Kurt Helin

Phoenix Suns v Washington Wizards

Report: Suns serious about shopping Eric Bledsoe this summer

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After a game of cat and mouse through much of last summer, the Phoenix Suns committed to Eric Bledsoe — five years, $70 million. He responded by giving them a good season, averaging 17 points and 6.1 assists a game, leading the team in Win Shares (seven) and he had the highest PER of any player on the roster at the end of the season.

So, now the Suns want out of the Bledsoe business.

Phoenix is reportedly going to sign Brandon Knight to a $70 million contract this summer, and if that happens you can bet they don’t want to high-priced point guards and Bledsoe will be on the block. Marc Stein of ESPN put it this way:

It sounds like the Suns do not want to try and recreate the two point guard success they had with Bledsoe and Goran Dragic, just slotting Knight in there. Catching that lightning in a bottle twice was always going to be difficult to do. But do the Suns want to bet on Knight over Bledsoe? Interesting choice. And by interesting, I mean not the choice I would make. It’s simple here, Bledsoe is the better player.

If the Suns want to move Bledsoe, there will be interested trading partners, but you’d have to think the Suns would keep the price high.

Report: Dallas most likely team to lure DeAndre Jordan from Clippers, Chandler Parsons already recruiting

Houston Rockets v Los Angeles Clippers - Game Four
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Two summers ago Chandler Parsons helped recruit Dwight Howard to Houston. Then last summer Parsons bolted the Rockets and signed with the rival Mavericks over in Dallas.

Even there he doesn’t stop. Chandler is back to recruiting big men.

He met last week with DeAndre Jordan at his Texas home and flew back to Los Angeles with him. Dallas is looking like the biggest threat to lure Jordan away from the Clippers, as reported by Tim MacMahon at ESPN.

Sources told ESPN.com that the Mavericks are the team feared most by the Clippers even though Jordan is expected to meet with at least two more teams: the New York Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers.

Mavericks small forward Chandler Parsons, who regards himself to be Dallas’ lead recruiter on free agent matters, visited Jordan in Houston last weekend and traveled to Los Angeles immediately after Thursday’s draft to spend more time with the big man.

Jordan’s decision likely comes down to staying with the Clippers or heading to Dallas. He wants to be more at the forefront of a team, and that’s not happening with the Lakers (that’s Kobe Bryant’s team, and then it will be probably D’Angelo Russell’s). The Knicks are a long shot.

Clippers fans should be nervous — if Jordan bolts Los Angeles has no way to replace him with near the same quality (even without Jordan’s contract LA would be close to the cap and have only the mid-level exception to use; which last year got them Spencer Hawes). Jordan reportedly has felt like the third wheel at times — the Clippers are Chris Paul and Blake Griffin’s team. Jordan gets Defensive Player of the Year votes, Doc Rivers pumps Jordan up like no other (he restored the confidence Vinny Del Negro had shattered), but Jordan is not the focal point of the Clippers. Not even close, and that plus CP3’s unrelenting competitiveness can wear on some guys.

Still, the Clippers have three big things going for them. First, Jordan likes being in Los Angeles and Hollywood, he likes all the perks that can be associated with living in the nation’s second . Second, frustrated with him or not, no point guard is going to make Jordan look as good, no point guard trust him like Paul. Finally, and most importantly, the Clippers can offer one more guaranteed year (five years vs. four) and about $30 million more in guaranteed money than anyone else.

The money — and the fact the Clippers are contenders — should have Jordan leaning Los Angeles. But after years of feeling like the third guy at best on the team, the fact other teams are going to pump up his ego — as Parsons is already doing — will play well with a guy wanting that recognition.

Report: Lakers would still trade D’Angelo Russell for DeMarcus Cousins straight up. Kings wouldn’t.

2015 NBA Draft
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DeMarcus Cousins’ agent Dan Fegan tried. He was the guy who guided Dwight Howard’s exit from Orlando, and now he was attempting to get his other top center out of Sacramento and to the Los Angeles Lakers. He got permission from the Kings’ owner to explore a deal, but he couldn’t find one that Kings GM and the owner would sign off on. Now more and more it looks like George Karl and Cousins may just have to try and get along.

But if something changes, the Lakers would gladly give up their recent No. 2 pick D’Angelo Russell for Cousins, reports Mark Heisler at the Daily News.

Of course, it’s not the Lakers side of that equation that was ever in question.

You shortcut (the rebuilding process) at your peril, even if the Lakers were willing to trade their No. 2 pick for Sacramento’s even-higher-maintenance-than-Dwight-Howard DeMarcus Cousins … and would send Russell up there tomorrow if that would do it, a league source told me.

Not that it’s likely to happen, either. With owner Vivek Ranadive intent on not trading Cousins, much less to the hated Lakers, the Kings asked for the moon — the No. 2 pick, Jordan Clarkson, Julius Randle, more picks.

That was the asking price I heard as well, and that maybe you could talk the Kings back to “just” Randle, Clarkson and now Russell but that was the floor.

That’s not a deal the Lakers should do.

Those three young players form a solid core, the kind free agents will take a long look at because there is potential. The Lakers will be swinging for the fences, and they will connect at some point. That doesn’t mean LaMarcus Aldridge comes this summer (smart money there is still on the Texas teams), nor Kevin Love (don’t expect him to bolt Cleveland, at least this summer). But it means that over the next few years the Lakers are likely to land one or two big names, which paired with that core vault them back up near the top of the West.

In the short term, you sell the Kobe Bryant farewell tour (even if he will not call it that).

Cousins is a cornerstone player, but you can’t give up everything to get him.

Report: As expected, LeBron James tells Cavaliers he will opt-out of contract. He’s expected to re-sign in Cleveland.

2015 NBA Finals - Game Six
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LeBron James will be a free agent this summer.

Except it’s not “here we go again” from last summer because nobody around the league thinks LeBron is going to bolt Cleveland again.

Still, it is now official, LeBron has told the Cavaliers he will opt out. Brian Windhorst of ESPN and Marc Spears of Yahoo Sports went to Twitter with the report.

It’s quaint LeBron wants to pretend to leverage the Cavaliers into roster upgrades, as if he didn’t have that kind of leverage without the waiting period. He wants

He will re-sign with the Cavaliers, another max deal with another opt-out after one year. Then he will opt out again in the summer of 2016 and sign another max deal, this one under the new salary cap that spikes with the influx of money from the new television contract. He’s not taking a discount, and the leverage game is a reminder to Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert that he needs to keep spending to win.

The reality is LeBron is not deserting Cleveland again. He will not even meet with other teams.

LeBron did a lot to restore his reputation over the past year with the move back home to Cleveland — which sold well to a national audience — and his play in the NBA Finals despite losing. His image is better, to leave again would tarnish that image. Plus, where is he going to go where he has a young Kyrie Irving (and most likely Kevin Love) on his team, plus have this kind of control over the organization?

Short of Cavs owner Dan Gilbert professing his allegiance to the so-called Islamic State — or some other radically unexpected stupid move that forces LeBron’s hand — he’s not leaving the Cavaliers again. LeBron is home for good.

Report: Sixers did not disclose Jrue Holiday injury to Pelicans, fined $3 million by NBA

New Orleans Pelicans v Sacramento Kings
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On draft night two years ago, the Philadephia 76ers traded Jrue Holiday to the New Orleans Pelicans for Nerlens Noel. In those two years, Holiday has been healthy enough to play in 74 games, missing 41 games his first year after the trade due to a stress fracture in his right leg that required surgery.

The NBA says that the Sixers knew about a stress fracture in Holiday’s leg but didn’t disclose it — and they fined the Sixers for it, according to the Philadelphia Enquirer.

The 76ers were ordered to pay the New Orleans Pelicans $3 million by the NBA last season for not fully disclosing Jrue Holiday’s injury history before he was traded two years ago, according to two sources….

The sources said Holiday played with stress fractures in his lower right leg during his final season with the Sixers. However, the sources said, those injures weren’t fully disclosed to the Pelicans.

The Sixers, of course, deny this. Also, the Pelicans gave Holiday a physical before the trade went through.

However, the NBA felt strongly enough about it after looking at the evidence to fine Philadephia for its actions.

Interestingly, the Sixers are trying to get the league to look closely at what the Lakers knew before trading Andrew Bynum to them back in 2012, according to the same report. Bynum never played a minute for the Sixers.