NBA PM: The Trade Rumor Update
The Trade Rumor Update: Over the last couple of days, the trade market in the NBA has started to heat up with some very specific trade concepts surfacing in the media. Generally when the details start flowing, the true deals start to take shape or at least the true pieces on the move tend to come into clearer focus.
Rudy Gay and The Raptors: Yahoo!’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported yesterday that a deal between the Memphis Grizzlies and Toronto Raptors that would send Rudy Gay to Toronto was basically close and that a third team willing to take on Jose Calderon was all that stood in the way of a deal.
While the two teams have been talking for some time, the proposed deal – Gay to Toronto, Ed Davis to Memphis and Jose Calderon to some third team contributing assets to Memphis – works for Memphis’ stated goals. The rub appears to be that Toronto also wants Darrell Arthur in the deal from Memphis, and that seems to be a non-starter for the Grizzlies.
There have been some variations in talks between the two teams for weeks. Memphis likes Terrence Ross; Toronto doesn’t want to part with him. Memphis wants draft assets as part of any deal they do with Rudy Gay; Toronto seems reluctant because of the money they would be taking back.
There has also been some finger pointing, with Memphis being accused of being a leaky ship or that they are using teams to drive up the price on an eventual deal.
Wojnarowski tweeted this afternoon that the two sides were sharing trade proposals with their respective ownership groups and that a deal could be done as early as tonight.
Raptors and Grizzlies are discussing framework of trade with respective ownership groups now, sources tell Y! Deal could be done tonight.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) January 30, 2013
The Grizzlies have said for most of the week that they didn’t see a need to make a Rudy Gay deal.
It is clear Toronto is willing to move on something, however it remains unclear how serious Memphis is on making a deal with 22 days until the trade deadline. The Grizzlies have time on their side and they may just wait this thing out and see if a better deal emerges. Although if Toronto has come off their price, this could get done quickly.
Boston and Paul Pierce: Before Boston Celtics guard Rajon Rondo went down to a torn ACL on Sunday, there was a real sense in NBA circles that Boston was at least seriously considering offers on Paul Pierce.
Boston’s view of the world has changed somewhat due to the Rondo injury and league sources say Boston wants to see how their squad handles life without Rondo for a few games before they decide whether to blow things up.
League sources familiar with the talks with Boston say that this won’t be an ordinary decision for Boston on Pierce and that they are overly sensitive to Paul’s history and historic value to the franchise and that while he may be the best trade chip they have to cash, deciding to ultimately move him is going to be a very thought out and deliberate process.
There are other Celtics that are viewed around the league as obtainable and it’s clear that Boston is exploring those options first, however moving Pierce could net the greatest return in assets for Boston and they are weighing their best chance to contending this year against what the future of the franchise looks like if they opt to tear things down.
Atlanta and Josh Smith: Word from Atlanta for the last several weeks is that the Hawks want to trigger some moves to add to their roster, not subtract. However, there is a ticking clock at work for the Hawks and as the days get closer to February 21, the Hawks have a tough decision to make – do they trade Josh Smith?
Based on things coming out of Atlanta this week, the answer to that question might be yes.
The Hawks have maintained for months that their end goal was to sign Josh Smith to a new multi-year deal in July and that Smith was completely onboard with the long-term plan. However, with the Hawks sitting at 25-19 on the season and doubts about the future creeping into the discussion, there isn’t nearly the certainty today as there was when the season opened.
Smith’s agent, Wallace Prather, was reportedly set to meet with Hawks president Danny Ferry this week, and it’s expected that the outcome of that meeting would set the stage for an eventual trade involving Smith.
League sources say the Hawks have been engaged in a number of talks, but that they have not considered anything involving Smith up to this point. It’s safe to say Atlanta knows where they could move Smith if they opt to, and it looks like that’s a decision the franchise is going to have make fairly soon.
No Deals For J.J. Redick: Despite an ending contract and virtually no means to secure his free agent rights, it looks like the Orlando Magic are going to hold the line on trading J.J. Redick.
Things in the NBA are always subject to change based on a phone call, however more than half the league has tried to pry Redick out of Orlando via trade and found very little interest from Orlando’s front office in making a deal.
Redick has been in constant communication with the Magic front office and they have kept Redick and his agent in the loop on the marketplace. The Magic are not letting Redick drive their process, but they are sharing information with J.J. and the word is there is a better than average chance the Magic not only hang on to Redick past the trade deadline, but that they may have the best shot at re-signing him this summer.
Things can and often do change at the deadline, but the early word is that Redick may end up right where he is today and if greener pastures present themselves in the off-season Orlando would look to sign-and-trade him.
The Lakers Holding The Line: With the Lakers finally putting together a winning streak, panic in Laker-land has started to die down. League sources peg the Lakers as doing due diligence on trades, but that they are not being overly aggressive about anything including moving Pau Gasol.
Gasol isn’t happy about his new role coming off the bench, but he has said publicly and privately that he’d rather be a Laker than be traded and it seems the Lakers agree with him.
Sources close to the process say the Lakers continue to talk about Gasol deals with teams, but that they basically understand that moving him would net them pennies on the dollar for Gasol’s talent. It is clear Pau Gasol doesn’t have much of a future with Mike D’Antoni; however the Lakers don’t have enough assets to just give away Gasol to move him.
The general thinking is as long as things are progressing and everyone can live with each other, the Lakers look like they are going to hold the line on major change.
The more likely scenario is that Gasol will be moved in the off-season after the Lakers have re-signed Dwight Howard and when their roster would allow them to pull off three-for-one kinds of deals without eating contract dollars and could afford them the chance to shed some luxury taxable salary.
If the season falls apart any worse than it has or the Lakers slide out of the playoff picture before the trade deadline, things could be fast tracked, but it looks like the Lakers plan to hold firm at the deadline, or at least that’s how it looks 22 days out.
Casey Sees Promise In Raptors: Toronto Raptors head coach Dwane Casey says his team has endured a tough first half of the season, but believes his team has grown a lot through the adversity.
HOOPSWORLD’s Lang Greene caught up with Coach Casey this morning at shootaround and talked with him about the emergence of Ed Davis, his dueling point guards and how focused the Raptors are on making the playoffs.
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The Most Improved?: There is still a lot of basketball to be played in the 2012-13 NBA season, so it’s still very early to peg anyone a run-away winner of a post-season award. Although New Orleans Hornets point guard Greivis Vasquez continues to make his case for Most Improved as he continues to rack up the assist and the points.
“I always tell people I don’t play for that,” Vasquez told HOOPSWORLD. “It’s a good recognition. Not only for me, but the team and what we’re doing over here because we’re a hard work team. More than that [post-season awards], I want to win. I really want to win… I have to be a leader and step up.”
So far on the season Vasquez has seen a 32.9 percent increase in playing time which has resulted in a 57.7 percent increase in rebounds, a whopping 72.2 percent increase in assists to go along with a 55.1 percent increasing in points per game. Greivis’ 9.3 assists per game is good enough for third place in the NBA behind former Hornet and current L.A. Clippers guard Chris Paul (9.7) and Boston’s Rajon Rondo (11.1).
“I got guys that can score,” Vasquez said of his gaudy assist numbers. “Guys like Ryan Anderson that can hit threes; guys like Jason Smith that hit shots. Other teams know I can drive and score now, so I’m going to try and put pressure on that big and that’s when I can hit guys like Jason and Ryan. Eric Gordon is there to help because he’s less pressured.
“I feel like I’m falling into my place where I want to be that type of point guard. As we go through the season, it’s going to be huge for me to keep growing, to keep showing that I’m the starting point guard for this team.”
“I feel like I’m definitely there [as a starter], but another year after going through this whole season and a next year with an established team with no injuries, it will send me to the point where I really want to be.
“I’m not going to stop working because I know my limitations. I know what I can do and on this team I can do so much and be effective in many different ways. I think this year has been a great learning process for me to be the starting point guard that I want to be.”
With Rondo ruled out for the season with an ACL tear, the gap between Paul and Vasquez is not that great. In fact, Vasquez already has more total assists on the season than Paul, who has missed some games due to injury.
If the stat trends hold true, it could come down to the wire on who the best assist man in the NBA is, and given how under-the-radar Vasquez has been because of the Hornets losing record, being the top assist man could change a lot of people’s thinking about the former 28th overall draft selection in 2010. It could also win him some post-season hardware too.
From the “In Case You Missed It File” — check out my look at the Memphis Grizzlies new front office for USA Today Sports. There is a new sheriff in town and he wants to make the Grizzlies a sustainable power team in the West. Check it out here.
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Just The New Guy: When Jon Leuer was traded to the Memphis Grizzlies last week, he was labeled “the guy no one’s heard of” by local TV and radio in Memphis. His value as a player on the court was dismissed and the possibility of him being an upgrade in talent and skill from outgoing Marreese Speights was never considered.
Memphis is Leuer’s fourth NBA team since being drafted with the 40th pick in the 2011 by Milwaukee, so the criticism might be fair, because he has rarely played in the NBA despite a solid four-year career at Wisconsin.
Having been traded before Leuer said he was a little more prepared mentally for what comes next.
“Having been through it once already, I felt a little bit more prepared,” Leuer told HOOPSWORLD “I knew it happens fast and I know that it’s the life in the NBA, it’s kind of the nature in the business. So when that happens you just have to roll with the punches and look at it has new opportunity and make the most out of it.”
Like most guys who get traded, Leuer heard about the deal from someone other than his team.
“I was in the locker room before shootaround,” recalls Leuer. “And Kyrie Irving was on his phone and he happened to be on ESPN and said ‘Jon I think you just got traded,’ so he was the one that told me and obviously that is not how it normally goes down and [Cleveland Cavaliers General Manager] Chris Grant was like ‘Sorry that you had to find out that way, normally I would be the one to tell you that.’ But I understand that that stuff happens and like I said I was just looking forward to a new opportunity.”
“I think right away, I obviously know what this team is about and the guys on this team, the coaching staff and the organization as a whole and what they are about and that’s trying to push for a championship. Knowing that, it made me excited and like I said just looking forward to helping this team anyway I can.”
“To be around these bigs and learn from them and coach Hollins and the coaching staff. I think it is a great opportunity for me, and I’m just going to try to make the most of out of it, work hard every day and like I said, do whatever I can to help this team.”
Memphis’ decision to take back Leuer in their trade with Cleveland is interesting because in 2011, Grizzlies Vice President of Basketball Operations John Hollinger, while with ESPN, had Leuer rated as the 14th best prospect in the 2011 class based on his Draft Rater algorithm.
Hollinger’s 2011 Top 20 at the time looked like this:
1. Kyrie Irving, 2. Derrick Williams, 3. Tristan Thompson, 4. Jonas Valanciunas, 5. Kawhi Leonard, 6. Enes Kanter, 7. Kemba Walker, 8. Tobias Harris, 9. Alec Burks, 10. Jordan Hamilton, 11. Bismack Biyombo, 12. Brandon Knight, 13. Tyler Honeycutt, 14. Jon Leuer, 15. Nikola Vucevic, 16. Chris Singleton, 17. Jan Vesely, 18. Klay Thompson, 19. Norris Cole, 20. Iman Shumpert
It will be interesting to see if Leuer can live up to his pre-draft hype.
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