One position at a time, we will break down the most likely candidates to be moved before the NBA’s trade deadline of Feb. 21.
With a new collective bargaining agreement in place and a small number of clear-cut championship favorites, many teams will be active in the coming weeks to enhance their playoff chances or to improve their financial flexibility. First we will take a look at five point guards who could soon have a new home.
Jose Calderon – Toronto Raptors
2012-13 Stats: 10.1 ppg, 7.7 apg, 2.6 rpg
Contract: 1 year, $10.5 million
With the Raptors signing Kyle Lowry to a long-term deal in the offseason to be the team’s point guard, the writing is on the wall for the 31-year-old Spaniard that his time in Toronto may be coming to an end.
Jose Calderon has started 19 of 34 games this season for the Raptors, mainly due to multiple injuries to Lowry. However, he has retained the starting position even after Lowry’s latest return due to the team’s recent success.
Calderon is an experienced player and has put up some eye-popping numbers in games this season including two triple-doubles and 12 double-digit assist games. Defensive liabilities aside, Calderon would still be a capable starter for a number of teams.
Luke Ridnour – Minnesota Timberwolves
2012-13 Stats: 11.4 ppg, 4.2 apg, 2.8 rpg
Contract: 2 years, $8.3 million
With the return of Ricky Rubio, the point guard position in Minnesota has suddenly become a crowded one.
Rubio is still working his way back from knee surgery; however, the Timberwolves are hopeful that he will soon be back at full speed and capable of handling starter minutes.
Although he has started all 30 games this season for Minnesota, Ridnour would seem to be the odd man out in a three-man point guard rotation which also features J.J. Barea, who was only recently signed long-term by general manager David Kahn.
Ridnour is a solid contributor on both sides of the court and plays within his own limitations. He would be an ideal backup for a number of teams come playoff time,where an experienced, calm backup point guard can prove invaluable.
Brandon Jennings – Milwaukee Bucks
2012-13 Stats: 17.8 ppg, 5.8 apg, 3.6 rpg
Contract: 1 year, $3.2 million
The Bucks refrained from signing Jennings to a contract extension and as a result, the 23-year-old point guard will be a free agent at season’s end.
With his flair and high scoring output, he is likely to demand a lofty price tag in free agency and reports are that the Bucks may not want to invest tens of millions into a player with Jennings’ limitations long term.
There is no doubting the talent, but Jennings shoots a low percentage and still struggles at times to create shots for teammates, averaging less than six assists per game. Still on his rookie contract and with free agency looming it may prove difficult for teams to find a suitable deal for Jennings.
However, with his future in Milwaukee unclear it would be no surprise to see the Bucks cash in via trade before having to overpay or potentially lose him for nothing.
Rodrigue Beaubois – Dallas Mavericks
2012-13 Stats: 3 ppg, 1.7 apg, 0.9 rpg
Contract: 1 year, $2.2 million
After showing so much promise early in his career, Beaubois has found himself buried on the Mavericks bench this season.
He is playing just 11 minutes per game and is being used more as a garbage-time substitution than the change-of-pace impact player he had been in years past.
At just 24 years old, there is still room for Beaubois to improve and in a different situation with more opportunity, he could shine. Lottery teams lacking in guard depth would be likely to take a chance on a player with Beaubois’ abilities, while the Mavericks–if they still hope to be a playoff team–could use a cheap veteran contributor as a return.
Jameer Nelson – Orlando Magic
2012-13 Stats: 14.5 ppg, 6.8 apg, 4.1 rpg
Contract: 3 years, $25.2 million
The Orlando Magic entered into a new era when they traded All-Star big man Dwight Howard to the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Magic, with a mix of veterans and young talent, have somewhat overachieved this season, but in order to again be a playoff threat they will need to continue to rebuild. Jameer Nelson is now 30 years old and, while he is still the starting point guard in Orlando, it is unlikely he will still be around when the team next returns to contender status.
An experienced playoff campaigner and a member of the 2009 Finals team in Orlando, Nelson could provide a great deal to any team, whether as a starter or a high-impact backup. His contract runs another three seasons and it is unlikely he will spend the entire time on a rebuilding Orlando squad; he will likely look for a trade to a contender sooner rather than later.
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