UPDATED Report: Rudy Gay to Toronto trade nearly done, Detroit may be third team

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UPDATE #2, 6:04 pm: Here is some twitter confirmation that the deal is close from one of the participants in the trade:

Memphis may have found their third team according to Marc Stein at ESPN:

Tayshaun Prince is a solid if no longer spectacular wing to fill in for Rudy Gay. Prince is shooting 43.4 percent from three this season (handy when you have passing bigs like Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph), is a solid defender and will fit in well with the Grizzlies as they try to make a playoff run.

Calderon in Detroit is not going to make Brandon Knight’s day.

UPDATE 4:40 pm: Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports and the NBC Sports Network took to twitter on Wednesday afternoon to say that a deal to send Gay to Toronto is moving much closer to reality, with or without the addition of a third team in the mix — appaarently the Grizzlies really want to get this done.

It looks to me like a two-team deal is agreed to and Memphis is getting time to see if a third team can be found to jump in that makes it work better for them. Marc Stein at ESPN tweets that Dallas and Detroit were two possible third teams. However, if that doesn’t come together fast Memphis will just pull the trigger on a two-team deal then try to flip Calderon to another team in a separate trade later.

Ed Davis has played well for Toronto at the four as the starter since Andrea Bargnani went down, well enough that he took the starting spot away from the former No. 1 pick. Davis is on his rookie contract, Calderon has $10.5 million expiring deal (and would provide depth at the point with Mike Conley and provide tax relief in future years if they can’t flip him).

3:18 pm: No Rudy Gay to Toronto trade is imminent as of Tuesday night. In fact, the latest report from Adrian Wojnarowski suggests he may not be going there at all.

The Raptors and Grizzlies are looking to get a third team involved in the deal. While we fans at home love to come up with three-way trades the reality of them is they are exponentially harder to pull off than a straight swap. Too many people to make happy, too many issues to balance.

Here’s the latest, Wojnarowski of Yahoo sports and the NBC Sports Network.

The final hurdle for the salary dump of Memphis Grizzlies forward Rudy Gay to the Toronto Raptors hinges on finding a third team to absorb the expiring contract of Raptors guard Jose Calderon, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.

The Grizzlies have inquired with multiple teams over the past several days, searching for a willing partner to facilitate a three-team deal, sources said.

Calderon is a quality point guard in the last year of a deal making $10.5 million. There is some trade value for him, but not as much as you might think. There are a lot of good point guards around the league and if you have one you like you’re not going to give up anything of value to get another one.

It could happen still, especially if the two teams work it out themselves, but with a third team don’t bet on it.

Report: 76ers rookie Zhaire Smith expected to return around Christmas

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76ers first-rounder Zhaire Smith suffered a Jones fracture in his left foot last month, leaving plenty of uncertainty about when he’d return.

Keith Pompey of The Inquirer:

The 76ers expect injured rookie Zhaire Smith to be available to play in a game around Christmas, league sources say.

A rookie on a team with legitimate aspirations of deep-playoff advancement, Smith was already unlikely to crack Philadelphia’s rotation this season. All this lost developmental time makes it even less likely.

But the sooner Smith returns, the better for him and Philadelphia. The No. 16 pick impresses with his athleticism and motor, but he needs time to develop his perimeter skills.

Kevin Love launches “Love Fund” to bring more focus to mental health issues

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The NBA is not shying away from the issue of the mental health of its players.

In the wake of All-Stars DeMar DeRozan and Kevin Love coming forward about their mental health challenges, the league and the players’ union combined to tell players to speak out on the issue and take advantage of the services offered.

Kevin Love is doing more than just that, he has formed the Kevin Love Fund to help change the stigma around mental health issues. The fund has partners such as Headspace, with the focus being on prioritizing mental health awareness. He went on the Today Show on NBC to talk about it.

Love has become a leader and spokesman around the issue. Love came forward near the end of last season to talk about his battles with anxiety and depression. That opened the door for others around the NBA to step forward as well, such as Kelly Oubre and Paul Pierce.

Sixers hire Elton Brand as new General Manager

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Filling the 76ers vacant general manager position dragged out all summer for one main reason:

They liked what they already had in-house. The Sixers were an especially collegial and collaborative group with their decision making, and if they brought in a big name from the outside — former Cavaliers’ GM David Griffin, or the two guys who went deep into the interview process Utah assistant GM Justin Zanik on Rockets VP Gersson Rosas — it would change that dynamic.

Which is why they have decided to keep this in the family, and will promote Elton Brand from vice president of basketball operations to general manager. It’s a story broken by Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN and confirmed by NBC Sports Philadelphia’s John Clark.

Brand, a former Philadelphia player, was the general manager of their G-League team, the Delaware Blue Coats, before becoming the VP of basketball operations. He will replace Bryan Colangelo, who was forced out following a Twitter scandal involving his wife.

There were other title changes within the organization as well.

What this means on the ground is don’t expect any significant changes with the Sixers’ plans — nor should there be. They are banking on Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, and Markelle Fultz — now with a functional jump shot, they hope — to be at the core of a contending team, then next summer they will go big game hunting again for an elite free agent. (There is more pressure to get a deal done this summer before the big extensions for those young stars start to really kick in.) That said, this is a team poised on the brink of a great run.

And if things are going well, why make a dramatic change? Brand can help them on the course already set.

Pat Riley: Dion Waiters not recovered for start of training camp, “unlikely” for start of season

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This is a setback.

When Dion Waiters had ankle surgery 30 games into last season, the hope was that he would be healthy for the start of this season and return to the post All-Star form of 2017, when his hot play (15.6 points per game, 41 percent from three and carrying a heavy offensive load) led the Heat to offer him a four-year contract.

Turns out, that’s not going to happen.

It was Pat Riley who made the announcement, speaking to the media.

Waiters was not healthy last season, and while he averaged 14.3 points a game he was not nearly as efficient — 30.6 percent from three, shooting 39.8 percent overall, a PER of 10.5.

This could move Dwyane Wade into the starting lineup to open the season. Beyond that, the Heat have the guard depth to survive this with Wade and Wayne Ellington at the two, plus Goran Dragic, Tyler Johnson, Malik Newman, and Briante Weber heading into camp.

Waiters being out also is bad news for the player but could save the franchise money on another front: Waiters receives a $1.1 million bonus if he plays in 70 games this season. If he misses the start of the season, he becomes far less likely to make that threshold.