34-23): The Kirk Hinrich [22] deal puts the Hawks over the top, if by “over the top” you mean “into the No. 4 seed.” They also apparently shopped [23] Zaza Pachulia [24], his remaining two-year, $10 million deal and his back acne.

[25]9. Orlando (36-22): After losing to the Kings, Magic center Dwight Howard [26] said: ‘€œEverybody on the team has to step up and play hard. I’€™m not singling anybody out.’€ You hear that Gilbert Arenas [27], he’s not calling anybody out!

10. New Orleans (34-25): Any time I can mention Mark Cuban twice and spread a conspiracy theory  at the same time in the Power Rankings, I’ll do it. He called B.S. [28] on the Hornets’ deal for Carl Landry, which will cost owners $750K since the NBA owns the franchise: “If most of the owners in this league can’t take back salary in a deal, the Hornets shouldn’t be allowed to, either.” Amen.

11. New York (28-26): Does the Carmelo Anthony bring the Knicks any closer to an NBA championship in the next four years? As a Syracuse guy, I hate to say it, but not really. I spent a few thousand words [29] explaining my rationale. No need to explain further.

12. Portland (32-25): The Trail Blazers dealt Joel Przybilla [30] and two first-round draft picks to the Bobcats for Gerald Wallace [31]. No news yet whether or not Wallace has purchased knee braces and insurance on both ACLs.

[32]13. Memphis (32-27): According to Fox Sports Memphis reporter Chris Vernon, the Grizzlies [33] dealt Hasheem Thabeet and a first-rounder for Shane Battier [34], then failed to ship O.J. Mayo to the Pacers for Josh McRoberts and a first-round pick. Ladies and gentlemen, Chris Wallace does it again!

[35]14. Phoenix (28-27): The Suns dealt Goran Dragic and a first-rounder for Aaron Brooks, according to Arizona Republic reporter Paul Coro. Now Phoenix has added Vince Carter [36]— a problem throughout his career — and Brooks, a problem [37] recently in Houston.

[38]15. Utah (31-27): Shouldn’t the Jazz [39] have dealt Deron Williams for Devin Harris and Derrick Favors [40] before the whole Jerry Sloan [41] ordeal? I’ve heard “This town’s not big enough for the both of us” before, but usually that leads to one person leaving — not both.

[42]16. Philadelphia (28-29): The 76ers were awful quiet on Thursday. They have a lot of tradeable assets and should make the playoffs this season. Kinda strange. Did general manager Ed Stefanski forget it was trade deadline day?

17. Houston (28-31): The Rockets got Hasheem Thabeet, Goran Dragic and two first-round picks for an unhappy camper (Brooks) and an expiring deal (Battier). It’ll be interesting to see who those first-rounders turn into. A lot of flexibility in Houston.

18. Indiana (26-30): The Pacers failed to get their (stuff) together to make a deal for O.J. Mayo before the trade deadline. Who is Tony Allen [43] going to punch for that mistake?

team got killed [44] in a deal.

20. New Jersey (17-40): Would you rather have Williams for Harris/Favors or Anthony for half your roster, picks and cash? Exactly. Never underestimate a Russian billionaire.

21. Golden State (26-30): So, the Warriors are apparently prepared to buy Troy Murphy [45]‘s contract out, allowing him to sign with the Celtics. Murphy averaged 3.6 points and 4.2 rebounds in 16 minutes per game for the Nets [46]. Not wowed by that one.

22. LA Clippers (21-37): With the acquisition of Mo Williams [47] and Jamario Moon for Baron Davis [48] — and Chris Kaman [49]‘s contract coming off the books next season — the Clippers will have a ton of cap room to land one of the big free agents in 2012. Then again, they’ll probably just sign Vince Carter to a max contract.

23. Charlotte (25-32): Just as the Bobcats started to play well, they shipped Gerald Wallace and Nazr Mohammed out of Charlotte for Dante Cunningham, Joel Przybilla, D.J. White, Morris Peterson and two first-rounders. Somewhere Larry Brown [50] sips a Mai Tai and cackles loud enough for the natives to hear.

24. Milwaukee (22-35): The Bucks stuck with their guys during the trade deadline. I guess they’re pinning their hopes on Michael Redd‘s return [51]. I’m sure that’ll pan out.

25. Detroit (21-38): The odd thing is — after not dealing Tayshaun Prince or Rip Hamilton at the deadline — the Pistons could actually make the playoffs. Did I just write that?

26. Washington (15-39): The Wizards [52] got Mike Bibby [53], Jordan Crawford, Maurice Evans and a first-round pick for Hinrich. Not too bad, but I’m not even sure an actual wizard could fix this team.

[54]27. Sacramento (13-40): The Kings want to move to Anaheim? Who will have better chemistry in Orange County: The Kings or that crew of insane housewives?

28. Toronto (15-41): The Raptors acquired James Johnson for a first-round draft pick, and then Johnson gave us the quote of the week [55]: “My plus-minus is outrageous.” Gold. I think I’m going to start yelling that when I’m one of the last few guys picked on the blacktop.

29. Minnesota (13-43): The Timberwolves [56] attempted to trade Jonny Flynn. So, from the 2009 NBA draft in which they had the No. 5 and 6 overall picks, they’ve failed to sign the No. 5 selection (Ricky Rubio [57]) and were prepared to part with the other. What’s a bigger disaster for Minnesota — that or the Kevin Garnett [58] trade?

30. Cleveland (10-46): Given the chance to trade for a point guard with a weight problem and $28 million remaining on his contract (Davis), the Cavaliers pulled the trigger. Of course they did. Cleveland rocks.