Report: Dan Gilbert to meet with Chauncey Billups about being new Cavaliers GM

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Maybe Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert is a little star struck. Maybe he sees in a friend someone he thinks he can work better with.

Whatever the reason, after firing coming to a “mutual agreement” to let walk one of the most respected general managers in the NBA in David Griffin, the focus for the Cavaliers GM job has turned to former NBA star and current ESPN analyst Chauncey Billups. Adrian Wojnarowski broke this part of the news, Brian Windhorst of ESPN had the latest.

Billups certainly knows the NBA game, but he has zero front office experience. What he has is a friendship with Gilbert and coach Tyronn Lue. From Wojnarowski of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.

Billups, a television analyst, has a strong relationship with Gilbert and Cavaliers coach Ty Lue. Gilbert and Billups, 40, became friendly in the former All-Star guard’s years with the Detroit Pistons. Billups has no front-office experience, but recently interviewed for the Atlanta Hawks GM job. His strong reputation as a leader has moved him into consideration to become a front-office executive.

Leadership in the locker room to leadership in the front office is not a transition everyone can make. Billups reportedly could be joined by Justin Zanik, the former Bucks assistant GM who looked like he would get that top job a week ago, until he didn’t. Zanik is experienced and is respected around the league.

Whether it’s Billups or someone else, the new GM faces serious challenges this summer. With the shadow of LeBron James leaving the franchise looming over the season. The new GM must find a way to upgrade an older, capped-out roster, adding athleticism and length, so it can compete with the more athletic Warriors.

Oh, and keep LeBron happy. And he wasn’t happy with the move in the firsts place.

GM of the Cavs is one of the toughest front office jobs in the NBA.

It’s a lot to ask of someone who has not been in the seat before. Dan Gilbert has rolled the dice and it’s a big gamble.

 

Report: Suns’ Alan Williams suffers torn meniscus, will miss time

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Alan Williams is a guy who worked hard for his spot in the NBA. The UCSB alum started with a 10-day contract, then parlayed that into a Summer League deal where he shined. That evolved into a full season contract with the Suns last year, and they liked what they saw enough to give him a three-year deal this summer (for $17.4 million total).

But now the fan favorite is going to miss at least the start of the season due to a knee injury, reports Chris Haynes and Marc Spears of ESPN.

How much time Williams will miss will depend on the degree of the tear and the course of treatment, but he’s going to be out for training camp and the start of the season.

Williams was already going to be in a fight for minutes on a team fairly deep in the frontcourt with Marquese Chriss, Dragan Bender, Alex Len, Tyson Chandler, Anthony Bennett, and Jared Dudley. This setback does not help his cause.

Enes Kanter thanks Thunder fans in video, urges team to beat Warriors

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Enes Kanter loved playing in Oklahoma City.

Which made the fact he was traded to the Knicks for Carmelo Anthony difficult. Kanter had been through a lot, his political stance against the ruling party in his native Turkey led to his family being forced to publicly disown him (and his father being arrested and questioned multiple times), plus his passport being revoked while he was in Europe as Turkey tried to force him to return (where he would have been instantly arrested). He has said on multiple occasions that the people of Oklahoma City, and the Thunder organization, provided him a home when his native one was yanked away from him.

He said that again in a thank you and goodbye video to the people of Oklahoma City.

Kanter said he had “no hard feelings. I understand it’s a business.”

He also urged the now-stacked Thunder to go out and beat the Warriors.

NBA Twitter flips out over Carmelo Anthony trade to Thunder

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Well, that escalated quickly.

Carmelo Anthony wanted away from the Knicks badly enough that he relented in recently and added Cleveland and Oklahoma City to Houston as places he would waive his no-trade clause for. From there, it took almost no time for Oklahoma City and New York to work out a trade that sent Anthony to the Thunder for Enes Kanter, Doug McDermott, and a second-round pick.

NBA Twitter flipped out on the news. And that started with one of ‘Melo’s new teammates.

Or, is it…

Reports: Knicks reach deal to send Carmelo Anthony to Thunder

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Carmelo Anthony and his camp pushed the Knicks the last 48 hours to get a trade done before training camp opens on Monday, which included Anthony expanding the list of teams he would accept a trade to.

One of those teams was the Oklahoma City Thunder, and that got the deal done, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Shams Charania of Yahoo has also confirmed the reports).

Anthony waived his trade kicker to make the deal work.

The pick is the Bulls’ 2018 second rounder, so it should be a high second.

This trade moves the Thunder into the second tier conversation in the West, battling Houston and San Antonio in a deep conference. Everyone is still chasing Golden State, which should be improved this season.

The Thunder get another star to pair with Russell Westbrook and Paul George, another shot creator that will be difficult to account for. The Thunder will have a strong defense — Anthony does not hurt that much, Kanter doesn’t defend either, but he did come off the bench for them — and with this move they get more offense.

The move also ads $12 million to a Thunder tax bill.

The Thunder aren’t thinking about next season, they are all in on this one. When you have a chance, take a big swing.

The Knicks get rid of ‘Melo’s shadow and make this Kristaps Porzingis‘ team. They get a solid bench scorer in Kanter, who is owed $17.8 million this season and has a player option for $18.6 million (which he will probably opt into, considering the tight market next summer). McDermott is in the last year of his rookie deal and has a lot to prove. The pick is nice, but not a first rounder.

This is not a great haul for the Knicks, but it speaks to Anthony’s trade value — he can score, but his style of play and cost had only a few teams interested. New York may have done just as well buying Anthony out after last season.