Dan Feldman

Golden State Warriors' Anderson Varejao (18) poses with a cutout with his likeness during NBA basketball media day Monday, Sept. 26, 2016, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

Report: Warriors waiving Anderson Varejao, signing Briante Weber

4 Comments

Anderson Varejao generated discussion because he played for both the Cavaliers and Warriors — who met in the 2016 NBA Finals — last season. Even though he lost with Golden State, Cleveland still offered him a championship ring.

But that storyline distracted from another reality: The 34-year-old Varejao is no longer a useful NBA player.

The Warriors have apparently figured that out, and they’ll swap Varejao for Briante Weber.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

With Zaza Pachulia and David West both sidelined by injury, Golden State is entrusting JaVale McGee (gulp) and Kevon Looney to handle center duties. But Shaun Livingston is also banged up, and Weber provides depth behind Stephen Curry.

Weber played for the Grizzlies and Heat last year. He’s not a refined playmaker, but he makes up for that with feisty defense.

Know who will be watching this move closely? LeBron James. Not only did they drop LeBron’s friend in Varejao, the Warriors — the team LeBron knows is the biggest threat to him winning another title — added a solid point guard as the Cavaliers bide their time despite LeBron’s repeated demands to add another point guard. When Cleveland eventually signs a point guard, there will be pressure on him to outperform Weber — and that’s not such an easy bar too clear.

NBA GM: I wake up every day hoping rival trades for DeMarcus Cousins

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - JANUARY 27:  DeMarcus Cousins #15 of the Sacramento Kings reacts after mising a shot at the end of regulation during the game against the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on January 27, 2017 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images
11 Comments

DeMarcus Cousins is an exceptional talent trapped on a bad team – a combination that often leads to a trade.

But Cousins doesn’t appear to be leaving the Kings anytime soon.

Why?

1. The NBA’s new veteran-designated-player rule will allow Sacramento, and only Sacramento, to offer Cousins a five-year contract extension projected to be worth $219 million. Cousins reportedly plans to accept that deal when offered. If another team trades for Cousins, its max offer for re-signing Cousins projects to be $188 million over five years – an amount low enough that Cousins could walk in free agency. Simply, the designated-player tag makes Cousins more valuable to the Kings that he would be to any other team.

2. Sacramento owner Vivek Ranadive wants to keep Cousins. Whether or not that’s the rational choice (it is, due to No. 1), the owner’s directive rules.

3.  Other teams are hesitant to deal with Cousins’ attitude.

Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN – in a incredibly reported piece on Cousins and the Kings – digs deeper into the third reason.

Arnovitz:

One general manager says he wakes up every day hoping one of his rivals trades for Cousins. Another says “No f—ing way” when asked whether he’d ever consider dealing for him.

Why? Cousins is so talented.

Arnovitz provides an example:

IT’S JANUARY 2015, a few weeks after Malone’s firing, and new coach Corbin is presiding over a film session. The team has fallen off a cliff in recent games, and Corbin has cued up a selection of video clips of the team’s defensive errors. Much of Corbin’s attention is focused on the Kings’ porous half-court defense, and Cousins is receiving heavy billing. After a few short minutes, Cousins jumps up.

“Why don’t we play film of all of this motherf—er’s mistakes?” Cousins shouts to the room, according to a then-teammate, pointing at Corbin. Corbin tries to explain that there’s no intent to single out any one player’s mistakes. Their recent performances, he says, have been teamwide failures. But Cousins is inconsolable. “Show ’em!”

Teammates don’t intervene. Corbin again urges Cousins to calm down. Cousins instead walks out of the film room and doesn’t return. When asked about the episode nearly two years later, Cousins confirms it — as well as his regular insubordination toward Corbin in practices, huddles and meetings.

“I feel bad for Ty Corbin,” Cousins says today about the interim coach who would compile a 7-21 record before being replaced. “We all knew the situation he was put in. That was just a frustrating period for everyone, to start the season the way we did. We finally were on the right path. I truly believe we would have been a playoff team. I was in a bad place. It was never an issue between me and Ty Corbin. He’s a great guy who was put in the worst situation possible — the worst.”

It’s good that Cousins can reflect on that incident, but it was only one of many. Arnovitz has much more, and I highly recommend reading his piece in full.

There are plenty of fair reasons to be wary of trading for Cousins, but his production demands close monitoring.  By most accounts, Cousins had been less destructive this year. It wouldn’t take much to justify the risk of trading for him. His upside is so high.

I suspect, if the Kings ever made him available, teams would line up to make offers — even if a few executives talk a big game about avoiding him now.

Report: Cavaliers lost $40 million last season

9 Comments

LeBron James is reportedly frustrated that Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, after promising unconditional spending to lure back LeBron in 2014, is keeping costs down this season.

The simplest retort: The Cavs have spent more than any other team.

Cleveland has the NBA’s highest payroll for the second straight season and is on track to pay the luxury tax for the third straight year. This season, the outlay on players is in line to be $154,616,543 –$127,519,873 in salary and $27,096,670 in luxury tax.

In addition to paying Tyronn Lue to coach, the Cavaliers are also reportedly still paying fired coaches Mike Brown and David Blatt.

Kurt Badenhausen of Forbes:

Richard Hamilton: When I played for Bulls, another coach warned me about Randy Brown

Indiana Pacers v Chicago Bulls
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Jimmy Butler and other Bulls players are reportedly concerned about coaches, Randy Brown in particular, “spying” on them for the front office.

Richard Hamilton, who played for Chicago from 2011-13, sheds light on the dynamic.

Hamilton, via CBSSports.com:

I know that, me being in Chicago, me being the first year there and being in film session and one of the coaches, assistant coaches, spits out, “Randy has nothing to do with this team. He doesn’t need to be around the players.” Looked at every man that was in that film session and pretty much told them, “Hey, don’t listen to him. When he comes and talks to you, don’t listen to him.” And for me, as a veteran guy just coming from Detroit, I was like, “What is going on around here?” Because every conversation I had with Randy was always good, was always love. So it’s kind of like a situation where, man, I don’t know what’s going on between management and the coaches.

Brown has held a variety of roles with the Bulls — player, director of player development, special assistant to the general manager (his job when Hamilton was in Chicago), assistant general manager and now assistant coach.

Again, Brown or any coach talking to management about what he observes is not necessarily “spying.” It’s often productive collaboration.

This would be a problem only if a coach promises a player his words will be kept in confidence and then violates that trust. Is anyone alleging that with Brown?

There was a clear rift between general manager Gar Forman and Tom Thibodeau, who coached the Bulls when Hamilton was there, and this is another example of that fracture.

An assistant coach badmouthing an executive like that isn’t healthy. A lingering distrust felt by players isn’t healthy.

However Brown actually operates, the Bulls must address the culture that makes him a target.

Report: Jordan Farmar, willing to sign 10-day contract, winner of Cavaliers’ workout

LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 13:  Jordan Farmar #20 of the Sacramento Kings brings the ball up the court against the Los Angeles Lakers during their preseason game at T-Mobile Arena on October 13, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Sacramento won 116-104. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Ethan Miller/Getty Images
1 Comment

In the category of “f—ing playmaker” for the Cavaliers, the nominees are: Mario Chalmers, Lance Stephenson, Kirk Hinrich and Jordan Farmar.

And the winner is…

Dave McMenamin of ESPN:

Farmar was given assurances that if anyone was to be signed by the Cavs from the workout, it would be him, a source familiar with the workout told ESPN.

According to a source, Farmar is open to signing a 10-day contract — as is Lance Stephenson — while a league source told ESPN that both Mario Chalmers and Kirk Hinrich would only agree to join the team if the Cavs tendered a guaranteed contract for the rest of the season.

Would Farmar help the Cavs the most? Or is he just the best option of players willing to sign a 10-day deal?

Cleveland will be an appealing destination once players get bought out after the trade deadline. The Cavaliers might be able to add someone better then.

But there’s only one reason to prioritize a 10-day contract over a rest-of-season deal: money — and we know how far that argument goes with LeBron James.

If they sign Chalmers or Hinrich to a rest-of-season deal and a better point guard later becomes available, the Cavs can always waive Chalmers or Hinrich. It’d be more costly than just letting a 10-day contract expire, especially considering the luxury-tax ramifications. But Cleveland wouldn’t be trapped with a full roster.

Maybe Farmar is the best option regardless. Unlike Chalmers and Stephenson, Farmar is clearly healthy. And unlike Hinrich, Farmar played in the NBA this season, spending time with the Kings.

But by delaying to fill their open roster spot, the Cavaliers have already proven finances to be a concern in this process.