Dwight Howard of the Los Angeles Lakers smiles before the NBA All-Star basketball game Sunday, Feb. 17, 2013, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)The Associated Press
Los Angeles Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak talks during a news conference in El Segundo, Calif., Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013, about the death of team owner Jerry Buss. Buss died in Los Angeles on Monday. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)The Associated Press
Orlando Magic's J.J. Redick (7) walks down the court during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Charlotte Bobcats in Orlando, Fla., Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013. The Bobcats won 105-92. (AP Photo/Willie J. Allen Jr.)The Associated Press
The week leading up to the NBA trade deadline has been filled with lots of talk and little action so far. It's a deadline-driven league, so the big moves could still be coming.
But if they don't, it could be because teams across the league are bracing for a much harsher economic reality starting next season. The new collective bargaining agreement that was born out of the lockout of a year ago imposes much stiffer penalties for teams that exceed the salary cap.
The new rules were put in place to try to level the playing field for big and small-market teams. Some executives think they could bring an end to the "Super Team" era.
The trade deadline is Thursday afternoon.