Dan Feldman

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Report: Hawks told Marco Belinelli they’re on track to trade him

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The Hawks sat Marco Belinelli for their win over the Grizzlies yesterday, as the trade deadline approaches tomorrow.

Wishful thinking by Atlanta, or will Belinelli actually get dealt?

Marc Stein of The New York Times:

This doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll be traded. Channing Frye and Iman Shumpert were told they’d be dealt to the Kings for George Hill, and that hasn’t happened.

But there should be enough interest by both sides to complete a deal.

Belinelli is a good 3-point shooter in a league where that skill is at a premium. His $6,606,060 expiring salary is manageable.

But the 31-year-old adds little value to the rebuilding Hawks. They’re unlikely to re-sign him next summer.

Better to trade him now to a team that could use the shooting guard the rest of the season. It probably comes down to which team offers the best second-round pick(s) or, if the deal gets more complex, an even higher pick in exchange for Atlanta also taking bad long-term salary.

Isaiah Thomas says Cavaliers don’t make in-game adjustments, Tyronn Lue says that’s untrue

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The Cavaliers are in a tailspin, and Isaiah Thomas isn’t biting his tongue when he identifies a problem.

That included an apparent shot at Tyronn Lue and his coaching staff after Cleveland turned a 21-point lead into an 18-point loss against the Magic yesterday (a game Lue left early due to illness).

Thomas, via Dave McMenamin of ESPN:

“We got to do better,” Thomas said. “We got to adjust throughout the game. They made adjustments, and it worked, and we just kept getting hit with the same thing, and we made no adjustments. And that’s been one of our biggest problems all year, is adjusting. Teams are not just going to allow us to continue to score and continue to do things at a high level. They’re going to make adjustments, and we have to do the same thing, too, and we’re not that good at that right now.”


Cleveland’s biggest immediate problem: Thomas. He’s playing terribly as he returns from his hip injury while still shouldering a huge load. It’s destructive.

The Cavs’ best option might be letting Thomas play through these struggles. As long as they won’t trade the Nets pick, Thomas righting himself is their best bet to adding a star to complement LeBron James. If that requires mid-winter losing, so be it. The spring/summer upside is worth the reward.

But that path gets harder to traverse as Thomas keeps pointing the finger elsewhere. Which happens first, the Cavaliers tiring of Thomas’ blame game (if it hasn’t happened already) or Thomas playing well enough to justify the complications he brings?

Report: Nuggets would ‘love’ to trade Wilson Chandler

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Try to win now or build for the future?

The Nuggets face that tricky question on numerous fronts – including with Wilson Chandler.

Chandler is starting small forward for Denver, and there isn’t much depth behind him. The Nugget (29-25) are tied for sixth in the West – on pace to break a four-year playoff drought, though also holding only a one-game cushion for playoff position.

But Chandler is 30 years old, playing his worst basketball in years and holds a $12,800,562 player option for next season. The Nuggets face a luxury-tax crunch next season, whether or not they exercise Nikola Jokic‘s team option.

Where does that leave Chandler?

Chris Mannix of Yahoo Sports:

Denver would love to get out of the final year of Wilson Chandler’s contract.

It looks increasingly likely Chandler will opt in. For the same reasons the Nuggets want to dump him, other teams will be leery. Still, Chandler could fit into a larger deal, perhaps one involving Emmanuel Mudiay.

A solace for Denver in the likely event Chandler remains past tomorrow’s deadline: At least he’s contributing. Other options at small forward – Will Barton (needed at point guard), Juan Hernangomez (more of a power forward) and Richard Jefferson (glued to the bench most of the season – bring significant flaws.

And the Nuggets are already under the luxury-tax line this season. Dropping Chandler would be getting ahead of a problem for next season. Talks now could set up a trade this summer.

Do John Wall and his Wizards have a problem with each other?


The Wizards won five straight immediately after John Wall was sidelined with a knee injury.

After the third win – a victory over the Raptors in which Washington had 30 assists – Marcin Gortat tweeted:

And Bradley Beal said, via Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington:

“Everybody eats. That’s our motto,” Beal said. “That’s fun basketball. Everybody gets to touch it, everybody gets shots. It makes life easy. It just keeps the locker room close, it keeps our camaraderie going.”

The way Gortat put “team” in quotation marks, the way Beal was talking after a game without the ball-dominant Wall… were they implying something about Wall?

Maybe, maybe not. But Wall quote-tweeted Gortat’s tweet with “Lol”. Though that was deleted, it elevated suspicions.

Beal responded, via Hughes:

“For us to say that we’re a better team without John it’s, like, that’s comical in a sense. Come on, let’s be real,” Beal said.  “The guy’s the head of our franchise, a five-time all-star. Let’s be realistic. I think what benefits us is we figured out how to play without John. Reality is reality… We’re not sitting here saying we’re a better team without him, by no means.”

Beal also noted that he was quoting the movie “Paid in Full,” but that doesn’t affect whether or not he was initially indirectly referring to Wall.

And Wall didn’t rush to push the narrative that Beal’s words had been misinterpreted.

Wall, via NBC Sports Washington:

“It’s funny to hear everybody say, because I’m not playing that they’re getting extra shots or they’re doing extra things. That’s just a laugh and a joke to me,” Wall told NBC Sports Washington’s Chris Miller on Tuesday.

Wall on his reply to Gortat, which Wall , via ESPN:

I put laugh out loud because it was just the way he put the team – you know what I mean? – the way he put the team in the little exclamation points. And I’m like, “whoa.”

It was more just shocking to hear from him and understanding that he gets the most assists from me and the most spoon-fed baskets ever.

Gortat, via Hughes:

“I talked to him about that a few days ago. I thought we verified that,” Gortat said. “I told him it was nothing personal. I definitely didn’t think about him when I was writing that. I never thought about attacking him.”

Gortat, via Candace Buckner of The Washington Post:

“We talk about team win with 30 assists a game, everybody played for each other. We enjoyed the game,” Gortat continued. “And basically I see that, you know, he felt different way. He felt it was a different way and he came back with that kind of a comment. So, now we got to ask each other questions, who’s attacking who?”

This might have started as a non-issue with Beal and Gortat making innocuous statements that were misinterpreted. They also might have been taking shots at Wall.

Either way, the disconnect – especially with Gortat – seems to be escalating as Wall takes offense and shoots back. (Yes, Gortat needs most of his baskets set up, and Wall does that more than anyone.) Now, Gortat feels attacked, and everything snowballs. For what it’s worth, Beal keeps reiterating Washington is better with Wall.

Still, repeated sagas like this are why people think Wall’s teammates dislike him.

Take a step back with facts: The Wizards averaged 32 assists per game in this five-game win streak without Wall. That’s well above their 24 assists per game when Wall plays. However, they’ve averaged 22 assists per game in 12 other games without Wall, including a loss to the 76ers yesterday.

Don’t overreact to a small sample, and that caution extends to players within Washington’s locker room.

Yes, playing without Wall can be freeing. The offense becomes more equalitarian, everyone participating in facilitating. When Wall plays, so much runs through him. But he can break down defenses far better than anyone else on the roster, and that skill is sometimes necessary. It’s hard for a team to survive just on lesser players keeping the ball moving, even if it works against some opponents some nights.

Report: Clippers and Lou Williams nearing contract extension

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After scoring 50 points in a game earlier this season, Lou Williams – on an expiring contract and the trade block – gave a public impassioned plea to stay with the Clippers past the trade deadline.

Looks like he might get his wish.

Adrian Wojnarowski and Brian Windhorst of ESPN:

Extension discussions between guard Lou Williams and the LA Clippers have gathered significant momentum, and a new contract is within reach before the NBA trade deadline Thursday afternoon, league sources told ESPN.

Rival teams were increasingly resigned late Tuesday night that Williams, 31, was exiting the trade market and returning to the Clippers on a multiyear contract, league sources said.

The largest extension Williams could sign is four years, $41,965,056 (the same amount the Heat’s Josh Richardson and Raptors’ Norman Powell got). That salary seems about fair.

Williams is playing like a borderline All-Star, but he’s also 31, and few teams will have significant cap space next summer. The non-taxpayer mid-level exception projects to be worth about $36.8 million over four years. Would Williams really get more than that? This is his chance to get security now. The Clippers might not even have to offer the largest-allowable extension to get him to sign.

Where would a Williams extension leave DeAndre Jordan, another player the Clippers have discussed both extending or trading? There didn’t seem to be much momentum on either front, but a Williams extension could push L.A. toward extending Jordan. If the Clippers are already sacrificing flexibility for Williams, it becomes more logical to keep Jordan rather than make a half-hearted push toward cap space.

The Clippers (27-25, ninth in the West) are an enjoyable group. They play hard and, considering all their injuries, are overachieving. Doc Rivers deserves considerable credit, as does a Williams-led roster.

But is this who they want to be?

Especially after trading Blake Griffin, extending Williams (and maybe Jordan) would signify a commitment to an unspectacularly competitive present. I wasn’t certain owner Steve Ballmer would accept aiming lower than championship contention, but there are far worse places to be.

Extending Williams would almost certainly take him off the trade market. The extension in a sign-and-trade would be limited to two years, $15,067,500 – probably too small for Williams to accept. Not only is that salary low, it’d leave the door open for L.A. to trade him. He wants to stay.

The Clippers keeping Williams should help the Grizzlies, who are shopping Tyreke Evans. It seems the supply of scoring perimeter players on the trade market will soon shrink by one.