UPDATE 6:51 p.m.: The Knicks and the Raptors have agreed on a trade that will send Andrea Bargnani to New York.
11:30 a.m. The Raptors became the latest team to engage the Clippers in trade talks for the young and dynamic Eric Bledsoe, but L.A. might not be interested in dealing him for what Toronto has to offer.
And with Doc Rivers now in the fold running basketball operations, he might want some time to evaluate Bledsoe further before trading him at all.
The talks between the two teams may not be completely fruitless, as the Clippers reportedly have some interest in Andrea Bargnani — just not at the asking price of Bledsoe.
From Marc Stein of ESPN.com:
So one possible outcome to the Clippers-Raptors talks, sources said, is a smaller trade headlined by Bargnani going to L.A. in exchange for Caron Butler, enabling the Clippers to save Bledsoe for a bigger trade — or, perhaps, keeping him if Rivers holds firm.
The Clippers would be the first team actually interested in taking Bargnani off of Toronto’s hands, who has two years and $23 million left on his contract. But Bargnani has some value as a big man who can step out and shoot it, as long as he can stay on the floor — he’s been limited to just 66 total games over the last two seasons due to injury.
The Raptors would likely jump at the chance to rid themselves of Bargnani’s contract, even if Bledsoe is taken off the table. The team has been haunted by taking him with the number one overall pick in the 2006 NBA Draft, and dealing him would help new GM Masai Ujiri give the franchise a much-needed fresh start.
Preeminent NBA reporter Adrian Wojnarowski called it “likely” LeBron James would sign with the Lakers or Clippers next summer. The Clippers have since been somewhat debunked as a LeBron destination. There’s circumstantial evidence linking LeBron to Los Angeles.
Ramona Shelburne and Brian Windhorst of ESPN:
So imagining James’ last act coming in purple and gold isn’t without basis. But as of now, it’s also a longshot, according to league sources.
Shelburne and Windhorst are highly credible. I doubt they’d report this without connected sources.
LeBron’s agent, Rich Paul, and manager, Maverick Carter, have recently publicly downplayed the importance of Los Angeles to LeBron. That felt like a coordinated attack on the LeBron-Lakers rumors, and this fits as a continuation.
But why wage that campaign? To keep the Cavaliers focused while LeBron still plays for them, even if he might leave after the season? To lower expectations among the Lakers’ massive fan base, so as not alienate those people (potential customers of the many LeBron-connected brands) when LeBron inevitably signs elsewhere? Both could be true, but there’s obviously a difference between each driving LeBron’s camp.
When DeMarcus Cousins builds up a head of steam like this… poor John Henson (and kind of Khris Middleton).
This helped the Pelicans pull away for a 115-108 win over the Bucks last night.
During the Wizards’ win over the Grizzlies last night, Mario Chalmers tried to stop Jason Smith from shooting after Smith had been called for travelling. It’s a fairly common tactic, one pioneered by Kevin Garnett. Players don’t want their opponents to gain confidence by seeing the ball go through the net, even after play stops.
But Chalmers held onto Smith’s arm, and Smith took umbrage.
NBC Sports Washington:
I think it’s more likely, after halting Smith’s shot, Chalmers was trying to hold up Smith rather than yank him down. But I can’t know Chalmers’ intentions, and holding up a falling person by his arm isn’t very effective.
The double technical foul called seems about fair.
The NBA trade deadline got moved up this season to Feb. 8 so the league can avoid the spectacle of DeMarcus Cousins being traded during the All-Star Game and then doing an uncomfortable press interview afterward where he had to be told of the situation.
That means we are less than two months away from the trade deadline, and in this PBT Extra I look at the big names that could be on the market.
The Clippers seem likely to move DeAndre Jordan, the only questions are where and what will they get back? But three other teams have big decisions to make about their stars: Oklahoma City with Paul George, New Orleans with DeMarcus Cousins, and Memphis with Marc Gasol. Right now none of those guys are on the market, but that could change.