The Knicks are reportedly interested in Jamal Crawford and Ricky Rubio.
Trading for either guard would almost certainly mean dealing Jose Calderon, New York’s only player making more than a minimum salary it can trade right now without his permission.
It’s practically impossible to match salaries for Crawford ($5,675,000) or Rubio ($12.7 million) without Calderon’s $7,402,812.
But do the Clippers or Timberwolves want Calderon?
He implies yes.
Maybe Calderon knows something. If the Knicks are shopping him, they might extend him the courtesy of clueing him in on trade talks.
But it’s just as possible Calderon is tired of seeing his name in trade rumors, listed as a piece New York wants to dump. He might just want to change the public perception of him, whether or not facts support it.
Calderon’s $7,708,427 salary for 2016-17, when he’s 35, would be a burden for either the Clippers or Timberwolves. But it’s not necessarily a deal-breaker.
Calderon would be a better version of Pablo Prigioni as a reliable, non-Austin Rivers option behind Chris Paul at point guard for the Clippers. But Calderon would be more expensive, and the Clippers are already in the luxury tax. If they see him as the missing piece to a championship, though, that’s a small price to pay.
In Minnesota, Calderon would be a cheaper and older replacement for Rubio until
Zach LaVine Tyus Jones is ready. The Timberwolves already have that in Andre Miller, though. But if the Knicks send back better assets – draft picks, young players – Calderon’s salary would probably be necessary to facilitate a deal.
Would the Clippers or Timberwolves take Calderon in a trade? Probably. Are they actually interested in him? That’s a much tougher question to answer.