NBA Draft: Nets impressed by Cousins' perimeter game

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On Monday, top NBA forward prospects DeMarcus Cousins and Derrick Favors both worked out for the New Jersey Nets, who hold the 3rd overall pick in the upcoming draft. Since John Wall and Evan Turner are virtual locks to go 1st and 2nd in the draft, the Nets’ selection may have more suspense surrounding it that any other pick. 
If the Nets are indeed trying to decide between Cousins and Favors, the dilemma is a familiar one come NBA Draft time: Cousins is the more polished product, particularly on offense, while Favors is the better athlete and can make more of an impact without the ball in his hands. (Cousins’ “character flags” add another dimension to New Jersey’s dilemma.)
According to ESPN.com’s Chris Sheridan, Cousins was able to impress those assembled at the workout by unveiling his outside shot, which he rarely used during his time at Kentucky. Nets president Abe Polinsky was reportedly impressed by how comfortable Cousins looked shooting the ball out to 20 feet; with Brook Lopez on the roster, the Nets could very much use a 4 who can stretch the floor and give Lopez room to operate down low. 
If his mid-range shot is as good as advertised, Cousins could turn into a better version of Zach Randolph on his best days offensively; a low-post scorer with the ability to step out who uses his strength and touch to make up for a relative lack of explosiveness. However, Cousins reportedly weighed in at 289 pounds. With power forwards getting more agile, athletic, and perimeter-oriented by the year (before you call Pau Gasol a traditional banger, think of how he runs the floor),  can a 289-pound man be reasonably expected to keep up with opposing fours on a nightly basis?
Both Cousins and Favors come with real risks attached to them. There’s a real chance Favors will never become a quality offensive player, and an equally real chance that Cousins will never become a reliable NBA defender. If the Nets do end up choosing between Cousins and Favors, their decision may come down to which risk they’re more comfortable taking.

Report: Pacers offered Paul George for Kyrie Irving

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The Cavaliers think they were close to trading for Paul George, a text message away from completing a three-team trade with the Pacers and Nuggets that would have sent Kevin Love to Denver.

But Cleveland could’ve ensured itself George, whom Indiana ultimately dealt to the Thunder. All the Cavs had to do was send Kyrie Irving to the Pacers.

Brian Windhorst and Zach Lowe of ESPN on The Lowe Post podcast:

  • Windhorst: “I know that around the draft and in the Paul George talks, the Cavs were not willing to make Kyrie Irving available for Paul George.”
  • Lowe: “We can say on this podcast: The Pacers offered Paul George for Kyrie Irving. That’s a thing that happened, according to people that we’ve talked to.”
  • Windhorst: “Multiple times.”

Even if the Cavaliers knew of Irving’s unhappiness – maybe they did, or at least should have – while George was still in Indiana, this would have been a bad trade for them.

Irving is locked up for two more years, and George is on an expiring contract. That simply makes Irving more valuable than George, who – like LeBron James – could have walked in a year. George is ineligible for a reasonable contract extension, and there’s so much buzz about him joining the Lakers.

Now, if the Cavs were more on top of Irving’s trade request when George were still available, maybe they would have more aggressively tried to bridge the gap. Perhaps, Indiana could have sent another player or draft pick.

But Cleveland shouldn’t be kicking itself over not dealing Irving for George straight up.

Report: LeBron James eager for Kyrie Irving to be traded

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LeBron James reportedly wants to fight Kyrie Irving over the guard’s trade request.

But sometimes, people continue to work with those whom they dislike. LeBron partnered with Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert again and again, after all.

Might LeBron realize keeping Irving is Cleveland’s best chance to win another title? Could LeBron put personal feelings aside in that pursuit?

Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com:

Irving has asked for a trade and James is eager to see him off.

This might explain why the Cavs appear so gung-ho about moving Irving. LeBron usually gets what he wants in Cleveland, especially in a contract year.

It’s not too late for LeBron and Irving to reconcile until a trade is completed, but with LeBron welcoming Derrick Rose, they just move further from that possibility.

Damian Lillard says players who want to leave team owe teammates, fans truth

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Damian Lillard was making the rounds on a media tour Monday, and at virtually each and every stop he was asked about Kyrie Irving and Carmelo Anthony. We told you about Lillard’s recruiting pitch to Anthony.

One of his stops was with one of my favorite radio shows,  Bill Reiter’s Reiter Than You on CBS Radio. Lillard talked about what players owe teammates when they try to push their way out of town.

“You owe your teammates first because those are the guys that you spend the most time around that you have relationships with, more so than anybody else,” Lillard said. “And also the fans because they are part of your team. They’re the people that come and cheer for you and support you as much as anybody. So I think they’re the two groups of people that you owe the truth. They deserve to know the truth in where you stand and what your plans are.”

Hard to argue with that.

Of course, honesty can lead to some bad blood. If Kyrie Irving went to his teammates and the fans in Cleveland and said, “Look, LeBron James is leaving in a year, and I don’t want to be the guy holding the bag, so I’m forcing my way out while I can” how would that go over? It’s the truth — or maybe the largest part of the truth, there is never just one thing — but it would rub a lot of people the wrong way. And Irving would get roasted in the media (more than he is already).

It sounds good to be honest, and a lot of guys try, but they have talked themselves into that narrative before they sell it everywhere else. Everything is spin, to a degree.

Watch Stephen Curry make fun of Klay Thompson’s 360 dunk fail in China

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By now we have all seen Golden State Warriors shooting guard Klay Thompson brick that dunk attempt in China, right?

Here is the link to the video if you haven’t seen it.

Well, teammate Stephen Curry was also in China this week and decided to do a little mocking of Thompson’s missed dunk for the crowd.

It was all in good fun, and of course we all know about the Warriors team culture. Glad that Curry and Thompson can jab at each other like this.