Haven’t experienced enough twists with the Doc Rivers saga? Well you’re in luck.
The NBA’s latest soap opera has a new guest star: the Nuggets.
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports:
Shortly after firing George Karl, the Denver Nuggets offered the Boston Celtics a first-round draft pick as compensation to pry coach Doc Rivers out of his contract, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.Nuggets CEO Josh Kroenke made a bid for Rivers approximately 10 days ago, informing general manager Danny Ainge of his willingness to part with a pick if the Nuggets were able to procure Rivers.Nevertheless, Boston wasn’t prepared to start the process of letting Rivers leave and discussions never went beyond one brief conversation between Kroenke and Ainge, league sources said.
I wonder whether Ainge regrets not exploring this offer at the time. Like all teams coming off a successful run and considering rebuilding, the Celtics are looking at trading the assets that won’t be around during the next window of contention in exchange for younger and cheaper pieces. The Celtics are a little different, though, because they’re also in position to gain helpful players and/or picks in exchange for their coach.But if David Stern blocks an arrangement with the Clippers, Boston could be left getting no return for Rivers.Unfortunately for the Celtics, it sounds like it’s too late to run back to the Nuggets – even if Denver clears the necessary step of being a desirable destination to Rivers – because the Nuggets have gone a different route. Wojnarowski:
Denver quickly moved onto its current two finalists for the job: Lionel Hollins and Brian Shaw. Both candidates made strong impressions on Kroenke and new Denver GM Tim Connelly in interviews this week, sources said.
Hollins and Shaw are both good candidates, and although Rivers might have the edge in coaching ability, I don’t believe Rivers is a first-round pick better. Why give up a valuable draft choice just to get a coach who might be better and would definitely cost a lot more?Actually, there is one answer to that question: Chris Paul. The Clippers can wisely make moves that appear foolish in a vacuum if it means re-signing Paul. They, like any team would be, are just that desperate to please their free agent superstar.And that’s why it’s in the Celtics’ best interest to find some deal that works for Los Angeles and Stern. Otherwise, they’re not getting any return for Rivers.
Minnesota is one of the NBA’s best positioned up-and-coming teams. They have a franchise cornerstone in Karl-Anthony Towns, a quality No. 2 in Andrew Wiggins, maybe like Zach LaVine can blossom into an All-Star, and players such as Gorgui Dieng and Nemanja Bjelica could be part of the picture. Maybe Ricky Rubio, too, although he’s further along his career arc. A lot of people look at this team and think around 2020, when the Warriors fade (or break apart), the Timberwolves can step up to elite.
Tom Thibodeau is apparently not willing to be that patient — he’s looking to get in the Paul George/Jimmy Butler talks, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of the Vertical at Yahoo Sports.
Thibodeau helped develop Butler in Chicago and they have a great relationship, he certainly makes the Timberwolves better next season. Same with George, although he’s a rental who almost certainly bolts after the coming season
My question to the Timberwolves: Why?
What was wrong with the building trajectory they are on? I get it, they haven’t been to the playoffs since 2004, a ton of money was just sunk into upgrades at the Target Center, and the owner is not getting younger. Those are all non-basketball reasons to screw up what the basketball side is doing right. It’s the mistake of poor franchises to let that happen.
Could the Timberwolves use a point guard of the future, more depth on the wings and better defenders all around? You bet. But they don’t need to rush the development program either. If Minnesota can land Butler only giving up Rubio and a protected future first or something, sure, but the Bulls continue to ask a very high price for a deal.
Outside of personal feelings, why would the Timberwolves do that?
The Spurs trading LaMarcus Aldridge – they’re reportedly shopping him – could open enough cap space to sign Chris Paul.
But that isn’t the only reason San Antonio is trying to move Aldridge.
Sam Amick of USA Today:
According to a person with knowledge of the Spurs forward’s situation, it’s the 31-year-old’s unhappiness in San Antonio that is the driving force behind the Spurs’ trade talks on Thursday. The five-time All-Star, according to the person, is hopeful that San Antonio can find a better fit for his talents.
Rumors about the Spurs trading Aldridge emerged early in the season, as he was reportedly unhappy about Kawhi Leonard getting the spotlight. When Aldridge signed with San Antonio, it seemed Leonard could do the heavy lifting as the team’s best player and Aldridge could get outsized credit as the leading scorer. But Leonard has emerged as the go-to offensive player, pushing Aldridge into a supporting role both in reality and reputation. Gregg Popovich calling out Aldridge publicly during the playoffs surely didn’t improve relations.
Aldridge turns 32 this summer and will likely become a free agent after next season. Wanting to leave the Spurs – held up as the NBA’s best culture – will raise additional red flags.
San Antonio might not get as much as it hopes in a trade for Aldridge. If Chris Paul is coming, the Spurs wouldn’t need as much for Aldridge. But they won’t know about Paul until July.
San Antonio also values building a roster of players who’ve, as Popovich puts it, “gotten over themselves.” If that’s not Aldridge, the Spurs might not want to keep him around.
There are numerous factors to weigh and incomplete information, but this is the twisting road San Antonio is navigating.
Knicks president Phil Jackson’s asking price for Kristaps Porzingis is reportedly “massive.”
Just what does that mean?
Frank Isola of the New York Daily News:
According to a Knicks source, Jackson is asking for the third overall pick in Thursday’s draft as well as next year’s Brooklyn pick along with Jaylen Brown and Jae Crowder. This version of the deal would not include Boston taking on Joakim Noah‘s contract.
All the Knicks fans who threatened to relinquish their fandom if the team traded Porzingis – most would love this deal.
Would the Celtics? I doubt it.
The question is whether there’s a middle ground between what New York wants and what Boston would do. It’s possible Jackson won’t budge and is just shopping Porzingis on the off chance someone accepts outlandish requests like these and to teach Porzingis a lesson for skipping his exit meeting.
Like I said, there are better reasons to criticize Phil Jackson than him saying his priority was the Knicks and that he had discussed trading Kristaps Porzingis.
Jay Williams of ESPN:
A top-15 draft pick told me the other day, because we were involved in this out of this conversation about Phil Jackson and the Knicks, and he said, “Phil Jackson was falling in and out of sleep in my workout.”
Yes. “Falling in and out of sleep at my workout.” This is what this guy told me.
Especially given Jackson’s salary and reputation for not being a diligent worker, this story is too good to check out.