Mike Krzyzewski would trade Andrew Wiggins for Kevin Love with “not one second of hesitancy”

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Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski knows Andrew Wiggins, his Blue Devils faced off against Wiggins’ Jayhawks this past season. Krzyzewski also knows Kevin Love, who has been part of the Team USA program and will be again this summer when USA Basketball opens training camp in Las Vegas.

So would Coach K trade the promise of Wiggins for Love?

Damn straight he would.

That’s what he told John Feinstein on CBS Sports radio (as transcribed by Matt Moore at Eye on Basketball).

“There’s absolutely not one second of hesitancy. I’d trade for Kevin Love,” Coach K said. “That’s not saying anything bad about any of the other youngsters. Love’s an All-Star and he’s a double-double guy. But he’s a double-double guy who can spread the court. There aren’t many double-double guys who can spread the floor; he can go inside and outside. There may be a low post player that gets you a double double, but Love, you can do a lot of different things with him….

“I’ve coached him on two teams, and no pun intended, I love Kevin Love,” he said. “You look at LeBron, and you have the best player in the world. He’s 29, I’m not saying he’s at the end of his career, but he’s in the second-half of his career. And in the first half of his career he was becoming a great player. It took time, just like with Andrew Wiggins, it takes time. LeBron is a great player right now, you do not want to waste any year of a great player’s career. Love is close to being that. He’s not as great a player as LeBron, but he’s there. You know who Love is right now.”

This has always been the key argument for the pro-Love camp — Love is an elite player right now and plays a position who would complement LeBron James’ game. With LeBron on board Cleveland is a win-now team and Love helps you do that.

There have been mixed reports about whether Wiggins has even been offered up for Love in a trade. The latest report via the News Herald is that he has not been, although not formally being offered and discussions taking place are different things. Also, how much are LeBron and his core group pushing for a Love deal and how much is the rest of the Cavaliers front office pushing back?

How does Wiggins feel about all this?

“I let my agent and my support system handle that, I just love playing the game of basketball and I know the NBA is a business….” Wiggins told PBT Friday night in Las Vegas at Summer League, adding he is not worried about the rumors. “No. I just play basketball man wherever I go.”

One other note here: The Cavaliers would be foolish to give up Wiggins and not demand from Love that he opt-in to the final year of his deal. This is what Chris Paul did for the Clippers. If Wiggins is now or will be in play, that’s a massive asset to give up and they need some assurance he is not going to go Dwight Howard and bolt after one season. Yes, Love’s people have said he would like to play with LeBron and would re-sign, but then Howard’s people said he was likely to re-sign at the start of that Lakers season. Things can change. If Love will not opt in for Cleveland or anyone (because he wants to be a free agent and be recruited) he dramatically lowers what teams will over for him. And if you are Minnesota, the bad offers will be there in February at the trade deadline, no reason for Flip Saunders to rush.

Stephen Curry scores 35, Warriors rally to beat 76ers 124-116

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PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Stephen Curry scored 35 points, Kevin Durant had 27 and the defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors overcame a 22-point halftime deficit in a 124-116 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday night.

Joel Embiid scored 21 points and Ben Simmons had 23 points and 12 assists for Philadelphia, which led 47-28 after one quarter and 74-52 at the half.

But the Warriors erased that large deficit with a furious rally in the third quarter. Curry’s 3-pointer got them within one point. He then made a pair of free throws to give Golden State a 90-89 lead.

The two-time NBA MVP hit another 3 and Draymond Green blew past a defender for a dunk to make it 99-89 going into the fourth.

A raucous, sellout crowd that chanted “Trust the Process” most of the night went silent while the Warriors put on a shooting clinic in the second half.

Even veteran David West came off the bench and made big shots in the fourth quarter to give the Warriors distance. He finished with 14 points. Klay Thompson had 16.

Embiid was coming off a career-best performance – 46 points, 15 rebounds, seven blocks, seven assists – in a 115-109 win at the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday.

He seemed on his way to another monster game in the first quarter. Embiid embraced the frenzied fans and slapped hands with a guy sitting courtside after a dunk.

But the Warriors showed why they’re the best by stifling Philadelphia in the second half to improve to 12-4.

The Sixers, who lost 135-114 at Golden State one week ago, fell to 8-7.

Playing his first game since receiving a lucrative contract extension, Robert Covington had 20 points for Philly.

Back home for the first time following a five-game road trip to the West Coast, the Sixers showed no jet lag in the first half.

They jumped ahead 15-4 following a 3-pointer by Embiid. Covington stripped Durant and hit a 3 to make it 37-18, electrifying the crowd.

Durant’s dunk off Green’s alley-oop pass got the Warriors within 70-51 late in the second. But Embiid finished off the half with a dunk that sent the Sixers into the locker room up 74-52.

 

Top-10 college recruit Anfernee Simmons may go straight to NBA

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A couple of years back, Thon Maker decided to play a post-graduate fifth year of prep school ball, not go to a major college, then jump to the NBA. He could because he had graduated a year before and was 19, the Bucks took him in the lottery, and so far it has worked out for everyone.

Now another recruit, Anfernee Simmons, may follow that path. Simmons is spending this year at the IMG Academy, and the combo guard is considered a top-10 recruit in this class.

Jonathan Givony of ESPN broke the story after speaking to Simmons.

“Some people have brought it to my attention,” Simons told ESPN during an interview in Connecticut, where his team was participating in the National Prep Showcase. “As long as the opportunity is there, I will do it.

“I can see myself going to the NBA combine, if I have enough teams to actually invite me or recommend me for the combine and enough teams want to bring me for workouts. I really need to hit the weight room hard and get a little stronger.”

This is a sensible approach — find out where you roughly fall in the draft, then make a decision. Listen to the teams, not friends/family/agents. If you have a first-round guarantee, then go pro.

Givony and others describe the 6’3″ Simmons as talented but still a project for the NBA level, starting with the fact he needs to get stronger (something true of most rookies). Not that it really scares off teams any longer, many are willing to develop and wait on a player with potential (he could spend a chunk of his first season in the G-League). Simmons is fast when he drives, and has a smooth release on his jumper. If he gets stronger and his game matures, a team may take a risk on him.

Shorthanded Cavaliers now without Iman Shumpert for 5-7 days

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Isaiah Thomas is still rehabbing his hip, he should return next month.

With him out, Tyronn Lue and the Cavaliers have had to lean more on Derrick Rose at the point, except he has a sprained ankle that is going to have him out a couple more weeks.

That has forced Iman Shumpert into the starting point guard role in Cleveland, although he mostly is there for defense/shooting as the playmaking duties fall to LeBron James.

Now the Cavaliers will have to get by without Shumpert for a while with water on the knee, Cleveland announced on Saturday. He left Friday night’s Cavs win against the Clippers with a sore knee and did not return

“Additional examination and imaging today at Cleveland Clinic Sports Health confirmed left knee effusion. He will be out 5-7 days while he undergoes treatment and rehabilitation,” the Cavaliers said in a statement.

This is going to force Lue to play Jose Calderon, who he has kept glued to the bench this season despite the injuries. J.R. Smith and Dwyane Wade will need to take on more run as well.

The Celtics have won four in a row — thanks to a more focused offense — and face the Pistons, Nets, and Hornets this week.

Joakim Noah on if he can play at former level: “Probably not. Probably not.”

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For three games, Joakim Noah has been clear of the 20-game PED suspension he started at the end of last season.

For three games, he has not even dressed for the Knicks.

This is the former Defensive Player of the Year who was already on the decline when Phil Jackson gave him a $72 million contract that is now the worst in the NBA. Noah is out of the rotation, where Enes Kanter starts at center (with Kristaps Porzingis at the four) and Kyle O’Quinn coming off the bench.

Noah told Marc Berman of the New York Post he is frustrated but gets the situation.

“I’ll be all right. I’ll be all right,’’ Noah said in his first comments since being reinstated. “I understand the situation. I’m going to make the best of it.”

When asked if he still feels he can be close to the player he was in his 2013-14 campaign, Noah said: “Probably not. Probably not. You know. I can help. I feel like I could help this team and that’s just my reality. But I just want to just be the best that I can be.

“It’s not about trying to be what I was three, four years ago, because it’s not the reality.”

Noah is a smart and mature player, he understands his reality, and he has the exact attitude you want a veteran off the bench. He can help in practices, he can help because he understands how to play defense and can teach it, and eventually, he will get a chance on the court. He is not part of the future of the Knicks, but he can guide these young players.

The Knicks new management will look for a way to unload Noah’s contract, but considering the sweeteners the Knicks would need to throw in to get a team to deal for Noah, it’s unlikely we see any action on that front for a long time.