Portland still trying to trade Rudy Fernandez, at least his agent thinks so

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Thumbnail image for nba_fernandez_250.jpgRudy Fernandez has gone where Chris Paul can’t — he has basically demanded a trade. The man wants out of Portland and away from Nate McMillan as fast as he can. Fernandez wants the ball in his hands, he envisions himself to be a playmaker. Portland already has those and McMillan just wants him to shoot. That makes Rudy sad.

New Portland General Manager Rich Cho is listening to offers. Can you blame him — who wouldn’t want to make a trade when you just get the power to green light one? But you’re going to have to wow Cho, his first trade will not be crap, as he told Jason Quick of the Oregonian.

“I’ve spoken to Andy and I’m aware of Rudy’s feelings,” Cho said. “But at the end of the day we are going to make the best decision for the franchise.”

Boston, Chicago and New York are all in the running for Fernandez, at least that’s what his agent, Andy Miller. However, he is an agent whose client wants to be on the move, so find yourself a salt flat before swallowing anything he says.

But there is interest, and those three teams make some sense.

Chicago could slide him right in at the two, where they had pictured JJ Redick would go. Of course, Redick is primarily a shooter and Rose is the guy making the plays with the ball in his hands, but Rudy wants out and Chicago is out. Chicago has been offering James Johnson to anyone and everyone this offseason, but Johnson and a pick may not be the best deal Cho will hear.

Boston has interest and they certainly could use depth and playmakers coming off the bench. But what are they going to offer? Rasheed Wallace and pick that likely will be near the bottom of the draft? Not thrilling either.

On the court, New York might be the best fit — Fernandez would fit well in Mike D’Antoni’s system and he gets to set up plays. The question is what would the Knicks offer to go with what could be a nice pick? Toney Douglas? That would certainly be an upgrade for the Knicks (as much as they like Douglas, who has real potential). Just a guess. But the Knicks have a roster of options, and more than one player could be involved.

Bottom line, there is some smoke. That smoke could become a real fire in the next 48 hours. Or Rudy could sulk on the Portland bench all next season. Which would make Rudy sad. And does anybody want to see that?

Celtics to retire Paul Pierce’s number after Cavaliers game in February

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The Celtics already said they’d retire Paul Pierce’s No. 34.

Now, we know when.

Celtics release:

The Boston Celtics announced today that they will retire Paul Pierce’s No. 34 after a mid-season game against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday, Feb. 11

After? That’s apparently in response to a new rule that penalizes teams not ready to play after a 15-minute halftime. These ceremonies can drag on, and nobody wants to cut Pierce short. I wonder whether this will start a trend of number retirements coming after games.

DeMarcus Cousins on Confederate statues: ‘Take all them motherf—ers down’

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DeMarcus Cousins grew up in Alabama, played collegiately at Kentucky and now plays in New Orleans.

So, yeah, the Pelicans star has an opinion on Confederate statues.

Cousins, via TMZ:

“Take all them motherf*ckers down,” Cousins said … “Take ’em all down.”

These statues glorify people because they fought a war against the United States in the name of preserving the racist institution of slavery.

Not whom I want to honor, either.

Kevin Durant: Kyrie Irving-LeBron James situation ‘just a regular NBA problem’

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Kevin Durant knows something about star teammates not always getting along.

So, the Warriors forward is not freaking out about the disconnect between Kyrie Irving and LeBron James and Irving’s subsequent trade request.

Durant, via Chris Haynes of ESPN:

“It’s just a regular NBA problem, right? A lot of teams have gone through this before,” Durant told ESPN. “They’ll figure it out. That’s a great organization, a championship organization. They’ll figure it out.”

“It’s not the end of the world,” Durant said. “Both of those guys won a championship together. They love each other. If Kyrie wants to do something else, that’s on him. I’m sure whatever happens, it’ll work out for the best for both of them. But it’s just a normal NBA problem. It’s just two big stars that it’s happening to.”

Durant is definitely right in the larger sense. Teammates spat and requests trades more often than we realize. Remember, both Irving and the Cavaliers probably prefer this never became public.

But I’m not sure Cleveland will figure this out with the ease Durant suggests. David Griffin, who had proven so adept at putting out these fires, is gone. LeBron’s free agency looms. This could be extremely destructive to the Cavs.

The fact that this “regular NBA problem” became public only intensifies it – and raises it something greater.

Report: Heat signing Jordan Mickey

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Jordan Mickey – the No. 33 pick by the Celtics in 2015 – became the first second-round pick in memory to sign the year he was drafted and receive a higher initial salary than first-round picks.

He’s keeping the checks coming.

Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:

Mickey will be the Heat’s 16th player with a standard contract, though Matt Williams (unguaranteed) will likely be waived to meet the regular-season roster limit.

I’m not sure where Mickey fits on this team, which already has several bigs. Hassan Whiteside, Bam Adebayo and Kelly Olynyk will likely play ahead of him. Miami also has A.J. Hammons (who might be just dead salary) and Udonis Haslem (who might provide nothing more than veteran leadership).

The Heat could just see Mickey as someone they can develop. At that point, how he fits into the current roster doesn’t really matter.

Mickey – 6-foot-8 with a 7-foot-3 wingspan – is a mobile defender with nice timing for blocking shots inside. He even possesses a work-in-progress 3-pointer in his arsenal. There’s plenty for Miami to help mold.