The exact terms of the Kevin Love to Cleveland for Andrew Wiggins trade is still in flux. Nothing can be done officially until Aug. 23 anyway — the soonest Wiggins can be moved because of a 30-day moratorium after signing his rookie contract —and if you think the sides are going to reach an agreement in that window then just sit on their hands and not try to leverage more out of it, well, you’ve never really watched NBA trades go down. Everyone needs a deadline or pressure to pull the trigger.
Most reports say the talks have stalled, at least at the highest levels, the guys who can pull the trigger. That said, lower level conversations are always going on. Minnesota would like to unload either J.J. Barea or Kevin Martin and their deals in this, even if it takes a third team, and they are trying to find a way.
Then there comes a Corey Brewer rumor in the News Herald:
The crux of the trade appears to have the Cavaliers sending Wiggins, forward Anthony Bennett and a 2018 first-round pick to Minnesota for Love and possibly forward Corey Brewer. The Timberwolves might want to dump point guard J.J. Barea’s $4.5 million contract in a deal.
Not might, do. Which is one reason this I see as more rumor than report.
Brewer would be a nice bit of depth added to Cleveland, an athletic, slashing small forward who scored 12.3 points a game with a quality true shooting percentage of .550 last season. He’s not a guy you are going to pair a lot with LeBron James because he doesn’t space the floor (28 percent from three last season) but he would be a good energy guy to use for 20 minutes a night while LeBron sits.
Brewer would be a good fit going back to Minny in this deal.
But as noted above I would take this with a grain of salt, the News Herald report says a framework is done on the deal but nobody else is saying that, and certainly nobody out of Minnesota. I’m sure people in Cleveland and sources in the organization would like to think they have a framework, but Flip Saunders is going to try and squeeze every last drop of blood from this stone.
CLEVELAND (AP) John Wall scored 37 points, Bradley Beal added 27 and the Washington Wizards began a challenging road trip by beating LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers 127-115 on Saturday night.
Wall scored 18 in the first quarter, when the Wizards shot 82 percent, and Washington held on down the stretch to avenge an overtime loss to the NBA champions last month.
James, who briefly wore goggles to protect an eye injury sustained Friday night, scored 24 and added 11 rebounds and eight assists. Kyrie Irving added 23 points and Kevin Love 17 for Cleveland, playing at home for the only time in a seven-game stretch.
Washington’s victory cut Cleveland’s lead in the Eastern Conference to a half-game over idle Boston.
Utah and the L.A. Clippers are almost locked into a first round, four vs. five battle in the Western Conference. The only question is which team will have home court, and the Clippers took a big step towards that beating the Jazz at home Saturday. While the Jazz still has a half-game lead, the Clippers have a much softer schedule the rest of the way.
After that loss, Jazz center Rudy Gobert was ticked off and called out his teammates. Via Tim MacMahon of ESPN.
“We’ve got guys that compete, but some of us don’t compete. Some of us just think about scoring. That’s what it is. … Coach keeps repeating it: We’ve just got to compete. We’re too nice. Those guys, we know they’re going to get calls. We’ve just got to come out aggressive and ready to fight.”
Interesting comments for a team that is third in the NBA in defensive rating and 13th in offense.
Gobert is frustrated as Utah has dropped four of its last five, and the slump has been on both ends of the court. The defense has struggled, but if guys are looking to score too much they aren’t doing it efficiently because the offense has been worse.
This slide likely costs Utah home court in the first round, which could matter in what will be a tight matchup with Los Angeles. Utah needs to find its grinding rhythm again heading into the playoffs, at their best they can knock off the Clippers in the first round. Just not like they are playing now.
One thing to watch, Utah’s Gordon Hayward asked out of the game in the fourth quarter due to what is being called a bruised muscle in his leg. If he misses any time or if this lingers, it could be trouble for the Jazz in the postseason.
LeBron James suffered a scratched cornea Friday night when he went up for a layup late in the third quarter and Jeremy Lamb tried to contest and caught him clean across the face. LeBron got the and-1, but had trouble keeping his eye open in postgame interviews Friday.
Saturday he did play — wearing protective goggles. As you can see above.
That lasted about a minute.
LeBron was likely frustrated as the Cavaliers defensive woes had the Wizards up double digits much of the first half.
For the first time since he walked off the court in his final game, Kobe Bryant was back at Staples Center Friday night.
The reason was Shaquille O’Neal was getting a statue out in front of Staples Center (a building that may not have gotten built without the two of them). The two famed feuders sat next to each other and joked around through the ceremony. Time heals all wounds.
With the new management of the Lakers — specifically Kobe’s former agent Rob Pelinka as GM — there has been speculation Kobe could take on a role. He’s not looking for something formal, according to reports, but he didn’t say no, either, when asked.
I picture Kobe as a guy who someday buys a team, not a guy who wants to haggle with agents over the details of a contract. He’s not going to take on a day-to-day role, he likes the retired life and what he is building with the Kobe brand.
That said, the Lakers front office can use all the smart voices it can get as they try speed up a rebuild. They should give him a call every once in a while.