Late Wednesday night, the Phoenix Suns reportedly agreed to trade veteran small forward Caron Butler to the Milwaukee Bucks for point guard Ish Smith and center Viacheslav Kravtsov. The deal bolsters Milwaukee's wing rotation at a low cost--Butler's contract expires at season's end--and saves the Suns some money, and they may use the savings to make waiving Michael Beasley more palatable.
Meanwhile, the Orlando Magic have Hedo Türkoğlu, a veteran small forward with an expiring contract which they're reportedly hoping to use as ballast at the NBA trading deadline. The Butler trade can stand as a way to gauge Türkoğlu's trade value, given the similarity of the players' situations.
One of the takeaways from the Butler trade, says Zach Lowe of Grantland, is that expiring contracts aren't as valuable as they used to be. "Teams aren’t dying to give up talented players on long-term contracts for backup types on expiring deals and picks," he says. Further, the Suns didn't receive any Draft considerations in the trade despite the fact that Milwaukee has "as many as five extra future second-round picks" under its control.
If Butler, a two-time All-Star making $8 million at age 33, can net only two low-caliber, low-upside players and no Draft picks, then what can Orlando hope to receive in return for Türkoğlu, a zero-time All-Star making $12 million at age 34, coming off an injury- and suspension-ravaged season in which he shot 26.4 percent from the floor?
The answer, clearly, is "not much," which is why I'm increasingly dubious about the possibility of trying to use Türkoğlu as trade bait.