TUESDAY, 9:57pm: Wojnarowski reports that the final hurdle for a deal that would send Gay to Toronto hinges on finding a third team to take Calderon's contract. He adds that within the deal's current framework, the Grizzlies are likely to receive another young Raptors player along with a future draft pick. Terrence Ross is not one of the names being considered, as the Raptors have reportedly deemed the rookie untouchable.
8:11pm: Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun says that the Raptors have little interest in taking additional salary in the form of Darrell Arthur's contract, and thus a third team would be needed if he were included into discussions.
12:46pm: As they try to find a way to land Gay, the Raptors are engaging teams about a possible three-team deal, but are having trouble finding a taker for Calderon, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports (via Twitter).
MONDAY, 7:00pm: The Grizzlies are engaged in active trade discussions with the Raptors centering on Rudy Gay, reports Marc Stein of ESPN. Stein says that while the Raptors are Gay's most active suitor, no initial framework for a deal has been agreed upon. Stein confirms that, due to last week's trade, the Grizzlies feel that they no longer must trade Gay and can instead wait and consider more fair value offers.
The Raptors have been determined in their pursuit of Gay and also are interested in Grizzlies forward Darrell Arthur. Toronto is offering up Jose Calderon and third-year forward Ed Davis as two of the main pieces in a potential deal.
Stein says that the Celtics have also inquired on Gay's availability, but was told that they balked at the prospect at giving up Paul Pierce in the deal. In light of Rajon Rondo's injury, Stein was also told that Boston would be more likely to pursue Kyle Lowry and his cap friendly deal than Gay and his bulky contract. As talks heat up, Stein says, more teams could become involved in a potential deal.
Grizzlies' coach Lionel Hollins, as well as several of the team's players, have reportedly lobbied management for a chance to play the season out as currently constructed. But the Memphis front office is worried about its ability to improve the roster in future years, Stein says, and is subsequently seeking first round picks in any deal.
Led by Jrue Holiday, the 76ers remain three games out of the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference. Significant help in the form of another all-star caliber player could be on the way within the next several weeks, as Andrew Bynum has continued to make progress toward his goal of possibly returning to practice next week, notes Tom Moore of PhillyBurbs.com. The 7'0 center has been plagued by bone bruises in both knees since the start of the season. With that aside, here are more news and notes from the Atlantic Division:
- Mike Mazzeo of ESPN New York reports that Nets GM Billy King will meet with owner Mikhail Prokhorov on Wednesday to discuss P.J. Carlesimo and the job he's done so far as the interim head coach. While Carlesimo has done an exceptional job after replacing Avery Johnson, Prokhorov is said to still be enamored with going after big names such as Phil Jackson and Jeff Van Gundy in the offseason.
- According to A. Sherrod Blakeley of CSNNE.com, Celtics guard Rajon Rondo will get a second opinion on his ACL injury from Dr. James Andrews, who is considered be arguably "the best orthopedic surgeon in the business."
- Mike Ganter of the Toronto Sun lays out the Raptors' top five pressing issues as they inch closer to the deadline, calling their interest in Rudy Gay the "most likely to come to fruition" rumor, examining the return of both Andrea Bargnani and Jonas Valanciunas from injury, Terrence Ross' progression into coach Dwane Casey's crunch-time lineup, and the continued acclimation of Landry Fields. With regard to Bargnani, Ganter thinks that Casey may have to provide a significant role at the expense of Ed Davis' minutes in order to showcase the 7-footer's health.
- Eric Koreen of the National Post doesn't think that Gay is the cure-all answer for the Raptors, who still have many other important questions to answer regardless of whether they land him or not. Among those question marks involve the franchise's commitment to GM Bryan Colangelo, the need for more significant roster moves, and the struggles of point guard Kyle Lowry.
- Doc Rivers doesn't appear too concerned about his players making an adjustment without Rondo, saying that a "no-point guard system" is something that the second unit has already found success with, writes Greg Payne of ESPN Boston.
- Mike Woodson will place a higher priority on getting Knicks three point sharpshooter Steve Novak more involved in the offense, says Ian Begley of ESPN New York.
Even before we learned that Rajon Rondo was done for the year with a torn ACL, we expected to hear plenty of Celtics-related trade rumors leading up to next month's trade deadline. That number of rumors figures to exponentially increase now that Rondo's on the shelf, and we've rounded up a few of Monday morning's rumblings right here:
- We heard yesterday that the Grizzlies may have interest in Paul Pierce, but according to ESPN.com's Marc Stein (Twitter link), Memphis is unlikely to seriously pursue the longtime Celtic. The Grizzlies are hoping to add depth, shooting, and/or youth if they move Gay, so Pierce wouldn't be an ideal fit, tweets Stein.
- Stein adds (via Twitter) that the Celtics have shown exploratory interest in Gay but aren't likely to take on significant long-term salary.
- Stein gets the sense that Kyle Lowry is a probable target for Boston, but isn't sure whether or not the Celtics have the assets to land him (Twitter link).
- Multiple team executives tell Chris Mannix of SI.com (Twitter link) that Jared Sullinger is considered the most-appealing Celtic, but Mannix says the C's aren't expected to part with the rookie forward.
- We also rounded up a number of Celtics-related rumors yesterday in the wake of the Rondo announcement.
In light of news that Rajon Rondo has a torn ACL, it looks like most readers think the Celtics would be smart to move Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. It is a question that basketball writers around the league will be tackling for weeks leading up to the trading deadline. Let's round up all of the media fallout from the Rondo injury here:
- A. Sherrod Blakely of CSN New England considers adding Delonte West the most likely scenario for the Celtics, adding that a league source told him earlier this season that the Celtics would only consider bringing back West if one of their guards went down with a long-term injury. Blakely also mentions Andre Barrett, the current D-League assists leader, as a possibility.
- The Celtics' television broadcast team takes a shot at answering the question of how the Celtics can replace Rondo, via CSN New England.
- Blowing up the Celtics' roster is way better in theory than it is in reality, writes Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports. He says that there simply aren't teams out there with young talent and draft picks that are willing to give them up for Paul Pierce or Kevin Garnett. With this in mind, Wojnarowski opines that it would be a mistake for the C's to do anything drastic.
- Keith Schlosser of Ridiculous Upside wonders whether the Celtics will look to the D-League to fill the void created by Rondo's injury. Schlosser specifically mentions Delonte West, Courtney Fortson, Chris Wright, Donald Sloan, Sean Singletary and Scott Machado as potential solutions.
- Dwain Price of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram also tweets that West and the Celtics seem like a match.
- Danny Ainge and the Celtics have some big decisions to make in the near future as a result of Rondo's injury, writes Matt Moore of CBS Sports. Moore says the Celts were already contemplating blowing up their roster this season, and the Rondo news certainly makes it more likely.
- Ken Berger of CBS Sports says that Pierce's contract – with only $4MM guaranteed next year – is "as tradeable as it gets." Berger adds that rival executives expect the Grizzlies to have interest in Pierce. He also speculates that a team like the Nets could be interested in Garnett. Should they decide to become buyers rather than sellers, Berger says Jose Calderon or Kyle Lowry are two possible targets for Boston.
- Jessica Camerato of CSN New England writes that the Celtics locker room was stunned to hear the news about their floor general after their double overtime win against the Heat. Camerato's colleague, A. Sherrod Blakely, provides more reactions from the Celtics as well as from Miami's LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.
- Blakely adds, via Twitter, that he doesn't expect a trade soon. Instead, Blakely thinks that the Celtics will add a point guard via a 10-day contract, if they choose to do anything.
Sunday's nationally televised tilt between the Heat and Celtics will mark the return of Ray Allen to Boston, and the erstwhile Celtics guard spoke to Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports about the "collection of everything" that led him to sign with Miami. In addition, Allen has told those close to him that he felt he ranked behind Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo on coach Doc Rivers' list of favorites, as Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News shares. Rivers is nonetheless calling for Boston fans to cheer Allen when he's introduced, but a hostile greeting seems more likely, as LeBron James surmises in Chris Tomasson's report for Fox Sports Florida.
There's more on the Celtics and their Atlantic Division rivals, as we round up here:
- Last night Ken Berger of CBSSports.com shared that he's hears the Raptors would prefer to trade Kyle Lowry over Jose Calderon, but according to Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun, the front office is split on which point guard it likes best. Wolstat speculates that a trade that sends both away is more likely than a scenario in which Toronto deals Lowry and keeps Calderon (All Twitter links).
- While some members of the Knicks organization were worried several days ago that Rasheed Wallace might miss the season, coach Mike Woodson said that if the team had a playoff game today, Wallace would play, as Newsday's Al Iannazzone observes. That appears to make it less likely the Knicks would sign Kenyon Martin, as their interest in him is reportedly tied to Wallace's ability to return.
- While the Celtics' strengthening affinity for J.J. Redick may not be likely to result in a deal, CSNNE.com rounds up opinions on what a trade for the Magic sharpshooter and other moves could do for Boston. The problem isn't a lack of talent, according to CSNNE.com scribe A. Sherrod Blakely, adding that he believes Rivers' job is safe.
- Hall of Famer Robert Parish is campaigning for an NBA front-office or coaching job, but isn't expecting a hand from many of his former Celtics teammates, as Stan Grosfeld of the Boston Globe observes.
Ken Berger of CBSSports.com has a new column in which he examines the Lakers' options at the trading deadline. Berger attributes at least some of Dwight Howard's struggles this season to having only had a limited amount of time playing in the pick-and-roll with Steve Nash, and suggests that standing pat could be an option. He goes into further depth about the Lakers' options as well as some other topics from around the NBA as the deadline approaches.
- The Jazz, Raptors, Hawks, and Timberwolves are among the teams Berger says have interest in trading for Pau Gasol, although none of them have an ideal set of pieces to make a deal with the Lakers.
- Berger doesn't believe the Lakers will trade Howard because they have a lot of leverage to keep him in the form of a bigger contract they can offer him than any competitor.
- Kyle Lowry may be on the trade market, as people within the Raptors organization are not pleased with him. Berger lists the Mavericks and Hawks as two teams that could be interested in trading for him.
- Although talk has cooled in recent weeks, Berger hears from executives around the league that the Grizzlies are still open to trading Rudy Gay, either before the trade deadline or during the summer.
- Suns GM Lance Blanks and president Lon Babby could have their job security depend on Lindsey Hunter's success as interim head coach over the rest of the season.
- A bankruptcy lawyer is claiming that Kings minority owners should be given an opportunity to match the offer the Maloof family accepted to sell the team to the Chris Hansen-led Seattle ownership group.
Jose Calderon has been one of the most-discussed trade candidates this season, as he continues to put up strong numbers (10.7 PPG, 7.7 APG, 19.0 PER) for a Raptors team that remains 5.5 games out of the playoff hunt. While Calderon has dealt with trade rumors before, he recognizes that with his contract set to expire at season's end, trade chatter only figures to increase over the next few weeks.
"Maybe it’s going to be more than usual," Calderon said of the trade rumors, to RealGM's Michael Scotto. "It’s been usual for a while now for a few years."
Grantland's Zach Lowe is the latest to suggest that the Raptors ought to move Calderon before the deadline, breaking down the pros and cons provided by the Spaniard and fellow point guard Kyle Lowry before concluding that Lowry makes more sense for Toronto in the long run. If Raptors president Bryan Colangelo reaches the same conclusion, Calderon could be the subject of many trade talks over the next month, though the veteran point guard doesn't expect his agent to keep him apprised of the latest discussions.
"I prefer not to," said Calderon. "Unless if there is something he’s going to call, we’re going to talk about it. If he’s not calling, there’s a lot of things out there. He’s better just to leave it there and don’t talk about it because at the end of the day there’s nothing good, it’s just rumors."
With unrestricted free agency awaiting him this summer, it won't be long before Calderon will have the ability to determine his own future. However, he tells Scotto that it's still too early to be looking ahead to that decision.
"I think it’s too soon," said Calderon. "I don’t know what’s going to happen. I don’t know if I’m going to get traded or not because of my contract situation. Let’s see what happens when we finish the season. I think the summer is going to be the time to think about it, all the pros and cons, in every situation."
Chuck Myron of Hoops Rumors explored Calderon's trade candidacy earlier this month.
It's a busy 48 hours on the court, with a dozen games last night and another 11 games on tap this evening. There's plenty of news off the court as well, and we'll round it up here.
- Marc Stein of ESPN.com hears that Andrea Bargnani is "a lock to be moved," and wonders whether the Raptors might try to package him with Kyle Lowry instead of Jose Calderon. The other Raptors appear to prefer playing alongside Calderon, Stein observes, and the team's defense has improved since Bargnani went down with torn ligaments in his right elbow.
- Antawn Jamison expressed confusion about his diminished role with the Lakers 10 days ago, and now he doesn't appear pleased as he continues to stay chained to the bench, as Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News reports. "It doesn't make sense at all," the power forward said. "They're pretty much telling me my services are no longer needed."
- Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN believes the Wolves may wait to sign a replacement for Josh Howard until January 5th, when teams can begin handing out 10-day contracts. He also thinks Minnesota is high on Mickael Gelabale, whose agent has reportedly been in touch with all 30 teams (Twitter link).
- The Wolves made a half-hearted effort to sign O.J. Mayo over the offseason, making just one phone call, according to Wolfson (Twitter link).
- UNLV power forward Anthony Bennett is gaining momentum with scouts as he contends for No. 1 overall spot in June's draft, tweets Aran Smith of NBADraft.net.
The Nets' firing of Avery Johnson and search for a new coach has been the major post-Christmas story in the NBA, with the latest reports linking Brooklyn to top Rockets assistant Kelvin Sampson. There's plenty going on around the rest of the Atlantic Division though, so let's round up a few Friday links related to the Nets and their division rivals:
- In an Insider-only piece, ESPN.com's Tom Haberstroh puts forth some options for fixing the Nets, including trading for a major frontcourt piece, standing pat, or blowing up the roster.
- ESPN.com's 5-on-5 panel, which includes Sean Highkin of Hoops Rumors, isn't entirely in agreement on whether the Nets should become buyers or sellers at the trade deadline.
- With Johnson gone in Brooklyn, Dave D'Alessandro of the Star-Ledger wonders about GM Billy King's job security.
- Although we've seen a couple unexpected early-season coaching changes from teams believed to be contenders, don't expect the Celtics to be next. Unsurprisingly, team president Danny Ainge tells A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com that Doc Rivers' job is completely secure, despite Boston's recent struggles.
- As he prepares to return from a bicep injury, Kyle Lowry says he's okay with coming off the bench for the Raptors, writes Doug Smith of the Toronto Star.
The Celtics were the only one of three Atlantic Division teams to win on Christmas, beating the division rivals Nets to tie them for seventh place in the Eastern Conference. Boston is also the only Atlantic Division club not playing on the road tonight, as they have the day off. But no one will envy the Celtics tomorrow, when they must face the scorching Clippers in Los Angeles. There hasn't been much for Boston to crow about this season, and there's more about that along with other Atlantic Division scuttlebutt here.
- Sam Smith of Bulls.com writes that the Raptors "supposedly would like" to package Kyle Lowry in a trade and hang on to Jose Calderon. I'm not sure about this one, since Lowry's deal, which lasts through next season, is cap-friendly while Calderon's expiring contract is paying him $10.56MM this year. The Raptors have won five of the six games Calderon has started since Lowry went down with a tear in his right triceps, but that's a tiny sample size.
- Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun looks at five questions facing the Raptors, including the matter of who should start at point guard when Lowry returns to health.
- When you’re a point guard, your job is to get others going, but when you’re making the max, as Deron Williams is, you also have to look for your own shot, something Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News urges Williams to do more often after his seven-shot, 10-point effort on Christmas.
- There's more to team-building than simply adding talent, as Brandon Bass of the struggling Celtics attests to HoopsWorld's Lang Greene.