Early 2015 trade rumblings around the league
In terms of trade activity, 2015 kicked off with a resounding bang as the Cleveland Cavaliers, New York Knicks and Oklahoma City Thunder completed a three-way deal that contained a decent mix of overall talent.
With just over a month remaining before this season’s trade deadline (February 19) you can expect more trade activity, or at the very least plenty of rumblings, dominating the headlines.
Here are some of the names and situations to keep a close eye on as we approach the trade deadline:
Jose Calderon, New York Knicks
The Knicks (5-32) are the worst team in the league and headed to the lottery. The team just shipped guards J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert in what was essentially a salary dump as the team prepares for free agency this summer.
If New York is truly cleaning house, Calderon could be one of the next pieces to go. The veteran guard is on the books for $7.1 million this season and is owed an additional $15.1 million through 2017.
Calderon’s agent, Mark Bartelstein, has acknowledged his client could be in play.
“Jose is the ultimate professional and he’s never going to demand to be traded,” Bartelstein told HoopsHype. “He’s disappointed by the way things are going, but he’s going to try to make it right. We’re aware the Knicks are in a state of transition and a trade is a realistic possibility because many teams are interested in Jose, but if a move happens it’s never going to be because we’re requesting it.”
Calderon is averaging 9.4 points, 4.3 assists and 3.4 rebounds for New York this season. At 33 years of age and with his remaining salary on the books it will be tough for the Knicks to quickly unload the pass first floor general.
Reggie Jackson, Oklahoma City Thunder
The Thunder opened up the New Year with a trade, adding Dion Waiters to their backcourt. This move creates a bit of a logjam in Oklahoma City’s backcourt for minutes with Waiters, Jeremy Lamb, Anthony Morrow, Reggie Jackson and Andre Roberson looking to earn consistent burn.
This could open the door for Jackson, who is headed to (restricted) free agency this summer, to be placed on the trading block if the Thunder are looking for a solid return before the deadline.
As of now the Thunder aren’t showing the signs of actively wanting to ship Jackson, but according to a CBS Sports report, the New York Knicks are expected to try and engage in talks for the rising guard.
The Knicks are expected to try to re-engage the Thunder in talks for point guard Reggie Jackson after being rebuffed in their efforts to land him in Monday night’s three-team deal, sources say. Jackson would fit into the $2.6 million trade exception New York received in the trade with Cleveland and Oklahoma City, but the Thunder have been steadfast in rebuffing trade offers for the point guard.
Jackson is averaging career highs in points (15.3), rebounds (4.3) and assists (5.1) this season, but his production has taken a hit over the past month with the return of All-Star guard Russell Westbrook in the lineup.
If healthy the Thunder should be a team with legitimate title hopes, so trading away a talented player like Jackson would seem counterproductive. However the guard is also expected to generate decent interest in free agency so it possible the luxury tax conscious Thunder could change their stance for the right offer.
The Toronto Raptors
The Raptors (24-10) are currently third in the Eastern Conference and enjoy an eight game lead in the Atlantic Division standings. But the team’s front office isn’t resting on its laurels approaching the trade deadline.
Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri told Zach Lowe of Grantland recently that he isn’t opposed to trading away the team’s upcoming first round draft pick for the right deal in order to capitalize on a potential open window in the East.
“You read about it and hear about the East, the East, the East,” Ujiri says. “And you have to think about it sometimes. Is this a rare time? Is this period — the next year or two — something we have to take advantage of?”
Would the Raptors deal their first-rounder in exchange for someone who could help today — an extra dose of rim protection for a bottom-10 defense, a hybrid forward, or some scoring juice to slot ahead of Amir Johnson at power forward?
“That’s a question I can’t answer,” Ujiri says. “It depends on what’s there. But I won’t make decisions that are going to shorten our growth and help us only this year.”
The Raptors have other assets as well with five guys on expiring deals totaling over $27 million in salary. Those players are Amir Johnson, Landry Fields, Chuck Hayes, Lou Williams and Tyler Hansbrough.
Johnson and Williams are key role players for the team, but Fields, Hayes and Hansbrough could be options for teams looking to sell off future financial commitments as we approach the trade deadline.
Be sure to take a look at Basketball Insiders’ Alex Kennedy’s take on additional names who could be on the move from Tuesday.
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