Report: The Nets plan to pursue Kevin Garnett in free agency

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Kevin Garnett’s going to be a free agent this summer. That sounds weird just saying it. But if he doesn’t return to Boston, he’s going to have options. And one option keeps him in the Northeast, as both the New York Post and New Jersey Star-Ledger report that the Nets have interest in bringing in Garnett.

What the Nets are thinking— reportedly — is that they need to upgrade the roster and power forward is one place they feel they can do better. The team reportedly plans to chase after Boston’s Kevin Garnett as they try to add star power for when they move into the Barclays Center.

via Nets’ Kris Humphries, a target around the NBA, is revered by teammates | NJ.com.

A high priority for the Nets in the offseason will remain a starting power forward, with unrestricted free agents Kevin Garnett of the Celtics and Ersan Ilyasova of the Bucks leading targets.

via New Jersey Nets in wait-and-see mode regarding Dwight Howard of Orlando Magic – NYPOST.com.

Now, Ilyasova is a good player. They probably can get a good deal on Ilyasova, where they overpay him as they do everyone but still get good value on him. But Garnett? That’s the most Nets move I can think of for them this summer. Overpay for an aging player who, despite having an absolutely stellar year, is almost guaranteed to not return at as high a level, signing him to a long-term contract that could become an albatross depending on what happens.

That’s throwing good money after bad, which is kind of the Nets’ motto.

If the Nets can get Dwight Howard, great.Makes it all worth it. They can have Deron Williams and Dwight Howard and struggle to make all the pieces fit like the rest of the superstar teams. But if they miss on Howard, having a core of Gerald Wallace, Kevin Garnett, MarShon Brooks, Brook Lopez, and Gerald Green is bad. Very bad. Very, very bad. Long-term and immediately. The Nets need a bigger plan,  a long-term plan. And Garnett would not fit with that. KG is still going to be able to help teams,but for starters, why would he sign with a team who, without Howard, would have absolutely no shot at a title? The only reason would be for an ungodly amount of money and… ooohhhh.

The Nets have the pieces to field a competitive team in 2014, maybe 2015. But their resistance to that fact indicates that they’re only going to dig the hole deeper to avoid the incoming water.

(HT: Hoopshype)

Rumor: Dell Demps out, Joe Dumars in with Pelicans?

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Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry is on shaky ground.

What about New Orleans general manager Dell Demps?

A long-swirling rumor is getting renewed.

Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders:

A few league sources peg the New Orleans Pelicans as a team that is going to make sweeping changes once their season ends in eight games.

The Pelicans have long been rumored to be the next stop for former Piston’s executive Joe Dumars, who is a Shreveport, Louisiana native and has close ties to the ownership and leadership of the Pelicans and Saints organization.

League sources said recently that Dumars has been active in the NBA front office circles, scouting players and reconnecting to the process.

Demps has done a lousy job building a supporting cast around Davis. Part of the reason trading for the risky DeMarcus Cousins made so much sense: The Pelicans were so underwhelming, they wouldn’t be much worse off if Cousins destroyed their culture and/or bolted in 2018 free agency.

But it’s not too late to salvage Davis’ tenure in New Orleans. He’s locked up for three more seasons, and Cousins is an extremely talented No. 2.

Is Dumars the right man to bring it all together?

He masterfully built the Pistons into the 2004 NBA champions. He also played an integral role in the team’s downfall.

Another factor: There appears to be a mutual respect between Cousins and Dumars, who coveted the big man since he was coming out of Kentucky. That could help the Pelicans re-sign Cousins in 2018.

Dumars’ success should get him general-manager job interviews, but his more-recent failings demand tough questions. I’m unconvinced the Pelicans are scrutinizing Dumars enough, and they’d probably benefit from a more-thorough search.

But Dumars might be a fine hire. Dumping Demps would at least be step in the right direction.

Maryland star Melo Trimble declares for NBA draft

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Maryland guard Melo Trimble declared for last year’s NBA draft but withdrew.

This time, he’s not turning back.

Don Markus of The Baltimore Sun:

Trimble, less than three weeks removed from finishing his junior season with the team’s first-round loss to Xavier in the NCAA tournament, announced Wednesday he will make himself available for the NBA draft.

Unlike a year ago, when Trimble went through the pre-draft process without signing with an agent and then decided to return to school hours before the deadline, the 6-foot-3 point guard will forego his senior season.

“The deciding factor was that I felt there was nothing more I could do,” Trimble told the Baltimore Sun from the Stamp Student Union during a lunch break. “I felt like I did everything I could for the program. We went to the [NCAA] tournament three years in a row, and I had the same amount of points three years in a row. I felt that if I wanted to hopefully get to the next level, I had to leave at this time.

Trimble’s scouting report hasn’t changed much in the last year. He’s a scoring guard whose size (6-foot-3) will require him to play point guard in the next level, but he hasn’t shown the necessary distributing skills.

The biggest difference: He’s now 22, not 21.

Trimble had a superb college career, but at this point, his range is second round to undrafted.

DeMarcus Cousins answers first several Kings-related questions same way (video)

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DeMarcus Cousins had a bitter exit from the Kings, but that won’t be the last they see of him.

Cousins’ Pelicans will host Sacramento tomorrow night.

Not that Cousins rushed to talk about the matchup.

Justin Verrier of ESPN:

Cousins is pretty funny when joking with the media, and his smile is contagious. Just listen to all the laughs Cousins generates as he goes through his shtick.

Bonus points to Cousins for eventually breaking down and providing real answers. Some of his relationships in Sacramento were clearly meaningful to him, and he wanted to acknowledge those — even if he’d prefer just to get past this awkward game and all the talk it invites.

Report: Sweet-shooting 7-footer Lauri Markkanen leaving Arizona for NBA draft

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Lauri Markkanen is 7-foot and made 42% of his 3-pointers this season.

That combination alone will have NBA teams drooling, and the Arizona freshman will capitalize.

Evan Daniels of Scout:

Arizona’s Lauri Markkanen is declaring for the NBA Draft and is expected to sign with an agent, multiple sources told Scout.

Markkanen seems pretty certain to get picked in the lottery, likely in the top 10.

Calling him a good shooter for his height undersells him. It’s not just he shoots so efficiently from deep, it’s that he can generate 3-pointers in so many ways — pick-and-pops, spot-ups, off off-ball screens and even running pick-and-rolls himself. Having the height to shoot over defenders is his most noticeable asset, but don’t undersell his mobility.

Markkanen also finishes well at the rim and offensively rebounds at extremely impressive clip for someone who spends so much time on the perimeter. Those interior skills instill belief he will eventually become a suitable defender.

There are a couple red flags. He’s old for a freshman, turning 20 before the draft. He leaves plenty to be desired defensively, especially due to his lack of strength.

But his size and shooting are tantalizing. That’s plenty for now.