Point guard is the NBA's deepest position, but two prominent names continue to circle the league's rumor mill just over a week into the regular season.
Mario Chalmers and Derrick Rose have both emerged as trade candidates—albeit in far different capacities. Speculation regarding Rose's future with the Chicago Bulls is just that, while Chalmers' potential ouster from the Miami Heat could prove to be a nice pick-me-up for a Western Conference contender.
Time to break it all down.
Rose, Bulls headed for divorce?
In an appearance on ESPN Radio's Russillo and Kanell, ESPN.com's Brian Windhorst broke down the complex relationship between Rose and the Bulls' front office.
NBC Sports' Dan Feldman transcribed the key piece of the interview:
The Derrick Rose breakup with the Bulls has begun. I don’t know how long it’s going to last. I don’t know if it’s going to be complete. But you can sort of see it. The team and the franchise have moved on to a little bit of a certain extent.
Whether dysfunction between Rose and the Bulls stems from his on-court performance or behind-the-scenes disagreements, it's hard to imagine Chicago finding a willing trade partner for the point guard.
While Rose has the talent to be a game-changer, his injury history is well documented and his performance over the past 12 months hasn't been terribly encouraging.
Beyond the torn ACL, torn meniscus and shaky shooting, Rose is due a massive $41.4 million before his contract expires after next season, per BasketballInsiders.com. Now, that deal is an easier pill to swallow viewed through the prism of a rising salary cap, but it's still a huge financial load for a team to accept, particularly if it's going to be a short-term rental.
And realistically, teams aren't looking to add salary before the cap rises next summer. They're attempting to shed as much as possible to open up room and woo prospective signees.
That's not to say a divorce can't occur down the line, though.
"In fact, I believe there would be a level of cathartic feelings if Rose were able to move on, be successful and open up a spot for the Bulls to fill with their next star," CBSSports.com's Zach Harper wrote. "Whatever the ending is, there has to be a resolution of some kind."
A resolution may not come soon, but clarity should crop up down the line.
Chalmers on Memphis' Radar
Chalmers is in the final year of his contract, so it's only natural for point guard-needy teams to make calls gauging his availability.
According to ESPN.com's Marc Stein, the Memphis Grizzlies are one of those clubs:
But why would the Grizzlies be interested in Chalmers when they have a capable backup in Beno Udrih on the roster?
Ronald Tillery of the Commercial Appeal explains:
Presumably, the Griz are looking to replace backup Beno Udrih. There quietly has been disappointment behind the scenes with Udrih’s perceived lack of conditioning, athleticism and defense.
The belief in the organization is that third-string point guard Russ Smith isn’t ready yet to be a rotation player for the Griz at that position.
Truth be told, moving from Udrih to Chalmers would be a lateral move. Chalmers' shooting stroke has disappeared over the past year, and while he may be a superior athlete, he's not going to offer much as a playmaker or on-ball defender capable of buoying a second unit.
Five games into the 2015 season, Chalmers is averaging 4.8 points on 29.2 percent shooting from the field and 10 percent shooting from three. Those numbers come on the heels of a 2014-15 season that saw Chalmers shoot a career-worst 29.4 percent from three.
And according to Stein, a straight-up swap of Udrih for Chalmers wouldn't even work, since the latter is making nearly $2 million more this season. Both teams are over the cap, and salaries will need to match in order for a trade to get done.
To his credit, Chalmers hasn't appeared rattled by the rumors.
"It goes how it goes," the point guard said, per the Miami Herald's Ethan J. Skolnick. "It's the nature of the business."
Memphis' ability to remain patient in the face of a disappointing start may dictate how quickly talks accelerate—or if they do at all—so this isn't an urgent matter just yet.
However, the Grizzlies' title window has been getting narrower by the season, and they may need to make some drastic moves in order to compete for a Western Conference title.