NBA Trade Rumors with Staying Power
There have been a number of NBA trade rumors flying around, but which ones have the potential to develop into actual trades?
While there haven't been a lot of specific deals mentioned, the players that are likely on the move remain pretty fixed. It's just a matter of figuring out which teams are going to make a play for them, and at this point it may be a bit early to make those determinations. Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld cites the players in this slideshow as being on the block.
That said, it's still worth taking a look at six situations that are sure to develop further as this season unwinds. We're just a few weeks in, but a trade or two could be consummated before Christmas, and still more will continue to occur before the trade deadline in February.
Josh Smith Will Be Dealt
Atlanta is rebuilding, and Josh Smith is an expiring contract. They already dealt Joe Johnson over the summer to clear cap room, and though Smith is a very good defender and borderline All-Star (who has somehow never made even one All-Star squad), the Hawks likely won't appeal to Smith as a career option anymore.
They won't because they can't.
Smith has had a standout career and received minimal notoriety for it, and playing in the relative obscurity of Atlanta is the reason why. He's never made it to the conference finals because the Hawks are mediocre soup. Even their own fans spit them out.
Someone will pay for Smith, either by trade or by free agency, because when he isn't hoisting ill-advised shots, he's a very valuable two-way player that can make a huge impact in games.
Hawks GM Danny Ferry seems to think Smith will stay, but it's hard to envision it actually happening, despite Smith's assurances that it may.
Jose Calderon Is Completely Available
In no uncertain terms, Kyle Lowry is an elite point guard. It's only a matter of time before he receives the recognition that follows his outstanding play. And that makes Jose Calderon as expendable as a case of warm, stale lager.
Calderon still has a lot to offer, with one of the best assist-to-turnover ratios of all point guards.
Calderon's defense is sub-par, but his ability to lead a team is not. He's also an expiring contract.
The problem is, there aren't a lot of teams that actually could call Calderon an upgrade over their current point guard. The teams that could use him (see: Utah, Sacramento, New Orleans, Orlando, Charlotte) aren't actual contenders.
None have a place for a 31-year-old point guard with only this season to play out on his current contract.
It doesn't seem likely Toronto will find a taker for Calderon, which is a shame, because he's probably the best backup point guard in the entire league.
Tyreke Evans Is There for the Taking
In his rookie season, Tyreke Evans entered elite territory, becoming only the fourth NBA player to average 20/5/5 as a rookie. His future looked very bright.
All he has done since that time is regress, regress, regress. His usage rate has gone down as Sacramento has continued to add more talent (without adding many more wins) to its roster. Evans is now very expendable, because he isn't a point guard, and his best season came playing point.
This year, Evans is shooting just 43 percent from the floor and averaging only 13 points per game. His minutes have decreased to just 31.8 per night, which is about five-and-a-half minutes fewer than what he saw as a 20-year-old rookie.
But Evans still has value.
Some team will be willing to take a gamble on him because he's on a very reasonable $5.2 million contract and his value still exceeds that.
Sacramento has a lot of holes on its roster and would jump at the chance to get a true first-rate point guard, since the Kings platoon Aaron Brooks and Isaiah Thomas there currently.
Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson Will Be Dealt To Clear Time for Favors and Kanter
The Utah Jazz are not going to be any better than a .500-ish team with their current roster, and in the Western Conference, that won't get you much. They managed to sneak into the playoffs last year, but they were promptly swept by the San Antonio Spurs in the first round
And their best two players, Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson, are both on expiring contracts. Both are attractive targets, and a number of teams will be in line for the services of the two big men (okay, so Millsap is an undersized big man, but still a quasi-big man).
Millsap is on a more reasonable contract than Jefferson ($7.2 million vs. $15 million), so he's going to be easier to move.
The Jazz want to and need to clear the way for their two younger options: Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter.
Both Favors and Kanter have shown a lot of promise, but the Jazz only have so many minutes to give the frontcourt, and they have only done limited experimentation with the big lineup of Millsap/Favors/Jefferson.
Initially, they will take steps back with the young Favors and Kanter starting, but to move forward, sometimes you first have to take a step or two back.
Anderson Varejao Has High Value and Could Be Dealt for the Right Package
Anderson Varejao is having the best season of his nine-year NBA career so far, and teams are taking notice. The 30-year-old Brazilian big man is averaging nearly 14 points and 14 rebounds per game this year and shooting 51 percent from the floor on 11.2 attempts per night.
Varejao has a pretty hefty contract, as he's owed an average of $8.7 million over the next two seasons and has a team option for $9.8 million in 2014-15. But that's still a bit of a bargain for a player who brings the quality of service and intangibles to the table that Varejao does.
After all, the going rate for NBA centers is at an all-time high.
The Cavs are in no hurry to trade Varejao, but they will take a package that helps them continue their rebuilding effort. Their future is truly focused around Tristan Thompson, Tyler Zeller and Jon Leuer, but they aren't going to just give Varejao away, to say the least.
It should be interesting to see what teams are willing to pay for a player like Varejao, whose contributions go far beyond his already impressive numbers.
Hypothetical Trade: Tayshaun Prince for José Calderon
The aforementioned Jose Calderon may find his way to Detroit if the Pistons decide to part ways with Tayshaun Prince. The move is not a rumor, but a speculative suggestion on the part of B/R's James Borbath.
Prince doesn't factor in at all in Detroit's rebuilding plans, and he still has value as a good defender and decent shooter.
Calderon would be a good mentor (for a half season) for Brandon Knight in Detroit, but Prince would serve an even more important role in a Raptors uniform.
Toronto needs depth, and as good as DeMar DeRozan has been this year, Prince can take some pressure off his shoulders and provide a lift to the second unit.
Both Calderon and Prince would serve better purposes by switching teams, so this suggestion makes a lot of sense for both teams.