Andrea Bargnani and Jose Calderon
Numerous front-office sources describe the Raptors as the team, more than any other on the NBA map, most motivated to make a deal. Which isn't terribly surprisingly when you consider that the Raps began the season with dreams of challenging for the last playoff spot in the East … and entered the weekend at 4-19.
There are some legit alibis for Toronto's struggles, once you add up all of the injuries and scroll through its road-heavy early schedule, but the Raptors have new problems. Sources have maintained for weeks that former No. 1 overall pick Bargnani is available in tandem with the expiring contract of veteran point guard Calderon, but Bargnani is suddenly dealing with an elbow injury that is expected to sideline him at least three weeks.
Combine that with the fact that Bargnani hasn't played well all season -- as well as the contractual issues detailed in this cyberspace last week that would presumably turn off the Lakers in particular -- and you struggle to see how the Raps could find a taker for the Italian. The growing sentiment around the league, as a result, is that the Raptors might be forced to move Calderon on his own or as the headliner in a deal to initiate the shakeup they appear to badly need.
Sources say the Lakers and the Dallas Mavericks would love to import Calderon, but neither has the spare assets to easily swing a trade for a player making $10.6 million this season with a 10 percent trade kicker in his contract.