A willing third party is all that is holding up the Memphis Grizzlies and Toronto Raptors from pulling the trigger on a trade that would send forward Rudy Gay to Canada.
Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Jan. 29 that Raptors guard Jose Calderon’s expiring $10.5 million contract is a riddle that is currently puzzling the two teams and preventing the deal.
Sweetening the pot for a team to take on Calderon for the rest of the season might not be too hard considering there is little to lose for teams because his pricey contract will expire at the end of the season.
Still, moving him has proved to be difficult.
"With so many quality point guards, they're struggling to find a spot for Calderon," an unnamed league general manager said, according to Wojnarowski.
If that's all that's holding it up, there shouldn't be a problem working something out with a third party before Feb. 21.
So then, let’s take a look at some teams who could and might be willing to absorb Calderon’s expiring contract.
The Phoenix Suns are in a favorable cap situation, sitting at just $57 million in total salary. That prompted the Suns to join the Rudy Gay chase, but that interest has seemingly cooled lately on that front given the lack of recent reporting.
With the cap space that they have, though, they are a more-than-accommodating team that could take on Calderon’s expiring contract without having to give up too much in the process.
Adding a guy like Calderon might help sell some tickets and win a few more games down the stretch, too. Phoenix, the last-place team in the Western Conference, isn’t going anywhere this year. However, having Calderon on the roster may help them in the future if he is willing to re-sign at a discounted price next season.
Rajon Rondo is out for the season, and the Boston Celtics might watch their playoff chances go out the window in the remaining months of the 2012-13 NBA season. They had initial exploratory interest in acquiring Gay from the Grizzlies, according to ESPN’s Marc Stein, but were not likely willing to part with Paul Pierce in the process.
Not wanting to give up Pierce for Gay is one thing, mostly due to the heavy contract burden that comes along with Gay. However, taking on an expiring contract like Calderon to fill the void left by Rondo may be an intriguing option.
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban doesn’t care about luxury taxes and wants to spend money. The Mavs are barely under the luxury tax threshold but could be willing to take on a player like Calderon who might assist the facilitation of their offense.
Dallas is locked up with the Los Angeles Lakers at 19-25, which places them 3.5 games out of the playoffs if the season were to end today.
All is not lost for the team, and adding Calderon would give them a spark at the point guard position that may help them improve enough to sneak into the bottom of the Western Conference playoffs.