Better deals will likely be waiting in the offseason
A lack of any move by the Lakers specifically speaks volumes for one reason: LA had one future first-round pick available to trade at the deadline; this offseason, they'll have three. Would the Hawks have been more likely to part with Murray for two or three firsts rather than one?
And it's no coincidence that Yahoo!Sports' Jake Fischer reported after the deadline that Atlanta may be willing to move Trae Young this offseason and the Lakers are a rumored landing spot.
Like the Hawks, the Blazers could get more in return for their veterans in the offseason when teams have more picks to play with and begin to get a feel for what the free agent market brings. (The title of Fischer's piece is "NBA Trade Deadline 2024: Low-key Day Improves Odds for Summer Blockbusters.")
Brogdon, for example, will have a $22.5 million expiring contract. Grant will have four years and about $132 million left on his deal (including a player option), which seems much more palatable than five years and $160, especially as the salary cap rises.
Teams with more draft picks will be more likely to trade draft picks, and teams that strike out on free-agent targets will be more likely to trade for the type of players they didn't get. Why make a deal just to make a deal when a better one could be waiting for you in a few months?
As is often the case, this was a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" scenario for Cronin. Portland's GM did just about nothing, which has a large chunk of the Blazers' fan base angry. But had he made a deal and gotten poor value in return, fans would be upset about that.
What if he traded Brogdon to the Knicks, for example, for Evan Fournier and a few second-round picks? Is that enough of a return to justify dealing a player of Brogdon's caliber, especially if the first-round pick Cronin sought might be waiting for him this summer?
Making a trade just to make a trade is never a wise strategy. Taking any available deal just to subtract Brogdon or Grant - both legitimately good NBA players - from the rotation is an even worse strategy. There wasn't a deal to Cronin's liking, and there's evidence to back that up based on the lack of moves made in general.
Portland's GM deserves credit for standing pat, not panicking, allowing this team to play out the final months of the season and revisiting trade possibilities in the summer when they'll likely prove more fruitful.