- Tim MacMahon, ESPN Staff Writer
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The Dallas Mavericks make as much sense as anybody.
Yahoo! Sports reports that the Grizzlies and Raptors are searching for a team to take the $10.6 million expiring contract of Toronto point guard Jose Calderon. The Mavs have long been intrigued by the 31-year-old Calderon, who has consistently put up efficient offensive numbers throughout his career, and acquiring him wouldn’t sacrifice any financial flexibility this summer.
This could also present a prime opportunity for the Mavs to cash in on their cap space and army of expiring contracts by helping two teams pull off a blockbuster trade and adding a young asset or two in the process.
According to the Yahoo! report, the cost-cutting Grizzlies want a less expensive small forward to plug into the lineup for Gay and are likely to receive a young Raptors player and a future draft pick in the deal. Rookie shooting guard Terrence Ross is reportedly off limits, so it stands to reason that 23-year-old power forward Ed Davis could be the young Raptor included in the deal.
Chris Kaman’s $8 million expiring contract is extremely expendable, considering that he’s the Mavs’ third-string center at the moment. He can move to Memphis and back up Marc Gasol. Depending on how much the Grizzlies value scoring from their replacement small forward, the Mavs could also send Vince Carter or Dahntay Jones.
The 36-year-old Carter, who has one year left on his contract, has been a $3 million bargain this season. He’s been especially good in January, averaging 14.1 points on 47-percent shooting off the bench. The Grizzlies, currently fourth in the West standings, should want Carter if they’re serious about contending this season despite their salary dump.
The Mavs, who are hanging on to slim hope of extending their playoff streak to 13 seasons, should demand a significant price to include Carter in a deal. In this case, the 6-foot-10, 232-pound son of ex-Maverick Terry Davis ought to do it.
A speculative proposal: Gay goes to the Raptors; Kaman, Carter and the Toronto draft-pick compensation go to the Grizzlies; and the Mavs get Calderon, Davis and 19-year-old point guard project Tony Wroten.
That’d be a terrific deal for Dallas’ future, while shoring up a problem position in the present by adding a point guard who could split time with Darren Collison. And it wouldn’t compromise the Mavs’ hopes of being in the Dwight Howard sweepstakes at all.
Davis, a lottery pick from two years ago who can add plenty of polish, is putting up 9.7 points and 6.7 rebounds in 24.2 minutes per game. The Mavs can use all the inexpensive young size and athleticism they can get, and Davis is due $3.2 million next season in the final year of his rookie deal.
The scouting report on Wroten by former ex-ESPN Insider John Hollinger, who recently made a career change to join Memphis’ front office:
Wroten is one of the draft's most unique talents and he may be a great fit in Memphis with his ability to force turnovers and slash to the basket. He's huge for a point guard, but that's his natural position, as he can see the floor and get to the rim. He's a poor outside shooter, however, and he has a lot of rough edges to his game.
That scared teams off, but he's only 19 and he's potentially a monstrous defender with his size, hands and quickness. He's been compared to Rajon Rondo, both for good and bad, but he's a much bigger version of Rondo and could potentially play as a slashing, ballhandling shooting guard.
If the Grizzlies don’t value Carter enough to give up Davis in the deal, the Mavs could substitute Dahntay Jones, who has a $2.9 million expiring deal. In that case, it’d be a deal that should significantly increase Dallas’ playoff hopes this season while adding a first-round project and not impacting their future financial flexibility at all.
A deal in which the Mavs just give up Kaman and only get back Calderon also works if Memphis isn't willing to move Wroten, but that'd leave a gaping hole in the Grizzlies' lineup at small forward.
There are certainly other possibilities in a three-way deal between these teams. It’s a safe bet that Mavs GM Donnie Nelson is burning some cell-phone minutes with his colleagues in Memphis and Toronto exploring how much the Mavs might benefit by helping out the Grizzlies and Raptors.
9hMatt Walks, ESPN.com
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24dMatt Walks, ESPN.com