Dan Feldman

AP Photo/Gary McCullough

Report: Rob Hennigan rejected DeMarcus Cousins trade that Magic assistant GM wanted to make

4 Comments

In mid-February, Ric Bucher of Bleacher Report reported talks between the Magic and Kings involving DeMarcus Cousins, Nikola Vucevic and Evan Fournier:

Multiple league sources say the Magic turned down the chance to deal Nikola Vucevic and either Evan Fournier or draft picks to the Kings for the contemptuous All-Star center earlier this season. Hennigan apparently was concerned about both his ability to re-sign Cousins this summer and building the franchise around yet another high-maintenance big man.

That report didn’t gain much traction, because the Kings kept insisting they wouldn’t trade Cousins. Of course, they dealt him to the Pelicans a few days later.

With the Magic firing general manager Rob Hennigan and assistant general manager Scott Perry today, that unearthed more information about Orlando-Sacramento trade talks.

Marc J. Spears of ESPN:

Sam Amick of USA Today:

The Pelicans taking a risk on Cousins made sense because their supporting cast around Anthony Davis was so crummy, there wasn’t much downside. The Magic’s lousy roster would have made a Cousins trade similarly logical.

Hennigan stuck with the “safe” route. Look where that got him.

Not trading for Cousins due to the fear of him walking in free agency next year is reasonable. Not trading for Cousins because he’s similar to Dwight Howard is not reasonable. Cousins should stand on his own merits.

Should Hennigan have made this trade? It’s impossible to say for certain without knowing all the particulars, but that his No. 2, Perry, found the terms acceptable is telling.

Report: Cavaliers waive Larry Sanders after he missed team bus

AP Photo/Tony Dejak
4 Comments

After a heartwarming debut with the Cavaliers, they cut Larry Sanders only a month into his tenure.

Why?

Jason Lloyd of The Athletic, via Jack Maloney of CBSSports.com:

Now Sanders is gone again after he struggled keeping up with responsibilities on and off the court. He missed the team bus from the hotel to the airport Tuesday in Miami, multiple sources with knowledge of the situation told The Athletic, the final blow to his time here after Sanders had previously struggled with punctuality.

“He didn’t have any kind of a setback relative to any of the demons he had or any of those things,” Cavs general manager David Griffin said. “He’s an NBA player. He’s kind of flaky. So sometimes you’re late. You’re this. You’re that. None of those things were incidents. But I have to take you in totality as a player and if I know you’re not going to play, then what I’m going to get is everything else. And if I didn’t even feel confident that he’d be a benefit to the group in practice, then it was hard for me to tell coaches, ‘This is a guy you’ve got to keep.’ So they had the conversation on the plane, what else can we do? And we talked about it and we landed and we talked to all the rest of our staff and made a decision.”

“I didn’t think it was going to take him so long to be contributing at least at practice,” Griffin said. “He was much further away than we thought. And by his own admission. He would tell you he was. He knew he was. I think that was a big part of it.”

There had been long questions of whether Sanders could handle an NBA lifestyle. If he couldn’t focus for a championship contender, in what environment would he thrive?

It’s been four years since his last quality season, and he’s 28.

This could end Sanders’ NBA career.

Magic fire general manager Rob Hennigan

Stephen M. Dowell/Orlando Sentinel/TNS via Getty Images
5 Comments

Everyoneeven Rob Hennigan — saw this coming.

The underwhelming-turned-embarrassing tenure of the Magic general manager has ended.

John Denton of the team’s official website:

Magic CEO Alex Martins announced the firings of General Manager Rob Hennigan and Assistant GM Scott Perry.

Assistant GM Matt Lloyd, a Magic employee for five years, will serve as the franchise’s interim GM until a full-time successor is chosen. Lloyd, who worked for the Chicago Bulls for 13 years prior to joining the Magic, is expected to be a candidate for the long-term position.

The Magic went 20-62, 23-59, 25-57, 35-47 and 29-53 and missed the playoffs every year under Hennigan, which is bad enough. Compounding problems: None of the first-round picks gained by those poor records — Andrew NicholsonVictor Oladipo, Aaron Gordon, Elfrid PaytonMario Hezonja — have become stars.

That didn’t stop Hennigan from trying to push in his chips this season. Last summer, he acquired Serge Ibaka (via trade of Victor Oladipo, No. 11 pick and Ersan Ilyasova), Bismack Biyombo (four-year, $72 million contract), Jeff Green (one-year, $15 million contract) and D.J. Augustin (four-year, $29 million contract).

The result? Gordon, Orlando’s most promising player, spent most of the season playing out of position, at small forward rather than power forward. And the Magic kept losing. Hennigan flipped Ibaka to the Raptors for Terrence Ross and a later first-round pick, but the damage was already done.

It’s still not too hard to find someone who still believes in the 35-year-old Hennigan’s acumen. But five years was plenty of time to show it, and he never did.

Report: Knicks, Phil Jackson opt in to final two years of his contract

AP Photo/Seth Wenig
10 Comments

Knicks owner James Dolan said he’d give Phil Jackson all five years of the team president’s contract to rebuild the struggling franchise. Jackson reportedly planned to fulfill the entire deal.

Three tumultuous years in, both sides are following through.

Ian Begley and Ramona Shelburne of ESPN:

Sources familiar with the situation told ESPN that the Knicks and Jackson quietly picked up their option on the remaining two years of his contract this spring.

Jackson makes $12 million annually and seems to delegate a lot. It’s good money if you can get it. Why would Jackson leave this job — especially considering the Lakers are no longer the cushy landing spot many expected?

For Dolan, the choice is more vexing, though understandable. The Knicks have gone 80-166 and missed the playoffs in Jackson’s first three years, and the team is strapped to Joakim Noah‘s long-term contract. Jackson has alienated Carmelo Anthony and drawn backlash from the biggest stars — including Anthony — over using the word “posse” to describe those close to LeBron JamesKristaps Porzingis and Willy Hernangomez provide hope, but there’s far more negative in New York.

So, what makes this decision understandable? Dolan makes bad decisions.

The Knicks will now continue down the track Jackson has laid out — trying to trade Anthonycommitting to the triangle offense and probably losing.

Damian Lillard: ‘Blazers in six’

3 Comments

“Bucks in six” lives!

Damian Lillard echoed Brandon Jenningsinfamous quote ahead of the Trail Blazers’ first-round series against the heavily favored Warriors.

CSN Northwest:

To be fair, Lillard was asked whether Portland will win in six or seven. And he laughs after answering.

But this is still a fun proclamation.