Vince Carter, unlike most of his Mavericks teammates, isn't set to hit free agency this summer. The 36-year-old is signed through 2014, but Mavs owner Mark Cuban hopes the team can keep him beyond next season, writes Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News. Cuban has no concerns about Carter's game declining after a bounceback season this year, and would like to see Carter eventually retire as a Mav.
"He can play for more than a year, easily," Cuban said. "He’ll be cranking those motorcycle handles for a while."
Carter's scoring average is up to 13.2 points per game this year, more than three points higher than last season's mark in essentially the same amount of playing time. He's taking more shots, but his field-goal percentage is higher, and his three-point shooting, at 39.8%, is the best it's been since 2004/05.
Coach Rick Carlisle has used Carter as a sixth man this season, and it's the first time in the 15th-year veteran's career that he hasn't started at least half of his team's games. Carter is making $3.09MM this season and $3.18MM in 2013/14, so whatever he makes on his next contract couldn't be too much of a paycut.
Cuban's comments seem, at least on the surface, to indicate the Mavs won't look to trade him to free up cap space in pursuit of a marquee free agent this summer. Of course, Cuban might just be trying to talk up Carter's trade value, so nothing's certain. Carter was reportedly part of a proposed Josh Smith trade at the deadline.
As rumors fly long past the NBA's trade deadline, Marc Stein of ESPN.com checks in with a Weekend Dime that's heavy on items about Josh Smith, as well as plenty of news about the Rockets. There's even a link between Smith and Houston, so let's dig in.
Hoops Rumors would like to wish a speedy recovery to former Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley as he remains in a Chicago-area hospital days after suffering a stroke, as Ronald Tillery of the Memphis Commercial Appeal details. Heisley is interested in buying another NBA team, and has recently been linked to the Wolves and Bucks. Here's more from around the Association..
Chuck Myron contributed to this post.
Despite Mark Cuban's belief that adding an overpaid player with a massive contract would be a huge mistake considering the framework of the current CBA, Tim MacMahon of ESPN Dallas wonders if the Mavericks would explore trading for Hornets guard Eric Gordon as a possible fallback option if the team falls short in its effort to land Dwight Howard this summer. On another note, Moke Hamilton of Sheridan Hoops explains why it would be wise for Dallas to deal Vince Carter and Shawn Marion for expiring contracts and draft picks now if they want to give themselves a legitimate chance at going after Howard, Chris Paul, or Andrew Bynum in upcoming free agency.
Here are more of this evening's odds and ends:
We already heard a little this afternoon from Mavs GM and president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson, who indicated the team probably won't make a trade before the February 21st deadline. He left himself a little wiggle room, however, adding that "we're not afraid to pull the trigger" if the right deal comes along. He had more to say to reporters at the team's shootaround today, including a response to Shawn Marion's plea that he not be traded to a team that's out of contention. We'll round up the highlights here, courtesy Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News.
On whether there are any new developments on the trade front:
"No. It’s a little bit before All-Star (break), and then of course (the deadline) after that. But you know us. We’re always going to be active. There’s certainly nothing to report. We like the boys in blue. We like the guys in our locker room. And we’re at a real critical point right now.Our focus is on getting into the playoffs, but certainly we’re knowledgeable about what’s going on."
On whether the Rudy Gay trade is indicative of the economic restraint needed under the new CBA:
"I think that’s kind of testament to the belt-tightening that Mark’s been predicting for a while. That’s a reality that’s coming up. So you’ll definitely see teams that are looking to be more flexible."
On the franchise's championship aspirations:
"We’re going to get back there. With Mark, my bet is it’s going to be sooner rather than later. But there’s no guarantees. That’s why every year, we try to put ourselves in position to make deep playoff runs and compete. Because once you get in the playoffs, anything can happen. And that’s our focus this year. We’re certainly fighting for our playoff lives, we understand that. We’re starting to kick in. We’ve got a nice little home stretch here where we can hopefully make up some ground. Who knows?"
Whether stability is important following a summer of upheaval:
"Listen, we really go out of our way to get good people in that locker room. You’re talking about Shawn Marion, Vince Carter. Those are the kind of guys ... Shawn and Vince have probably been our most consistent players all year long. We like guys like that — veterans who know how to win. We’re looking to get those kinds of guys into our locker room, not out of our locker room. The fact that Shawn recently expressed an interest to stay here? Well, it’s mutual. We’re looking for guys like that. Shoot, the guy guards three and a half positions? That’s a commodity. You’re never the same team from year to year, but those are the kind of pieces championships are made of."
Let's check out a few afternoon links related to Western Conference clubs....
Shorthanded following the completion of the Rudy Gay trade, the Pistons and Raptors were both beaten in their respective games on Wednesday night. Tonight, in the first game of the post-Gay era in Memphis, the Grizzlies will be tasked with what would be a tough matchup under normal circumstances, as they travel to Oklahoma City to face the Thunder. While we look forward to that game, let's round up a few odds and ends from around the NBA:
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.