Is Golden State thinking about trading Monta Ellis?

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Let’s just start this out with the needed disclaimer — this all starts because of speculation from a newspaper columnist, an idea that got picked up and ran with all over the Web Wednesday morning. (Tell me again how bloggers start all the rumors?) Understand it all started with a guess that may be off the mark. So you cannot take enough salt with this rumor.

Okay, everyone understand? Good.

San Jose Mercury News columnist Tim Kawakami has spoken with Jerry West, looked at the Golden State roster and came to this conclusion:

And with West on board as management’s newest, sharpest voice, it seems likely that West already has begun to survey trade options for Ellis.

“I’ve seen teams trade players that score tons of points and people say, ‘How in the world can you trade that player?’ ” West said last week. “Because he might score tons of points and the team doesn’t win. When I look at (the Warriors), obviously they need more size.”

Of course, West was not definitively referring to Ellis when he spoke those words, and throughout the conversation he added that he admired Ellis’ toughness and inventive scoring ability.

But if West is instantly the team’s most influential voice in personnel moves, which I believe he is, and if he’s going to make a major move, which everybody in the NBA expects “… whom else but Ellis could he trade?

Well, Stephen Curry comes to mind. But if owner Joe Lacob is serious about a move to a more defensive mindset, the Warriors do have to consider breaking up this undersized backcourt that can’t defend well. Ellis is one of the better scorers in the game right now and there would be real value if the Warriors wanted to move him.

But where? Kawakami spoke to sources and said:

Chicago, which might have been a big-time perimeter scorer away from pushing Miami to the brink in the Eastern Conference finals. Would the Bulls think about Luol Deng for Ellis? Could the Warriors sweeten that offer?

And Memphis, West’s old team, which has Rudy Gay at a huge salary and which offered O.J. Mayo for Ellis in the recent past.

Chicago would be a disaster for the Bulls. They would create what Golden State already has — an undersized backcourt that can’t defend. On offense it might be worse as Ellis not a guy who works off the ball but needs to have it in his hands to create. So he would take possessions away from league MVP Derrick Rose. They would fight over the ball. That would just be a mess, and Deng is too high a price by far.

Now Mayo for Ellis, that makes a little more sense. And the sides have at least discussed it on some level in the past. The question becomes do the small market Grizzlies want to take on three years, $33 million in Ellis before they see what the new Collective Bargaining Agreement looks like?

It’s all a lot of speculation. Although to me the idea of moving some part of the Golden State back court to get more size makes sense.

NBA introducing 2-for-1 All-Star voting days

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The NBA changed its All-Star format this season from East vs. West to captain-picked teams (though still naming players equally from each conference).

That apparently wasn’t a big enough overhaul.

After including media and player votes last year, the league is making All-Star starter selection even more complex.

NBA release:

NBA All-Star Voting 2018 presented by Verizon will tip off with an early voting period exclusively on the NBA App and NBA.com beginning Thursday, Dec. 21 at 1 p.m. ET.

Voting via all other channels, including Amazon Alexa for the first time, will launch on Monday, Dec. 25 at 11 a.m.

Additionally, new for this season, five “2-for-1 Days” will allow fans to have their votes count twice on Dec. 31, Jan. 4, Jan. 11, Jan. 12 and Jan. 15 when voting through the NBA App and NBA.com, along with Sina Weibo and Tencent in China.  All “2-for-1 Days” will be designated 12 a.m. – 11:59 p.m. ET.

TNT will reveal the All-Star Game starters, including the two captains, on Thursday, Jan. 18 during TNT NBA Tip-Off

The network will announce the reserves, as selected by NBA head coaches, on Tuesday, Jan. 23 during TNT NBA Tip-Off at 7 p.m. ET. 

The team rosters for NBA All-Star Game 2018 in Los Angeles will be revealed on Thursday, Jan. 25 during a special one-hour edition of TNT NBA Tip-Off at 7 p.m. ET.

I suppose this is to drum up interest on otherwise quiet voting days. After all, this is really just about the NBA selling itself.

But the All-Star voting process has always left something to be desired. I don’t see how this changes that.

Report: Lakers ‘longshot’ to sign LeBron James

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Preeminent NBA reporter Adrian Wojnarowski called it “likelyLeBron James would sign with the Lakers or Clippers next summer. The Clippers have since been somewhat debunked as a LeBron destination. There’s circumstantial evidence linking LeBron to Los Angeles.

Ramona Shelburne and Brian Windhorst of ESPN:

So imagining James’ last act coming in purple and gold isn’t without basis. But as of now, it’s also a longshot, according to league sources.

Shelburne and Windhorst are highly credible. I doubt they’d report this without connected sources.

LeBron’s agent, Rich Paul, and manager, Maverick Carter, have recently publicly downplayed the importance of Los Angeles to LeBron. That felt like a coordinated attack on the LeBron-Lakers rumors, and this fits as a continuation.

But why wage that campaign? To keep the Cavaliers focused while LeBron still plays for them, even if he might leave after the season? To lower expectations among the Lakers’ massive fan base, so as not alienate those people (potential customers of the many LeBron-connected brands) when LeBron inevitably signs elsewhere? Both could be true, but there’s obviously a difference between each driving LeBron’s camp.

DeMarcus Cousins barrels in for powerful putback dunk over Bucks (video)

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When DeMarcus Cousins builds up a head of steam like this… poor John Henson (and kind of Khris Middleton).

This helped the Pelicans pull away for a 115-108 win over the Bucks last night.

Enraged Jason Smith restrained from Mario Chalmers (video)

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During the Wizards’ win over the Grizzlies last night, Mario Chalmers tried to stop Jason Smith from shooting after Smith had been called for travelling. It’s a fairly common tactic, one pioneered by Kevin Garnett. Players don’t want their opponents to gain confidence by seeing the ball go through the net, even after play stops.

But Chalmers held onto Smith’s arm, and Smith took umbrage.

NBC Sports Washington:

I think it’s more likely, after halting Smith’s shot, Chalmers was trying to hold up Smith rather than yank him down. But I can’t know Chalmers’ intentions, and holding up a falling person by his arm isn’t very effective.

The double technical foul called seems about fair.