Goran Dragic denies interest in playing overseas, right now anyway

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UPDATE 9/23 12:41 am: Oh, it was all a simple misunderstanding blown out of proportion, like a Three’s Company episode (cue the laugh track). Seth Pollack from SBNation emailed Dragic, who sent back this response.

This news is not correct, because I made a statement that I want to end
my basketball carrer in Europe. So this is a big misunderstanding of the
Greek journalist. In this moment I’m very happy in the NBA and I’m not
going to Europe! I am a member of the Phoenix Suns, and my desire is to
stay in Phoenix for many years!

As Steve Nash is a stud but playing with a back that requires the fantastic Suns training staff, a team of Shaman and daily Holy Water from Lourdes to keep working. Dragic is the understudy, and the thought of him going, however slim, should frighten Suns fans. For now, at least, they have nothing to worry about.

8/22 9:55 am: Goran Dragic was considered a reach when the Suns drafted him in 2008. But he showed flashes before becoming a full-fledged star in the playoffs last season. You may remember him from such films as “Dropping 23 of 26 points on the Spurs in the fourth quarter.”  But that film may become out of print in the NBA.

SBNation Arizona reports that Dragic spoke with Greek media and hinted he may consider leaving to return to Europe when his current contract with the Suns is up. Tas Melas of the Score’s Basketball Jones was kind enough to provide a translation:

I am completely satisfied with my presence in the NBA. These two
years helped me evolve as a player. I improved in all areas. I have a
contract for this year, and then for the following year, it’s my choice
whether or not to continue (in Phoenix). Maybe I return to Europe.

Eventually this will happen for sure. I do not know if it will the
season after next. But the prospect of a big European team, perhaps
even Greek, would interest me very much. Winning titles is always
something which is very important

The “eventually this will happen for sure” part is pretty concerning, if it’s an accurate quote. But the more likely scenario is simply Dragic using his European status to put pressure on the Suns to come with the big contract extension. It’s hard to believe he’d have worked as hard as he has to make the NBA, become a star on the rise, only to up and head back for easier pastures. Then again, kids these days. You never can tell.

Suns sources who spoke with Pollack of SBNation weren’t overly concerned.

Emotional DeMarcus Cousins near tears saying goodbye to Sacramento after trade

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Kings’ general manager Vlade Divac took a parting shot at DeMarcus Cousins‘ character when he spoke to the media about the deal.

Cousins could be challenging in the locker room, but he was committed to Sacramento in ways most teams wish their star would be. He was active in the community, did charity work, and was not one of the players that alerted the media and dragged along a video crew when he did. Cousins loves Sacramento.

You can see it as he tears up when saying goodbye to those close to him in this video.

On the court, the trade to New Orleans and the chance to play next to Anthony Davis could be a huge boost for Cousins’ career. We’ll never know what could have been if the Kings knew how to draft or stuck with a system/coach.

But off the court, Sacramento will miss him. And he will miss them.

All-Star game television ratings are best since 2013

Western Conference forward Anthony Davis of the New Orleans Pelicans (23 ) slam dunks during the first half of the NBA All-Star basketball game in New Orleans, Sunday, Feb. 19, 2017. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, Pool)
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NEW YORK (AP) — The NBA All-Star game drew an average audience of 7.8 million viewers, making it the most-viewed All-Star broadcast since 2013.

Turner Sports announced the numbers on Monday. The number of viewers peaked at 8.5 million and the total audience was up 3 percent from last year’s game.

The hype surrounding the game centered on Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook playing on the Western Conference team together. Durant left Oklahoma City last summer to join Golden State, leaving his longtime teammate Westbrook behind with the Thunder. Westbrook did not hide his dissatisfaction with Durant, which ratcheted up the intrigue heading into the game on Sunday.

The two shared the court for just 81 seconds and Oklahoma City posted the highest local market rating with a 10.9.

Report: Timberwolves, Knicks discuss Derrick Rose trade

NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 02:  Derrick Rose #25 of the New York Knicks takes a shot as Kris Dunn #3 of the Minnesota Timberwolves defends at Madison Square Garden on December 2, 2016 in New York City.The New York Knicks defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves 118-114. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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The Timberwolves — 3.5 games and five teams out of playoff position — have made reaching the postseason this year a priority.

So, within that nonsensical goal apparently comes a nonsensical idea: Trading for Derrick Rose.

Ian Begley of ESPN:

The Minnesota Timberwolves have reached out to the Knicks recently to discuss potential trades for New York point guard Derrick Rose, sources told ESPN.

The Timberwolves, sources say, are among several teams to reach out to the Knicks asking about potential trades for Rose.

Rose, of course, played for Timberwolves president/coach Tom Thibodeau with the Bulls. That makes this report both plausible and something the Knicks would leak to drum up interest.

I can’t imagine a market especially eager to acquire Rose, who will become a free agent next summer. His $21,323,252 salary is difficult to match in trades without sending out too valuable of players. Rose has become a good downhill driver, but the rest of his game is lacking after years of injuries.

The Timberwolves have nearly $13 million of cap space, which could be useful in facilitating a deal. But they also have three intriguing point guards: Ricky Rubio, Kris Dunn and Tyus Jones.

If Minnesota really wants Rose, it could just sign him this summer. His Bird Rights shouldn’t matter much. Who would give the 28-year-old a five-year contract?

Rubio for Rose straight up works financially, for what it’s worth. The Timberwolves shouldn’t do that, but we don’t know enough about Tom Thibodeau running a front office to assume they won’t.

Report: Pelicans trying to trade Terrence Jones

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After their trade today, the Pelicans have the NBA’s most dynamic big-man tandem: Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins.

Davis and Cousins are tall, athletic and skilled in a combination we might have never seen from any power forward-center duo since Charles Barkley-Hakeem Olajuwon. New Orleans’ two could thrive together, and while they develop chemistry, they’ll each likely get minutes without the other.

That doesn’t leave much playing time for someone like Terrence Jones.

Chris Haynes of ESPN:

Jones settled for a one-year minimum contract after an injury-plagued and inconsistent tenure with the Rockets. His inconsistency remains, but considering his salary, his highs more than justify dealing with the lows. At just 25, Jones could still figure out how to reliably contribute.

Jones’ contract dictates he be rental, which will lower his trade value. But he could help teams trying to win down the stretch — including New Orleans.

Dante Cunningham seems more favored at power forward, and Donatas Motiejunas can fill in. But the Pelicans could still use Jones.

Shopping him might be a favor to the player, but we’ll see whether an actual trade is part of the gesture.