Richard Jefferson

Getty Images

Reports: Rockets think Chris Paul could be sidelined for up to a month

4 Comments

The Rockets’ opening night win over the Warriors was a boost to their confidence — they believe they can challenge the Warriors next May in the playoffs.

Chris Paul is a big part of that plan, which is why we may not see him for up to a month (even though he is listed as day-to-day, and officially only out Saturday). With that, the Rockets are considering adding another point guard to the roster. Marc Stein of the New York Times and Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN broke the news Friday afternoon.

At the top of the free agent point guard list is Jameer Nelson, the veteran was just waived by Denver to make room for Richard Jefferson.

C.J. Watson and Trey Burke also are available.

Chris Paul and Harden still need to smooth out playing together, something that will take time on the court together. CP3 being out until mid-November is not ideal, but the Rockets are thinking about May, and ideally June, so they will sacrifice a few games now to have him healthy then.

Report: Richard Jefferson signing with Nuggets

AP
Leave a comment

Update: The Nuggets will waive Jameer Nelson, according to Wojnarowski:

It looks like Denver will ride with the younger Jamal Murray and Emmanuel Mudiay at point guard — a risky proposition. Nelson stabilized the position in the event Murray or Mudiay weren’t ready for bigger roles. The Nuggets aren’t hedging their bets now, which puts plenty of pressure on Murray and Mudiay.

Murray should be fine eventually. Mudiay’s promise is far less certain. But this is a team trying to reach the playoffs now, and it might have to ride out growing pains from its point guards without Nelson as a safety net.

 

Richard Jefferson became a late entrant into free agency when the Cavaliers traded him and the Hawks waived him.

But the forward is landing on his feet.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

Jefferson could help the Nuggets, who look primed to end a four-season playoff drought. They were set to squeeze backup small-forward minutes behind Wilson Chandler out of the undersized Will Barton and oversized Juan Hernangomez. Jefferson is far more comfortable at the position.

He’s 37 and doesn’t offer long-term upside, but he’s a savvy defender and still pretty athletic. He picks his spots well enough offensively to help on that end, too.

But Denver also has a deep roster that already had 15 players on standard contracts. There’s not an obvious cut to make room for Jefferson, though the Nuggets clearly have something planned.

Kevin Love with awesome goodbye to Richard Jefferson

Getty Images
1 Comment

There’s a reason the Cavaliers kept bringing Richard Jefferson back — he was beloved in the locker room. He made some plays, too (you can’t have enough wing defenders if the target is Golden State), but it was chemistry that mattered most. Eventually, the finances caught up with the Cavaliers — they traded Jefferson to the Hawks in a salary dump — but if there was a way they would have kept him.

You could get a sense of that locker room love Kevin Love‘s goodbye to RJ, put on Instagram.

That is awesome.

It’s that locker room leadership that has the Bucks chasing Jefferson hard.

Report: Bucks “serious suitor” for soon-to-be free agent Richard Jefferson

Getty Images
4 Comments

The trade officially went down on Saturday: Richard Jefferson was traded from Cleveland to Atlanta, along with Kay Felder, for a couple of second-round picks in what was a salary dump move by the Cavaliers.

As soon as the Hawks got Jefferson, they waived him and ate his $2.5 million contract. That will make Jefferson an unrestricted free agent when he clears waivers.

The young Milwaukee Bucks look like a team who want to add a veteran to their locker room and are making a big push for Jefferson, reports Adrian Wojnarowski and Dave McMenamin of ESPN.

The Milwaukee Bucks have emerged as a serious suitor in the pursuit of forward Richard Jefferson, league sources told ESPN.com.

No agreement has been reached, but the Bucks and Jefferson, 37, share a mutual interest on a possible deal once he clears waivers on Monday, league sources said.

Several other teams have expressed interest in Jefferson too, league sources told ESPN.

Earlier in the day, Saturday the Bucks released Gerald Green, which opens up a roster spot.

Jefferson played 20 minutes a game for the Cavaliers last season, and at age 37 he could give the Bucks solid minutes behind Khris Middleton and Mirza Teletovic at the three. Jefferson is no longer efficient as a scorer, but he plays within himself, and coach Tyronn Lue leaned him more in the Finals because of the need for wing defenders against the Warriors.

For Milwaukee, however, it’s less about the minutes and more about having a great veteran mentor in the locker room on a team with young stars such as Giannis Antetokounmpo, Middleton, Thon Maker, Malcolm Brogdon, Jabari Parker, and Tony Snell.

Also, don’t be shocked to see the Bucks make a salary dump trade in the coming weeks (or at least by the trade deadline), they are flirting with the luxury tax, something ownership may not want to pay for a team not going to contend.

J.R. Smith owns up to it, “I was hurt” when Dwyane Wade given starters’ role

Getty Images
1 Comment

You don’t get to be an NBA player without some level of ego — there has to be a little “me first” in there push players to drive players to excel at their craft and excel at their craft on the level needed in the NBA.

So when you’re a starter on a team that goes to the NBA Finals, and that job is taken away from you, yes you should be a little ticked.

That’s what happened to J.R. Smith in Cleveland, but up until Friday he had only said he was “frustrated” but understood the decision. Friday on a new episode of the Road Trippin’ podcast with Channing Frye and Richard Jefferson (RIP) Smith admitted it was more than just frustration, via Dave McMenamin at ESPN.

“Honestly, I was hurt, man,” Smith said on the podcast, which posted Friday. “I was really emotionally drained at that point. I got wind of it that it was going to go down, but I didn’t know. I was told he’s going to be great for the second unit. … It would be a great fit for the team, whatever, whatever. I’m like, ‘Awesome, let’s do it. One hundred percent. Out of all people, another person we’re going to just grab for damn-near nothing? For sure. Let’s do it.'”

Don’t be shocked if Smith ends back up in the starting lineup again. Wade is too big a name, and there is too much pressure for him to instantly accept a bench role (especially since his best buddy is LeBron James). In theory, Kevin Love and Jae Crowder starting at the four and five provide the spacing needed for LeBron to make magic on offense. But what about the other end of the court? Starting Derrick Rose, Wade, and Love does not seem like something bound to get stops.

Smith as a starter provides more defense, floor-spacing shooting, and is someone LeBron is comfortable with. Wade with the second unit makes sense, he can be the shot creator and have the ball in his hands. But the Cavaliers need to find the mentally to make that happen. Maybe it evolves over the course of the season, but for now nothing changes. Wade starts.

Smith will be the good soldier. No matter what he’s really thinking