NBA AM: Calderon The Key To Chandler?
Is Calderon The Key To Chandler?: Restricted free agent swingman Wilson Chandler has been talking with the Denver Nuggets for a few weeks about a new deal. Those talks have not gone badly, but because of the uniqueness of Chandler’s situation, he is also exploring options outside of Denver which include the Toronto Raptors.
The Raptors have had their eye on Wilson for some time, as we covered in this space almost a month ago.
The Raptors currently have about $4.3 million in cap space to offer Chandler, which wouldn’t be nearly enough to get Denver to blink on not matching the deal.
The Raptors would need to shed some dollars in trade to be real suitors for Chandler, which is something the team is exploring aggressively.
The Raptors have a number of attractive assets – Leandro Barbosa is in the final year of his deal worth $7.6 million this season. Swing guard Jerryd Bayless also has one more guaranteed year worth $3.04 million.
Both are very tradable players, but will a team bite on either before Chandler’s March 1st deadline?
The new Collective Bargaining Agreement does not allow sign and trade deals to occur within the season. It also does not allow for a restricted free agent to enter into a deal with another team after March 1st.
Chandler’s agent Chris Luchey says his client is exploring his options.
“We are exploring all avenues,” Luchey said to Sam Amick of SI.com. “Our talks [with Denver] thus far have been OK. It’s just the nature [of free agency]. They have options and Will has options.”
One of those options is to sign for the balance of this year and try the market again in July as an unrestricted free agent. Another option is to try and reach a deal with a team with cap room enough to make Denver pass.
Denver is said to be pushing for a long-term deal or nothing at all according to Amick.
The Indiana Pacers still have about $14 million in cap space but are not showing a lot of interest in Chandler because he is too similar to guys they have in Paul George and Danny Granger.
The Sacramento Kings have about $9 million to spend, but their roster is already packed with guards.
The Cavaliers have about $7 million to offer, but Denver would likely match a deal in that range.
Leaving Toronto with its $4.3 million as the team with the least “real” cap money to offer.
Enter Jose Calderon.
Jose has been playing incredible basketball this season moving himself into the top 10 guard discussion in the East.
Before you go nuts over that comment, Calderon is current 2nd in the East in assists at 8.9 per game, which is just behind conference leader Rajon Rondo’s 9.5 per game.
Calderon is 13th in the east in scoring at the point position with just over 11 points per game.
Jose has a 17.95 PER rating, which is good enough for 11th in the East.
Calderon is owed $9.7 million this season and has one more year worth $10.5 million on his deal.
Raptors’ head coach Dwyane Casey has heard the rumors about his starting guard, but wants to see his team keep Calderon for many of the same reasons other teams covet him.
“We’re trying to hold on to him and keep him, but he has played his way into a very high status as a point guard,” Casey said to Jeff Blair of the Globe and Mail. “A lot of teams have been calling and wanting him.”
Jose has really bought into Casey’s system on both ends of the floor and that buy in has endeared him to his coach.
“That is why we need Jose,” said Casey. “That’s the argument for him. He gives us stability. You need that leadership.”
If the Raptors genuinely want to clear cap space, offering up Calderon would be a great first step because packing him along with other Raptors players into a deal would be an easy sell to other teams.
The problem is the Raptors have just less than 7 days to consummate something before Chandler is locked into Denver.
The Denver Nuggets have $47 million in salary commitments next season and $49 million the following season, so the real question is… how much would Toronto have to offer Chandler to get Denver to pass?
Rose Denies Trade Talk: Last weekend reports from Spain surfaced suggesting that Bulls’ guard Derrick Rose had expressed a desire to play with Lakers forward Pau Gasol. The Report went on to suggest that Rose would have been OK with a Pau Gasol for Carlos Boozer trade. Last night he flatly denied that any part of that was true.
“I heard about it after (Monday’s) game,” Rose said to Jon Greenberg of ESPN Chicago. “That’s something I wouldn’t say to anyone, that I need someone to come to this team or I’m trying to get rid of someone on this team. It was all false and that’s something I would never do.”
Rose was asked how Boozer reacted to the reports.
“He should know, but I talked to him a little bit,” Rose said. “But I think he already knew they were false; where it’s something I wouldn’t do to anyone, especially trade him to any team. It was all false.”
“I’m good with the teammates I have,” Rose said. “I’ve always been saying that. The team that I have, we’ve been winning games, and we’re not in the position to look to trade anyone right now.”
Rose has been ducking the media for several days and says his avoiding the press was more about his ailing back than trade rumors.
“I wasn’t frustrated,” he said. “I was just tired of hearing about my back. I just needed a break. I’m sorry for what I did, I just needed a break.”
Rose was voted into his 2nd All-Star starters’ position. He says he will participate but likely in a limited way.
NBA All-Star festivities get under way this afternoon in Orlando with the opening of NBA Jam Session with players filtering into Orlando tonight.
The Moment of Truth for The Kings: Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson plans to meet with NBA commissioner David Stern this weekend during the All-Star break to go over the city’s plan for a new $406 million downtown arena.
“I feel very confident that we as a city are going to be able to do our part,” Johnson said to the Associated Press. “The city controls its own destiny.”
The Sacramento funding plan calls for the city to raise about $190-$230 million by leasing out parking garages to private investors. Another $75-$100 million is expected to come from the Kings and $40-$60 million from AEG who will operate the new building.
The remaining money will come from some combination of a ticket surcharges and advertising around the arena. There has also been talk that some of the city’s existing transient occupancy tax could be used as well.
The city’s plan if approved would have the new arena open for the 2015-16 season in the downtown Sacramento rail yards.
Joel Litvin, the NBA’s president of league operations, and Harvey Benjamin, executive counsel for business and finance, have been the lead negotiators on behalf of the NBA and the Kings.
The NBA gave Sacramento until March 1st to finalize and approve a funding plan, which it does not look like the City will meet.
There are several suitors that are hoping Sacramento falters including Christopher Hansen who is trying to build a new arena in Seattle and is looking to buy a team to move there.
Billionaire Ron Burkle has been linked to the Kings for some time, however the Maloof family says they are not looking to sell the team.
It will be interesting to see if Mayor Johnson can pull off the upset and keep the Kings in Sacramento long term.
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