Report: Clippers, Celtics talks to send Garnett, Rivers to L.A. stalled

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UPDATE 8:18 pm: The talks have apparently stalled out. Which shouldn’t be shocking. But things are stalled out, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports as well as others.

The Celtics want DeAndre Jordan, Eric Bledsoe and two first round picks for Kevin Garnett and the right to talk to and sign Doc Rivers. The Clippers reportedly have offered Jordan and one first rounder, not wiling to part with both Bledsoe and Jordan. And right now things are at an impasse. Not dead, but stalled out.

5:12 pm: What seemed like a long shot is moving closer and closer to reality.

The Clippers are getting closer and closer to bringing in Kevin Garnett to anchor their defense just like Vinny Del Negro wanted. Except Del Negro isn’t there to coach them.

Talks have gotten serious between the Clippers and Celtics around a deal that would send KG to Los Angeles as well as the rights to sign Doc Rivers as a coach, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.

The final hurdle of a deal centers on the Clippers’ willingness to include guard Eric Bledsoe into a trade package with Boston, sources said.

Boston and Los Angeles are discussing a package that will send DeAndre Jordan and two first-round picks to the Celtics for Garnett and the right to hire Rivers as coach, sources said.

The report adds that both sides want to get this taken care of in the next couple of days or they will walk away from the table.

ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne reports the reason the Clippers want to keep Bledsoe is they want to package him and Blake Griffin to try and trade for Dwight Howard after July 1. The Lakers want to re-sign Howard and keep him as their star, but if they were going to lose him for nothing they would consider a sign-and-trade options — but not ones from the Lakers. They are highly unlikely to send their best player down the hall, no matter who is coming back.

While the Clippers like Rivers and the pedigree he brings, the Clippers were very impressed with Lionel Hollins in his coaching interview this week, tweets Ramona Shelburne of ESPN. That gives the Clippers some leverage in these talks to hold on to Bledsoe for now — they feel they are going to land a great coach either way.

Garnett would have to waive his no trade clause, but he is expected to do that for this deal. Chris Paul is a free agent but everyone around the league thinks he will re-sign with Clippers this summer, regardless of whether this trade happens or not.

The Clippers are also talking with the Celtics about getting Paul Pierce. However, this likely would be two separate deals and not one huge package. A pierce trade would happen at a later date.

This is a clear sign that Boston is moving closer and closer to blowing the entire thing up and ending the “Big Three” era. It is possible Doc, Garnett and Pierce are back in green next season, but it seems less and less likely.

For the Clippers, this is an all-in move as a contender, because KG has a window of a year or two, tops. That owner Donald Sterling is willing to come close to the $7 million a year Doc Rivers was making in Boston shows he is much more committed to winning than he gets credit for.

Rumor: Grizzlies had to choose between Marc Gasol and David Fizdale

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David Fizdale has been linked to most of the NBA’s head-coaching vacancies.

He developed a legion of backers as lead a Heat assistant, and he did good things guiding the Grizzlies before they unexpectedly fired him. He deserves consideration.

But he also must explain his fractured relationship with Memphis star Marc Gasol. They weren’t speaking for a while.

And maybe the problem was even worse than that.

Marc Berman of the New York Post:

According to a source close to Fizdale briefed on the Grizzlies’ decision, it was ownership having to make a choice — trade their All-Star center Marc Gasol, who has fallen in love with its small-market city, or fire the coach. Their relationship had gotten that bad.

If Grizzlies ownership felt it had to choose between Gasol and Fizdale, it’s not clear why.

Fizdale benched Gasol down the stretch during the coach’s last game, and Gasol publicly expressed his frustration.

But Gasol denied issuing a me-or-Fizdale ultimatum. Fizdale said focus on his relationship with Gasol was “overblown,” adding he cared far more about whether he could win with a player than whether they got along personally.

Memphis obviously sided with Gasol – probably too strongly.

LeBron James bought Cavs teammates matching designer suits to wear to game tonight

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I’m still trying to decide if this is cool or a little too Stepford.

The Cavaliers rolled into the Bakers’ Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis tonight wearing matching designer suits, all paid for by LeBron James and custom fitted to each player.

If a college team rolled into a game in four-digit designer suits, the NCAA would have questions. And not about the vests.

The Cavaliers are LeBron’s team, and if he wants to buy his teammates suits and tell them to wear them it’s going to happen. Is it a bonding thing that helps bring them together? Sure. Is it in place to make sure LeBron remembers which ones are his new teammates? Probably not.

Do the suits help on the court? No. And the Cavaliers better bring it in Game 3 because if they go down 2-1 in this series — something that is a realistic possibility — the whispers of doubt are going to get a lot louder.

Report: Knicks to discuss coaching vacancy with Hawks’ Mike Budenholzer

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Mike Budenholzer is restless in Atlanta, seeing a rebuild coming and looking at other jobs (something Hawks management is fine with). He went down the road a ways with the Suns before pulling out of that process, but he’s still looking around.

The Knicks are casting a wide net in their search, talking to virtually everyone looking for coaching jobs.

So, this seemed inevitable, right? Budenholzer and the Knicks are going to talk, according to Michael Cunningham of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

This will be very preliminary. The Knicks have already had some level of conversation with Mark Jackson, David Fizdale, Jerry Stackhouse, David Blatt, Mike Woodson, and TNT analyst Kenny Smith (Jackson and Fizdale are the rumored early leaders). Budenholzer has established a style and culture in Atlanta, giving the franchise a path forward. New York could certainly use that.

However, the Knicks job comes with real challenges, too. That starts with James Dolan as owner and the erratic, at times paranoid culture he has created there. Also, expectations in New York are always high, but the team will be without Kristaps Porzigis for at least half (maybe all) of the upcoming season as he recovers from an ACL injury, and that puts a ceiling on the team in the short term. Is all that worth leaving Atlanta for?

 

Stephen Curry to begin “modified” practices with Warriors

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Golden State has flipped the switch in the first round, going up 3-0 on overmatched San Antonio. The Warriors have been outscoring the Spurs by 20.2 points per 100 possessions in the series, allowing less than a point per possession on defense and scoring when and where they want. Kevin Durant is averaging 27.3 points per game, Klay Thompson is shooting 63.3 percent from three and scoring 25.7 points per game, and the Warriors are clicking.

But they are not yet whole — they need Stephen Curry back. Not for this round, but before the Western Conference Finals for sure.

Curry was re-evaluated Friday and will begin practicing with the team in a limited — or “modified” to use the team’s term — way.

The target has always been a return somewhere during the second round, and that still seems to be on track. That is also a little faster than traditional for a Grade 2 MCL sprain, which can take up to two months to heal (not the 4-6 weeks of the Warriors timeline), but the Warriors are being cautious here for now.

Eventually, the Warriors will need him back — their offense is built around Curry and his ball movement and movement off the ball. Curry’s gravity to draw defenders, even when he doesn’t have the ball, opens up the floor for others. Put simply, if he’s 28 feet from the bucket on the weak side defenders still have to watch and be near him, and help defenders need to be aware, which pulls the defense to wherever he is. Without Curry and the Warriors take more midrange jumpers, it’s just in the first round series against the Spurs they are hitting them.