Author: Dan Feldman

CLEVELAND, OH - SEPTEMBER 28: Sasha Kaun #14 of the Cleveland Cavaliers during the Cleveland Cavaliers media day at Cleveland Clinic Courts on September 28, 2015 in Independence, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
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Jason Terry doesn’t know whom Sasha Kaun is, looks on back of his jersey to find out (video)

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The Cavaliers signed Sasha Kaun last summer. The center was the No. 56 pick in the 2008 draft after playing four years at Kansas. Between, he played for CSKA Moscow.

Apparently, Rockets guard Jason Terry knew none of that.

So, Terry created this hilarious moment when he circled around a confused-looking Kaun to read the back of the rookie’s jersey.

(hat tip: Ananth Pandian of CBSSports.com)

Report: Influential Cavaliers players open to trade for Markieff Morris

CLEVELAND, OH - MARCH 7: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers shoots over Markieff Morris #11 of the Phoenix Suns during the first half at Quicken Loans Arena on March 7, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. 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 Jason Miller/Getty Images)
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Markieff Morris still wants to leave Phoenix, and the Suns don’t seem fond of him, either.

How about a trade to Cleveland?

Chris Haynes of Cleveland.com:

Influential figures within the Cavaliers’ locker room are open to the notion of trading for disgruntled Phoenix Suns power forward Markieff Morris, cleveland.com has learned.

They believe the Cavs can get the most potential out of him in the role he’d be assigned.

However, league sources with knowledge of the Cavaliers’ thinking insist there’s no connection right now between Morris and the defending Eastern Conference champions. I’m told the organization isn’t too keen with the idea, fearing the team chemistry would be ruined.

Instead, the Cavs on the lookout for another defensive-minded wing with a long distance spot-up stroke, cleveland.com was informed

There are other good players, but there’s only one truly influential figure in the Cavaliers’ locker room: LeBron James. If he believes Morris could fit in Cleveland, the Cavs should look into it.

They have a trade exception large enough to absorb Morris’ salary and an open roster spot. Considering other teams reportedly want a sweetener just to take him, that might be enough. I wouldn’t give away Morris if I were the Suns, but they might be ready to move on from the hassle.

Morris has talent as a stretch four, though his production has regressed the last couple years. I believe a trade from the team that traded his brother – let alone to a championship contender – would reinvigorate him. But that’s far from a guarantee.

When Cavs management approached LeBron about trading for Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith, LeBron was more enthusiastic about the mercurial Smith. LeBron said he could keep Smith in line, and he has. If LeBron trusts he can do the same with Morris, I’d give him the benefit of the doubt.

That said, dealing for Morris still might not be the best use of Cleveland’s assets. The Cavs could use another wing beyond Smith, Shumpert and Richard Jefferson – especially in anticipation of LeBron sliding to power forward and Kevin Love to center to counteract the Warriors’ small lineups.

And then there’s the biggest question: Would Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert approve? Simply adding Morris would increase Cleveland’s projected payroll by $43,030,293 – Morris’$8 million salary plus$35,030,293 in additional luxury-tax payments.

That’s a huge cost for a second stretch four behind Love and sometimes LeBron.

Using the trade exception for a wing would also create similar issues. So, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Cavaliers stand pat.

But if LeBron believes in Morris and the Suns are willing to give him away and Gilbert is willing to pay for it – notice all the ands – it might make sense.

Report: Kings’ Vlade Divac not returning calls from other GMs

TREVISO, ITALY - JUNE 08:  Former NBA player Vlade Divac speaks to participants during adidas Eurocamp day two at La Ghirada sports center on June 8, 2014 in Treviso, Italy.  (Photo by Roberto Serra/Iguana Press/Getty Images)
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The 76ers’ Sam Hinkie is the poster boy for an NBA executive whose poor communication skills have ruffled feathers.

But he’s apparently not the only one.

Kings general manager Vlade Divac has his own issues when other general managers call.

Brian Windhorst on The Lowe Post podcast:

Sometimes, Vlade doesn’t call them back. Like, they’ll call, because this is what guys do. “Hey, you know…” to sort of get a feel. I can’t say for sure. I don’t know how many calls Vlade is getting. But I’ve heard from people that sometimes, they call him and Vlade’s just like, “We’re not doing business now, so I’m not calling you back.”

To give Divac the benefit of the doubt, that could be a negotiating ploy. Make potential trade partners desperate for your players.

I don’t think that would work. It takes conversations to gain an understanding of what the other side hopes to accomplish.

I also don’t think Divac is being savvy.

Zach Lowe:

When they made that trade with the Sixers, where the Sixers got Stauskas and swap rights and two swap rights and a pick for taking on dead money basically, Vlade was not aware that there was a trade call to the league office, apparently. And the Sixers had to tell him, “No, no. We have to call to finalize this trade.”

The 76ers robbed the Kings blind in that trade, and it’s a easier to understand why now. Do you trust someone who doesn’t even know about a trade call to properly negotiate pick swaps and protections?

If I were a general manager, as soon as I saw that trade, I’d call Divac immediately to see whether I could also pull one over on him. His phone was probably ringing off the hook – which could explain the unreturned calls.

Divac adds value to the Kings. It seems he’s done a good job smoothing the DeMarcus Cousins-George Karl rift, and that’s important for a franchise that has suffered so much turmoil from within.

But there’s still little evidence he’s the person you want assembling your roster. Perhaps, he’ll grow into that duty. This is his first front-office job. Then again, why hire a general whose understanding of the job is so limited?

As usual, the Kings’ problems flow up to owner Vivek Ranadivé.

Byron Scott says coaches would’ve voted Kobe Bryant into All-Star game if fans didn’t

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There are three layers of NBA All-Star voting. Fans pick the starters. Coaches pick the reserves. The commissioner picks the injury replacements.

Kobe Bryant would clear all three.

Fans are voting for him at an overwhelming rate. He’ll definitely start in Toronto next month.

But if they somehow hadn’t – yeah, right – Lakers coach Byron Scott said he and his peers would’ve taken care of it. (And if that somehow failed, Adam Silver said Kobe should be in the game.)

Michael Pina of Bleacher Report:

But what if the fan vote did not exist, and instead, coaches selected the entire team themselves? Would they still choose Bryant?

“I think the coaches would, yeah,” Lakers head coach Byron Scott said. “Out of respect.”

Thunder head coach Billy Donovan’s take is nearly identical: “I don’t want to speak for all the coaches, but it would be more of a respect thing in terms of what he’s done in this league for a long period of time…You look at all the championships and the individual accolades and those kind of things, but I think one of his greatest qualities is he’s an unbelievable competitor that thrives in that environment.”

Jazz head coach Quin Snyder, who served as an assistant with the Lakers during the 2011-12 season, agrees.

“It’s just a testament to what he’s meant to the game,” Snyder said.

As Kobe’s coach, Scott has incentive to endorse him. Similarly, Donovan and Snyder are probably inclined to go with the flow. If fans are going to vote in Kobe anyway, why make waves?

I also believe Scott is correct. Kobe is getting a sendoff like none other, and coaches would gladly participate.

Personally, I wouldn’t make Kobe an All-Star. The game is held annually, and the best players that year should go. Save lifetime achievement awards for honors given once – Hall of Fame induction, jersey retirement, etc. Kobe was one of the best guards in the Western Conference for 15 seasons that had an All-Star game. Let those selections be enough. They honored his greatness.

But I recognize the system works differently, and I’m far from complaining. Kobe playing in his final All-Star game will be a cool moment. To the people in charge, that matters more than recognizing the best players – and that’s totally fine.

An overwhelming consensus, from Silver to coaches to fans, wants to see Kobe in Toronto.

Jerry West’s tribute video for Kobe Bryant (video)

BEIJING, CHINA - OCTOBER 14: Jerry West and Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers poses for a photo during practice as part of 2013 Global Games on October 14, 2013 at the MasterCard Center in Beijing, China. 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.  Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2013 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
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As the Lakers’ general manager, Jerry West brought Kobe Bryant to Los Angeles, engineering a trade for Kobe following the 1996 NBA draft.

West, now in the Warriors’ front office, participated in this cool video to honor Kobe before last night’s Warriors-Lakers game.