Portland Trail Blazers v Los Angeles Clippers

Winderman: What other onerous contracts could be traded?

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Well, the Magic, Wizards and Suns showed us, didn’t they? More to the point, they shut us up.

“No one is taking on Gilbert’s deal.”

“The Magic aren’t unloading Rashard’s contract.”

“The Suns are stuck with Turkoglu.”

We all either said it or thought it. For years, the crutch in shooting down the wildest trade permutations was that there simply were some contracts in a salary-cap world that were untradeable. Or so we were lead to believe.

Instead, in the spirit of the season, Orlando, Washington and Phoenix got involved in a bit of re-gifting. The lesson to us all is that apparently anyone can be moved with a little creativity and a lot of equivalent desperation.

So picking up where the Magic, Wizards and Suns left off, we look at a few other deals heretofore believed to be immobile.

Luol Deng, Bulls: Including this season, four years at $51.3 million remain. The Nuggets apparently had no interest during the early rounds of Carmelo talks, but for a suitor that otherwise would be unable to lure talent in free agency, there is value there. With the Bulls so deep into Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah, and soon Derek Rose, there will be a need to sort things out.

Anderson Varejao, Cavaliers: Including this season, five seasons at $43.1 million remain. The money is a bit extreme for a complementary piece, and what the Cavaliers need at this stage is a post presence more than a hustle player. It would behoove just about every contender to consider the possibilities.

Brendan Haywood, Mavericks: Including this season, five seasons at $41.7 million remain. Dallas made the offer this summer when Haywood was viewed as a starter, a role he no longer fills with the Mavericks. But it is a role he could possibly fill elsewhere.

Richard Hamilton, Pistons: Including this season, three seasons at $35.5 million remain. He wants out and the Pistons have little need for a disgruntled scorer on the downside. At $12.5 million, he is a bit pricy to be utilized as a reserve by a contender, but could be swapped in a deal for another team’s headache.

Baron Davis, Clippers: Including this season, three seasons at $41.7 million remain. Speaking of another team’s headache, the Clippers need to make this go away sooner rather than later. At this point, Davis has to play himself into a trade, show there still is something there.

Travis Outlaw, Nets: Including this season, five seasons at $35 million remain. Well, that didn’t take long, did it? Now the challenge is searching for another 2010 offseason signing that soured just as quickly elsewhere.

Elton Brand, 76ers: Including this season, three seasons at $51.2 million remain. For our money, we make this the new clubhouse leader as the league’s current most untradeable contract.

Josh Childress, Suns: Including this season, five seasons at $33.5 million remain. Can they coax him back to Greece?

Jose Calderon, Raptors: Including this season, three seasons at $29.3 million remain. And who exactly thought this was a $10 million player? The Raptors have been trying to push him out seemingly since the deal was signed.

Ira Winderman writes regularly for NBCSports.com and covers the Heat and the NBA for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. You can follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/IraHeatBeat.

Report: Suns signing Bryce Cotton

Bryce Cotton
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Eric Bledsoe missed the Suns’ loss to the Spurs on Monday with a knee injury.

So, Phoenix is bringing in a reinforcement – Bryce Cotton.

Marc Stein of ESPN:

The Jazz waived Cotton before the season despite Dante Exum‘s injury leaving them with just two other healthy point guards. That says something about Cotton – but also Utah’s depth.

Cotton – who went undrafted out of Providence last year – is quick, varies his speed well and can leap. There’s reason to believe in his potential at age 23. But his 6-foot-1 frame limits him defensively, and he’s not much of a distributor.

Phoenix will rely on Brandon Knight and Ronnie Price at point guard if Bledsoe is unavailable. The Suns can also use fewer two-point guard lineups – giving more minutes at shooting guard to Devin Booker, Archie Goodwin and Sunny Weems.

Cotton provides insurance while Bledsoe is banged-up with what seems to be a minor injury. But he might have to show something to keep drawing an NBA paycheck once Bledsoe gets healthy.

Jimmy Butler wants Mason Plumlee to pay fine after scuffle (video)


Jimmy Butler and Mason Plumlee got into an altercation in the Bulls’ win over the Trail Blazers last night.

Plumlee lowered his head and tried to barrel through Butler’s chest on a Butler screen. Butler fell and retaliated by putting Plumlee in a leg lock, causing Plumlee to fall.

You might remember a leg lock as what Cavaliers guard Matthew Dellavedova did to Bulls forward Taj Gibson during last year’s playoffs. For all the talk then of Dellavedova being a dirty player, Butler seems particularly aggrieved after getting a technical foul, which comes with a $2,500 fine – the same penalty Dellavedova eventually received. (Plumlee got a flagrant foul.)

Butler, via Vincent Goodwill of CSN Chicago:

“He thought he was playing football for a second there,” Butler said. “Almost had to let the Fort Greene Projects out of me, Brooklyn, you know what I’m saying?”

It was said tongue in cheek considering Gibson was a few feet over and Butler wanted to draw some laughs. Gibson is a Brooklyn native and grew up in the Fort Greene Projects while Butler grew up in Tomball, Texas.

It was no laughing matter when he said he would find a way to approach Plumlee about the fine money, jokingly suggesting he would have his agent email him at “Mr. Dukie@yahoo.com or something” and made a joke about Mike Dunleavy applauding Plumlee’s act.

Plumlee and Dunleavy are products of Duke University.

“Yeah, he cost me 2,500,” Butler said. “I’m not happy about that. Gonna ask him to pay me back and I’m not playing.”

Is that MisterDukie@yahoo.com, MrDukie@yahoo.com or Mr.Dukie@yahoo.com. Or is it Dookie?

These are important questions – at least if you’re trying to turn the conversation away from your dirty play and toward your colorful quotes.

Breaking news: Leandro Barbosa dunked


The Warriors became the first team in NBA history to start 16-0.

In the process of getting that record-breaking win over the Lakers, something nearly as historic happened.

Leandro Barbosa dunked.

The 32-year-old Golden State guard last jammed in January 2011.

For a little more perspective, look how Barbosa handled a breakaway layup earlier in the fourth quarter:

You think that man can still slam?

Yes. Yes, he can.

Magic benching Victor Oladipo, starting Channing Frye

Stephen Curry, Victor Oladipo, Channing Frye
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Elfrid Payton, Victor Oladipo, Evan Fournier, Tobias Harris and Nikola Vucevic have started eight of the Magic’s 14 games, including the last three.

But after Orlando dropped two straight, Scott Skiles hinted at lineup changes.

The Magic coach will deliver against the Knicks tonight, swapping Channing Frye for Oladipo.

Skiles, via Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel:

“It’s nothing punitive,” Skiles said after the Magic’s shootaround.

“It’s just we feel like we’ve got to try to find a little bit better balance. I’d like Victor to have some more opportunities like he’s had a little bit in the past where he can be on top of the floor and attack and get a little bit more vertical and not only get to the rim but just be a little bit more on the attack but not necessarily start the game that way.”

Here are the offensive/defensive/net ratings for the

  • Former starting lineup: 94.7/111.2/-16.5
  • New starting lineup: 117.2/90.3/+26.8

The new unit has played just 33 minutes in two games, so major sample-size caveats apply. But I like idea of seeing more of what has worked.

I suspect Skiles also wants to keep his players from becoming content. At 6-8 and coming off three straight seasons outside the playoffs, they should have no reason to feel satisfied, but the hard-driving Skiles will be proactive.

If Oladipo – whose defense Skiles values – can get sent to the bench, anyone can.

At some point, the Magic must determine whether Oladipo and Payton – both below-average 3-point shooters – can share a backcourt. But it’s also worth knowing whether Oladipo can excel as a super sub leading bench players.

This switch might help the Magic win now, but at worse, it’ll give them more information for evaluating their young roster. Seems smart all around.