Should Cavaliers trade No. 1 pick to Sixers for No. 3 pick, Thaddeus Young?

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Teams with the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft just don’t trade it. With good reason. Those picks tend to be too valuable in a league where you need franchise changing guys and All-Stars to win, you can’t pass up the potential to draft one.

However this year the rumors are out there.

Chad Ford of ESPN started it (he starts a lot of rumors) and others have reported there have been at least some talks about the Sixers packaging the No. 3 pick and Thaddeus Young for the No. 1 pick — the Sixers want to make sure they get Andrew Wiggins that badly. How far down that road talks have gone is up for debate, but it has been discussed.

The Cavaliers have a lot of options, but should they really trade the No. 1 pick? Should the Sixers do it when a lot of mock drafts have Wiggins falling to them at No. 3 anyway?

For the Cavaliers, the answer to the above question is tied to the answer of another question: Do you think Joel Embiid or Andrew Wiggins can be a transcendent player?

If the Cavaliers believe that Embiid — the Kansas center said by many to be on top of the Cavs draft board — is a future top 10 NBA player who, along with Kyrie Irving, can be the foundation of a team that wins championships, then you keep the pick and take him. Talent wins in the NBA and you need those top 10 guys to get a title. You don’t trade them unless your hand is forced (see Minnesota with Kevin Love). The same is true if the Cavaliers grade Wiggins (or Jabari Parker) out that way.

However, if the Cavaliers believe that those three guys are close together and will all be good but not top 10 players, then I’d make the move because if you want to make the playoffs next season, Young is a good guy to have on your roster. The Cavs would still have the No. 3 pick and get a quality player.

The Sixers are clearly very high on Wiggins, which makes sense because putting the freak athlete on a team that wants to play ultra fast is a good marriage of player and system. But should they give up Young just to make sure they get Wiggins? Again, are they that sold he can be transcendent?

Dei Lynam of CSNPhilly.com doesn’t think the trade is the best move for the Sixers and GM Sam Hinkie.

…to me that the talent between the three players is marginally equal, and to give up another asset to pick at No. 1 is overpaying for the selection….

For my money, it’s entirely possible that Wiggins slips to No. 3 overall, where the Sixers will make their first selection of the 2014 draft — barring a trade to move up or down.

I would much rather see the Sixers keep the third pick and then package their 10th pick, along with one of their five second-round selections, to move up to eighth and take the shooter they like best in this draft. Imagine if the Sixers’ starting five looked like this next fall: Michael Carter-Williams at point guard, Michigan’s Nik Stauskas — who shot 44 percent from three-point range last year — at two-guard, Wiggins at small forward, Thaddeus Young as a hybrid four and Nerlens Noel protecting the rim.

That would be a fun young core, certainly a group that would struggle at times but be entertaining to watch. There would be hope in Philly.

In a lot of current mocks, Wiggins does slip to three. However, if Hinkie and the Sixers believe Wiggins is going to be a transcendent star, then giving up assets to get him is the right play. It just depends on how you grade him out.

In the end, I just can’t see the Cavaliers moving the pick, this time they seem assured to get somebody who can help them in that slot. You just don’t trade No. 1 picks in the NBA.

Rumor: Jeff Hornacek shoved Joakim Noah during confrontation

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The saga between the New York Knicks and Joakim Noah has been ongoing for sometime, with the latest story being that there was some kind of verbal altercation between the former All-Star big man and head coach Jeff Hornacek.

Noah has not played for the team since Jan. 23, and he is now separated from the Knicks as they try to find a solution to shed him from their roster.

We now have a better idea of what kind of urgency New York has to make that move.

A report from the New York Daily News has given us more information about the confrontation between Noah and Hornacek. The latest addition to the story is that it was not just words between the Knicks coach and Noah, and that Hornacek actually pushed Noah first during the confrontation.

The two then had to be separated.

Via NYDN:

Noah was banished from the Knicks after an altercation with coach Jeff Hornacek during a practice last month. The disagreement stemmed from Noah’s lack of playing time, and it turned physical the day after he logged only five minutes against the Warriors.

While no punches were thrown, the Daily News learned that Hornacek was the first to shove Noah before they had to be separated.

In our last update on this story, Dan outlined how that could be made possible. No team is going to trade for Noah at this juncture in his career, so the only real option for New York is to waive him.

Here’s how that looks, according to our own Dan Feldman:

If the Knicks waive Noah without a buyout, they’d have two options after paying out the rest of his $17,765,000 salary this season:

Pay Noah $18,530,000 next season and $19,295,000 the following season
Pay Noah $7,565,000 each of the following five years via the stretch provision

It just keeps getting weirder and weirder during a lost season in the Big Apple.

Kobe Bryant tells Shaq he was planning to leave Lakers for Bulls (VIDEO)

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Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal got their three championships together as members of the Los Angeles Lakers. The two stars were part of the three-peat team that won in 2000, 2001, and 2002. But the story that perhaps overshadows those accomplishments in the modern era is the story of Kobe vs. Shaq, and the long-standing beef that was between the players even after they split in 2004.

The back-and-forth between the two is part of the fabric not just of the Lakers, but of pop culture as it surrounds basketball. The Shaq/Kobe beef even has it’s own Wikipedia page that’s longer and more well-sourced than most of the papers I wrote in college. It’s impressive.

Meanwhile, Kobe and Shaq sat down in a long special that aired on Saturday as All-Star Weekend ramped up that revealed quite a bit about their time together and their relationship. One of the more interesting anecdotes was Kobe telling Shaq that he was planning on leaving the Lakers for the Chicago Bulls in 2004. That plan was quashed when the team sent O’Neal to the Miami Heat in July.

Via Twitter:

That would have been a major shift for LA and for Chicago. The Bulls drafted both Ben Gordon and Chris Duhon that year, and traded for Luol Deng. The team improved by 24 wins the following season, and adding Bryant may have altered that trajectory and of course sent shockwave of consequential changes through the league. Heck, Scottie Pippen retired that October, but perhaps he would have stayed for one more year with Kobe?

The rest of the interview was interesting, and there were lots of tidbits of information that had people talking. Bryant and O’Neal rehashed their fights, Shaq’s infamous rap dissing Kobe, and mooning Sacramento Kings fans after beating them in the 2002 playoffs.

The biggest takeaway from the interview was how the one-upsmanship between Shaq and Kobe, although subtle, still remains.

As context, Bryant has done a fair bit of career revisionism as he tries to alter his public image now that he’s not a player. He’s painted himself as a “storyteller” and has tried to make his single-mindedness appear praiseworthy rather than destructive. It’s mostly so he can sell shoes well into his 50s à la Michael Jordan.

In the sit down between the two Lakers greats, Shaq did some legacy revision of his own. He played off his continuous egging of Bryant over their careers as simple media manipulation, calling himself a master marketer. It really was a thing to see something that hilariously disingenuous, especially as much of the conversation between the two — including many admissions on each side — were about times they made each other sincerely angry.

The two finished the interview by taking photos next to some championship trophies (Kobe with more, of course) and exchanging laughs and hugs.

You can watch the full interview in the video above.

JJ Redick appears to use racial slur toward Chinese fans

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Chinese New Year was February 16, and now we’ve rolled over to the Year of the Dog. The NBA has a huge presence internationally in China, and so its video partner across the Pacific put together a compilation video of NBA players wishing people a happy new year.

The only problem? In one cut of the video that has been making the rounds on social media, Philadelphia 76ers guard JJ Redick appears to use a racial slur aimed at those of Chinese descent.

The instance is absent from the official video, but a reaction-style YouTube video captured a different edit of the Year of the Dog video with Redick still in it. Redick appears to say, “I just wanted to wish all the NBA c—k fans in China a very happy Chinese New Year.”

Redick responded on Twitter, saying he was simply tongue-tied.

It’s difficult to judge intention from a distance, but the result is certainly disappointing. Even with Redick’s apology, it seems possible he’s contacted by the league office as part of a disciplinary inquiry.

Adam Silver says change to 1-16 playoff format has gotten “serious consideration”

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LOS ANGELES — Going into this season, continuing off the recent past went the Western Conference has been deeper in talent than the East., there was a lot of discussion among fans and media about switching to a 1-16 playoff format that ignores the current conference system.

The league has always balked at that — there is tradition, the conferences play an unbalanced schedule so it’s not a fair matchup now, and travel is an issue — but things have gotten more serious, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said during All-Star weekend.

“That is something that’s gotten serious attention, not just recently, but over the last few years at the league office,” Silver said in an address to the media. “I think, as I’ve said in the past, the obstacle is travel, and it’s not tradition in my mind, at least. It’s that as we’ve added an extra week to the regular season, as we’ve tried to reduce the number of back-to-backs, that we are concerned about teams crisscrossing the country in the first round, for example. We are just concerned about the overall travel that we would have in the top 16 teams.

“Having said that, you also would like to have a format where your two best teams are ultimately going to meet in The Finals, and obviously, if it’s the top team in the East and top team in the West, I’m not saying this is the case this year, but you could have a situation where the top two teams in the league are meeting in the Conference Finals or somewhere else.

“So we’re going to continue to look at that. It’s still my hope that we’re going to figure out ways.”

There is no vote scheduled, no change on the immediate horizon.

The idea of teams playing a more balanced regular season schedule, then having the best 16 teams in the playoffs, is appealing. This season, the Finals should be the Warriors and Rockets, a matchup of the two best teams. Instead, it will be the Western Conference Finals.

Fixing it is not simple. If travel is the concern — having something like the Golden State and Philadelphia in a 2-2-1-1-1 series that drags out in the first or second rounds (if the playoffs started today we would get Boston vs. Portland) — there is no easy answer, short of a Star Trek teleporter. Faster travel across the nation is not on the immediate horizon.

As Silver said, the only real answer would be to build the potential for more time into the schedule. However, the NBA is already starting in mid-October and running through June, how much longer are they really willing to go?

The obvious answer is reducing the number of games, but we know that’s not happening. Don’t expect much of a change here.