Report: Blazers still interested in trading Raymond Felton to Lakers

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We told you last week that the Lakers and Trail Blazers were reportedly having “exploratory talks” involving a trade of the teams’ point guards. The proposed deal would have Raymond Felton heading to L.A., and Steve Blake would return to Portland, where he’s been a Blazer three separate times in the past, most recently in 2010.

Nothing has come of it yet, but with the trade deadline approaching later this week, Portland still has some interest. From Ken Berger at CBSSports.com:

Rival executives believe the Blazers are interested in exploring a swap of Felton to the Lakers for Steve Blake, with L.A. sending another piece to make the salaries match and compensate the Blazers for getting the better player and future cost savings in the deal. The Portland coaching staff and front office are comfortable with Blake, who could provide a calming presence as the team battles through numerous distractions.

Ah, yes. The distractions.

Portland’s season has been nothing short of disastrous. Felton has been portrayed as one of the problems in the locker room, and head coach Nate McMillan may be on his way out, with the perception being that he’s lost his team.

The change of scenery may do Felton some good, and Blake would theoretically be able to navigate the chaos, knowing his way around the franchise from his previous stints there. From the Lakers standpoint, the deal would be all about potential upside; there isn’t a ton of risk here, as long as they believe Felton can (if nothing else) play around 20 minutes per game. That’s what the team is getting from Blake, though they aren’t getting much else — over his last six games, Blake is shooting a dismal .176 from the field, and has only connected on one of his last 12 three-point attempts in that same span.

Blake has been viewed as a serviceable point guard in the past, although that value, as it is with just about everyone who plays for the Blazers, has been greatly exaggerated thanks to the team’s passionate fan base. If Portland is willing to take him back, and if Felton can snap out of his funk in a new situation, it might be a deal that makes sense for both sides to continue to discuss.

Jazz boost international bona fides with new minor-league coach

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Martin Schiller has been named coach of the Salt Lake City Stars, the Utah Jazz’s NBA G League affiliate.

Schiller previously served as an assistant coach of MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg in Germany and replaces Dean Cooper. He was an assistant coach for the Artland Dragons from 2010-15.

Schiller has also been an assistant coach on the German National Team since 2015, where he worked with Jazz assistant coach Alex Jensen.

Schiller hails from Vienna, Austria, and Stars vice president of basketball operations Bart Taylor lauded him for his international experience and player development background.

The Jazz organization is known to have close relationships with the international basketball community. The Jazz currently have eight international players.

Kyrie Irving will wear No. 11 with Celtics

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BOSTON (AP) — Newly acquired guard Kyrie Irving will wear No. 11 in Boston because the Celtics already have retired the numbers he wore in college and with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Irving wore No. 11 at two New Jersey high schools before switching to No. 1 at Duke. He wore No. 2 with the Cavaliers for the first six years of his NBA career.

The Celtics retired No. 1 for founder and original owner Walter Brown. They retired No. 2 for former coach and general manager Red Auerbach.

In all, the Celtics have retired 21 numbers, with Paul Pierce’s No. 34 next in line for the TD Garden rafters.

 

PBT Extra: Cavaliers’ new GM aces first big test with Kyrie Irving trade

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Everyone in the NBA — heck, nearly everyone living in the Western hemisphere — knew Kyrie Irving wanted out of Cleveland. That should kill the Cavaliers’ leverage and make it hard to get enough quality back.

New GM Koby Altman — the guy thrust into the job when David Griffin was shown the door — pulled it off brilliantly.

That’s what I talk about in this new PBT Extra. With Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder, the Cavaliers remain the team to beat in the East this season. The Brooklyn Nets pick gives them flexibility going forward, whatever LeBron James decides to do next season.

First time at the plate in the big leagues and Altman crushed it to straight away center field.

Cavaliers-Celtics deal first offseason trade involving players who just met in NBA Finals or conference finals

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The Cavaliers and Celtics played in last year’s Eastern Conference finals. The teams were widely expected to meet there again.

Yet, Cleveland and Boston just completed a blockbuster trade – Kyrie Irving for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and the Nets’ 2018 first-round pick.

That seemed odd.

In fact, it’s unprecedented.

That is an incredible fact, one which speaks to LeBron Jamescachet. The Cavs are emphasizing this season, LeBron’s last before a player option, by loading up with veterans Thomas and Crowder. With LeBron still reigning in Cleveland, the Celtics are delaying their peak by acquiring the younger Irving.

Adding to the intrigue: the Cavs and Celtics are still favored to meet in this year’s conference finals. At minimum, they’ll face off in a(n even more) highly anticipated opening-night matchup.