Goran Dragic, Gerald Green, Miles Plumlee

Report: Suns want to trade No. 27 pick for future first rounder


The Suns have seven players – Goran Dragic (28), Gerald Green (28), Miles Plumlee (25), Markieff Morris (24), Marcus Morris (24), Alex Len (20) and Archie Goodwin (19) – who are both under 30 and on a guaranteed contract for next season.

They have two more players under 30 – Eric Bledsoe (24) and P.J. Tucker (29) – who are restricted free agents and likely to return.

Plus, they have the Nos. 14, 18, 27 and No. 50 picks in the 2014 draft.

Phoenix is running out of room for talent. That’s an enviable position, no doubt. But for those players to develop, they need minutes, and the more crowded the roster gets, the fewer minutes to go around.

That’s why a trade might be in order.

Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated on the No. 27 pick:

Rival executives say Phoenix is shopping this pick, looking for a future first rounder in return.

That the Suns want to trade one of their draft picks is hardly surprising. The asking price is interesting.

The 2014 draft is strong, and the No. 27 pick could be equivalent to about the No. 22 pick in an average draft. That might convince a team – with the right protections – to trade a future pick for this one.

However, the No. 27 pick is just four from the second round – when contracts become more favorable to teams. That will hurt Phoenix’s negotiating position.

This could come down to the Suns going on the clock for the pick. Once teams know who will be available, they might be more tempted to make a deal.

76ers tie NBA-record losing streak, dropping heartbreaker to Celtics

Isaiah Thomas, T.J. McConnell
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After a rare period of on-court competence, the 76ers led the Celtics by five with two minutes left tonight.

Then, Philadelphia snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

The 76ers yielded a 9-0 run to close an 84-80 setback.

They’re now 0-16. Combined with their 0-10 finish to last season, that’s a 26-game losing streak – tied for longest in NBA history. Last year’s 76ers already shared the record.

Philadelphia is also in danger of the worst start to a season. The 2009-10 New Jersey Nets began 0-18, and last year’s 76ers won only one game sooner.

The 76ers will try to avoid the all-time longest streak at the Rockets on Friday. If that goes unsuccessfully, they’ll try to avoid matching the worst season start at the Grizzlies on Sunday. And if both fail, they could set the worst-start record against the Lakers on Tuesday.

76ers-Lakers – it’s shaping up to be a big one.

Timberwolves read mean tweets about themselves (video)

Flip Saunders, Karl-Anthony Towns, Tyus Jones
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The Timberwolves didn’t select the meanest tweets about these players, but credit Karl-Anthony Towns, Tyus Jones, Shabazz Muhammad and Zach LaVine for being good sports.

LeBron James: I’m healthier than a year ago


LeBron James received an injection in his back before the season.

It’s working.

Dave McMenamin of ESPN:

LeBron James now says he feels better than he did even a year ago.

“I feel better in the mornings; I feel better throughout the games; I feel better throughout the day,” James said before a Cavs shootaround Wednesday in preparation for their game against the Toronto Raptors. “It was a rough start to the season for me last year and for our team. Obviously the way we’ve been playing, a lot is predicated on my health and being able to lead these guys out on the floor and not from the sidelines.”

LeBron certainly looks healthier than he did at this point last year. He’s moving much better and giving more effort.

But comparing November to November means very little for the Cavaliers, who hope to play deep into June.

The key question: Did LeBron properly time his injection? There’s a limit on the number he can have in a year, and it takes time to recover after one. Cleveland doesn’t want LeBron to peak to early.

It’s good for the Cavs that LeBron feels better now, but his health in the playoffs remains the priority.

Report: Suns signing Bryce Cotton

Bryce Cotton
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Eric Bledsoe missed the Suns’ loss to the Spurs on Monday with a knee injury.

So, Phoenix is bringing in a reinforcement – Bryce Cotton.

Marc Stein of ESPN:

The Jazz waived Cotton before the season despite Dante Exum‘s injury leaving them with just two other healthy point guards. That says something about Cotton – but also Utah’s depth.

Cotton – who went undrafted out of Providence last year – is quick, varies his speed well and can leap. There’s reason to believe in his potential at age 23. But his 6-foot-1 frame limits him defensively, and he’s not much of a distributor.

Phoenix will rely on Brandon Knight and Ronnie Price at point guard if Bledsoe is unavailable. The Suns can also use fewer two-point guard lineups – giving more minutes at shooting guard to Devin Booker, Archie Goodwin and Sunny Weems.

Cotton provides insurance while Bledsoe is banged-up with what seems to be a minor injury. But he might have to show something to keep drawing an NBA paycheck once Bledsoe gets healthy.