Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reports that the Magic have contacted the Phoenix Suns and are discussing a trade which would return Hedo Turkoglu to Orlando where he had his best years. Multiple reports have the Magic considering sending Vince Carter along with Marcin Gortat in exchange for Turkoglu, and potentially Jason Richardson. These talks are in conjunction with, not instead of the conversations ongoing about Gilbert Arenas with the Washington Wizards, which seem to be getting closer by the hour.
In case it’s not apparent, the Orlando Magic want to remake their team in a big way, and are moving on that initiative now.
The Orlando Sentinel reports that the Magic would rather have Chris Paul or Carmelo Anthony (who wouldn’t?) but “don’t have the pieces” to get a deal done. So they’re moving ahead with this plan.
Jason Richardson would add a whole new dimension to these conversations, but he’s on the back burner for now. Hedo Turkoglu’s involvement in these talks is sure to cause alarm with Orlando. But I would remind them that he had his best years under Stan Van Gundy, including the year before he was let go in free agency. Turkoglu was let go prematurely in the idea that he would fall off a cliff. He did.
But Stan Van Gundy did wonders with him, allowing Turkoglu to run the pick and roll. And if he’s brought in beside Gilbert Arenas, he’ll be fourth option, not second. It could be an outright disaster still, Turkoglu has gone downhill. But it may be worth a shot alongside the addition of Arenas.
There are concerns about both players, but Orlando will only be sending the lifeless corpse of Vince Carter along with the only slightly more alive corpse of Rashard Lewis. This is a low-risk maneuver. You’re sending out bad old players with bad contracts for bad old players with bad contracts (Arenas is still under 30 at least).
The problem? Neither of these moves gets the Magic past the Boston Celtics. That’s the goal, and they won’t reach it. The only move that would would be to acquire Chris Paul, and that won’t be happening. Orlando has to do something, and this is the best they can do most likely.
Desperate times in the sunshine state for sure.
The Heat offered Josh Richardson and a first-round pick. The Rockets offered four first-round picks or Eric Gordon, Nene and two first-round picks. The Pelicans reportedly offered Nikola Mirotic and an unprotected first-round pick.
But the Timberwolves traded Jimmy Butler to the 76ers for Robert Covington and Dario Saric in a deal that included no first-round picks and Minnesota getting only one second-rounder.
Timberwolves president-coach Tom Thibodeau:
We wanted quality players. I think that that was important for us.
When you look at, to get two starters off a team that won 52 games, and they’re both young, and they’re going to get better, and they’re both very good defensively. They both shoot the 3, so we think they fit well with the guys that we do have.
And so once we once got to that point where felt we were getting multiple rotational players, then we felt it would be time to execute the deal.
It was what was best for the organization. Obviously, getting good players was a priority. But the pick part is important, and we felt we got a good pick from Philly.
It was what does it mean for the team? If you get two rotational players, that’s good. And then if you can get a pick, that allows you to do more things. And so I think that’s all part of it. You always try to think about what the possibilities could be.
Thibodeau might have taken the best offer for the the Timberwolves by the time he actually accepted a deal. Miami pulled the Richardson offer after his strong start to the season. Getting four first-rounders from Houston required taking Brandon Knight‘s negative-value contract, and it’s unclear exactly how the picks were protected. New Orleans has the best record of those three teams, so an unprotected pick carries less value.
But it’s also impossible to overlook Thibodeau’s present-minded attitude. That’s how he already approached everything. Now, he appears to be coaching for his job this season. Nobody ever expected him to prioritize long-term assets.
Covington and Saric are good players, but Minnesota was also 4-9 at the time of the trade. Are Covington and Saric good enough to lift the Timberwolves out of this hole and into the playoffs? It’s a tough ask. In 2020-21, Saric will be up for a big raise, and the Timberwolves already have a lot of money committed. They might have to downgrade the rest of the roster to keep Saric and avoid the luxury tax. This is a narrow window for Minnesota to get value from this trade.
That said, blame Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor for creating this situation. By allowing Thibodeau to remain in charge without much job security, Taylor is practically demanding Thibodeau emphasize the present. If Taylor wanted draft picks, he should have fired Thibodeau earlier.
Caris LeVert has been one of the Nets’ biggest bright spots. The hard-working 24-year-old was a Most Improved Player candidate, and he seems well-liked throughout the organization. He’s even already hit a couple game–winners this season.
But LeVert’s breakout campaign hit a devastating snag tonight, as he injured his leg.
The reactions of both his Brooklyn teammates and the Timberwolves say everything. This is a tough one.
A key question after the 76ers traded for Jimmy Butler: How would the demanding star affect Markelle Fultz‘s confidence?
Butler isn’t even playing for Philadelphia yet, but this isn’t an encouraging sign.
Maybe the ball just slipped out of Fultz’s hands on the way up, and he had to continue pushing it toward the rim to avoid a violation. That could happen to anybody.
But given everything we know about Fultz’s shooting woes, it’s impossible to take this as anything other than a ghastly low point in an ongoing problem.
LeBron James has played in eight straight NBA Finals.
How’s he handling reduced expectations with the Lakers, who started 2-5 before rising to 7-6?
LeBron, via Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports:
“I haven’t changed anything outwardly, but you know me. You know how I am. I almost cracked [last week]. I had to sit back and remind myself, ‘[Expletive], you knew what you were getting yourself into,’” James told Yahoo Sports while laughing after Saturday’s win in Sacramento. “This process has been good for me. I just have to continue being patient.”
LeBron warned everyone to stay clear when he loses his patience, but he has never sounded close to losing it this season. He signed a four-year deal with the Lakers, said he doesn’t feel urgency to win quickly before his prime ends and seems content to wait for a co-star.
If anything, it seemed LeBron might be too relaxed, enjoying the Los Angeles lifestyle and focusing on showbusiness.
So, this is a welcome sign of his competitiveness.
Also kudos to LeBron for harnessing it unlike others in the organization. These Lakers need time to determine how these oddly shaped pieces fit together – unless a star becomes available. Then, all bets are off.