By: Jason Fleming
Could this weekend's injuries to point guards Kirk Hinrich of the Chicago Bulls and Tony Parker of the San Antonio Spurs spark some movement on the trade front? That probably depends on how comfortable the Bulls are with only Ben Gordon and rookie Derrick Rose (playing outstanding ball) feel as their point guards, and how comfortable the Spurs are starting rookie George Hill with only veteran Jacque Vaughn to back him up.
In other words, maybe not so much. Lucky for those teams there are point guards who would seem to be available. Here's a few:
Raymond Felton, Charlotte Bobcats – Because of the presence of lottery pick D.J. Augustin many feel the Cats need to make a move, never minding the fact Felton is shooting 48% from the field, 43% from three point range, and dishing 4.8 assists. Felton makes $4.1 million this season, but will be a restricted free agent next summer.
Sergio Rodriguez, Portland Trail Blazers – It's clear the freewheeling Spanish guard is not happy with his role in Portland, and also clear in his limited minutes he probably could be valuable to a team looking to push the tempo in bigger minutes. He has sort of asked for a trade – not backing down from his Spanish agent asking for one, but also not adamantly demanding one – but the Blazers aren't going to trade him just to trade him. Rodriguez makes just over $1 million this season, $1.9 million next season, and will be a restricted free agent the summer of 2010.
Javaris Crittenton, Memphis Grizzlies – The Grizz continue to say they have no desire to move any of their three young point guards (Kyle Lowry and Mike Conley being the other two), but the minutes continues to point to the fact Crittenton is wasting away in Memphis. He has posted just a single minute of game action in seven games this season while Lowry and Conley have split all the rest. Crittenton makes $1.4 million this season, $1.5 million in 2009-10, and has a team option for $2.3 million in 2010-11. He will be a restricted free agent (if his option year is picked up) in the summer of 2011.
What do all three of these players have in common? Young, cheap, and seemingly ready for roles their teams don't seem ready to trust them with and/or stuck in a simple numbers game. Considering the lack of depth of some other teams (Golden State, perhaps) or the injuries teams like the Spurs and Bulls are facing, there could be some talk starting to get hot and heavy pretty quick.
"I think right now you'll probably see George get to play a lot," Spurs General Manager R.C. Buford told the San Antonio Express-News, "and we'll continue to evaluate, not only our team but the NBA market, as we go along."
Expect that market to start seeing action.