Mark Cuban talks about the trade deadline and executives waiting too long

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You’ll start to notice a pattern, eventually. In the month leading up to the trade deadline, there will be a lot of talk about two possible eventualities.

A. “This trade deadline looks to be the most active in years, with several teams shopping star players!”

Or…

B. “This trade deadline looks unusually slow and I wouldn’t expect any major deals.”

This situation is always exacerbated by reporters getting quotes from GMs about how they’re definitely going to make a deal/not going to make a deal and fans who are simply unable to recognize that their team is headed for a rebuilding effort. This year’s winner is Portland, for example.

But in reality, the actual trade activity is somewhere in the middle. Mark Cuban, bastion of rational approach, talked about it with the Boston Globe:

“Relative to other years in terms of trade talk, I don’t think it’s really any different,’’ he said. “It always goes through the same process. There’s one or two early trades. We saw that with Orlando, and then everybody waits until the last possible second. And then you hit the trade deadline and they recognize it’s the last chance to save money or to do something. That’s when things happen.

“That’s one of the challenges and problems the league has is that a lot of GMs like to wait until the last second.’’

via In Utah, there is plenty of blame to go around – The Boston Globe

Amen, Cubes. Teams are always balking at offers, thinking their players definitely deserve to fetch more on the open market. They’re all waiting for that sweetheart of a deal that never comes (unless you’re the Lakers). Then the deadline approaches and they realize it’s their last opportunity to get a deal done. Take a look at just some of the teams with considerable reason to make a move:

Utah: Jerry Sloan’s gone, the situation is unstable, and Andrei Kirilenko remains a high-priced expiring contract for a player who can still actually produce.

Portland: Andre Miller remains on the block next to Marcus Camby, they have young pieces to add to a deal, and a strong set of reasons to go for a rebuilding project.

Phoenix: Still hovering in the playoff race, but Robert Sarver isn’t going to be okay with a high price tag on a lottery team. That’s not how he operates, upcoming CBA or no.

Charlotte: A dreadful team in need of a major makeover, a brash, impulsive owner, and a set of movable quality players like Stephen Jackson and Gerald Wallace.

Denver: Melo.

There are enough pieces just there to leave open the possibility of a few deals before you start looking at surprise entrants like Philadelphia, Detroit, Houston, and the Clippers.

Maybe it’ll be as quiet as some are expecting with the upcoming lockout looming over everyone. But the odds, and history are with Cuban. It’s just going to take some time until the teams get desperate enough.

 

Warriors hope to get Shaun Livingston, Matt Barnes back for second round

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OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — The Golden State Warriors hope to get injured reserves Shaun Livingston and Matt Barnes back from injuries for the second round of the playoffs after getting more than a week off between series.

The Warriors said Saturday that Barnes has been upgraded to probable for Tuesday night’s Game 1 and Livingston remains questionable but is hopeful he will be ready to return. Star forward Kevin Durant is expected to be a full go after missing two games and being limited to 20 minutes in Game 4 last round because of a strained left calf.

Barnes has been sidelined since April 8, while Livingston sprained a finger on his right hand in Game 1 of the first-round against Portland.

Golden State begins the second round at home on Tuesday night against the winner of Sunday’s Game 7 between the Los Angeles Clippers and Utah Jazz. The Warriors have been off since sweeping the Trail Blazers last Monday, giving them more than a week between games.

“I’m trying to make sure I rest it as much as I possibly can, because when I do come back I plan on staying all the way back,” Livingston said Saturday. “Hopefully it will be ready for Tuesday.”

After taking Tuesday and Thursday off following their first-round sweep, the Warriors practiced for a second straight day Saturday. They plan to practice again on Sunday and then again Monday once they know their second-round opponent.

There is no update on the status of coach Steve Kerr, who missed the final two games of the first round because of complications from two back surgeries. Kerr talks daily with interim coach Mike Brown and took part in coaching meetings Friday but was not at practice on Saturday.

PBT Extra: Rockets vs. Spurs far more than Kawhi Leonard vs. James Harden

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Kawhi Leonard vs. James Harden. Two MVP candidates matching up in the second round of the NBA playoffs.

However, the San Antonio Spurs vs. Houston Rockets is much more than that.

It’s a battle of pace. It’s a chess match between two of the best coaches in the game. It’s about which team’s role players are going to step up.

I talk about all of that in this latest PBT Extra. Plus, of course, when Leonard will guard Harden.

How to start your Saturday night: Watching 15 minutes of best plays from NBA season

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There are no NBA playoff games Saturday night, the first night since the start of the postseason there hasn’t been one game. Don’t worry, there are two games on Sunday, including Game 7 between the Jazz and Clippers.

But if you need a Saturday night fix, this will have to do: 15 minutes of the best plays from last season, as compiled by NBA.com.

Go ahead, watch it. You’ve got nothing better to do.

 

Paul Millsap says the expected, he will “most likely” opt out of contract

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This is ranked right next to “overeating can lead to weight gain” on the list of surprising things, but we will dutifully report it anyway:

Paul Millsap is going to opt out and officially become a free agent this summer.

Atlanta’s owner as well as Mike Budenholzer, the coach and head of basketball operations, have both said they plan to do whatever it takes to re-sign Millsap with the Hawks. Millsap didn’t sound like someone eager to leave after the Hawks were eliminated from the playoffs Friday.

“It’s been great. I’m looking to expand this and see where the franchise can go. These last four years has been great. I couldn’t ask for anything more.”

Even with both sides singing Kumbaya, keeping Millsap in Atlanta likely means a five-year contract at or near the max, which for a 32-year-old player means the Hawks would regret the last year or two of that deal.

Not that the Hawks have much of a choice here, they have to come in big and keep him. For one, they can’t afford to lose Al Horford and then Millsap for nothing in back-to-back years. If they were going down the rebuilding road, they needed to trade Millsap at the deadline (or last summer) to make sure they got something in return. Atlanta explored trade options at the deadline, but then pulled back (rumored to be because of an edict from ownership, which didn’t want to see the team blown up after the Kyle Korver trade).

By not making that trade the Hawks signaled their intention to remain a good team — a 43-win team this season that got them the five seed — with Dennis Schroder and Dwight Howard, one that draws well at an arena that historically has not been that full, and see if they can add on. They strike me as a team that will win between 42-50 games a year and be middle of the pack in the East for the next few years, unless they can find a way to add an elite player (which is incredibly difficult).

But if the Hawks can’t re-sign Millsap, then the plan gets blown up. So expect them to come in with a big offer come July 1.