Tag: Carl Landry

Nerlens Noel, LaMarcus Aldridge

Trail Blazers GM Neil Olshey chose chance of greatness over safer route to being merely good


At face value, the Trail Blazers’ and 76ers’ offseasons took completely different approaches to rebuilding this offseason.

The Blazers traded for Noah Vonleh, Gerald Henderson, Mason Plumlee and Maurice Harkless. They signed Al-Farouq Aminu and Ed Davis. They also signed Enes Kanter to an offer sheet, though the Thunder matched.

Philadelphia, on the other hand, highlighted free agency by… signing Pierre Jackson and Scotty Wilbekin, two players without NBA experience. Sure, the 76ers also traded for Nik Stauskas, Jason Thompson and Carl Landry. But Thompson and Landry were the tax necessary to require positive assets, and Philadelphia already flipped Thompson. Even Stauskas, a nice piece, was an afterthought relative to the draft considerations conveyed by the Kings.

Portland acquired five Stauskases – recent first-round picks still looking to find their place in the NBA.

But, as Trail Blazers general manager Neil Olshey tells it, his team has a similar philosophy to the 76ers. Portland is just taking a different route.

Michael Lee of The Washington Post:

Once Aldridge decided to leave, the Blazers didn’t waste their time trying to chase Matthews (who signed a four-year, $70 million deal with Dallas), Lopez (who took a four-year, $52 million deal with New York) or even reserve Arron Afflalo (who left for a two-year, $16 million deal with New York).

Olshey didn’t feel the need to keep together the same core while simply trying to replace a four-time all-star because, “absent LaMarcus Aldridge, that group was not going to be good enough,” he said. “We judge ourselves by high standards and if we can’t compete at the highest levels, then we had to go in a different direction.”

76ers general manager Sam Hinkie has made clear his lengthy and deep rebuild is designed to culminate in championship contention. There are simpler paths to getting good, and Hinkie clearly isn’t taking those. (Matt Moore of CBSSports.com wrote an excellent article on the difference.)

Being great usually requires a superstar. Getting a superstar usually requires a high first-round pick. A high first-round pick usually requires a terrible record.

There is logic behind Philadelphia’s unprecedented multi-year commitment to tanking.

Olshey definitely indicates he has a similar championship-or-bust attitude, and he concluded retaining Wesley Matthews, Robin Lopez, Arron Afflalo and Nicolas Batum after LaMarcus Aldridge joined the Spurs would have taken the Trail Blazers further from a title. They might have been better in the short-term, but those highly paid veterans would have limited Portland’s potential to grow into a great team.

That’s a logical assessment, similar to the one Hinkie made with the Jrue Holiday-led roster he inherited.

At this point, Olshey took a different route than Hinkie.

The Trail Blazers paid a relatively small price for its young veterans, and I like the moves. I wouldn’t be surprised if at least one of Vonleh, Plumlee, Harkless, Aminu and Davis becomes capable of playing a major role on a title contender. It’s a luxury to bet on so many intriguing players.

But the moves come with a cost. Those players are already decent, and they should make Portland better than Philadelphia this season. That means the Trail Blazers effectively moved down in the draft. Maybe the value of these additions offsets that, but Philadelphia has done little to jeopardize its draft position.

Perhaps, Olshey didn’t have a choice. Damian Lillard might have dictated Portland couldn’t fully tank. Just how bad could a team with Lillard really be? The 76ers don’t have anyone near his caliber, so declining to become good now is an easier choice.

Maybe Olshey and Hinkie would have acted differently if they were in the other’s situation. Circumstances matter.

But bottom line: The Trail Blazers and 76ers have the same mindset. They want to be great. They’re not as concerned with being good before that’s possible.

Nik Stauskas looking for redemption in Philadelphia

Sacramento Kings Media Day

LAS VEGAS — Nik Stauskas’ rookie year was not pretty.

Touted as one of the best shooters in the draft, taken No. 8 by the Kings, he shot just 28.8 percent on jumpers before the All-Star break. He called it the worst slump of his life. It didn’t help that the Kings’ went through three coaches with three different philosophies in one season, but Stauskas isn’t making excuses.

“Very poor,” were the words Stauskas used to describe his play last season. “I didn’t play the way I wanted to and that’s just on me. That’s just on me. That’s why this summer I’ve taken the time to work as hard as I can so I don’t have to go through that and I can show people the player I am in this league….

“Anyone who has three coaches in a year, there’s not going to be a lot of consistency, whether it’s with minutes or style of play and whatnot. But I can’t use that as an excuse on gameday, I’m out on the floor and I’ve either got to put the ball in the basket or not put the ball in the basket, and I wasn’t doing that last year.”

He’s going to do try and get his redemption in Philadelphia.

He was shipped East as part of a salary dump deal by the Kings that also included Carl Landry, Jason Thompson, a future first-round pick and the right to swap first-round picks in 2016 and 2017  going to Philly for second round draft-and-stash guys Arturas Gudatis and Luka Mitrovic. (Philly won that trade by a mile.)

Stauskas started to show some of his promise under the faster-paced, more open style of George Karl — he shot 42.1 percent from three after the All-Star break. But it wasn’t his offense that kept Karl from trusting him more, it was the defense and he knows that’s where he will need to improve.

There were countless times last year I would go on the floor and I was targeted, right away teams would attack me, and the adjustment to the physicality and defense,” Stauskas said. “It’s an adjustment and I’m just getting better every day on it.”

That work was put on hold for a couple weeks after he rolled his ankle this summer, but Stauskas said his ankle is better now, and there was no structural damage.

With Jahlil Okafor and Nerlens Noel in the paint, if Stauskas can knock down threes to space the floor, and if he can play at a fast pace, Brett Brown is going to give him some run.

Stauskas is going to get a second chance to make a first impression. He just wants the one in Philadephia to go much better than that first attempt.

76ers get Nik Stauskas, first-rounder in salary-dump trade with Kings

Philadelphia 76ers v Sacramento Kings

Update: Zach Lowe of Grantland:

This initially looked like a good trade for the 76ers. It’s actually a great trade for the 76ers.

We’ll see just how great once we learn the protections, but in one form or another, Philadelphia wins.


Brett Brown once thought the 76ers would draft Andrew Wiggins and Nik Stauskas and get good.

Instead, Philadelphia wound up with Joel Embiid and Dario Saric, neither of whom played for the team last season.

Better late than never, the 76ers are getting Stauskas. It just took taking Jason Thompson and Carl Landry as a penalty.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

Landry is owed $6.5 million each of the next two seasons. A trade kicker will lift Thompson’s salary to $6,752,813 next season, and $2,650,000 of his $6,825,000 salary in 2016-17 is guaranteed.

Sacramento definitely wanted to dump those two, and Philadelphia had room to take them with minimal inconvenience. But the 76ers weren’t doing it just to be nice. They wanted Stauskas.

And the Kings wanted cap space.

Depending exactly where the salary cap falls, they could be looking at up to $25 million in space. They’ve been linked to Rajon Rondo and Monta Ellis in free agency. They could also trade for Eric Bledsoe, which would help the Suns clear space to sign LaMarcus Aldridge.

The potential definitely exists for Sacramento to significantly upgrade its roster around DeMarcus Cousins.

Of course, this being the Kings, expect them to just increase their offer to Rondo or something silly like that.

Report: Lakers, Kings discuss framework of trade for DeMarcus Cousins

Atlanta Hawks v Sacramento Kings

Has Kings owner Vivek Ranadivé been won over — or bullied into submission — by coach George Karl?

Ranadivé had been opposed to trading DeMarcus Cousins, but he’s let GM Vlade Divac talk to teams about it and Divac and the Lakers have the framework of a deal — a pricey one for the Lakers. From Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

The Los Angeles Lakers and Sacramento Kings exchanged frameworks of a trade centered on All-Star DeMarcus Cousins on Wednesday and discussions could intensify on Thursday, league sources told Yahoo Sports….

Kings vice president of basketball operations Vlade Divac has pursued a possible deal that would include a bevvy of assets, including the Lakers’ No. 2 pick in Thursday’s NBA draft, rookies Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson and other draft assets, league sources told Yahoo Sports. Sacramento also would want to unload the remainder of forward Carl Landry’s two years, $13.5 million contract, league sources said.

That move would give the Lakers the star they have been looking for, and someone who could continue the tradition of great centers wearing Lakers purple and gold (or, Forum Blue, if you prefer).

But that is at a steep cost — three young, quality assets. Most likely the Lakers would want to reduce that by one (say, keeping Clarkson) and getting the No. 6 pick of the Kings. This is a negotiation, but the Kings may not back down.

Cousins had not pushed for a trade from the Kings — he said on twitter Wednesday he “absolutely” wants to stay with Kings — but with Karl trying to push him out the door, he and his camp have been more open to the idea. Cousin’s agent has worked to steer him to Los Angeles, but other teams such as the Boston Celtics have wanted in on the discussions.

Ranadivé refused to do a deal with Denver, where former Kings GM Pete D’Alessandro and coach Mike Malone have been hired, according to Wojnarowski.

It’s hard to imagine Ranadivé approving a trade with the Lakers that isn’t a massive haul for the Kings — trading the best and most popular player on your roster to your most-hated rival is how owners become hated. This would not go over well in Sacramento.

Still, if it’s all three young players it’s an interesting package for the Kings, coming close to getting real value back for Cousins.

But is the owner going to let the coach dictate the direction of the franchise and push everyone around like this?


Kings’ Carl Landry could miss part of 2015-16 season after surgery on wrist injured in January

New Orleans Pelicans v Sacramento Kings

Carl Landry missed five games in January with a wrist injury.

Then, he returned to play 32 more games for the going-nowhere Kings.


Kings release:

Sacramento Kings forward Carl Landry underwent successful surgery this morning to repair a torn ligament in his right wrist, the team announced today. The procedure was performed by Dr. Michelle Carlson at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York.

Landry experienced wrist soreness during the 2014-15 season, missing five games as a result (Jan. 16 – Jan. 23). An initial evaluation at that time by Dr. Carlson indicated surgery was not necessary. When pain in the wrist persisted during the offseason, Landry underwent an MRI early this week which revealed that a procedure was required to repair the injury.

Landry will begin rehabilitation immediately and is expected to be out approximately four to five months.

Maybe Landry didn’t need surgery in January, and his condition worsened over the next few months. But if he was misdiagnosed during the season, that’s obviously less than ideal.

Landry projects to return around the beginning of next season. He might not be a huge loss on the court – both because Sacramento probably won’t be in playoff contention next season anyway and because he might not even make George Karl’s rotation when healthy.

But this injury reduces the Kings’ already-limited ability to trade Landry, whom they owe $6.5 million each of the next two seasons.