Howard had been rumored over the last few days to be on the move, after the team claimed weeks ago that they would not look to trade him. It seemed as if it was the Milwaukee Bucks who were the front-runners to land the big man, but when Howard refused to opt into the final year of his contract, the talks ended.
The Bucks were also in discussion with the Minnesota Timberwolves about Rubio, which also didn't get done. Meanwhile, the Bulls and Sixers were reportedly taking calls about Gasol and Okafor, but never wanted to deal them in the first place.
Despite this deadline seemingly being a lot of talk and not as much action, there were deals that did get done, including the Los Angeles Clippers bolstering their roster with the addition of Jeff Green from Memphis. The Clippers sent Lance Stephenson and a 2019 first-round pick to the Grizzlies in the deal.
Lob city was rumored to be looking to move Blake Griffin after his recent issues, but head coach Doc Rivers shut those down quick. The move made on Thursday could force Griffin's playing time diminished when he returns from injury.
Green is averaging 12.2 points and 4.5 rebounds this season, while Stephenson is averaging just 4.7 points per game in his first season with the Clippers.
Another big move took place on Wednesday, as the Detroit Pistons sent Brandon Jennings and Ersan Ilyasova to the Orlando Magic for Tobias Harris. Both teams are in the Eastern Conference playoff race, including the Pistons sitting just a half game out of the eighth and final playoff spot.
The Pistons had been trying to make it work with the tandem of Jennings and Reggie Jackson at the point guard position, but did not feel comfortable with a talent like Jennings coming off the bench. Jackson was acquired from the Thunder last season while the then-starter Jennings was dealing with a torn Achilles.
23-year-old Harris's response to the deal was "I'm ready to make the playoffs!" Detroit is looking to make the postseason for the first time since 2009, and the likes of Harris, who averages 13.7 points and 7.0 rebounds, will bolster their chances.
The Magic sit 3.5 games out of the final playoff spot at 23-29.
Other minor deals saw the Pistons continue to add on by acquiring Marcus Thornton and Dontas Motiejunas from the Rockets for Joel Anthony and a draft pick. Also, the Suns sent disgruntled forward Markieff Morris to the Wizards for Kris Humphries, DeJuan Blair, and a first-round pick. While the Bulls dealt guard Kirk Hinrich to the Hawks for a second-round pick.
The other deal that made some noise was a three-team trade between the Cavaliers, Trail Blazers, and Magic. Cleveland sent Anderson Varejao to Portland, while receiving Channing Frye from Orlando, who got guard Jared Cunningham from Cleveland.
The Blazers reportedly plan to waive the injured Varejao once the deal is complete, as he is owed $9.3 million this season.
Frye is averaging 5.2 points and 3.2 rebounds this season in Orlando and will be coming off the bench in Cleveland. His best season came in his four years with the Phoenix Suns, where he averaged 11.4 points and 5.7 rebounds. The 6-foot-11 Frye is a career 38.7 percent three-point shooter.
The NBA regular season returns from the All-Star break Thursday night, and with the deals done, it is now time for the teams' focus to turn to the playoff chase.