There is a sense around the league that once again the actual trade deadline this year — on Feb. 19 — is going to be pretty quiet. Most of the big moves — for example, Rajon Rondo to Dallas, or J.R. Smith and Timofey Mozgov to Cleveland — have already happened.
But there are a couple interesting names that could be moved at the deadline.
Near the top of that list is the Denver Nuggets’ Arron Afflalo. Teams have been calling, but no deal is close, reports Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.
Among teams Nuggs have discussed Afflalo w/ — Portland, Chi, Clips, Mia, Sac. He's got a player option next year, so FRP is a lot to ask
Afflalo is averaging 14.7 points a game but his efficiency has taken a huge dip this season (which may be due to Denver’s system and the players around him more than anything). He could help a contender like the Clippers.
The problem is he makes almost $7.8 million this year and the Clippers, up against a hard salary cap (because they gave Spencer Hawes the full MLE this summer) so they’d have to send that much salary back and nobody wants what is left on the Clippes’ roster.
Still, Afflalo is a name to watch for the next week
Markieff Morris drives, dunks all over Josh Smith (VIDEO)
DeMarcus Cousins is sticking up for himself — and from what I’ve heard out of Sacramento, he’s in the right.
Remember, right now Tyrone Corbin is coaching the Sacramento Kings after they fired Mike Malone out of the blue mid-season. When Orlando fired its coach Jacque Vaughn a couple weeks ago, suddenly the leisurely pace of talks between Sacramento and their preferred candidate George Karl picked up steam — the Kings didn’t want the Magic to poach their guy.
“I wasn’t consulted when the decision was made to fire Mike Malone and I’m not being consulted now. I just hope they make a decision soon and stick with it. George Karl is an experienced, proven coach and if that is who they chose to coach this team, I will support it. I do not like all these discussions in the media while we have a coach in place. It is a distraction and not fair to Coach Corbin and this team.”
I think the second sentence is the key here — what I heard was not that Cousins didn’t trust Karl so much as he wanted to know why the style of play changed every couple years. Which is an incredibly valid question.
This hiring is fully on GM Pete D’Alessandro — and it could be a superb one. The question for D’Alessandro is whether he survives this summer and sticks around to provide the players for Karl’s system.
No doubt Karl can coach (he was Coach of the Year in Denver and won 57 games when they fired him), and Cousins could thrive in his system if the All-Star center fully buys in. He says he’s on board. How long will Vivek Ranadivé be? Because right now Cousins seems more mature than the organization.
Adam Silver swings by David Letterman’s show (VIDEO)
The Philadelphia 76ers introduced a new mascot today and wisely did so in the middle of the target audience — that guy in the middle of the above pic is Franklin. The Sixers new big, blue, dog and mascot. Apparently the kids love him.
I love inflatable mascots — watching those waddle around and dance is funny. I’m probably not the target demographic for the real ones, particularly anthropomorphic dogs. But the Sixers put a lot of time coming up with him and a full on backstory. From their press release:
As (the Sixers’ mascot designers) dug through piles of books, watched movies and spoke with Philadelphians far and wide, along with more than 1,000 kids, they found a common thread…a special creature…whose ancestors had been a part of the city’s history from the start.
When George Washington crossed the Delaware, a blue tail was wagging in the boat.
When our nation’s forefathers signed the Declaration of Independence, a blue paw was found on the scroll.
A blue mouth dragged Ben Franklin to safety after he was struck by lightning and discovered electricity.
A furry blue flash ran alongside Rocky Balboa, and put two paws in the air when he reached the top of the Art Museum steps.
So, he’s the Forest Gump of mascots.
If you like him, follow him on Twitter. You can also see him at Sixers games, where there will be nights Franklin will be more entertaining than the product on the court (although the Sixers have won four in a row at home).