When the word came that Rodney Stuckey was going to be a healthy scratch for Sunday's game against Orlando I saw a lot of buzz on Twitter from other teams' fans wondering if Stuckey was available. I think it is the natural byproduct of it being late January, when fans of good teams want to be great and bad teams are wondering what went wrong and how they can fix it.
Can Calderon make Monroe and Drummond stars?
Ha, remember this? Jan. 16: Tay not bothered by rumors
Specifically, I saw a number of Celtics fans, still reeling from losing Rajon Rondo, firing up the trade machine. Unfortunately, outside of Boston's major pieces they don't have much to offer. And a number of Bulls fans, still reeling from watching so much Kirk Hinrich and Nate Robinson. Unfortunately, the only mid-sized deal they would be willing to give up would be Richard Hamilton. Yeah ... that's not going to happen.
Crazy? Maybe. But check out these two tweets from the intrepid Adrian Wojnarowski:
In engagement of 3rd teams for possible Rudy Gay-to-Toronto deal, Raptors struggling to find landing spot for Jose Calderon, sources tell Y!— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) January 29, 2013
As for finding a spot for Calderon, yes, teams have interest in him. Yet how much are they willing to contribute to MEM-TOR in 3-way deal?— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) January 29, 2013
I think Detroit would be the perfect facilitator for this deal for a few reasons: 1. If teams are reluctant to be the third wheel because they don't want to help strengthen the Grizzlies then it seems to me you can rule out almost every Western Conference team. They don't want to be the team that created a championship contender in their own conference, sort of like how Boston received flack for helping facilitate the Rasheed Wallace trade to the Pistons.
2. The Pistons are stacked with expiring and medium-impact contracts that wouldn't hurt either Memphis' competitiveness or bottom line to a significant degree. They can ease payroll pressure and still be competitive.
So what could a deal look like? Lets fire up the trade machine!
Proposed deal between Pistons-Raptors-Grizzlies.
Rodney Stuckey, Tayshaun Prince, Ed Davis
Let's think this through logically. We know that the Raptors would love to get their hands on Gay and are fully prepared to part with Jose Calderon to do so. They'd love to unload Andrea Bargnani as well but he is injured and not good at basketball and I just think they're stuck with him. The apple of Toronto's eye is Rudy Gay. I think if he was the only player that came to the Raptors in the deal, Toronto would be satisfied. Memphis might be under the luxury tax but they did some damage to their depth in the process. They are in win-now mode and can't take too much of a step back in terms of the talent they receive if they unload Gay's mega-deal.
Prince takes Gay's spot in the Grizzlies lineup. While he's not as skilled as Gay, he makes half as much over the next three years. He also has playoff experience and still has a good defensive reputation. He also plays a brand of basketball that fits with Memphis' style. The Grizzlies also get Stuckey bolster their bench.
The Grizzlies get a woeful 15 points per game from their bench so Stuckey would be a big improvement. And it would put Stuckey in the position he is most comfortable. Putting the ball in his hands to create and attack and relying on him for offense. And Stuckey's contract is only partially guaranteed so if the Grizzlies want to move on they can let him go and save $4 million. This would also enable them to explore the free-agent market for mid-level exception deals without having to worry about hitting the luxury tax threshold in 2013-14.
And in return Detroit gets its first pass-first point guard since Chauncey Billups and someone who could become a pick-and-roll monster with Andre Drummond. They also get increased financial flexibility that enables them to re-sign Calderon and still make other impact deals. And if Memphis wanted additional sweetener the Pistons could add Will Bynum or Austin Daye and only have to take back Jerred Bayliss or Hamed Haddadi in return.
What do you think? Am I just in a ESPN Trade Machine black hole or is there something to this? Have a better trade? Let me see it in the comments.