The Scuttle Is Heating Up: Chris Broussard of ESPN.com put out a couple of fun nuggets last night, so let’s get into them:
Lakers And Beasley?: Broussard points to Michael Beasley as the player the Lakers and Wolves have talked about. Wolves’ sources have labeled Beasley as expendable since the draft when the team selected Derrick Williams with the second overall pick.
Like most teams that draft a rookie when an incumbent is already on the roster, the Wolves wanted to give Derrick room to learn and grow before making a decision. They also wanted to provide a little competition for Beasley which has not sparked the 6’10 forward as the team expected.
The Wolves did something similar with Ricky Rubio, not only did the Wolves not trade Luke Ridnour, wanting to keep him around as a safety net for Rubio. The team also signed J.J. Barea in the offseason.
With Williams and Rubio playing and adjusting well, it’s believed that Ridnour and Beasley are the odd guys out.
Both players could solve real problems for the Lakers, the questions is what would it cost LA to get both?
The Lakers do hold a $8.9 million Traded Players exception, but could not acquire both players using that tool.
Beasley is owed $6.2 million this season and due for a qualifying offer of $8.17 million this summer or he’ll become an unrestricted free agent.
Ridnour is owed $3.68 million this year and has two more years on his deal worth $4 million and $4.32 million respectively.
Point Guards: The Lakers have been linked to several point guards including free agent Gilbert Arenas and Cleveland’s Ramon Sessions.
Broussard points to Sessions as a preferred target, suggesting that closer to the trade deadline he might be obtainable for just a draft pick.
Arenas is an option now, and an inexpensive low-risk one at that. However according to Arenas, he’s not close to signing anything just yet.
Gilbert spoke to Sam Amick of SI.com this week on a wide range of issues, including his workout with the Lakers.
“I was actually training in New York,” explained Arenas “My agent, Dan Fegan, told me to come out and work out for the Lakers. My whole thing is, I don’t want to play for anybody until I’m finished rehabbing and finished doing what I need to do, so that’s not going to happen until at least All-Star break. So I decided, Well, I’ll just go out there and work out.
“I’m just showing you what I have. You can either keep reading newspapers articles where they say I’m 40 pounds overweight and I lost a step — all the fantasy stuff people want to talk about because they’re going off my last year where I was basically mentally out of it. Or you can just see for yourself: This is what I am. A 6-foot-3 guard, 6-10 wingspan, still got his quickness, can still jump, still fast. I make shots, and that’s what I am. I’m not here to sell anything, but look, here’s what I am and then I’m going back home to my family.”
Arenas underwent several rounds of Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy including injections in both knees and his hips and has been working on his game and his physical conditioning.
Gilbert says he’ll look at his options more seriously after the All-Star break this weekend in Orlando.
The Lakers are expected to do the same, not only with Arenas who still appears to be an option, but also in trade.
The Cavaliers continue to say they are not looking to tear their team apart just yet, but it seems inevitable that Sessions or guard Daniel Gibson would be moved for future assets like draft picks or salary cap room.
Gibson may be more valuable in trade because the final year of his contract is non-guaranteed. But that may also make him the more attractive player of the two to keep especially if the Cavs goal is to get cap space to sign new players.
As things stand today the Cavs have $31 million in salary commitments next season including the $4.55 million Player Option on Sessions and the $4.79 million non-guaranteed option on Gibson.
This one will be interesting to watch.
Frustrations In Atlanta: First it was Tracy McGrady… now it seems Marvin Williams is unhappy with his role.
Let’s be honest. If the Hawks could move Marvin Williams, they would. Marvin’s contract has been a bad deal for a while now and if the team could trade him even for little to nothing in return they would do it just to get the contract off the books.
Williams has also been problematic with the coaching staff and been labeled something of a diva in Atlanta.
So to be fair to Marvin who is reportedly unhappy and looking for an exit, if the Hawks could find a door to push Marvin out of, they’d likely do it yesterday.
Marvin is a good guy and a reasonably good player, but he has never lived up to the huge five-year $40 million contract he signed in 2009.
Marvin is owed $7.5 million this year and has two more years left on his deal worth $8.287 million next year, with a Early Termination Option worth $7.5 million in 2013-2014.
That’s a tough deal to swallow for a guy that’s averaging 9.6 points and 5.4 rebounds per game and shooting a career low 42.6% from the field.
The Raptors: There is no doubting that Raptors guard Jose Calderon has played himself back into the trade market. Last season the Raptors couldn’t get a serious offer for Calderon, now the line of teams that are interested in him is real and fruitful.
The Raptors are where they should be with the talent they have collected… they are winning some games, but losing more than they win. The question is should the Raptors start selling off assets to remove long term money?
Chris Broussard floated out Andre Bargnani in addition to Calderon, as players teams are calling about which shouldn’t be a surprise.
Moving Bargnani would remove more than $41 million from the Raptors balance sheet over the next four years, as well as gaining $10 million more in cap space next summer.
Prior to missing the last month with a calf injury, Andrea was playing extremely well, which begs the question of how good could he be next season with Jonas Valančiūnas, the Raptors draft pick this year and what’s looks to be another lottery pick next year?
Trading Calderon and his final $10.5 million contract year and Bargnani would get the Raptors to just $21 million in salary commitments making them one of the top cap space teams next summer, but they would have little by way of proven players to build around.
The Raptors are not mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, but sitting on just nine wins, the odds of a second half surge is slim.
Is it time to start selling off the assets… several NBA teams are trying to get Toronto to do just that.
The NBA Trade Deadline is 23 days away, so as teams get ready for the All-Star Break, expect the conversation level to pick up as teams try and figure out who they are going to be for the second half of the season.
Moving Rondo?: Gerry Callahan of the Boston Hearld brings up a great point on Boston’s Rajon Rondo.
If the Celtics are going to have to move into rebuild mode, will Rondo sit idle and lose while the team restructures?
As Callahan so accurately states:
“Rondo has three years (and $36 million) left on his contract after this season, and even when things are going OK, he appears impatient, annoyed, petulant.”
As good as a Rondo can be as a player, is he the guy that you want trot out to the media after losing a 10th game in 12 tries?
The truth of the rebuilding cycle in the NBA is that when you have been to the top, you generally get at least one trip to the bottom at some point and with all of the Celtics’ core getting older by the second, wouldn’t it be smarter for the Celtics to deal Rondo and try to jump start the rebuild/retool?
There is no doubting that Rondo is a chip the Celtics would cash and have explored cashing.
So when you ask yourself ‘why would Boston consider moving him?’; keep in mind they may feel the same way about Rondo as Callahan does. Rondo might not have the temperament to go through rebuilding and that’s something the Celtics have to consider as the season carries on.
The Celtics are currently sitting at 15-16 on the season which is good enough for eighth place in the East which would match them up in the post season with Miami if the standings hold true.
The Celtics have 34 games remaining on the schedule, including 18 home games and 16 away games. Of the remaining games Boston will see 19 teams with a record above.500 and 24 teams from the East.
There is no doubting that Boston has the talent and the fire power to shoot themselves into a better playoff seed, but at some point Boston is going to have to decide when they are going to be sellers and based on the frequency and variety of Rondo rumors, if the Celtics are out of the playoff picture come March 15th, circle Rondo as a name likely on the move.