Report: Cavs "very involved" in talks for Amare Stoudemire



2/13 10:33 am At a press event tied to All-Star Weekend, Amare Stoudemire said that there was a 50/50 chance he would be with the Suns past the trade deadline. When asked if he would opt out of his current deal at the end of this year (he is owed $17.6 million next year but can choose to leave), he said his focus was on being somewhere he can win a championship.

2/12 7:26 pm The hits from Adrian Wojanrowski’s twitter page just keep on coming. He is now reporting that the Cavaliers and Celtics will go “head-to-head” for Antawn Jamison, and that the Cavaliers are “very involved” in talks for Amare Stoudemire.

The key to the Cavaliers completing a deal may be sophomore forward JJ Hickson. The 21-year old prospect had perhaps the best game of his career last night, scoring 20 points in a win over the Magic. Hickson’s play has been a revelation in the last month or so. The question is whether Danny Ferry will use this as an opportunity to sell high or thinks that Hickson fits into the Cavs’ long-term plans. The Cavaliers are currently enjoying a 13-game win streak, and Ferry may be cautious about tinkering with the team’s chemistry.

Ever since Ferry took over as GM of the Cavaliers, he has managed to pull off trades while giving up almost nothing by way of assets. After Joe Smith returned to the Cavs at midseason last year, they effectively got Mo Williams for Damon Jones. This summer, all they had to give up for Shaquille O’Neal was Sasha Pavlovic and Ben Wallace.

The Cavs are definitely in “championship or bust” mode this season, but they may have an eye on the future in their deadline dealings. Stoudemire is only 27, and could give the Cavs a young core that would entice LeBron James to stay in Cleveland even if the Cavs have a disappointing playoff run. For that same reason, the Cavs could be reluctant to give up Hickson for a man 12 years his senior.

Another wrinkle in a Cavs deal for Jamison is the issue of Zydrunas Ilgauskas’ buyout. The Cavs are expecting that whichever team trades for Ilgauskas’ expiring contract will buy him out and allow him to return to the Cavaliers. However, the Cavs’ past history with the Wizards franchise has them worrying that Washington would not do them the favor of buying out Ilgauskas. What happens with the Cavaliers before the trade deadline could come down to how many risks the conservative Ferry is willing to take with the roster of the NBA’s best team.

Khris Middleton dunks, Jimmy Butler can’t stop him (VIDEO)

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Khris Middleton has more expectations and more pressure on him after a breakout season in Milwaukee, followed by him getting him PAID this summer.

Well, he looked pretty good on this play against the Bulls, making the steal then throwing down despite Jimmy Butler‘s efforts to stop him.

Middleton finished with 10 points on 5-of-7 shooting for the Bucks. However, Butler had the last laugh as he went off for 23 points on 12 shots and led the Bulls to the (meaningless) preseason win.

Somebody looks comfortable: Paul George drops 20 in first quarter

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Paul George‘s first experience starting as a power forward was going up against Anthony Davis — not just one of the best power forwards in the game, one of the handful of best players in the game period. That didn’t go well for George, and he wasn’t happy about it.

His second experience was in another preseason game Tuesday, going up against the Pistons and their four, Ersan İlyasova. He’s not quite as intimidating.

George scored 20 points on 7-of-8 shooting, 4-of-5 on threes — and that was just the first quarter (you can see it all in the video above).

As we have said before, George at the four is not a bad call by the Pacers, but some of that depends on the matchup. On the nights the Pacers face Davis or Blake Griffin or LaMarcus Aldridge or Zach Randolph (or a handful of others) the Pacers’ coaching staff is going to have to adjust. But there are a lot of nights where George at the four is going to force the other team to adjust, and that will play into the Pacers’ hands.