Tag: BKN

Brooklyn Nets v Detroit Pistons

Report: Mason Plumlee was Kings’ main target in trade talks with Nets for Deron Williams

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It didn’t take very many games this season for the Nets to realize that the pieces on the roster don’t fit under new head coach Lionel Hollins, and so Brooklyn’s three biggest (and highest paid) stars were made available in trade talks with other teams.

The problem for the Nets is that the contracts of Joe Johnson, Deron Williams and Brook Lopez are all prohibitive in terms of getting a deal done.

The Kings, however, were reportedly willing to take on Williams’ deal, and at the time, it was believed that he was the player Sacramento was seeking. But as it turns out, he was only the secondary player the Kings were targeting the way the trade was proposed.

From Chris Broussard of ESPN.com:

Talks between the Sacramento Kings and Brooklyn Nets about a trade involving Nets star Deron Williams have cooled, according to league sources.

Sacramento had recently initiated talks with the Nets, proposing a deal for Williams and second-year forward Mason Plumlee, who was actually the Kings’ main target, sources said.

With Plumlee struggling and clashing a bit with new Nets coach Lionel Hollins over the first month of the season, the Kings were hoping he might be available. To compel the Nets into moving Plumlee, they considered taking on Williams, whose contract and history of injuries has scared off many clubs.

Brooklyn wisely turned this scenario down, and has no intention of moving Plumlee — with good reason.

Plumlee is the one piece of promising young talent in place on the Nets’ roster. The team has been built to “win now” with those big names on high-dollar contracts, but it hasn’t worked out that way. At some point, Brooklyn needs to add inexpensive pieces capable of contributing while still on their rookie scale deals. And despite struggling to find his way with Hollins in the early part of the season, Plumlee earned a place onto the Team USA roster this past summer, and is a quality big man playing in only in his second NBA season.

Talks may continue between these two teams until February’s trade deadline passes. But it’s clear that the Nets aren’t going to involve Plumlee in a deal just to get out from under one of its star player’s unfavorable contracts.

Report: Sixers want Andrei Kirilenko to report to team, prepare to play

Philadelphia 76ers v Brooklyn Nets

Andrei Kirilenko fell out of the rotation with the Nets this season, and was dealing with a family medical situation that was keeping him away from the team, as well.

That combination of facts was enough for Brooklyn to trade Kirilenko to the Sixers.

It was a cost-saving move for the Nets more than anything else, and the team gave up a second round pick in order to get Philadelphia to take Kirilenko’s contract off of Brooklyn’s hands — a move that saved them over $11 million when factoring in luxury tax penalties.

It was believed that the Sixers would simply waive Kirilenko, because losing as many games as possible developing young talent there is the stated goal, and giving minutes to a veteran would only hinder that process.

But Philadelphia, always looking to acquire additional assets to aid in the rebuild for the future, is now asking Kirilenko to report to the team — and prepare to play in an attempt to showcase his talents.

From Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

The Philadelphia 76ers are requesting forward Andrei Kirilenko report to the team and prepare to start playing in games, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

For now, Kirilenko and his representatives are resisting the Sixers’ overtures, preferring the organization waive Kirilenko and let him become a free agent, sources said. …

Kirilenko, 33, wants the balance of the $3.3 million owed to him this season, and ultimately the freedom to sign elsewhere on a new deal this season, sources said. So far, he’s been unwilling to join the rebuilding Sixers, but eventually could be mandated to report to the team to collect on his contract.

Kirilenko has a family medical issue that has kept him in the New York area since the trade, and that’s been part of his desire to stay off the court in Philadelphia. Nevertheless, the Sixers believe their close proximity to New York – and the franchise’s expressed willingness to be accommodating on the matter – should necessitate Kirilenko to come to Philadelphia and report to work, sources said.

This is all about the Sixers trying to maximize every opportunity to continue to stockpile assets. They already got a draft pick for taking Kirilenko on, and if he were to report to the team and show an ability to be able to contribute, Philadelphia could flip him at the trade deadline for another pick or a young player who it believes could be useful.

Where this gets tricky, however, is with Kirilenko himself. If he wants the money owed to him on the remainder of his contract, he’ll need to show up. But if he decides the family issue is too serious to do so, then the Sixers would simply be out of luck in terms of trying to execute their latest plan.

MORE: CSN Philly subscriber? Watch Sixers-Heat Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. ET

Brook Lopez wants to play a Wookie in next Star Wars film

2014 Brooklyn Nets Media Day

Well, it would be better than more Jar Jar Binks.

Nets’ center Brook Lopez is a big Star Wars fan, one who loved the new trailer, and since he has had some time on his hands lately — he’s missed eight straight games with a lower back injury — he’s been thinking about how he can get a walk-on role in the new film.

He’s seriously been thinking about it. A lot. Look at what he told the New York Post.

“I really would like to get a part, like a walk-on part, in the next Star Wars movie, so, I’d like to lobby for that,” Lopez said. “Let’s work on that. I’d like to be a wookiee. I would really like to be a wookiee. They don’t need my ugly face in there. They don’t need me acting. I’m not going to blow anything, guys. C’mon, Mr. Lucas. I just want to be in the movie.

“I feel like I could do it. I’m a huge Star Wars fan. I just want to be a part of it. I grew up watching it. I mean, I’d really like to be in the movie … I’ve thought about it for — when I heard about the new one, I went to my agent, so you guys have got to help out, too. You guys think I’m kidding, but I’m not. I’m not kidding at all.”

He’s not going to be in “Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens” when it comes out next year, that movie is already in post-production. The filming is done. Maybe he can be in Episode VIII.

Lopez is a professional basketball player, he must have some contacts. Because he needs to pitch George Lucas and J.J. Abrams, not guys hanging around an NBA training room.

PBT’s weekly NBA Power Rankings: Santa brings Warriors top spot, lump of coal for Knicks

Golden State Warriors v New Orleans Pelicans

Welcome to the Christmas edition of ProBasketballTalk’s NBA Power Rankings. The Warriors, Trail Blazers and Grizzlies have been on the nice list and have the top three spots in the rankings this week. However of late the Knicks have racked up more lumps of coal than even the Sixers, and that is reflected.

source:  1. Warriors (22-3, Last Week No. 1). The good news: Steve Kerr said David Lee looked great in practice and should return soon (will he accept coming off the bench is the question). The bad news: Andrew Bogut is out for a spell after getting PRP treatment on his troublesome knee. They need him come the playoffs — they are good team without him, they are a title contender with him. Which means you rest him all you need to right now.

source:  2. Trail Blazers (22-6. LW 4). They passed their test last week beating the Spurs twice — once thanks to 43 points from Damian Lillard — plus beat solid Pelicans and Bucks teams. They have won five in a row. It doesn’t get easier with the Rockets and Thunder up this week, but they are one of a handful of teams that currently have a top 10 offense and defense (based on points per possession), one of the signs of a true contender.

source:  3. Grizzlies (21-6, LW 3) Back-to-back wins over the Warriors and Spurs were impressive, then they turned around and dropped games to the Bulls and Cavaliers. I keep getting asked in radio interviews, “Can Memphis can keep this up into the playoffs?” Of course, they’re already playing playoff-style basketball. They don’t have to change a thing.

source:  4. Mavericks (20-8, LW 7). You can’t read much into just one game in Dallas for Rajon Rondo — although Monta Ellis sure seemed comfortable with another ball handler on the floor — however there is a new confidence around a team that had struggled against the other top seven in the West. Good test coming Sunday against Thunder.

source:  5. Clippers (19-8, LW 6). Doc Rivers would love to make a move to add help from guys who come available like Corey Brewer and Josh Smith, but after giving Spencer Hawes the MLE the hard cap kicks in, making it difficult to get quality. LA stumbled going 3-3 in the last six games of the soft part of the schedule, now things get serious: At San Antonio, at hot Atlanta, Golden State on Christmas Day, then Toronto.

source:  6. Raptors (22-6, LW 9). Give the Raptors credit, there were questions about what would happen when DeMar DeRozan went down but Toronto has gone 9-3 without him. We’ll see how they do this week on the road against the Bulls, Clippers and Nuggets.

source:  7. Hawks (19-7, LW 12). We wanted to see quality wins from them, so they went out last week and beat Cleveland, Houston and Chicago. Al Horford was a beast, averaging 18.3 points, 6.7 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 1.7 blocks a game in those three. He remains the most underrated star player in the NBA.

source:  8. Rockets (19-7, LW 2). Back-to-back losses to Pelicans and Hawks at home and now things get serious: Blazers, Grizzlies, Spurs up this week, then Wizards to start next week. They’ve got James Harden still playing well but the Rockets have been a turnover machine of late.

source:  9. Spurs (17-11, LW 5). After two triple-overtime games in one week, you can expect Gregg Popovich to give Tim Duncan January off to rest. The Spurs lost both those 3OT games and now have dropped four in a row, then when you add in the news Kawhi Leonard has a hand injury, well, it’s been a really rough week in San Antonio.

source:  10. Bulls (17-9, LW 10). That was a quality road win in Memphis last week, with rookie Nikola Mirotic going off for 27 points. The Bulls have 12 road wins already. They will play on the Christmas Day stage at home against the Lakers. I don’t think the NBA booked this game thinking about a Carlos Boozer returns to Chicago storyline.

source:  11. Cavaliers (16-10 LW 8). Still hard to get a read on this team because of the inconsistent play — are they the team that easily handled Memphis last week or the one that was just throttled by Atlanta? Mike Miller is in the starting lineup for now at the two spot.

source:  12. Suns (15-14, LW 17).

source:  13. Wizards (19-7, LW 11). They had won six in a row until they ran into Phoenix and John Wall got completely outplayed by the Suns backcourt. Still, the Wizards are 6-2 against the West, which is impressive considering the conference as a whole has a 35.6 percent winning percentage against the West.

source:  14. Pelicans (14-13, LW 14). They hang on to the eight seed in the West by beating Oklahoma City (the team that will eventually track them down and pass them) and Houston. They are doing it behind Anthony Davis, who is putting up MVP level numbers in his third season in the league.

source:  15. Thunder (13-15, LW 13). Kevin Durant has been out again with a sprained ankle but this time it really showed as the Thunder were passive against a soft Laker defense, then they lost to the Pelicans thanks to an unimpressive defense. Good news is Durant’s injury is minor.

source:  16. Bucks (14-14, LW 14). While the team has played well in his absence, the loss of Jabari Parker for the season to an ACL injury is just a loss for basketball fans everywhere. He was playing well. This is a setback for his development.

source:  17. Nuggets (12-15, LW 18). They are going to be without Danilo Gallinari for at least three weeks for another knee surgery. While this one is relatively minor, it’s not a good sign. Meanwhile the Nuggets keep slogging along.

source:  18. Heat (13-15, LW 20). Chris Bosh is still out and Dwyane Wade is in and out of the lineup, which is why the Heat are 1-3 on their current home stand. The bigger question is just how loud the boos will be — or should be — when LeBron James returns to Miami on Christmas Day.

source:  19. Kings (11-15, LW 16). They snapped a five-game losing streak against the hapless Lakers. In that game Lakers radio broadcaster (and former No. 1 pick) Mychal Thompson compared DeMarcus Cousins with Moses Malone — that’s some high praise. But Cousins has earned it this season.

source:  20. Celtics (10-15, LW 23). I know a lot of Celtics fans don’t think they got enough, but fans tend to overvalue their own assets — there just wasn’t that much trade demand for Rajon Rondo and what they got for Dallas was likely about as good as it gets. I bet Boston asked for all the restrictions on that first round pick, hoping to stagger their picks out and move it to next season.

source:  21. Nets (11-15, LW 19). The rumors of the Deron Williams to Sacramento trade sum things up well — the Kings only will take on Williams and his contract if they can get the coveted Mason Plumlee as well. Not much demand for the Nets stars out there.

source:  22. Hornets (8-19, LW 25). Hey, don’t know if you heard, Lance Stephenson is available in a trade. The problem with moving him is evidenced in the report the Pacers players were polled about the idea of bringing him back and they shot the idea down.

source:  23. Magic (10-20, LW 21). There are moments you see the potential, you can see how Victor Oladipo is developing into a quality player. Then they go lose to the Sixers.

source:  24. Pacers (9-19, LW 24). They had lost eight in a row but have split their last four. Even with the second worst offense in the NBA and the need to add shot creation, their players rejected the idea of bringing back Lance Stephenson.

source:  25. Lakers (8-18, LW 22). After Kobe is 11-of-45 (24.4 percent) shooting over his last two games and 33-of-113 (29.2 percent) in his last five games. He’s clearly exhausted. Yet after going 3-of-14 against the Thunder, the Lakers needed a game-winning shot so coach Byron Scott called up an isolation play for Bryant. It shows who really has the power in that organization.

source:  26. Jazz (8-20, LW 27). Derrick Favors talking to PBT: ““I spent a lot of time this off-season working on my jump shot and my whole offensive game. When Quin (Snyder) got hired we talked, he told me how he was going to use me in the offense, the things he wanted me to work on, the things to keep improving on and so far it seems to be paying off.” Check back to PBT Tuesday for more.

source:  27. Pistons (5-23, LW 28). It was a bold stroke by Stan Van Gundy to cut Josh Smith loose, that signing was Joe Dumars desperately grasping at straws to save his job. The most amazing part of this is SVG not only had the balls to suggest to owners Tom Gores to eat $27 million after this season, he was able to get the owner to sign off on it.

source:  28. 76ers (3-23, LW 30). Through all the losses and occasional skirmishes on the bench, there are signs of development in Philadelphia. Count me in the group that thinks one or two veterans on this team — just role paying real pros — could help speed that development along by modeling professionalism, but there is development.

source:  27. Timberwolves (5-21, LW 26). Losers of five in a row and they have shipped Corey Brewer out of town, likely not the last veteran moved off this roster before the deadline. Maybe Troy Daniels can find a home and his shooting stroke in Minny, that guy was lights out in the D-League from beyond the arc.

source:  29. Knicks (5-25, LW 29). They have lost five in a row and are just hard to watch right now (and that’s with Carmelo Anthony in the lineup). The temptation is to say Phil Jackson inherited this roster, but he chose to re-sign Carmelo, went out and got guys like Jose Calderon and Samuel Dalembert, plus much of the bench were his guys. He didn’t put together much of a triangle team.

Victor Oladipo, focused on effort and defense, still finds time to raise offense

Toronto Raptors beat the Orlando Magic 95-82
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BOSTON – Victor Oladipo didn’t start a game at DeMatha High School, a D.C.-area prep power, until his senior year. On teams stocked with college talent, it was hard to get noticed.

“I would just play hard. That was my role,” Oladipo said. “Play hard and defend, guard the other team’s best player.”

At Indiana under Tom Crean, it was more of the same. Defense, steals, blocks, hustle plays.

Until Oladipo’s junior year.

As much as his thunderous dunks excited everyone, his 3-point shooting really took him to the next level as an NBA prospect. That year, Oladipo shot 44 percent from beyond the arc, up from 24 percent the two years prior. It’s a big reason the Magic drafted him No. 2 overall in 2013.

But with increased offensive expectations as a rookie – Oladipo’s usage percentage actually went up from his final year at Indiana – Oladipo struggled to find the same efficiency. He shot just 41.9 percent from the field and 32.7 percent on 3-pointers.

This year, after a facial fracture set him back, Oladipo is finding his footing.

He’s shooting 46.6 percent from the field and 42.9 on 3-pointers, and his turnovers are down.

“Everybody talks about hard work, but there are certain guys that take it to a different level, and he’s one of those guys that has the reputation of taking it to a different level,” said Celtics coach Brad Stevens, who faced Oladipo’s Hoosiers while coaching Butler. “And you can see it in the game. You can see it with his ball handling. He’s good going both directions. He’s shooting it.”

Oladipo is the only player who received multiple Rookie of the Year votes last season whose win shares per 48 minutes this season (blue) are up from last season (silver):


That’s not to say only Oladipo has improved while Michael Carter-Williams, Trey Burke, Mason Plumlee, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Gorgui Dieng haven’t. But those other five at least have improved on a scale that’s getting noticed by that stat.

There are other small indicators Oladipo is on the right track, too.

The Magic are scoring 100.0 points with Oladipo on the court and 97.9 when he sits. It’s a small uptick, but it’s remarkably better than last season, when they scored 97.8 with him and 102.1 without him.

How did Oladipo improve his efficiency? Sticking with his original mindset. As he develops, he’s shooting less.

“My game is not taking contested 3s,” Oladipo said. “But the open ones, you shoot with confidence.”