David Griffin defends Cavaliers’ pursuit of John Calipari

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The No. 1 reason LeBron James signed with the Cavaliers is because he was born in Northeast Ohio. The No. 1 reason Kevin Love approved a trade to the Cavaliers was because LeBron had already signed.

So, Cleveland’s great offseason was set in motion for reasons outside the Cavaliers’ control.

But general manager David Griffin still cleared the cap space necessary to sign LeBron and organized the Love trade (though luck, winning the lottery, played a huge role their too). The amount is debatable, but Griffin deserves credit – and he nearly lost his authority before the offseason began.

Griffin became interim general manager in February and permanent general manager in May. In June, the Cavaliers pursued Kentucky coach John Calipari to become team president, which would have usurped Griffin’s authority.

Fortunately for the Cavaliers, Calipari turned them down, allowing Griffin to oversee one of the best offseasons of all-time. Maybe things would have gone as well with Calipari, but it’s hard to believe they could have gone any better.

So, Griffin could be telling Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert and vice chairman Nate Forbes “I told you so.” In hindsight, Cleveland probably should have just stuck with Griffin all along.

Instead, Griffin is taking the high road.

Griffin on The Doug Gottlieb Show (hat tip: James Herbert of Eye on Basketball):

To be honest with you, I don’t think anything was ever done without my knowledge of what was being done, for one. And two, I turned down opportunities to be a GM before because the fit wasn’t right

And when I sat with Dan and Nate, when we talked about our vision for the future and me having this job, I encouraged them to talk to other people. It was something that was really important to me.

I would have talked to John Calipari if I was them. I would have been disappointed if they didn’t. So, it didn’t bother me in the least.

Just as I was beginning to trust Griffin’s judgment, he implies Calipari is fit to run an NBA team. If I were searching for a team president, not interviewing Calipari sure wouldn’t disappoint me.

But hopefully, Griffin is just showcasing another skill essential for an NBA general manager – pleasing the owner.

Owners often get blamed for interfering with general managers, but part of the general manager’s job as successfully managing the owner. Defending Gilbert’s chase of Calipari could help Griffin do that.

There’s not another good reason to defend your boss pursuing a lesser candidate in order to demote you.

Rumor: Knicks likely to trade Carmelo Anthony to Rockets this week

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After numerous starts and stops and starts and stops, maybe the Knicks will actually trade Carmelo Anthony to the Rockets soon?

Tarek Fattal of the Los Angeles Daily News:

So, they found a third team to take Ryan Anderson or a fourth team to take Meyers Leonard?

If true, that’d please at least Anthony.

There’s room for a trade to work. New York is clearly ready to move on from Anthony, and Houston wants him to join James Harden and Chris Paul. The Rockets can add sweeteners to convince another team – or maybe even the Knicks – to take a bad contract in the trade.

But this has dragged on so long, I need more evidence the deal is actually close before I believe it.

Report: Kings not interested in trading De’Aaron Fox in Kyrie Irving deal

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Kyrie Irving submitted a list of preferred teams, but – without a no-trade clause and locked into his contract for two more years – he has minimal control where the Cavaliers trade him. So, other teams are emerging.

Like the Kings.

Terry Pluto of The Plain Dealer:

I just heard Irving’s name attached to Sacramento, not sure what comes back to the Cavs other than Kentucky point guard De'Aaron Fox.

Fox – the No. 1 No. 5 in last month’s draft – could make sense as the centerpiece of an Irving trade if Cleveland wants to get younger in preparation of LeBron James leaving next summer. The Kings could also include some combination of Bogdan Bogdanovic, Buddy Hield, Willie Cauley-Stein, Skal Labissiere, Georgios Papagiannis, Malachi Richardson and/or future draft picks.

But it doesn’t seem that concept is getting off the ground.

James Ham of NBC Sports California:

A league source confirmed to NBC Sports California that the Kings have no interest in dealing Fox, who they acquired with the 5th overall selection in June’s NBA Draft. The 19-year-old is considered the future of the franchise at the point guard position and according to the source, any rumor of the team offering him in a deal are false.

Irving is way more valuable than Fox, even to Sacramento. Irving is just a few months older than Bogdanovic, a rookie the Kings just signed to join their young core. Irving’s contract would keep him in Sacramento for two years, and a desire to spread his wings could secure him longer.

Maybe the Kings are just delusional about Fox’s value. Or maybe Vlade Divac is just trying to gain leverage. After all, he doesn’t have a track record of trustworthiness when he says he won’t trade someone.

Most likely: The Kings know they lack the assets to get Irving without gutting their team to the point it wouldn’t be worth it. So, rather than entering a prolonged pursuit of him only to get rejected later, they’re just saying they’re not interested.

Report: Derrick Rose leaning toward Cavaliers over Lakers

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Derrick Rose met with the Lakers.

Now, it’s the Cavaliers’ turn.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

Free-agent guard Derrick Rose is meeting with Cleveland Cavaliers officials in Ohio on Monday, league sources told ESPN.

Rose met with the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday, but has been leaning toward the Cavaliers opportunity, league sources told ESPN.

The Lakers can offer more (the $4,328,000 room exception) than the Cavs are reportedly offering ($2,116,955 minimum contract), but Rose might be eying a starting spot in Cleveland. That comes with complications for both sides.

Just because Kyrie Irving requested a trade doesn’t mean the Cavaliers will trade him. He’s still locked into his contract for two more years, and amid concern of his trade value slipping due to his request leaking, they might just hold him.

Rose’s creaky outside shooting makes him a poor fit with LeBron James. Rose would be an upgrade off the bench, especially as a shot creator while LeBron and Irving are off the floor. But he’s almost certain to underwhelm as a starter.

I doubt that’s how Rose views it, though. The Cavs offer a better path to starting with Irving on the trade block and the Lakers committed to developing Lonzo Ball. One year starting for a prominent team could put Rose right back in the free agent market, in line to receive the contract he believes he deserves. He’d also be playing for a far better team in the interim.

But, if he signs with Cleveland and the Lakers put the full room exception on the table, there’s a good chance, a year from now, he regrets not guaranteeing himself an extra couple million dollars.

Video Breakdown: What is a slot screen and how do NBA teams use it?

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The slot screen just might be one of the most common plays in the NBA when it comes to the pick-and-roll, but can you identify it?

Before we talk about what a slot screen is, we have to define what the slot is when it comes to an NBA basketball court. In simple terms, the “slot” is the area between the elbows and extended above the 3-point line. If you talk to an NBA coach, they would tell you that this area of the floor is referred to as “the slot.”

It stands to reason then that the slot screen is simply a screen that happens within this area of the floor.

So why would you want to know what a slot screen is?

One reason might be to better understand how Your favorite player operates in screens on different parts of the floor. While some players may be a very good at dealing with the pick-and-roll in space and in the slot, they could be comprably worse in Pistol action or in Get action.

Watch the full video breakdown above to see how the slot screen works in an NBA offense.