Friday morning one liners (so long Brandon Roy)

Leave a comment

Our morning look around the NBA with stories worth reading and notes that are not their own post here at PBT.

If you read one thing today, make it the BlazersEdge look back at the career of Brandon Roy. This is spectacular stuff from Ben Golliver.

In case you missed it, PBT previewed all 30 NBA teams on Thursday. I expect you to read all of them. There will be a quiz.

Metta World Peace will be coming off the bench this season for the Lakers and Matt Barnes will be the starting three. Interesting. We’ll see how Ron-Ron (is that Metta-Metta now?) deals with that. But what really matters is who closes out games.

Chris Bosh drained a three in the Heat’s scrimmage last night. It’s something he’s been working on (after getting an up-close look at Dirk Nowitzki draining a bunch).

LeBron James is showing off his post game.

LeBron is also showing off the Heat’s new black alternate jersey. Embrace the dark side and together we shall rule the galaxy….

The Spurs are not going to amnesty Richard Jefferson after all. At least not this year. (When they said they were going to they Spurs thought they would get Caron Butler or Vince Carter or someone to fill Jefferson’s shoes. Didn’t work out that way.)

The Nets did use their amnesty on Travis Outlaw, as expected.

The Rockets desperately need a center (sorry Jordan Hill) and they are going hard after Samuel Dalembert.

Maurice Evans flirted with the Knicks and other teams, but has re-signed with the Wizards.

Bonzi Wells is getting a shot at an NBA comeback up in Timberwolves camp. To answer you next question, 2008 in New Orleans (the last time he stepped on an NBA court).

Andrea Bargnani says he is going to get more rebounds this year. I’m going to need to see proof of that before I begin to buy it.

Corey Maggettee missed practice in Charlotte with some lower back pain… yes, that was a little red flag you just saw go up. His back has long been an issue.

The Knicks are taking a look at Michael Redd and Troy Murphy. And maybe Eddie Murphy at this point.

The Pacers also are going after Redd.

David Thorpe — a player development specialist I really respect — loves the idea of Blake Griffin and Chris Paul together. Almost as much as Clipper Darrell.

The Nets signed Ime Udoka to a one-year deal.

No shock here, but Jerome Jordan is officially a Knick.

The Warriors picked up Dominic McGuire.

Five days after they got him in the Tyson Chandler deal, the Mavs waive Andy Rautins.

The Milwaukee Bucks have signed their second round pick and Wisconsin favorite Jon Leuer.

Chris Kaman talks about being traded.

The Nuggets continue to have the best team in China.

Report: Cavaliers unhappy Kyrie Irving news leaked because it hurts trade value

Leave a comment

The news Kyrie Irving wants out of Cleveland came as a bolt of lightning to a finally slowed NBA offseason. Speculation about the future of LeBron James had been rampant, but discussions of Kyrie Irving’s future were usually tied to LeBron (if he left the Cavs, Irving would go, too).

Cleveland wanted to keep it under wraps, because it’s easier to do business that way. Now the word is out — including that he prefers to be traded to San Antonio, Minnesota, Miami, or New York — and the Cavaliers are not happy, reports Chris Haynes of ESPN.

It means that there will be a lot more leaks — teams that want to look like they are trying to do something but have no real interest/assets will make a call then leak it so it looks like they are trying. It will mean a lot of distracting headlines.

However, unlike Carmelo Anthony with the Knicks, the Cavaliers have leverage here. Irving doesn’t have a no-trade clause so the Cavaliers can take the best offer. Irving is an All-Star level point guard, one of the five to eight best in the NBA (depending on how much you knock him for his defensive lapses, and who you classify as a point guard). He also has two seasons left on his contract, so teams that trade for him have a chance to win him over to stay.

That said, leaked info or not, they are not getting equal value back. It doesn’t work that way with stars generally. That said, everyone knowing he wants out doesn’t help the Cavaliers cause here.

Kyrie Irving’s reported preferred trade destinations: Knicks, Heat, Spurs, Timberwolves

Jason Miller/Getty Images
8 Comments

Kyrie Irving requested a trade from the Cavaliers.

He even apparently provided a list of teams he prefers to join.

Chris Haynes of ESPN:

That’s quite an eclectic mix.

The Knicks play in a major market near Irving’s native New Jersey, but they’re lousy. The Heat have a merely good team, excellent basketball culture, beautiful weather and a state with no income tax. The Spurs also offer a great basketball culture and no state income tax – plus Gregg Popovich and Kawhi Leonard. The Timberwolves are an up-and-comer with multiple players – Karl-Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins and Jimmy Butler (a friend) – on Irving’s timeline (though one would likely have to be traded for him) and a coach in Tom Thibodeau who worked with Irving through USA Basketball.

But Irving doesn’t possess a no-trade clause. Cleveland can trade him anywhere – or not at all.

Teams that Irving greenlights might offer more than teams he doesn’t, believing he’d be more likely to re-sign when his contract expires. But his free agency is still two years away. It doesn’t seem that will play a huge factor.

For Irving to work his way to a team he prefers, it will take a little luck in which team offers the Cavs the best package – or impressive finagling by his agent.

Report: Spurs re-signing Pau Gasol to three-year contract

Ronald Cortes/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Even after Pau Gasol opted out, there it nearly certain he’d stay with the Spurs.

Now, a deal is done.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

I’m a little surprised San Antonio guaranteed Gasol’s salary next season. By rule, it must be within 5% of what he’ll earn this year.

The Spurs could have major flexibility to chase free agents next summer, making keeping the books clean a priority. Their only constraints with Gasol this year are paying him up to 120% of his prior salary (which comes out to $18.6 million), the hard cap ($125,266,000) and whatever expense ownership would endure. So, if Gasol were willing to play ball, San Antonio could have paid him a sizable salary this year and far less – the room exception or even the minimum – next year.

Instead, Gasol’s compensation will be more balanced between the seasons. We’ll see how much he’ll earn.

Gasol remains an effective scorer, in part because he increased his range beyond the 3-point arc. He rebounds well in his area, and his length and basketball intelligence make him a passable defender given his other skills. His immobility can be a major defensive liability in certain matchups, though.

He’s also 37, an age where players can drop off quickly – another reason a one-year deal would’ve been preferable. At least the partial guarantee in the third year will help San Antonio.

Report: Kyrie Irving asked Cavaliers to trade him, blindsiding LeBron James

Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
22 Comments

Kyrie Irving said the Cavaliers were in a “peculiar place.”

We didn’t realize quite how peculiar.

Brian Windhorst of ESPN:

Kyrie Irving is ready to end his run with the Cleveland Cavaliers, as league sources told ESPN that the guard has asked the team to trade him.

The request came last week and was made to Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert. Irving has expressed that he wants to go play in a situation where he can be a more focal point and no longer wants to play alongside LeBron James, sources said.

James was informed of Irving’s request and was blindsided and disappointed, sources said.

Irving has admitted playing with LeBron has sometimes been rocky. It paid off with a championship in 2016, and I’m sure Irving found the tradeoff worthwhile then.

But the Warriors are so dominant with Kevin Durant. Even a team with LeBron, Irving and Kevin Love is a major underdog. If Irving would prefer to lead a team, it’s much easier to reject a supporting role when it’s so unlikely to culminate in a championship. (It’s also easier with a title already under his belt.)

This shouldn’t quiet the alarms of LeBron leaving next summer. Just because Irving doesn’t want to play with him doesn’t mean LeBron wants to play without Irving. This could push LeBron further out the door.

I also wouldn’t read too much into this signaling LeBron’s intent to stay in Cleveland. Though it’s possible Irving has a read on LeBron’s plan, a trade is the only sure-fire way to escape LeBron – and do it without playing another year with him.

I wouldn’t  tell Irving what would make him happiest. Cleveland is not a premier market, and playing in LeBron’s shadow isn’t always ideal for another star.

But I’m leery of Irving’s ability to lead a successful team. The Cavs stunk before LeBron returned and have stunk when he sits and Irving plays. Irving’s shortcomings – defense, distributing – become more pronounced as his team’s best player.

Maybe Irving is up for the challenge. He clearly wants it.

Then again, Cleveland doesn’t have to grant him the ability to try. He’s locked up for two more years. He can request, but not force, a trade.

This is a difficult time for the Cavaliers, who need visionary leadership. Their general manager has his hands full.

Oh, right.