Report: Cavaliers players were ‘highly pissed’ team didn’t re-sign Kendrick Perkins

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The Cavaliers didn’t re-sign one of their worst players last summer. Instead, they signed a more-talented, younger replacement – paying more money, including a higher luxury-tax bill, for the upgrade.

Here’s how Cleveland’s players interpreted the Kendrick Perkins-for-Sasha Kaun swap.

Chris Haynes of Cleveland.com on The Dan Patrick Show:

They were highly pissed. I knew this for a fact. They were highly ticked off, this team, when the team didn’t re-sign Kendrick Perkins and they ended up picking up over the summer Sasha Kaun – a 29-, 30-year-old rookie who has not really played at all and I don’t really think is ready for the NBA.

So, he’s collecting about $2 million right now a season and not even playing. Kendrick Perkins would’ve been brought back for the veteran’s minimum.

Players – I know for a fact, I talked to them – they were highly ticked off about that, not bringing him back. Because it wasn’t about his numbers. It was about the intangibles, the emotional leadership and the enforcer, the enforcement role he brought to the team.

The problem with Perkins, who signed with the Pelicans, is that he’s a great teammate and has become a liability on the court. He lacks polish offensively, and his declining athleticism prevents him from defending effectively.

Maybe the Cavs would be better off with Perkins riding their bench rather than Kaun, who has played just 14 games and is actually making just $1,276,000 this season. But remember, Tristan Thompson didn’t sign until shortly before the season. Cleveland couldn’t afford to waste a roster spot on an unproductive big man.

The Cavaliers’ problem isn’t that they lost Perkins. It’s that they believe losing Perkins was a problem.

They’re one of the NBA’s most veteran teams. LeBron James, Richard Jefferson, Mo Williams and James Jones can’t instill a culture of accountability and toughness? Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving still need their hands held by someone like Perkins?

The players need to accept responsibility, not get worked up about the loss of Perkins.

Of course, this also leaves Kaun in an uncomfortable spot through no fault of his own. He might not be NBA ready, but it’s at least possible he becomes a helpful low-post threat once he acclimates to the league. He’s under contract for next season, too.

But maybe before that happens, he’ll take the brunt of the blame for the Cavs’ problems and get cast aside – just like his former Russian national team coach.

Atlanta Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer not guilty in DUI case

Mike Budenholzer
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ATLANTA (AP) — Atlanta Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer has been found not guilty of DUI charges.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (http://on-ajc.com/2938xhW) reports that the jury deliberated for less than three hours on Monday before returning the verdict around 5:20 p.m. He was cleared on a DUI-driving less safe charge. Budenholzer was found guilty of driving with a broken tail light and fined $150.

Budenholzer testified in his own defense about when troopers stopped him in August of 2013 for allegedly driving with his lights off and arrested him on suspicion of DUI.

According to WSB-TV (http://2wsb.tv/28WIB3R), Budenholzer has said he thinks the trooper may have been confused about him being impaired because he has chronic redness around his eyes, previous ankle injuries and a foot surgery that causes imbalance.

Information from: WSB-TV, http://www.wsbtv.com/index.html

AP Source: Timberwolves adding NBA’s 1st Chinese owner

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - NOVEMBER 2:  The Flip Saunders memorial patch is seen on the jersey of Kevin Garnett #21 of the Minnesota Timberwolves during the fourth quarter of the home opening game against the Portland Trail Blazers on November 2, 2015 at Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Trail Blazers defeated the Timberwolves 106-101. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor is bringing in two new minority partners to his ownership group, including the NBA’s first Chinese owner, a person with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press.

Shanghai investor Lizhang Jiang and New Jersey real estate mogul Meyer Orbach are joining the Timberwolves’ ownership group, the person said Monday on condition of anonymity because the deal has not been finalized. The person said Orbach has agreed to acquire 9.5 percent of the team while Lizhang will be brought in at 5 percent. The 35-year-old Lizhang works in sports marketing in China.

The NBA has long been heavily invested in growing the game in China, with former Houston Rockets center Yao Ming helping to make the league wildly popular in a nation of 1.4 billion people. And even though Liang will only buy 5 percent of the team, his presence could help raise the Timberwolves’ profile in China and bring new marketing possibilities to a team that historically has not been a big seller abroad.

Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert negotiated with a Chinese group to sell 15 percent of the team back in 2009, but that deal never was completed.

Orbach heads the Orbach Group, a prominent real estate development company based in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey. The company owns apartment buildings in New Jersey and New York.

Taylor has long been in search of a successor for the Timberwolves, a person or group committed to keeping the team in Minnesota while also allowing him to continue to operate as the majority partner for the next couple of years. He was in serious discussions with a group led by Memphis minority owner Steve Kaplan last year, but Kaplan’s inability to extricate himself from the Grizzlies have stunted that process.

When Taylor hired a new leadership team in basketball operations in April, naming Tom Thibodeau has coach and president and Scott Layden as general manager, he made it clear that he planned to be at the top of the Wolves for some time.

At that point, Taylor had already identified Liang and Orbach as future investors who could provide significant cash but did not have the same designs on a future majority role that Kaplan had when negotiations opened up last year.

There remains some optimism on Kaplan’s side that a deal could eventually be completed that would allow him to take on a 30 percent share initially before taking over from Taylor in a few years. But Taylor is moving ahead for now with Thibodeau on board and a promising young roster that includes Karl-Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins and Zach LaVine. Minnesota has played 12 consecutive seasons without a playoff berth.

Another summer, another round of Rockets’ GM Daryl Morey going after big-name targets.

CHARLOTTE, NC - APRIL 23:  Hassan Whiteside #21 of the Miami Heat reacts after a play against the Charlotte Hornets during game three of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals of the 2016 NBA Playoffs at Time Warner Cable Arena on April 23, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
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Just like you can count on the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival being exceptional, you can be assured of one thing every summer in the NBA:

Rockets’ GM Daryl Morey is going big game hunting.

The Dwight Howard experiment didn’t exactly work out (to put it kindly), but that is not stopping Morey’s quest to find the right star to go next to James Harden, reports Calvin Watkins of ESPN.

According to a source the Houston Rockets are looking at the following high-level free agents: Al Horford, Kevin Durant, Hassan Whiteside and Ryan Anderson. The team’s search to upgrading the roster will be wide and not just strictly with these four players.

The Rockets can’t even get a seat at the table with Durant, so that’s out.

Whiteside would be a good fit — particularly with Mike D’Antoni running the show — but he also is in serious demand, and the expectation is the Heat will keep him by maxing him out. Pat Riley can’t afford to lose him.

Ryan Anderson would be a good fit at the four, but he will be in serious demand once free agency opens.

Morey has a lot of work to do this summer — he has a nice roster, but not one that can play the way Mike D’Antoni wants. James Harden can. Trevor Ariza can. Guys like Corey Brewer, Clint Capela, and Patrick Beverley can be role players, but much of this roster needs to be changed over. A star certainly helps that, but it’s going to be the depth and fit of role players that needs to be addressed.

 

Report: Wizards’ new top free agent target — Ryan Anderson

NEW ORLEANS, LA - FEBRUARY 04:  Ryan Anderson #33 of the New Orleans Pelicans drives to the basket during the first half of a game against the Los Angeles Lakers at the Smoothie King Center on February 4, 2016 in New Orleans, Louisiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
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The Kevin Durant dream is dead. Even the most die hard of Wizards’ fans have accepted this fate.

So if not the hometown hero, then who?

How about Ryan Anderson? That’s the franchise’s top target now, according to J. Michael of CSNMidAtlantic.com.

Now that Kevin Durant has dropped from the wish list for the Wizards with free agency set to open at the end of the week, Ryan Anderson is their next priority, multiple league sources tell CSNmidatlantic.com on Monday, and they’ll make an aggressive move in hopes of securing the three-point shooting forward.

Anderson, a 6-10 free agent from the New Orleans Pelicans, averaged 17 points and six rebounds in 66 appearances last season. He shot 36.6% from three-point range and is the type of stretch option that could work better than Jared Dudley and Kris Humphries did in a disastrous 41-41 season.

The interesting question is this: If the Wizards are interested in Anderson, what does that say for Markieff Morris? The Wizards went after Anderson at the trade deadline but ended up with Morris, who played fairly well for them and has a very reasonable three years, $24 million left on his deal.

Because he’s missed time with injuries and been essentially hidden in New Orleans (a team with few national television games) people have forgotten that when healthy, Anderson is arguably the best stretch four in the NBA. He averaged 17 points a game and shot 36.6 percent from three last season, plus pulled down six boards a game. He’s able to do more than just shoot the rock, he can put the ball on the floor and create a little too. His weakness is the other end of the floor; he’s not getting you a lot of stops.

There will be a lot of demand for his services. For the Wizards to win that battle, they are going to have to offer the most money. Is Ted Leonsis ready to write those checks?