Author: Dan Feldman

Mario Chalmers, Courtney Lee, Jon Leuer

Report: Grizzlies interested in trading for Heat’s Mario Chalmers


The Grizzlies have a good starting point guard in Mike Conley – at least for now.

They have an adequate backup in Beno Udrih.

But they’re looking to fortify the position with… Mario Chalmers?

Marc Stein of ESPN:

The Heat have been trying to give away Chalmers for months in attempt to lower their luxury-tax bill. The Grizzlies can’t just absorb him, but they could at least reduce Miami’s payroll.

I’d guess Memphis would look to trade Udrih if Chalmers is incoming. The Heat might also want Udrih as veteran insurance behind Goran Dragic in case neither Tyler Johnson nor Josh Richardson are ready to be the full-time backup point guard.

But Udrih-for-Chalmers wouldn’t work as a one-for-one trade. Including Russ Smith or JaMychal Green (whose salary is just $150,000 guaranteed) would make salaries match and still trim the Heat’s impending tax bill.

If Udrih needn’t be included, Memphis could trade Vince Carter or Matt Barnes straight up for Chalmers. But the Grizzlies would also be creating a new problem by sacrificing wing depth.

Memphis’ biggest short-term need is outside shooting. Udrih’s ability to shoot a high percentage doesn’t extend past mid-range. But Chalmers hasn’t shot well from beyond the arc since LeBron James left. If Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh can’t attract enough attention to get Chalmers open, I wouldn’t count on Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph doing it.

This is a curious fit, but there’s at least enough wiggle room to see a deal getting done.

Report: J.R. Smith out at least Cavaliers’ next two games

John Jenkins, J.R. Smith
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J.R. Smith left the Cavaliers’ win over the 76ers last night in the first quarter due to injury, another blow to a team already missing scoring punch (Kyrie Irving) and wing depth (Iman Shumpert).

Cleveland must get by a little longer without Smith.

Cavaliers release:

Cavaliers guard J.R. Smith suffered a right knee contusion during the first quarter of last night’s game in Philadelphia against the 76ers. Additional examination and MRI today at Cleveland Clinic Sports Health have confirmed the contusion and also revealed quadriceps tendinitis . Smith will be OUT for the next two Cavs games (11/4 against New York and 11/6 against Philadelphia, both at Quicken Loans Arena) and is DOUBTFUL for Sunday’s game against Indiana also at Quicken Loans Arena..

The Knicks and 76ers aren’t the toughest opponents, especially in Cleveland. The Pacers have also struggled early. Even if Smith needs more time, the Cavaliers’ following game is also at home, albeit against a tougher opponent in the Jazz.

As always with Cleveland, the goal is being healthy and clicking for the playoffs. It still seems the Cavs sleepwalk to at least the Eastern Conference finals, maybe all the way to the NBA Finals.

They’ll need to get through this stretch, but LeBron James, Mo Williams, Matthew Dellavedova, Richard Jefferson, Jared Cunningham, James Jones and Joe Harris can each do a little more. The Cavaliers are deep enough that they don’t need to rely on one player to compensate for Smith’s absence.

Report: Mike Conley believed to be Nets’ top free agent target

Mike Conley, Jarrett Jack
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Mike Conley will be the best free agent point guard next summer, and it’s a big drop to No. 2.

Rajon Rondo? Jordan Clarkson? Brandon Jennings?

For a team that wants to win now and needs a point guard, Conley is clearly the top choice.

Nobody fits that bill more than the Nets, who are rolling with Jarrett Jack and Shane Larkin at point guard. Brooklyn owns none of its next three first-round picks, making a deeper rebuild impractical.

If the Nets waive the partially guaranteed Jack and renounce all their free agents, they could clear about $43 million in space below a $95 million salary cap. That’d be enough to give Conley a max contract and lure a quality wing (maybe a re-signed Joe Johnson) to play with Brook Lopez and Thaddeus Young up front.

A great team? No, but one that could compete for the Eastern Conference playoffs – about as high as Brooklyn can dream right now.

In fact, a Conley-led team might be the Nets’ top plan.

Chris Herrington of The Commercial Appeal on the Nets:

Conley is thought by those around the team to be the most likely top target

Brooklyn has the market to dream for bigger free agents like LeBron James and Kevin Durant, but the team is in such a hole without draft picks or talent, that’s not realistic next summer.

Would Conley leave the Grizzlies, though?

He won’t sign a contract extension with Memphis, which should at least give the Nets an opportunity to make a pitch. Marc Gasol is already recruiting, but current former Grizzlies coach and current Brooklyn coach Lionel Hollins is close with Conley. He could make a difference.

Conley has been a part of some very good teams in Memphis, but this era might be ending. The Grizzlies are aging, and they’re just 2-2 with a 30-point loss to the Cavaliers and 50-point loss to the Warriors on their résumé.

It’s possible Conley – frequently overlooked behind Gasol and Zach Randolph – wants a change. He could appreciate the chance to be the Nets’ best player and play in a location where the perception of stars is inflated.

That choice becomes much easier if the Grizzlies continue to struggle. Their best recruiting tool isn’t Gasol’s friendliness, but their winning culture. Maintaining that will do more than anything, presuming they’re ready to pay up.

Even if Memphis stumbles this season, though, how much worse can the picture look than Brooklyn? Will a talent deficit and lost draft picks, the 0-4 Nets will have trouble selling themselves to free agents.

Conley might be their best hope, but he still looks like a longshot.

Report: Wizards ‘legitimate threat’ to sign Kevin Durant

Oklahoma City Thunder v Washington Wizards

You probably don’t need anyone to tell you Kevin Durant could actually sign with the Wizards next summer.

The Wizards have cleared cap room for the superstar, refusing to give Trevor Ariza a long-term deal or Bradley Beal a big contract extension. They’ve hired his old high school coach.

Durant, a Washington native, has called the KD2DC movement “cool.”

Will Durant actually sign with the Wizards? I don’t know. I doubt he knows, either.

But in case you still have doubts it’s possible…

Ken Berger of

Washington Wizards continue to lurk as a legitimate threat to the Oklahoma City Thunder’s efforts to keep Kevin Durant when he hits the unrestricted market on July 1, league sources say.

Berger is well-connected, and I trust him to sort through sources with legitimate knowledge of Durant’s plans rather than ones who are merely supposing.

The Wizards are in the race. For now, their goal must be winning enough to impress Durant.

Likewise, the Thunder can do nothing but trying to prove their blueprint works.

But those are just pieces of a battle that will occur in the months ahead.

Tim Duncan sets record for wins with one team

Tim Duncan
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Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili just set the NBA record for wins by a trio.

But Duncan is in his own class.

With the Spurs’ 94-84 win over the Knicks last night, Duncan set the NBA record for wins with a single team.

The leaderboard:

1. Tim Duncan, 954 (Spurs)

2. John Stockton, 953 (Jazz)

3. Karl Malone, 919 (Jazz)

4. John Havlicek, 824 (Celtics)

5. Kobe Bryant, 823 (Lakers)

Kobe – who set the record for most seasons with one team – should pass Havlicek for fourth place any week now. But Dirk Nowitzki (816 wins with the Mavericks) could pass Kobe before the season ends – or maybe even before Kobe passes Havlicek.

Duncan now sits third in all-time wins with any team. He could catch Robert Parish (1,014) for second if San Antonio has an amazing season. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (1,074) is out of reach for now.