Kevin Garnett on Nets: “I think everybody here is embarrassed”

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Frustration bubbling to the surface in the Nets locker room is understandable — after five straight losses and falling to 3-10 on the season Sunday with a loss to the Pistons I’d be more worried if they weren’t a little angry. Brooklyn has one of the worst defenses in the NBA so far this season and its offense is stagnant and filled with easy-to-defend isolations.

How the team handles that frustration remains to be seen.

Kevin Garnett summed it up well, but also put a more positive spin on it than his teammates, via ESPNNewYork.com.

“I think everybody here is embarrassed,” said power forward Kevin Garnett, who went 2-for-9 from the field in 23 minutes and is shooting 34.9 percent from the field this season. “You definitely don’t want [to be booed] at home. Like I’ve been saying, we’re going to continue to work to try to change this as best we can.”

Coach Jason Kidd has the backing of management but the first signs of any player frustration with the coach bubbled to the surface in this kind of back and forth from Kidd and Paul Pierce, via the New York Daily News.

“(The second unit) deserved to play. I should have let them play the whole game or the whole quarter,” Kidd said after wrapping up a long meeting with GM Billy King and his two assistant GMs, which they conducted in the hallways of the locker room area. “They’re playing, you know, for one another. It’s not perfect but that group that gave us an opportunity by cutting it to eight.”

“We got to understand teams aren’t going to play the same way they did in the first half as they did in the second half because teams make adjustments, especially when they are down,” Pierce said. “And we got to realize that and adjust with that.”

The Nets need a lot of help, but it starts with getting healthy — they need Deron Williams and Brook Lopez. Especially Lopez. Once they have everyone they can work on the defensive issues (Lopez really helps there, as is pointed out at Hoopscritic) and getting some movement in the offense.

The good news is with all the struggles they remain just two games out of the playoffs in an East and three games out of the lead in the weak Atlantic, this could be turned around quickly.

Rumor: Patrick Beverley may meet with five teams before Clippers

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The Los Angeles Clippers want to bring Patrick Beverley back next season, his spark was at the heart of why this team made the playoffs and impressed with their potential.

First, however, the Clippers are going big game hunting for the likes of Kawhi Leonard and/or Kevin Durant (even with the Achilles injury). Beverley isn’t just going to sit around and wait for them, reports longtime NBA reporter Sean Deveney Tweeted.

The Bulls need a point guard and Beverley — a Chicago native — has said he is interested.

The Lakers also are reportedly big game hunting, but Beverley is the kind of guard they could use around LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Phoenix and other teams have been mentioned.

Beverley is going to have options, but he loved his time with the Clippers last season, and that means something.

Pelicans reportedly pick up option year on coach Alvin Gentry

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David Griffin, the guy with the hammer in New Orleans, likes Alvin Gentry. They have a relationship that goes back to Phoenix, where Gentry was the coach and Griffin was in the front office (and was eventually GM).

Gentry also has a style of play — he wants to run and be up-tempo. That should fit very well with soon-to-be No. 1 draft pick Zion Williamson.

So it shouldn’t be a surprise the Griffin and the Pelicans want to keep Gentry around, as reported by Malika Andrews of ESPN.

This is another smart, stabilizing move by Griffin. The Pelicans want to build an athletic, fast-paced team and Gentry is the right coach for that style.  Maybe it doesn’t pan out, maybe the Pelicans ultimately need to go another direction with their coach, but right now this seems a good fit.

Report: Utah “frontrunner” to land Mike Conley Jr. if Memphis trades him this week

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Utah feels like it is close — a 50-win team two seasons in a row, an elite defense, an All-NBA center in Rudy Gobert and an elite shot creator in Donovan Michell. They look at the West next season, with a depleted Warriors team, and see an opening.

Yet when Utah fell to Houston 4-1 in the first round of the playoffs this year, it was reminded of what is keeping the team from being truly elite, and another shot creator and shooter is at the top of that list.

Enter Mike Conley Jr. He averaged 21.1 points and 6.4 assists per game last season, shot 36.4 percent from three, and plays strong defense. Conley would be an upgrade over Ricky Rubio at the spot.

The almost All-Star point guard out of Memphis is available via trade. He’s the kind of veteran floor general, shooter, and shot creator Utah could use. The Jazz and Grizzlies talked but couldn’t come to an agreement at the trade deadline, but the sides are talking again and conversations are “intensifying” in the run-up to the NBA Draft Thursday, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic.

The Grizzlies are intensifying talks to potentially move franchise cornerstone Mike Conley Jr., league sources told The Athletic. Memphis has been in conversations with the Jazz and Utah is a frontrunner to acquire Conley should the Grizzlies trade the point guard during draft week, league sources said.

What would be in a trade package? Certainly the No. 23 pick in this draft, plus some young players the Grizzlies like (maybe Grayson Allen, Royce O’Neal, and even someone like Jae Crowder. Reports say Derick Favors is not part of the discussion.

While anything can happen the week of the draft — and things change quickly — don’t be surprised if some version of this trade gets done.

Kawhi Leonard wins day with last laugh — his viral laugh — at end of speech

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Kawhi Leonard just won again.

He won his second NBA title leading the Toronto Raptors to the franchise’s first crown. He earned his second Finals MVP in the process.

Then on Monday he had the last laugh and won the Raptors’ championship parade in Toronto by ending his speech with his laugh, the same one that went viral at the start of the season.

Of course, what Leonard will do on July 1 was a cloud hanging over the parade, Leonard is a free agent this summer. Kyle Lowry at one point started a “five more years” chant during the parade, which is the maximum number of years Toronto can re-sign Leonard for.

Leonard, exactly as we all should have expected, dodged the question, while praising his time in Toronto.

Unfortunately, this was a parade marred by more serious concerns.