Getty Images

Report: Knicks still want to trade for Kevin Love, Cavaliers still say he’s not available

8 Comments

If Phil Jackson is going to trade Carmelo Anthony, he wants more than some veteran role players he’d have to move and some young projects — you know, the Clippers’ offer — he wants a splash. Someone to pair with Kristaps Porzingis to push the Knicks back to relevance sooner rather than later.

Someone such as Kevin Love.

The Knicks keep asking and the Cavaliers keep saying no on Love, but the Cavs would be open to another deal, reports Ramona Shelburne and Marc Stein of ESPN.

The New York Knicks continue to pursue Kevin Love in advance of the Feb. 23 trade deadline despite the Cleveland Cavaliers’ unwillingness to part with the All-Star forward in a deal for Carmelo Anthony, according to league sources.

Sources said the Cavaliers, meanwhile, do maintain an interest in Anthony — which would pair him with Cleveland star and close friend LeBron James — but only if a deal can be struck without the league’s reigning champions surrendering Love….

Many of the Knicks’ recent discussions with both the Cavaliers and the Clippers, sources say, have featured theoretical three- or four-team trade constructions because of the complexities involved in trading Anthony with two seasons and $54.2 million left on his contract after this season.

There is zero chance the Cavaliers would — or even LeBron would want — trade 27-year-old, playing his best basketball Love for 33-year-old and defensive liability (much worse than Love at this point) Anthony. LeBron wants to win a title, swapping Anthony for Love does not make the Cavs better.

Remember that Anthony has a 15 percent trade kicker in his contract — move him and he gets a raise. Also remember the Clippers are hard-capped this season because they spent the full mid-level on Wesley Johnson while being over the cap. Meaning for Los Angeles and New York to do a deal will mean at least one other team and a lot of moving parts to make it work.

A package of young players and picks from Boston might be the best way to build around Porzingis, but the Celtics interest level is not high enough to offer their best assets — the Brooklyn Nets picks.

Anthony said he has not agreed to waive his no-trade clause for anyone yet. If the time comes, he said his family’s wishes and the state of the team he might go to all would factor in.

The smart money is on Anthony staying a Knick the rest of this season, with a trade in the summer more likely. But Jackson and the Knicks are trying.

Tyronn Lue imitates LeBron James’ criticism of reporter (video)

Leave a comment

After the Cavaliers Game 3 loss to the Celtics, LeBron James accused reporter Kenny Roda of showing up/asking questions only when Cleveland loses.

Questioned by Roda after the Cavs’ Game 4 win, Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue lightheartedly lobbed the same criticism at Roda.

Coaching LeBron can be tricky. Lue must both challenge the greatest player of his generation and handle LeBron’s passive-aggressiveness. Lue can neither let LeBron walk all over him nor bark orders at him.

In this case, it seems Lue is trying to diffuse LeBron’s pettiness before it turns into something bigger. Considering how silly LeBron’s initial comments were, I bet the star is on board.

Tony Bradley becoming North Carolina’s first one-and-done in nearly a decade

Joe Robbins/Getty Images
Leave a comment

North Carolina hasn’t had a one-and-done player in eight years.

Since Brandan Wright declared for the 2008 NBA draft after his freshman year, the Tar Heels have emphasized player development over multiple years. That practice has yielded two national titles, including this year’s, in that span.

It also limited freshman center Tony Bradley’s playing time this season, as he was stuck behind seniors Kennedy Meeks and Isaiah Hicks.

But Bradley shined enough in 15 minutes per game to follow Wright as one-and-done from Chapel Hill.

Jeff Goodman of ESPN:

Bradley is a borderline first-round pick, though this late decision when many expected him to return to school indicates he believes he’ll go in the first round. There’s certainly logic in turning pro before scouts pick apart his game over a larger sample.

Bradley is huge – 6-foot-11 with a 7-foot-5 wingspan – but he’s not explosive. The hope is someone in the Rudy Gobert mold.

Whomever drafts Bradley will hope his elite offensive rebounding is a harbinger. But why is his defensive rebounding and rim protection so forgettable?

He moves and passes fairly well for his size, but considering he’s so big, those aren’t necessarily skills for him to hang his hat on. If a teammate sets him up, he uses his size to finish well at the rim.

Beyond his size and offensive rebounding, Bradley doesn’t set himself apart one way or the other. Whether that’s good or bad depends how deep in the draft it is.

PBT Extra: What does Boston do with No. 1 pick?

4 Comments

Option A: Keep the pick, draft Markelle Fultz No. 1, go hard at Gordon Hayward this summer in free agency and if you strike out with him go hard at other guys, maybe in the 2018 class.

Option B: Trade the No. 1 pick for a package that includes Jimmy Butler (or, less likely, Paul George) and put together a roster to make a hard run at the Cavaliers next year.

Those aren’t the only two options on the table, but they represent the two paths the Boston Celtics can go down this off-season after landing the No. 1 pick in the draft. I delve into it more in this PBT Extra.

Expect them to go with option A — the chance to draft a potentially elite player, and have him under contract for years on an affordable rookie deal, is too smart a long-term move to pass up.

Report: Bucks to make Justin Zanik interim GM, do broad search to find

1 Comment

The Milwaukee Bucks general manager John Hammond is on his way to Orlando, joining a new front office trying to turn the Magic — and their culture — around.

That means the Bucks need a new GM, and it was assumed long-time assistant GM Justin Zanik would step into the role. However, he may not be the long-term answer, according to a couple of reports.

Zanik will have the job in the short term, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.

Marc Stein of ESPN broke the news on the broader search.

The Milwaukee Bucks have decided to commission a broad search for a new general manager, according to league sources. Sources told ESPN on Wednesday that Bucks consultant and longtime NBA executive Rod Thorn will lead the search on behalf of Milwaukee ownership, which is hopeful of attracting strong candidates given the Bucks’ on-the-rise status….

Current Bucks assistant general manager Justin Zanik will interview for the GM post and be given strong consideration to succeed Hammond, sources said.

Doing a broad search makes sense, the Bucks should explore their options even if they think the best one is the guy already doing the job. More information is a good thing.

The real question in Milwaukee is how much say Jason Kidd has over the roster — is he a de facto GM? There have been rumors of that for a while, and that it led to friction in the organization. How will whoever comes in handle that dynamic with the head coach?

The Bucks are a team on the rise in the East, they have Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jabari Parker and Kris Middleton, it’s a team that needs to add the right pieces around them and develop into an elite team in the conference over the next couple of seasons. It will take a deft hand at GM to do that. Zanik strikes me as a guy who can do that, but the Bucks want to cover their options.