It's been a relatively quiet day as far as NBA rumors and transactions go, but a year ago today, things were heating up in anticipation of a later-than-usual March 15th trade deadline. No deals were consummated on the 14th, but the Bucks and Warriors had finalized a five-player blockbuster the day before, and plenty of rumors were swirling in advance of a deadline day that saw nine more trades completed. We won't be seeing any trades happen on March 14th this year, but while we wait to see if the evening brings any more minor deals or major rumors, let's round up a few odds and ends....
Earlier today, we rounded up post-deadline comments made by one general manager, the Thunder's Sam Presti, in the wake of yesterday's moves. Now we'll turn our focus to Toronto, where GM Bryan Colangelo spoke to reporters today about the Raptors' deadline decisions. Eric Koreen of the National Post has the key quotes.
On the Raptors acquiring Sebastian Telfair:
"We feel like we’re getting a player that gives us the necessary depth at that position. [John Lucas III] has done a great job filling in on the short term. The ability to score, the ability to man those minutes, he did an admirable job and I don’t necessarily see him getting supplanted right away. But what I do see is a guy that is capable of playing those minutes if need be and if someone were to go down with injury you’ve got a guy that has started I believe 192 games in the NBA who can come in and play this games if need be."
On trade talks involving Andrea Bargnani:
"Once the [elbow] injury occurred, his return, as late as it was in the process, as near to the trade deadline [as it was], it probably did not leave enough runway with respect to a deal being made now. That didn’t stop us from having dialogue with other teams or teams expressing interest. I believe it did affect some of the deals that we were probably discussing in advance of the injury, and even some that we were maintaining connection or dialogue over the course of the last couple months."
On revisiting a Bargnani trade this summer:
"The summer is the next potential opportunity to engage in trade discussions with respect to our entire roster. And with 27 games left in terms of us looking at where we are and how this group can come together and what the chemistry looks like. Continuity is obviously something nice to look at going forward. I think a lot of the pieces we do have in place are pieces we want to keep and hang onto and we’ll see how it all plays out."
On the impact of the CBA and increasing tax penalties:
"Of course, every team in the league is tax-averse. You do not want to be in the tax for various reasons.... Some people have said different things about the transaction we made yesterday. It not only shored up a point guard position need that we had, but it also took a $200K commitment off of the books for next year with [Hamed] Haddadi’s contract. It sounds like nothing, but $200K over the tax next year is actually a $300K tax with a $1.50-per-dollar principle for the first $5MM over. It was a $500K decision just for next season. … We made a very large transaction and have climbed into the tax for next season prior to three weeks ago. It certainly didn’t affect us in terms of a decision that was made in terms of the acquisition of Rudy Gay."
Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld posted a new column examining the reasoning why many teams opted to stand pat at the trade deadline rather than make any major deals. He also wrote that, although the trade deadline was relatively uneventful, it could set up an exciting summer of trades and free-agent signings.
Kennedy also ran down the teams he thought improved with deadline deals:
A complete recap of trades that were completed before Thursday's trade deadline:
1:33pm: The second-round pick headed to Phoenix will either be the Raptors' or Kings' 2014 pick, whichever is lower, reports Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic (via Twitter).
1:03pm: The Raptors and Suns have agreed to a deal that will send Sebastian Telfair to Toronto and Hamed Haddadi to Phoenix, reports ESPN.com's Chris Broussard (via Twitter). According to Ken Berger of CBSSports.com (via Twitter), the Suns will also acquire a second-round pick in the trade, as ESPN.com's Marc Stein reported earlier today.
Since trading Jose Calderon to the Pistons in the deal that landed them Rudy Gay, the Raptors had been exploring avenues for adding another point guard, having reportedly targeted Eric Maynor and Luke Ridnour along with Telfair. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reported this morning that the Raptors had emerged as the frontrunners for Telfair, who had a cheaper salary and trade cost than Toronto's other options.
In addition to landing a protected second-rounder from the Raptors, the Suns will also cut costs a little, as Haddadi is earning just $1.3MM compared to Telfair's $1.57MM. The move also lets the team create playing time for rookie point guard Kendall Marshall, which was Phoenix's initial motivation for exploring a Telfair trade.
10:44am: If the Suns and Raptors reach an agreement, it's likely to come in the final hour before the deadline, tweets ESPN.com's Marc Stein, who says that Telfair would likely be swapped for Hamed Haddadi and a second-round pick.
8:34am: NBA fans may not breathlessly be discussing the Sebastian Telfair sweepstakes, but according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports (via Twitter), the Raptors have emerged as the frontrunners to land Telfair.
We heard earlier this week that the Suns were looking to move Telfair in order to create playing time for rookie point guard Kendall Marshall. The club's efforts to trade Telfair likely intensified after Phoenix agreed to acquire Marcus Morris -- with 15 players already on the roster, the team will need to trade or release a player to clear room for the newest Sun.
The Suns' need to move or let go of a player should create leverage for the Raptors, who have been eyeing a number of backup point guards on the trade market. However, because Telfair makes more than the minimum salary, the Raps would have to send out a little salary of their own to make a deal work financially. Doug Smith of the Toronto Star suggested today that trading Alan Anderson in a deal for a backup point guard is a possibility for Toronto.
With less than six hours until today's trade deadline, Steve Kyler of HoopsWorld explores a few of the latest rumors in his NBA AM piece. Here are the highlights:
Yahoo's Marc J. Spears says (via Twitter) that trade talk has been quiet, as teams are waiting to see what happens with Josh Smith first. One major factor which undeniably has affected discussions around this time has been the looming "repeater tax," which Adrian Wojnarowski tweets is the reason why most teams have been reluctant to take back long-term deals at the deadline. We'll round up the rest of tonight's miscellaneous links below:
As we heard earlier, ESPN's Chris Broussard reports that the Raptors are in the market for a point guard and have been in talks with the Suns about moving Sebastian Telfair (Twitter link). Additionally, this ESPN report (which credits Broussard and Marc Stein) says that Toronto also has interest in Timberwolves' guard Luke Ridnour and Eric Maynor of the Thunder.
Since dealing Jose Calderon, the Raptors' point guard rotation has consisted of Kyle Lowry and John Lucas III. While Lucas has been productive as of late (scoring in double figures in the team's last four games), his assist numbers have been low enough to understand why Toronto could be looking to add a pure playmaker off the bench.
In an effort to create playing time for rookie point guard Kendall Marshall, the Suns are looking to move Sebastian Telfair, according to Chris Broussard of ESPN.com (via Twitter). While it's unclear whether the team is currently engaged in any talks, Broussard suggests (via Twitter) that the Raptors are seeking a backup point guard and could be one possibility.
Telfair, 27, has averaged 17.3 minutes per game in 46 contests for the Suns this year, and is producing at a rate consistent with his career numbers. His points per 36 minutes (12.5) and PER (11.2) are slightly better than his career rates (12.4 and 10.8).
Telfair is only earning about $1.57MM, but could be a little trickier to move than if he were earning a minimum salary. Minimum-salary players can be acquired without sending out any salary in return, but a trade for Telfair would require an interested team to either send out a player or possess a trade exception large enough to absorb Telfair's salary.