The trade between the Toronto Raptors and Sacramento Kings involving Rudy Gay may open the flood gates on a river of deals in the NBA over the next few weeks. Sometimes, all it takes is for one major deal to actually come to fruition for the trigger to be pulled on other potential swaps.
Who else is looking to deal?
Word is, the Raptors and Kings may not be done shipping and receiving. The defending champion Miami Heat are apparently looking to strengthen their roster as it chases the three-peat. The Houston Rockets are seemingly committed to moving one of their big men.
For now, the talk is just that—talk—but here are the details on the hottest rumors floating around the association.
Kyle Lowry May Be Next Raptor Riding out of Town
Toronto's objectives are clear. The team is looking to cut salary in an effort to improve its long-term financial position and its chances of landing one of the studs expected to be available in the 2014 NBA draft. With the Raptors locked on to those goals, Gay's 38 percent shooting percentage and the $37.2 million remaining on his contract simply wasn't adding up for Raptors front-office kingpin Masai Ujiri.
Gay's and DeMar DeRozan's games are very similar, and that could also explain why Ujiri told Josh Lewenberg of TSN, "It just didn't work out. I think it was just a chemistry [issue] with the team. I think everybody saw there was no sync there."
Apparently, there is another sync issue in Toronto. ESPN.com's Marc Stein says: "(Kyle) Lowry is in the final year of his contact at an affordable $6.2 million and believed to be eminently available because he's not part of Toronto's future plans."
Lowry's contract may be tantalizing to contenders with the means to swing a deal for the powerfully built, steady-scoring point guard. He could really entice a contending team to spring for his services. So far this season, Lowry is averaging 14.8 points, 6.7 assists and 3.6 rebounds per game.
His scoring ability could be a major asset for a top-level team looking for scoring off the bench.
Miami Looking for Guard Help
With Dwyane Wade missing games due to recurring knee issues, the Miami Heat are said to be looking to add guard depth, per ESPN.com's Brian Windhorst. Windhorst says center/forward Joel Anthony could be one of the Heat players available.
Miami could benefit from acquiring another player who excels at attacking the rim and getting to the free-throw line, but such a player will almost certainly require more than Anthony in return.
If Pat Riley can swing a deal for a healthy 2-guard capable of softening the blow of Wade's absences, the Heat will be even tougher to beat than they already are.
Sacramento Not Done Retooling Its Squad
After acquiring Gay from Toronto and Derrick Williams from the Minnesota Timberwolves in the last three weeks, the Kings are said to still be in a dealing mood, per Stein. With Williams expected to play major minutes, power forward Jason Thompson seems to have become expendable.
League sources told ESPN.com that the Kings will be trying to find a new home for forward Jason Thompson, who presumably wouldn't quibble with a fresh start after the arrivals of Gay and Williams to play alongside Cousins.
Thompson is averaging 7.3 points and 5.6 rebounds per game this season, but the 27-year-old has never really become the player it seemed he could be after his first two strong seasons. In the 2009-10 campaign—Thompson's second season—he averaged a career-high 12.5 points and 8.5 rebounds.
He's only averaged double figures in scoring in one season since (10.9 in 2012-13) and has never again averaged as much as seven boards per game. Even given the deflated production, he could still be an intriguing option for a team looking to give a relatively young big man a new start.
Omer Asik Should Be Moved in a Week or So
The Rockets appear to be moving aggressively toward trading center Omer Asik. Stein tweeted the following regarding the Rockets big man:
The trade requests quieted during the early part of the season when the Rockets were playing Asik and Howard together regularly, but since Nov. 14, Asik's minutes have been sporadic. He's had two DNP-CDs (did not play-coach's decision) and has missed the last three games with a right knee and right thigh contusion.
Asik's deal still has an insane $20.1 million remaining if you total up the current season's salary of $5 million. The $14.8 million due to Asik in the 2014-15 season was most likely the detail that made the Chicago Bulls pass on matching the offer sheet Houston gave the 27-year-old in the summer of 2012.
Now, that total could be the biggest hindrance in trading the defensive-minded but offensively challenged center. Teams will have to strongly consider whether Asik is worth paying almost $15 million next season. At the very least, the total should bring his trade value down.
Contract references per Spotrac.com.
Stats and Game Logs per Basketball-Reference.
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