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Rumor: Kings, Suns discussed DeMarcus Cousins trade. Don’t bet on it happening.

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I would take this rumor with an entire box of Morton’s Kosher salt.

But since DeMarcus Cousins trade rumors are harder to kill than a T-1000 Terminator model, here is the latest one, via John Gambadoro Arizona Sports.com — the Kings and Phoenix Suns have been talking Cousins.

Gambadoro reports the discussions have centered around involving small forward T.J. Warren, center Alex Len, Phoenix’s first-round pick this year and possibly more. The Suns own all of their future picks and also own two future Miami Heat first-round picks from the Goran Dragic deal.

Sacramento has the need for a lead point guard and 2017’s draft class has point guards near the top of many mock drafts, including Washington’s Markelle Fultz and UCLA’s Lonzo Ball. Gambadoro said Eric Bledsoe and Devin Booker would not be in the deal.

Remember, Bledsoe and Cousins played together at Kentucky.

Never say never, but here’s the list of reasons I don’t think this has any chance of happening.

• Kings owner Vivek Ranadive is still the biggest Cousins backer in the Sacramento organization, and if the owner doesn’t want a trade to happen it doesn’t happen.

• In fact, there are reports that Ranadive and the Kings plan to offer Cousins a designated player contract this summer worth north of $207 million (the final numbers depend on the salary cap), and I have heard the same thing. Also, Cousins plans to sign that contract. If you’re saying to yourself “but Cousins isn’t happy in Sacramento” you’re not wrong, he’s been frustrated with management for years. However, money talks. The most the Suns could offer him (post trade) is going to be $6 million less just the first season alone compared to that Kings contract, and even if Cousins eventually signed a fifth max season with the Suns he would be leaving at least $36 million on the table to go to another team. Who is leaving that money on the table?

• Would the Suns want to do this kind of deal, especially keeping Bledsoe and Booker? Damn straight. But it takes two to do this tango. That said, a good way to make sure your fan base knows you’re trying to make a big move is to leak stuff like this.

• Talk to other teams around the league about dealing with the Kings and you often hear about how they don’t think the left arm knows what the right is doing there. For example, there will be talks with one Sacramento person about a deal, but when another person in the organization is contacted the teams are told something different. It’s been better of late, but there can still be conflicting voices within the organization. Which is to say maybe the Suns had some level of discussion with a Kings’ representative, but it may not be the people with the hammer on this decision.

• If you’re Cousins and you want to get out of the dysfunctional organization that has been Sacramento, do you really want to go to Phoenix now and work for Robert Sarver?

LeBron, Gregg Popovich among NBA heavyweights to comment on Trump at Media Day

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Monday was NBA Media Day and it could not get here soon enough. Yes, the offseason has been an incredible one with many players changing places. But the start of football season always means something important for the NBA diehard: basketball is coming.

Media Day comes with new questions for new players, along with hope that franchises will be able to right the wrongs of seasons past. Plus, we get to see new jerseys on stars. Yet as it always seems these days, the story of the afternoon was gathering how players had reacted to Donald Trump’s recent comments.

Specifically, Trump mentioned that he thought that players who knelt for the national anthem in the NFL were “sons of bitches”. Trump also rescinded a potential offer for a visit to the White House for the Golden State Warriors after Stephen Curry said he would vote “no” on going during a team meeting.

NBA reporters could not help but ask about the comments by Trump and the impact it had on the players, coaches, and executives during their first full scale opportunity to see players in a team setting.

Everyone from LeBron James to John Wall and Gregg Popovich had something to say.

We will be entering our first full season of the NBA with Trump and given how the first eight months of his tenure have gone, it will be interesting to see how the most socially conscious league in America responds moving forward.

Cavaliers expect Isaiah Thomas to play in games by January

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INDEPENDENCE, Ohio (AP) Isaiah Thomas could be running the point for Cleveland by the end of the year.

The All-Star point guard, acquired from Boston this summer in a blockbuster trade, has made progress with his hip injury, and the Cavaliers expect him to be playing games by January.

Thomas has begun running and doing on-court activities as he rehabilitates the injury, which prematurely ended his postseason with the Celtics. Cleveland acquired him in a trade that sent All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving to Boston, its biggest challenger in the East.

Thomas doesn’t need surgery. While the Eastern Conference champions have been encouraged by his recovery, they will not rush him back. While he gets healthy, Derrick Rose, another summer acquisition, will start at point guard.

Thomas averaged 28.9 points last season for the Celtics, who sent him along with forward Jae Crowder, center Ante Zizic and a 2018 first-round draft to Cleveland.

The Cavaliers were concerned with Thomas’ injury, so the Celtics added a second-round pick to complete the deal.

When they introduced Thomas at a news conference, the Cavaliers were vague about a timeline for his return, mainly because they hadn’t yet worked with him. It’s now possible Thomas could be back and playing by Christmas, when the Cavs visit Golden State.

Thomas is only under contract for the upcoming season and has said in the past he wants a maximum contract.

More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/tag/NBAbasketball

Carmelo Anthony trade causes huge leap in Thunder championship odds

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Carmelo Anthony recently wrote a goodbye letter to the city of New York, but the fact is now he is a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder.

That apparently means increased championship odds now that he, Westbrook, and Paul George will occupy the same floor space in the Western Conference.

That comes as a bit of a surprise given the amount of talent that has moved out West over the course of the offseason. Anthony is the latest in a long list of big stars to switch conferences including Paul Millsap, Jimmy Butler, Brook Lopez, and others.

Could the Thunder win the championship? It seems like long odds even given Westbrook being reigning MVP. But the most recent odds released by Bovada had the Thunder taking a huge leap in that arena.

Before the Anthony trade the Thunder were at at 25 to 1 odds to win the Larry O’Brien trophy. After this weekend and the switching of states by Carmelo, the Thunder are now at 12 to 1 to win the championship.

Perhaps more curious than the new odds for the Thunder are what happened to the win totals of both the Thunder and the Knicks. Bovada’s win total for Oklahoma City didn’t change and remains at 50.5. Somehow, New York’s win projection also did not change despite Anthony switching teams.

Are the Thunder winning the championship the season? Absolutely not. But am I going to watch a bunch of OKC games this year? Absolutely.

Carmelo Anthony writes goodbye letter to New York

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The Carmelo Anthony trade rumors are finally over.

The New York Knicks sent the star forward to Oklahoma City in exchange for Enes Kanter, Doug McDermott, and a second round draft pick. He will play alongside Russell Westbrook and Paul George during a wild season to come in the Western Conference.

Anthony never wanted to leave New York, but the ineptitude of the organization finally caused such a rift between the two sides that he finally decided he would find a way to waive his no trade clause and exit his home state (Anthony is from Red Hook in Brooklyn).

Anthony only gave the Knicks a few choices to work with, and Houston was always his desired landing spot. That trade approved too to materialize, and the scope was opened up to the Portland Trail Blazers, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Thunder.

Carmelo arrived in Oklahoma City on Sunday, but he still isn’t leaving New York fans out to dry. In a letter released on his website on Monday, Anthony penned a goodbye letter to his beloved New York.

Via This Is Melo:

New York equipped me to make it in any other place in the world. It taught me how to Be Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable. Saying Goodbye is the hardest thing to do. I never thought I would, especially to you. No one will ever take your place. It’s hard to find someone like you, so know you will always be missed. You helped me laugh. You dried my tears. Because of you, I have no fears. You came into my life and I was blessed. It’s time to raise my hand and say goodbye. It’s not the end, because like I’ve always said, NYC ‘til the end.

Carmelo may miss New York but we are all excited to see him with Westbrook and George in OKC. The high usage stars should make for an interesting triumvirate on the basketball floor.