Teams are talking trades. Not really seriously, however.
We told you the other day that meaningful trade chatter was down this season and tried to present a few reasons — fear of the unknown of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement and teams not taking on any new salary because of it for one. All the contenders are set or have made their major moves, for another.
But in an interview on a Trail Blazers broadcast, Portland GM Rich Cho had another idea (via CBS Eye on Basketball).
He was asked if the seemingly endless dragging out of the Carmelo Anthony trade situation is part of the problem.
“It seems like it. It looked like that deal was going to go down with New Jersey. And then that got held up. I don’t know if it’s still going to go down or something is going to happen with New York or maybe Melo stays there [in Denver], but it does seem to be holding things up a little bit.”
Cho added that usually trades do not go down until the few days before the deadline, so things could still pick up.
In an interview with the Mercury News, Warriors GM Larry Riley said that there is plenty of superficial talk about trades, but few things that seem serious.
But there is something — or somethings — keeping everything in a holding pattern. That doesn’t mean that the trade floodgates are not going to open — ‘Melo deal or not — but talk is certainly reduced this season.
It’s likely a combination of factors, including the Anthony deal holding up conversations about others. If Anthony is traded look for Denver to make some other moves sending out Chauncey Billups and maybe Nene. They will start the rebuilding process fast. That may open up those floodgates a little.
Just a suggestion for rookie Dejounte Murray: Don’t do this in front of Gregg Popovich. You may not like his reaction.
That said, the Spurs needed to get more athletic this off-season — landing Pau Gasol certainly didn’t help that cause — so enter first-round pick Murray, who pulled this off in a recent pickup game.
Murray is going to be brought along slowly in a backcourt where Tony Parker and Patty Mills will be splitting time at the point. Murray is more of a combo guard and is going to have to shoot a lot better than he did in college (28.8 percent from three) to get some run. But this is a situation where the Spurs can groom him, bring him along slowly, and see if they have another draft steal.
He’s certainly got the athleticism.
James Harden‘s defense is not as bad as its reputation.
Well, at least it wasn’t two seasons ago — his near MVP season he was in good enough shape that he could put in a respectable effort on that end and still handle his massive offensive load. There were still some mental lapses, but his focus was better and his improvement lifted the team defense. Last season, he regressed back to youtube “highlight” defense Harden — his conditioning was not where it needed to be, he didn’t expend as much effort on that end, and it showed.
Harden got a massive contract extension this summer, and Dwight Howard is Atlanta’s problem — now Harden has to lead the Rockets. By example. Corey Brewer told ESPN you’re going to see that on defense.
“I think this year he’s going to play better defense, We’re going to let the past be in the past. It’s the future of the Rockets, man. James is going to play defense this year.”
We’re all Missourians on this one: Show me.
Remember that the Rockets will be out and running — Mike D’Antoni is the coach now, and Daryl Morey is going to get the up tempo ball he wants (which Kevin McHale had them doing, but Harden didn’t like him so…). D’Antoni’s teams in Phoenix played better defense than their reputation — points per possession they were middle of the pack — but that has never been his focus.
Will Harden be able to run like he needs to on offense and still defend at a reasonable level?
If he can, it’s a big step toward the Rockets being a dangerous team in the West because if he does it others will follow. Otherwise, every Rockets game will be a shootout, which is entertaining but not going to get a team deep into the playoffs.
I can see the questions on Twitter/in the comments already so let me save you some time.
Because it’s summer.
Because it’s Drake (he’s a celebrity and an NBA hanger-on with some quasi-official position with the Raptors).
Because Stephen Curry did it, too.
Because what other hoops are you watching on a late August afternoon?
And besides, you clicked on it. You know you want to see it.
So here it is, Drake, hitting a halfcourt shot while doing a sit up. Enjoy.
Mario Chalmers was thriving with the Grizzlies after a midseason trade from the Heat when a torn Achilles ended his season.
Not the way Chalmers wanted to enter free agency.
Still unsigned, he says he’s progressing.
Can he go 100%, though? If not, when?
A few teams could use another point guard. If Chalmers shows his health, he belongs in someone’s rotation. But that might require taking a low-paying deal and working his way up from the third point guard spot – or even just onto the regular-season roster.