The New York Knicks have made one trade this season so far. In a salary cap clear out, Phil Jackson and the Knicks traded away J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert to the Cleveland Cavaliers, in exchange for next to nothing.
That trade firmly established that the Knicks were preparing to completely blow up the team outside of a few players, so this instantly brought up rumors of aging point guards Jose Calderon and Pablo Prigioni.
Calderon is due $22 million over the next three seasons, while Prigioni is due $3.4 million over the next two seasons, with only 300k guaranteed for next year.
If the Knicks were to successfully trade both, then they would have only the massive contract of Carmelo Anthony on the books, as well as a plethora of small contracts and player options. This would clear the books for well over $30 million in cap room.
The market for the two foreign guards has been limited though. Prigioni’s top suitors are rumored to be the Cleveland Cavaliers and Detroit Pistons, while for Calderon the Heat, Rockets, and Thunder have been rumored to be interested in the Spaniard.
While many have already said that if they fail to unload those two this deadline then it will be a failure, that may not be the case.
Prigioni is only guaranteed $300,000 next year, so cutting him is an option. He shouldn’t be too difficult to trade though, as his contract is so miscue and he’s still an effective reserve player with his passing ability being a nice addition to a contending team.
Calderon, on the other hand, is the polar opposite. He is overpaid for his current production. He’s fallen off the wayside this season, seeing a massive dip all around in his stats. He’s shooting a career low 40.1%, and is averaging just 9.3 points per game and 4.5 assists per game.
He’s been a major disappointment. He also was brought in because of his friendship with Marc Gasol, and the Knicks had hoped he could lure him to Manhattan. Instead, the Grizzlies have been superb this season, and Gasol is unlikely to leave.
While not trading Calderon does appear to be a bad thing due to his cap situation, Calderon could still be an effective player. Just a season ago he was a starting point guard on a playoff team in the western conference.
If Calderon can be paired with a healthy Carmelo Anthony as well as other quality players, he still could be a quality starting point guard. The current Knicks team is scarce on talent, and Calderon is a pass first player. The problem is, with no Carmelo Anthony and an oft injured Amar’e Stoudemire, he’s the best scorer in the court at most times.
While Jose Calderon has been immensely disappointing this season, he could be in store for a bounce back with a better team. Pablo Prigioni also could easily be waived. Not trading those two at the deadline will not constitute it as a failure whatsoever.