It's trade season!
The trade deadline is still 10 days away, but two Plumlees have already packed their bags this month ... and not for the All-Star Game. Ten days after Miles was sent from Milwaukee to Charlotte, Mason was sent from Portland to Denver.
The frontcourt logjam in Philadelphia may be finally clearing up, as a Jahlil Okafor deal seems imminent. And the Sixers aren't the only team that seems ripe for a trade. Hello, Orlando!
The dominance of the Cleveland Cavaliers in the East and the Golden State Warriors in the West may keep some teams from really going for it with a deadline deal, but playoff races didn't keep the Bucks and Hornets (both in the mix for the No. 8 seed in the East) from making a deal or the Blazers and Nuggets (competing for the No. 8 seed in the West) from swapping centers either.
For a lot of teams, the next 10 days will be about the next few years. Others want to win now. And things could get really interesting between now and Feb. 23.
- Last week: Mavs, Heat continue unexpected runs into playoff contention
- This time last year: Is a quiet trade deadline coming? -- Zach LaVine and Aaron Gordon put on a show in the dunk contest and Russell Westbrook won his second straight All-Star Game MVP award. Joe Johnson gave Brooklyn one more game-winner before he left and Kawhi Leonard hit one in Orlando. The Kings didn't fire George Karl, Chris Bosh played his last game with the Heat, and Marc Gasol was lost for the season with a broken foot.
- Plus-minus stud: Trevor Ariza (HOU) was a plus-71 in three games last week.
- Plus-minus dud: Rajon Rondo (CHI) was a minus-69 in four games last week.
- Hero team of the week: Golden State (3-0) -- Put all the hype and drama of Saturday's game aside. The bottom line is that the Warriors comfortably swept a road back-to-back by scoring 123 points per 100 possessions against two top-seven defenses (Memphis and Oklahoma City).
- Zero team of the week: Orlando (0-3) -- The Magic sandwiched a last-second loss to the Embiid-less Sixers with a 24-point loss in Houston and a 32-point loss in Dallas.
- East vs. West: The West is 179-146 (.551) against the East in interconference games after going 18-10 (3-1 in New York) last week.
- Toughest schedules through Sunday: 1. Phoenix, 2. L.A. Lakers, 3. Sacramento
- Easiest schedules through Sunday: 1. Indiana, 2. Washington, 3. San Antonio
- Schedule strength is based on cumulative opponent record, and adjusted for home vs. away and days of rest before a game.
- High jumps of the week: Cleveland (+3), L.A. Lakers (+3), Four teams (+2)
- Free falls of the week: Chicago (-3), Five teams (-2)
- Team to watch this week: Indiana -- The Pacers' three-game losing streak includes losses to Cleveland and Washington, two teams they will face again this week ... after hosting the Spurs.
* * *
Pace: Possessions per 48 minutes (League Rank)
OffRtg: Points scored per 100 possessions (League Rank)
DefRtg: Points allowed per 100 possessions (League Rank)
NetRtg: Point differential per 100 possessions (League Rank)
The league has averaged 98.8 possessions (per team) per 48 minutes and 106.0 points scored per 100 possessions this season.
* * *
NBA.com's Power Rankings, released every Monday during the season, are just one man's opinion. If you have an issue with the rankings, or have a question or comment for John Schuhmann, send him an e-mail or contact him via Twitter.
* * *