So this is what David Stern (search) has wrought with theNBA's (search) new labor agreement: On a day when Shaquille O'Neal (search) signed a new nine-figure contract, that transaction was secondary to the biggest trade in league history.
Miami and four other teams pulled off a megadeal Tuesday night that trumped every monster trade in the league's archives, a 13-player swap that sent Antoine Walker (search), Jason Williams (search) and James Posey (search) to Miami.
The Boston Celtics, Utah Jazz, Memphis Grizzlies and New Orleans Hornets also took part in the trade, which was larger than the four-team, 12-player trade involving Patrick Ewing (search) in 2000 that was the benchmark.
The top player leaving Miami is Eddie Jones (search), who was the third option in a Miami offense that ran through O'Neal and Dwyane Wade. Jones heads to the Grizzlies, whose roster has been drastically altered by team president Jerry West during this offseason.
"We traded a lot, but we got back three quality players," said Heat president Pat Riley (search), who earlier in the day gave O'Neal a five-year, $100 million contract. "Antoine Walker is one of the very best multifaceted, versatile players in this game. ... He is able to handle the ball, pass it, make plays, shoot 3s and rebound the ball. There isn't anyone in this league better at doing that."
Two other moves that were expected to go down did not.
A sign-and-trade deal that would have sent Joe Johnson from Phoenix to Atlanta was held up by a "procedural issue," and a $20 million, six-year contract awaiting Willie Green in Philadelphia was put on hold after the guard injured his knee in a pickup game.
There was still plenty of activity around the league as a monthlong moratorium on trades and free agent signings was lifted.
The delay was mandated while lawyers for the league and the players' union worked out the final language of a new six-year collective bargaining agreement that contains several provisions designed to make trading easier.
Miami also received Andre Emmett from Memphis and the draft rights to Roberto Duenas of Spain from the Hornets; Utah received Greg Ostertag from Memphis; Boston picked up Curtis Borchardt from Utah and a package — Qyntel Woods, the draft rights to Spanish center Albert Miralles, two second-round draft picks and cash — from Miami; New Orleans acquired Rasual Butler from Miami and Kirk Snyder from Utah; and the Grizzlies received guard Raul Lopez from the Jazz.
For the Celtics, the trade was a sign that the franchise was entering a rebuilding stage after acquiring Walker at midseason from Atlanta in a push for some sort of postseason success that flamed out with a loss to Indiana in the first round.
Among the other deals that went through was a sign-and-trade transaction sending Shareef Abdur-Rahim (search) from Portland to New Jersey for a lottery-protected first-round draft choice and a trade exception.
The Nets, who reached the NBA Finals two of the past four seasons, also will re-sign forward Clifford Robinson and add free agent guard Jeff McInnis to a core that includes Jason Kidd, Vince Carter (search) and Richard Jefferson.
"On paper, we're as good or better than we've ever been," Nets president Rod Thorn (search) said. "Offensively, we have more talent than we've had in my time here. The real key will be how this team plays on the defensive end of the court and how the team meshes."
The Hawks wouldn't reveal the nature of the hang-up in the Johnson trade.
"At this time, there is a procedural issue regarding the reported deal with Atlanta and Phoenix that needs to be resolved," Atlanta general manager Billy Knight said in a statement.
The Hawks would send Phoenix two first-round picks, second-year guard Boris Diaw and a $4.9 million trade exception for Johnson, who was expecting to sign a front-loaded contract worth $69.6 million that includes a first-year salary of $20 million.
League spokesman Mark Broussard said it was one of the busiest days at the league office in recent years.
"It's been a hectic day so far, and it will continue tomorrow as teams solidify any other transactions they may have going on," he said.
Green, who averaged 7.7 points playing sporadically under former coach Jim O'Brien last season, expected to get additional playing time in Philadelphia under Maurice Cheeks. Now, everything is on hold after Green injured his knee.
Sixers president Billy King said Green damaged cartilage and needs surgery.
"The offer hasn't been rescinded," said Green's agent, Noah Croom. "Billy wants to wait to determine the extent of his injury before we move forward."
Among Tuesday's other deals:
• As expected, Cleveland signed free agents Larry Hughes and Donyell Marshall and re-signed center Zydrunas Ilgauskas.
• San Antonio re-signed forward Robert Horry and signed free agent forward Fabricio Oberto of Argentina.
• Houston signed free agent forward Stromile Swift.
• New Orleans re-signed forward Bostjan Nachbar and signed guard Arvydas Macijauskas.
• New York signed free agent center Jerome James.
• Philadelphia re-signed center Samuel Dalembert and forward Kyle Korver.
• Washington signed free agent guard Antonio Daniels.
• Charlotte dealt point guard Jason Hart to Sacramento for a future second-round pick and acquired center Jake Voskuhl from Phoenix for a second-round pick.
• Boston signed free agent forward Brian Scalabrine.
• Miami re-signed forward Udonis Haslem.