As every Southwest team except the Grizzlies prepares for action tonight, let's check in on the latest notes out of the division....
Kings guard Tyreke Evans is playing his best ball of the past few years right now, and he's doing so all the while not showing concern with his free agency situation, writes CSNPhilly.com's Jabari Young. Sacramento chose not to extend Evans earlier this season, and there's much speculation around the league regarding whether or not he could be traded before the deadline.
8:23pm: The Raptors sent out a press release confirming the deal for all three teams. The second-rounder headed to the Grizzlies is Toronto's own 2013 pick, and Memphis is receiving cash from the Raptors as part of the deal, the statement notes.
8:20pm: Keith Langlois of Pistons.com tweets that Detroit's side of the deal is official, and that Calderon will join the team in time for Friday's game. Since it was the Pistons-Grizzlies part that seemed to have hit a snag earlier, rather than the Raptors-Grizzlies end of it, the swap appears to be squared away. Pistons GM Joe Dumars has released a statement, as Vincent Goodwill of the Detroit News passes along (All Twitter links).
7:28pm: The trade call has ended, meaning the deal is now official, a source tells Ken Berger of CBSSports.com (Twitter link).
6:55pm: The trade call has been delayed slightly, but it's still going on, tweets Doug Smith of the Toronto Star, who adds that the deal is still going to happen.
6:18pm: Goodwill now hears from a source who says the trade will indeed go down (Twitter link).
6:06pm: A source tells Vincent Goodwill of the Detroit News there's "one hangup" in the deal, though Goodwill doesn't specify what it could be (Twitter link).
5:56pm: The Pistons' side of the trade has not yet been finalized, Aldridge notes via Twitter, though with the trade call scheduled in a few minutes from now, it's likely we'll soon have official word. Both Prince and Daye are inactive for Detroit's game tonight.
5:33pm: The Raptors will likely waive and buy out the rest of Haddadi's two-year contract, reports Ken Berger of CBSSports.com (Twitter link). Haddadi is making $1.3MM this year and is due a partial guarantee of $200K on his fully $1.398MM salary next year. Under terms of the new CBA, the Grizzlies will not be allowed to sign Haddadi again for one year.
5:13pm: The Grizzlies, Raptors and Pistons have all reached agreement on a three-team trade. ESPN's Marc Stein reported the Grizzlies have acquired Jose Calderon and Ed Davis from the Raptors in exchange for Rudy Gay and Hamed Haddadi. TNT's David Aldridge reports the Pistons will receive Calderon from the Grizzlies in exchange for Tayshaun Prince (Twitter link). Stein added that Austin Daye is also headed to Memphis, and noted the Grizzlies will get a second-round pick from the Raptors as well.
The trade call will be placed to the league office at 7pm Eastern, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. When the trade becomes official, it will end several weeks of speculation about Gay's future in Memphis, as the Grizzlies look to avoid becoming a repeat taxpayer. It also ends months of chatter about Calderon in Toronto. The Pistons apparently beat out the Mavericks for the point guard, as Dallas refused to part with Vince Carter in any potential deal, Stein tweets.
The Grizzlies save significant money in the deal, as the combined salaries of Prince, Daye and Davis add up to $11.9MM, much less than the total of $17.8MM that Gay and Haddadi are getting. Daye can come off the books next season, as he's a restricted free agent this summer. Davis has one more season left on his rookie deal, at $3.15MM, and is set to hit restricted free agency in 2014 unless the Grizzlies extend his deal. Gay's contract runs through 2014/15, a player option season in which he's due to make $19.3MM. The Grizzlies are now $8MM under the luxury tax, which could give them more flexibility to make other moves this season, as Ken Berger of CBSSports.com points out (Twitter link). The Grizzlies will pay out $37.2MM less as a result of the moves, Berger adds.
Technically, the deal is actually a pair of two-team trades, rather than one three-team trade, notes Mark Deeks of ShamSports (Twitter link). The Raptors, operating exclusively with the Grizzlies, wind up with Gay's sizable contract, adding roughly $5MM to their payroll, which was at about $61.2MM. They're still well below the $70.307MM tax line, and figure to remain that way even when DeMar DeRozan's four-year, $38MM extension kicks in next season.
The Pistons, meanwhile, part ways with the last remaining member of their 2004 championship team, bringing in a point guard to mentor second-year man Brandon Knight. It also clears cap room, since Calderon's expiring $10.56MM contract will come off the books this summer, while Prince is signed through 2015.
4:42pm: The Grizzlies spent the day calling around doing background work on Tayshaun Prince, according to Wojnarowski (via Twitter), so presumably Prince would be headed to Memphis if Calderon is sent to Detroit. Sam Amick of USA Today reports that the Celtics are another team in the mix to acquire Calderon.
4:35pm: If and when the deal is finalized, the Grizzlies are also expected to receive a second-round pick from the Raptors, according to Stein.
4:30pm: According to Stein (via Twitter), the Mavericks are another potential landing spot for Calderon, though Dallas is reluctant to part with Vince Carter, who the Grizzlies would want to replace Gay. Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com made the case this morning for why the Mavs make sense as the third team in a Raptors/Grizzlies deal.
4:23pm: The Grizzlies and Raptors have a deal in place that would send Gay and Hamed Haddadi to Toronto in exchange for Calderon and Davis, according to ESPN.com's Marc Stein (via Twitter). An agreement hasn't been finalized yet because it figures to eventually include a third team, possibly the Pistons, that would acquire Calderon, says Stein (via Twitter).
4:03pm: Several sources tell Wojnarowski that the Grizzlies have a plan to move Calderon to a third team in the discussed deal with the Raptors (Twitter link).
3:48pm: As Tillery suggested, the Grizzlies would prefer to send Calderon to a third team in the trade scenario they're discussing with the Raptors. Ken Berger of CBSSports.com tweets that there are "several potential suitors" making a push for the point guard.
3:34pm: The Grizzlies appear to be moving closer to a deal that would include Rudy Gay, according to Ronald Tillery of the Memphis Commercial Appeal. Tillery reports that Memphis is weighing whether or not to pull the trigger on one of three different scenarios, including one that would send Gay to the Raptors. The Grizzlies have two other potential deals on the table if they and the Raptors can't reach an agreement by this weekend.
Adrian Wojnarowski is also reporting that the Grizzlies and Raptors are making progress on a potential trade. According to Wojnarowski, the two sides have discussed scenarios involving a third team in addition to straight-up scenarios. The Raptors would likely part with Jose Calderon and Ed Davis in any deal (Twitter links).
According to Tillery, in their talks with the Raptors, the Grizzlies are seeking a small forward, a draft pick, and possibly Davis. A third team may have to be involved to acquire Calderon and provide the small forward the Grizzlies are hoping to land. Darrell Arthur would not be involved in that hypothetical trade, says Tillery.
Wojnarowski adds in another tweet that the Grizzlies and Raptors are discussing the potential deal with their respective ownership groups, and could reach an agreement as soon as tonight.
THURSDAY, 3:23pm: While the Pistons say they're not shopping Prince, Sam Amico of FOX Sports Ohio says the team has made exploratory calls (Twitter link). There hasn't been much interest so far, according to Amico.
SUNDAY, 10:58pm: Tayshaun Prince is the lone holdover from Detroit's glory days in the aughts and one might think that the Pistons would look to move him for assets to help the club build for the future. However, neither Prince nor the Pistons front office are pushing for a trade, writes RealGM's Shams Charania.
Agent Bill Duffy says that Prince has been assured the Pistons won’t field trade offers for him and the two sides have “never” discussed a deal for the forward. The 32-year-old is averaging 12.1 points and 4.7 rebounds this season. Prince says that he's committed to helping the Pistons, even though the losing bothers him.
“I know there are a lot of contending teams that I can help,” Prince said. “But right now, this is the team I have to help. Everybody wants to be in the position where they have a chance of winning a championship every year, but obviously it doesn’t work that way.”
Prince has two more years on his contract beyond 2012/13 worth nearly $15MM.
Losing Anderson Varejao for a good chunk of the season was a blow to the Cavaliers' on-court prospects and to the team's chances of extracting value for him at the trade deadline, but it wasn't just the Cavs that were adversely affected by Varejao's leg injury. According to ESPN.com's Marc Stein (Twitter link), earning an All-Star berth would have triggered a $1MM bonus in Varejao's contract. Given the big man's strong performance early in the season (14.1 PPG, 14.4 RPG, 22.0 PER), an All-Star berth appeared well within reach before he was sidelined.
Here are a few more Wednesday morning items out of the Central Division:
The Detroit Pistons are off to a horrendous start to the 2012/13 season, with a 3-10 record tied with Toronto for second-worst in the NBA behind only the winless Washington Wizards. The organization has insisted that head coach Lawrence Frank's job is not in question. However, some of Detroit's players have begun questioning his methods and rotations in the media.
"If I was Coach, I would've made a decision sooner than he did," Prince said. "A 6-0 run, call a timeout. Bam-bam, we come back out, nothing happens, bam (make a substitution). If you gotta make a choice, you have to make a choice. (He) went too long."
Guard Will Bynum has also expressed his displeasure with Frank's rotations, telling Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press that it's been difficult for him to find a place in the many lineups Frank has been juggling:
"I'm having to adjust to everybody. I'm playing with so many different people. First I go from not playing with [Rodney] Stuckey to playing with Stuckey every day. I go from playing with Kyle [Singler] all the time to never playing with Kyle. I'm playing with Tayshaun [Prince]. Early on I was playing with Brandon [Knight] and I never played with him in two years since I've been here. It's all over the place right now."
The Pistons front office reportedly views this season as a rebuilding year and thus isn't prone to letting Frank go. However, this will be an interesting story to keep an eye on if the Pistons' struggles continue.
The Pistons enter this season as a young team looking for an identity, writes MLive.com's David Mayo. Can they compete for a playoff spot this early in the rebuilding process, or do the young pieces need much more time to get acclimated and be competitive?
Pistons veteran forward Tayshaun Prince recently stated his desires for the franchise to acquire a veteran point guard as the team heads into the offseason, writes Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press. The former Kentucky star said he wants rookie and fellow former Wildcat Brandon Knight to have a seasoned player at his position who can mentor him as he heads into his second season. Knight, 20, enjoyed a strong debut as he averaged 12.8 PPG, 3.8 APG and 3.2 RPG in 60 starts for the Pistons.
"There can be times that me and Ben Wallace can mentor and help him out and whatnot, but I think if you have a point guard that's been through the wars, he can help him out a little bit better than we can."
Ellis suggests that the Pistons may elect to use their mid-level exception to sign an experienced point guard as a relatively deep crop of free agents at the position are set to become available this summer. Raymond Felton and Chauncey Billups should be considered among the most viable options for the Pistons as Steve Nash, still a prized signing at 38, would be unlikely to go from one rebuilding effort to another as his career winds down. Beyond Knight, the Pistons employed journeyman Will Bynum and 29-year-old rookie Walker Russell as backup point guards for the 2011/2012 season.