Report: Kings’ Rudy Gay likely to be traded before deadline; Thunder, Rockets interested

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That Sacramento’s Rudy Gay could well get moved before the trade deadline is no secret. The Kings’ front office has held out hope their squad can get back in the playoff mix in the West, and the team is currently the nine seed, 2.5 games back of Portland. Without Gay, the Kings’ second-leading scorer, they are not catching anyone. However, Gay has expressed a desire to leave, and if they don’t trade him before the deadline they will lose him this summer for nothing. The idea the Kings will change his mind is fantasy. As the trade deadline nears in February, the Kings will have to make a call.

Around the league, other teams expect Gay to be moved. In his latest podcast at The Vertical at Yahoo Sports, Adrian Wojnarowski broke it all down (hat tip Eye on Basketball).

“The one player who is going to have to move between now and the trade deadline is Rudy Gay. I don’t think the Kings can make the same mistake New Orleans made last year with Ryan Anderson. Ryan Anderson was pretty clear he was not going to re-sign there and they lost him for nothing. Especially for a team so devoid of assets, they couldn’t let him walk for nothing.

There’s no question Oklahoma City. Indiana has had interest in him. Houston has had some peripheral interest. I don’t think they have the pieces to trade.”

Oklahoma City needs more scoring, and while Gay does that in an old-school way — heavy on isolation and midrange shots (although he’s hitting 34,9 percent from three this year) — he can get them buckets. It’s easy to see where that would fit with the Rockets, as well, and he’d make a good reserve in Indiana. The question becomes what goes back to the California capital? The Kings previously had interest in Cameron Payne, but that may have faded with his latest injury.

The Kings should be active on the trade market between now and the Feb. 23 trade deadline. Omri Casspi has been made available, and other GMs think a change of scenery is what the stretch four needs. Also, Kosta Koufos and maybe Willie Cauley-Stein are available at the right price. I know none of those are the guys most fans want to pry out of Sacramento, but right now DeMarcus Cousins is not available — and he doesn’t expect to be traded.

 

Magic sending Raptors draft pick as compensation for hiring Jeff Weltman

AP Photo/John Raoux
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The Raptors promoted Jeff Weltman, still working under Masai Ujiri, to general manager last year.

That paid off for Toronto when the Magic hired Weltman as their new president.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

The Magic have their own and the Lakers’ second-round picks next year. Even the lower of those two selections could be somewhat value.

In other words, Weltman’s already-difficult job is getting even harder simply by Orlando hiring him.

LeBron James still striving to surpass Michael Jordan

AP Photo/Chuck Burton
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LeBron James has discussed chasing Michael Jordan’s “ghost,” motivating himself by trying surpass Jordan as the greatest player in NBA history.

Just 27 points behind Jordan for the all-time playoff scoring lead – a record he could break in Cavaliers-Celtics Game 5 tonight – LeBron is again discussing that pursuit.

LeBron, via Dave McMenamin of ESPN:

“It’s just a personal goal of mine,” James said Thursday before Cavs shootaround in preparation of Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Boston Celtics. “It has nothing to do with passing the rings, passing the points, passing MVPs. It’s just my personal goal to keep me motivated — that’s all.”

“You guys are going to have the conversations about who is greatest of all time and things of that nature,” James said. “It doesn’t matter to me. At the end of the day, it’s so funny that the conversation is always talked about in the NBA about who is the greatest but it’s never talked about in the NFL about who is the greatest quarterback. It’s just like: [Dan] Marino, [John] Elway, [Peyton] Manning and [Tom] Brady. All great quarterbacks, you know — and it should be the same for us.

Jordan or LeBron? Save your hot takes. LeBron just burnt them all.

The greatest quarterback of all time is never debated? Claiming that is now the hottest take in the entire realm of the Jordan-LeBron debate.

Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue: Kyrie Irving feeling ‘good’ after ankle injury

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BOSTON (AP) — Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue says that Kyrie Irving‘s left ankle is feeling “good” in advance of Cleveland’s Game 5 matchup Thursday night with the Celtics.

Irving was moving around and putting up shots during the Cavs’ morning shootaround.

The All-Star rolled his ankle in the third quarter of Game 4 when he stepped on Terry Rozier‘s foot. Irving was able to stay on the floor and finish the game, scoring a career playoff-high 42 points.

Cleveland leads Boston 3-1 and can wrap up its third straight Eastern Conference title Thursday night.

Several Celtics are also fighting injuries as they try to stave off elimination.

Jaylen Brown is listed as questionable with a right hip pointer. Jae Crowder is probable with a left groin strain, and Amir Johnson is probable with a right shoulder sprain.

Danny Ainge: Lonzo Ball declined to work out for Celtics, who hold No. 1 pick

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LaVar Ball said his son, highly touted draft prospect Lonzo Ball, would work out for only the Lakers.

You thought he was bluffing?

Celtics president Danny Ainge, whose team holds the No. 1 pick, on 98.5 the Sports Hub:

We just tried to get him in for a workout, and they politely said no.

It’s not ideal.

Listen, we’ve drafted guys that wouldn’t come in for workouts before. I mean, it’s not the end of the world. We’ve watched them play a ton. We have a lot of information on them.

Good for Ball. Professional sports teams already hold inordinate power over players entering the workforce. In no other industry are top young employees assigned to a particular company, the worst-performing companies typically getting priority, with no ability to bargain with competitors.

Ball wants to play for the Lakers, who offer proximity to his family and hold the No. 2 pick. He can’t force Boston to pass on him or Los Angeles to pick him. But he can influence decision-making.

It seemed likely the Celtics would draft Markelle Fultz, and though they could still pick Ball, him declining a workout with Boston makes that only less likely. The Lakers will probably draft Ball, but this plan carries risk. If they pass, he could fall once he gets to teams less familiar with him.

Still, Ball deserves to decide for himself how to manage his career – especially in such a closed job market. Not working out for the Celtics is probably his best path to getting where he wans to go.