NBA Trade Deadline Tracker: All the trades, rumors, analysis, fun in one place

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It’s the one day on the NBA calendar you know is going to be like a roller coaster — rumors are going to fly, deals are going to appear close then fall apart, complete fabrications will fascinate a fan base who will then blame a GM for not making them reality, and in the end there will be a few trades. However, if you think your team trading for a big star is a lock to improve your team, you may want to think again.

Today may end up being light on actual deals getting done, but we will have everything going on here:

3:41 pm: TRADE FINALIZED: The trade of the day snuck in at the wire — the Pacers have  traded Danny Granger to the Sixers for Evan Turner and Lavoy Allen. Wow. Indiana is a title contender that just sent their sixth man away to gamble on Evan Turner in that role —  like the gamble, but it is one. Granger is averaging 8.3 points a game in 22.5 minutes a night, with a true shooting percentage of 49.1 — not that impressive and he was getting paid $13 million. Turner is scoring at a higher pace in Philly, 17.4 points a game, but he was forced into that role because of that roster. That said, taking on that higher scoring load Turner has a higher true shooting percentage (50.4) and he may well be an upgrade for the Pacers in that role. The question is can he blend in with the Pacers culture and second unit. It’s a gamble.

3:20 pm: TRADE FINALIZED: The Los Angeles Clippers are sending Byron Mullens to the Philadelphia 76ers. Not sure what is coming back to the Clippers yet. Not exactly earth shattering but Mullens gives the Sixers a floor spacing big as they traded Spencer Hawes away. For the Clippers, this move and the Jamison move save them millions, they are just over the tax line by a couple hundred thousand. That said, their front line depth is now DeAndre Jordan/Blake Griffin, then Ryan Hollins, after that…. nobody. (Ramona Shelburne)

3:12 pm: TRADE FINALIZED: One trade that did slip in under the deadline — San Antonio sends Nando De Colo to the Toronto Raptors for Austin Daye. That’s an exchange of guys at the end of the bench, although De Colo could get limited run in Toronto. I’d dismiss this move for the Spurs, but the way trades work for them he probably starts playing like an All-Star. (Adrian Wojnarowski)

3:02 pm: There is no deal between the Clippers and Knicks. It was too much to fit together under the pressure of the deadline, and the Clippers just did not want the Felton salary.  The Clippers did agree to send Antawn Jamison to the Atlanta Hawks at the deadline but that was not precursor deal.  (Adrian Wojnarowski)

3:00 pm: THE DEADLINE HAS COME AND GONE. (Some deals submitted just before the deadline will trickle out in the coming hour.)

2:59 pm: Knicks/Clippers discussing Darren Collison, Willie Green and Matt Barnes for Iman Shumpert and Raymond Felton. Right up to the deadline. (Adrian Wojnarowski)

2:57 pm: Jarrett Jack to Minnesota is dead, not gonna happen.

2:54 pm: The Denver Nuggets announce that JaVale McGee has had surgery on the stress fracture in his leg that has kept him out all season. This makes it official, no Pierre until next season.

2:46 pm: Lakers talking to Philadelphia about sending big man Chris Kaman east. For the Lakers this would be about saving cash, the Sixers have the cap room to take him on and if they can they want to get over the league minimum salary number. (Ramona Shelburne)

2:43 pm: With Iman Shumpert only having a sprain and likely to miss a couple weeks, the Clippers are reportedly taking one last look at a trade for him. The issue has been the Knicks want the Clippers to take Raymond Felton’s contract and Los Angeles has no interest.  I don’t see how that has changed. (Marc Stein)

2:41 pm: No, there is not going to be a last-minute deal for Pau Gasol. The Lakers will keep him, they will have his Bird rights, but know that there is little chance he is back next season. (Ken Berger)

2:28 pm: At the last minute the Golden State Warriors are shopping Jordan Crawford. Getting Steve Blake allows the Warriors to do this.  (Adrian Wojnarowski)

2:20 pm: The Los Angeles Clippers are going to stand pat at the trade deadline. (Dan Woike)

2:14 pm: The Lakers have held out that they want more than just cash savings for Jordan Hill, teams have been reluctant to do that (some have suggested the Lakers should send out a second round pick since the other team will save them $7 million is salary and taxes). With nothing happening it is starting to look like Hill may be a Laker after the deadline. (Ken Berger)

2:10 pm: TRADE FINALIZED: The Denver Nuggets will send Jordan Hamilton to the Houston Rockets in exchange for Arron Brooks. Good deal for both teams — Denver wanted a backup point guard behind Ty Lawson, they get one. Hamilton gives the Rockets an athletic wing off the bench. (Adrian Wojnarowski)

1:56 pm: Iman Shumpert’s MRI came back showing just a sprain, nothing that requires surgery. That means it is possible he ends up in a trade in the final hour before the trade deadline.  (Ken Berger)

1:49 pm: Denver has come to terms to send Jordan Hamilton to Houston for Aaron Brooks. Nice pick up for the Rockets, who wanted a more athletic wing off the bench and really don’t need Brooks. Denver gets a solid backup for Ty Lawson, something they haven’t had since Andre Miller was banished to Siberia (or wherever Brian Shaw’s doghouse is). (Adrian Wojnarowski)

1:31 pm: Minnesota missed out on Andre Miller, so now they are talking to Cleveland about Jarrett Jack. (David Aldridge)

1:27 pm: If the Iman Shumpert MRI comes out negative and it is just a sprain he will be back in play for trades — and he may go to Oklahoma City for a first-round pick. Doc Rivers and the Clippers would still be interested but L.A. didn’t want to take on Raymond Felton’s contract and I doubt that changed. A first round pick will make Shumpert a part of the Thunder, if that report is accurate. (Chris Broussard)

1:23 pm: Among the massive amount of trades that died on the vine you can add the Kings/Cavs Jason Thompson-for-Jarrett Jack one.  (Sam Amick)

1:03 pm: It appears the Tyler Zeller to the Clippers for Reggie Bullock trade is DOA. (Ken Berger)

12:53 pm: With their taking on Eric Maynor and picks, the Philadelphia 76ers now have five picks in the second round of this year’s draft. Plus multiple ones in future years. That, my friend, is leverage for future deals.

12:46 pm: TRADE FINALIZED: The Charlotte Bobcats acquire Luke Ridnour and Gary Neal from the Milwaukee Bucks for Ramon Sessions and Jeff Adrien. This move gives the Bobcats some quality backcourt depth that can help them hold on to one of the final playoff spots in the East.  (Rick Bonnell)

12:40 pm: TRADE FINALIZED: The Washington Wizards have added some veteran depth to go with John Wall and Bradley Beal in the backcourt. In a three team-trade the Wizards will get Andre Miller — who should be a good fit with them, a veteran they could use in the locker room — while as part of the deal Denver gets Jan Vesely, while the Sixers will land Eric Maynor from Washington plus two second-round picks belonging to Denver — both reportedly 2014 ones. I like this for the Sixers, depending on the picks and protections on them. For Denver Vesely is a nice gamble but those two picks make it seem expensive just to dump Miller.  (Adrian Wojnarowski)

12:34 pm: Looks like we are close to another trade — Denver and Washington are “close” to a deal sending Andre Miller to the Wizards for Eric Maynor and Jan Vesely, although the Nuggets would quickly flip Maynor to a third team.  (Adrian Wojnarowski)

12:29 pm: It’s not likely, but the trade idea of Caron Butler and Gary Neal to Charlotte for Ben Gordon and another contract is not yet dead. Neal to Charlotte looks like it will happen, adding in Butler complicates matters.  (Gery Woelfel)

12:26 pm: The Knicks are working the phones hard, looking for a new point guard, but not making any progress. Remember, with Iman Shumpert spraining his surgically repaired knee, he is pretty much off the trade block. (Sam Amick)

12:22 pm: The Detroit Pistons are trying to shop Josh Smith around, but they want value back not just expiring contracts. That should provide other GMs a much-needed laugh on a tense day. (Zach Lowe)

12:18 pm: Here is your Andre Miller update — it looks as if Washington and Minnesota are the only two teams left trying to land him with the Wizards in the lead (if it is Washington don’t expect Eric Maynor to be part of the package heading back to Denver). However, most executives think no deal will be made and the Nuggets will just buy Miller out and make him a free agent. (Sean Deveney)

11:45 am: Gary Neal was always likely to be dealt by the Bucks today and they are now close to making a deal with the Charlotte Bobcats. Not a lot of details yet, but that’s a solid pickup for Charlotte, which wants to solidify its spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs (their sweep of a home-and-home with Detroit this week certainly helped that). (Ken Berger)

• The Clippers have been hesitant to part with Reggie Bullock, but they need front line depth desperately so have had talks about sending him to Cleveland for Tyler Zeller. (Brian Windhorst)

• Indiana has tested the trade market for Danny Granger but you were always going to have to blow them away with a deal because: 1) They liked the idea of the cap space they get with him leaving at the end of the season (or re-signing for much less); 2) He’s proven to be a good sixth man and they will need his offense come the playoffs. The Pacers haven’t found any deals for Granger they like and will probably keep him. (Brian Windhorst)

11:21 am: REPORTED TRADE: The Sacramento Kings will acquire Roger Mason Jr. from the Miami Heat, then are going to turn around and waived the little-used veteran. This really is just teams shifting around a few dollars — it is virtually a straight cash deal. Technically the Kings will send a protected second round pick back to the Heat, but it will be so heavily protected that Miami will never really see it. Miami is doing this to clear out a roster space so when players get bought out after the deadline they can sign them. The Kings are doing it for the straight cash money.  (Ken Berger)

11:17 am: The Cavaliers are finding it hard to find anyone to dance with who wants Luol Deng — Detroit and Minnesota are lukewarm and the Suns are not willing to give Cleveland a first-round pick to rent him for 30 games. Nobody is going to give up much for a guy who wants to test free agency this summer. (Ken Berger)

• Speaking of Cleveland, it appears that Jarrett Jack still will be a Cavalier after the trade deadline. That’s good for their playoff hopes. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

11:07 am: The New Orleans Pelicans are shopping around D-League star Pierre Jackson. If they don’t find a deal he will go overseas to play for Fenerbahce in Turkey the rest of the season (and make more money). There should be interest in him around the league, however. (Marc Stein)

10:52 am: While the fact that Luol Deng refuses to sign an extension complicates matters considerably (he wisely for his sake wants to test the free agent market), the Wizards, Mavericks and Pistons are all reportedly still talking to Cleveland about a deal for him. However, any deal appears unlikely.  (Marc Stein)

• On a lighter, non-trade note: No, Blake Griffin did not beat up Justin Bieber in a Starbucks. We kind of all secretly wished it were true, but it wasn’t.

10:44 am: New Orleans is  backing away from the Lakers and Jordan Hill. That leaves the Nets and Hawks still in the mix, with the Nets the frontrunner. (Adrian Wojnarowski)

10:22 am:

COMPLETED TRADE: The Philadelphia 76ers have agreed to move Spencer Hawes to the Cleveland Cavaliers for Earl Clark and Henry Sims (both expiring contracts) and two second round draft picks. Not a bad haul for Philly. The Sixers had been holding out for first round picks but have lowered their standards at the deadline to get a deal done and did pretty well. Cleveland, winners of six in a row, have upgraded their front line with trades when you look at Hawes and Luol Deng, but I still don’t see much of a master plan there.

• The Sacramento Kings are shopping Jimmer Fredette hard, looking for a 2014 second round pick. His stock has fallen that far, but he might be worth a gamble at that price. (Adrian Wojnarowski)

• Lakers are talking with three teams who have a disabled player exception — Pelicans, Nets, Hawks — about Jordan Hill. Lakers trying to get one of them to throw in a second round pick to get the deal done, teams are hesitant. (Marc Stein)

• Denver still talking to teams about Andre Miller, who is deep in coach Brian Shaw’s dog house. Minnesota and Washington appear the frontrunners. (Sam Amick)

• For those of you thinking Kevin Love is going to get moved today, you can give up on that dream.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT FROM WEDNESDAY:

The Lakers traded Steve Blake to the Golden State Warriors for Kent Bazemore and MarShon Brooks.

• Iman Shumpert sprained his knee on Wednesday night, which turned a trade of him from unlikely to nearly impossible.

• The Sacramento Kings agreed to trade Marcus Thornton to the New Jersey Nets for Jason Terry and Reggie Evans.

Report: Pistons searching for new general manager

Pistons executive Ed Stefanski
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The Pistons hired Ed Stefanski as a senior advisor to owner Tom Gores in 2018. Among Stefanski’s duties: Assist in the ongoing search for a new head of basketball operations. But it quickly became clear Stefanski would just run the front office himself.

Now, two years later, Detroit is finally getting around to that general-manager search.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

The Detroit Pistons are opening a search to hire a general manager to work with senior advisor Ed Stefanski, sources tell ESPN.

Stefanski will be working with Pistons and Palace Sports Vice Chairman Arn Tellem on the process to hire a GM, sources said.

Rod Beard of The Detroit News:

If Stefanski is still running the front office, a new general manager would be the No. 2 – equivalent to assistant general manager on many teams.

After taking over an inflexible roster left by Stan Van Gundy, Stefanski couldn’t do much. Stefanski’s big move was trading Andre Drummond to the Cavaliers just before the trade deadline. That positioned Detroit to have major cap space next offseason, but it’s unclear how much will actually materialize. The salary cap could drop due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Pistons must determine whether they’re still building around Blake Griffin, the 31-year-old due $36,810,996 and $38,957,028 the next two years. Last season, he returned to stardom and carried Detroit into the playoffs. This season, he missed most of the year due to injury.

If they’re trying to win now with Griffin, the Pistons are short on quality complementary players. If Detroit is ready to rebuild, its pool of young talent – Luke Kennard, Sekou Doumbouya, Bruce Brown, impending free agent Christian Wood, its own first-round pick – is hardly assured of success.

After years of being stuck on a path charted under the Van Gundy regime, the Pistons can soon pick a new course. This is the time get the front office up to full staffing.

Report: NBA could resume with group stage

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A fundamental conflict for the NBA:

  • The more traditional of a season – all 30 teams playing 82 games, four rounds of best-of-seven series – the league completes, the more more money it will make.
  • The more teams involved in a resumed season, the higher risk of coronavirus spreading throughout the league.

That’s why the NBA is considering a middle ground – resuming without teams far outside playoff position.

But how would the league structure a format for 20 teams?

Maybe a group stage to replace the first round of the playoffs.

Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer:

The 16 current playoff teams would qualify for the group stage, plus the four teams with the next-best records (Trail Blazers, Pelicans, Kings, and Spurs). The remaining 10 teams would be done for the season. The survey sent to each general manager noted that “tiers” would first be created using the regular-season standings to ensure competitive balance between the groups.

Groups could then be randomly drawn, with one team from each tier going into each group. The NBA is working on approaches to fairly balance the groupings, such as limiting each group to only three Western Conference teams, according to multiple front office sources. Drawings for the group stage could be televised, league sources say.

As an alternative to having groups randomly selected, multiple league sources say the league has considered allowing Tier 1 teams—the Bucks, Lakers, Raptors, Clippers—to draft their own groups.

Teams would play opponents within their own groups twice, meaning every team would play eight games. The two teams in each group with the best record would move on.

Based on the current standings, the tiers would be:

  • Tier 1: Bucks, Lakers, Raptors, Clippers
  • Tier 2: Celtics, Nuggets, Jazz, Heat
  • Tier 3: Thunder, Rockets, Pacers, 76ers
  • Tier 4: Mavericks, Grizzlies, Nets, Magic
  • Tier 5: Trail Blazers, Pelicans, Kings, Spurs

As far as ways to resume with 20 teams, this isn’t bad. The draw – whether random or top-team choice – alone would be a revenue-drawing TV event.

The ninth-place (Wizards) and 10th-place (Hornets) teams in the Eastern Conference might argue they should be included over the 11th-place (Kings) and 12th-place (Spurs) teams in the Western Conference. But Sacramento and San Antonio have better records than Washington and Charlotte. If there were ever a time not to stress conference affiliations, it’s now with the league preparing to resume in a single location.

There would be increased risk for top teams getting knocked out early if their group is challenging. They’ve already lost home-court advantage. But there’s also chance of upset in a regular playoff series. Besides, downside could be mitigated by allowing the top teams to draft their groups* and using regular-season record as a tiebreaker.

*This could even be done in reverse – i.e., the top teams selecting which lower-tier teams not to put in their own group.

The Bucks, Lakers, Raptors and Clippers could rotate selecting lower-tier teams to avoid. Once three top-tier teams have nixed a team, that lower-tier team would be placed in the fourth top-tier team’s group. Each group would still be required to have one team from each tier.

Or maybe the top-tier teams could even rotate sticking lower-tier teams into a specific top-tier team’s group. The Bucks could use their first selection on placing the 76ers into the Lakers’ group, for example.

There are many possibilities how to structure a group draft.

If the NBA locks into resuming with 20 teams, the other 10 teams would be incentivized to vote for whatever system generates the most revenue. Those 10 votes could boost any proposal that would otherwise be doomed by teams trying to clear their own path deep into the playoffs.

This system would satisfy players on marginal teams – like Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard – who want to play only if the games are meaningful. It’d also allow the worst teams just to be done.

The draft order and lottery odds would have to be re-considered with a 20-team group phase. Though that’s a minor issue, it’d involve every team. Again, self-interest would creep in.

This idea has some rough precedent. In 1954, the playoffs began with three-team round robins in each the East and West.

The bigger question is how many NBA teams should resume? But if the best answer is 20, this is the best format I’ve seen.

Lakers’ Jeanie Buss talks steps that led to brother Jim’s removal

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Late Lakers’ owner Jerry Buss set up a very detailed trust and succession plan for his beloved franchise. His daughter Jeanie Buss would be the team’s governor, and his son Jim Buss would run basketball operations. If there was an issue, Jeanie had the ultimate power.

In 2017, after the Lakers missed the playoffs for a fifth straight year and were floundering as an organization, Jeanie used that power to oust Jim and bring in a new front office (Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka, of which only Pelinka remains). Recently, Jeanie appeared on the “Daddy Issues with Joe Buck and Oliver Hudson” podcast and laid out the philosophy behind removing her brother. (Hat tip Lakers Nation)

“When my brother wasn’t going with the way my dad did things, it was a little distressing for me…

“You’re down and losing, and then my brother was changing coaches every 18 months. Sometimes you have to make coaching changes, I get that. But when you go from a coach like Mike Brown, whose emphasis was defense, to a coach like Mike D’Antoni, who really doesn’t worry so much about defense, that’s two different rosters that you need. Then the outside world thinks, ‘They don’t know what direction they’re going in.’

“You should be able to see a pathway as you hire a coach, you give him the players for his style of basketball and you make decisions that follow ones before it. You follow the path and what the person is thinking. But I couldn’t see what was going on, where he was trying to go and what our identity was going to be as a team.”

The path was clearer with Magic and Pelinka because they quickly landed LeBron James as a free agent (how much they had to do with LeBron’s decision is up for debate). The Lakers instantly became a win-now team and, a year later, traded a lot of the young players and picks to put Anthony Davis next to LeBron. The result has been the team with the best record in the West heading into the playoffs (whatever they look like).

Jim Buss swung and missed plenty, but he had a few hits as well. From the outside looking in, the biggest challenge seemed to be he operated with a mindset of “Laker exceptionalism” — that the very best players would always flock to the Lakers because they are the Lakers. The NBA doesn’t work that way anymore. No doubt, the Lakers have advantages few franchises can match. But from Jerry Buss to Jerry West and Mitch Kupchak, all through the Lakers’ successful runs, they didn’t approach things with a mindset of exceptionalism. The Lakers’ front office was bold, but it was grounded and smart — they identified and developed talent, they always had a strong core, and they had strong relationships with players. It wasn’t exceptionalism, it was hard work.

On top of that, Jim had become the scapegoat of Lakers’ fans, the focus of their blame for the years not in the playoffs. Fair or not, it became a public relations issue, not just a management issue.

Jeanie made the right move. And it may even lead to another ring soon.

Damian Lillard: I won’t play if Trail Blazers have no shot at playoffs

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Most players on lottery-bound teams reportedly prefer to be finished rather than return as the NBA attempts to finish its season amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Someone finally put his name behind that sentiment.

Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard, via Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports:

“If we come back and they’re just like, ‘We’re adding a few games to finish the regular season,’ and they’re throwing us out there for meaningless games and we don’t have a true opportunity to get into the playoffs, I’m going to be with my team because I’m a part of the team. But I’m not going to be participating. I’m telling you that right now. And you can put that [expletive] in there,” Lillard told Yahoo Sports on Tuesday morning via phone.

I do feel like if we do come back and our mind is right, we can beat anyone. It’s going to be hard to get going with no fans, you’ve been off all this time and some people are just ready for summer like, ‘[Expletive] it, I haven’t played in a long time and the season is basically over to me. Do I really care like I cared before?’ It’s going to be a lot of those factors going on and that presents a lot of room for a team to sneak some [expletive]. Like, really mess around and knock some teams off and then, ‘Oh, they’re in the Western Conference finals.’ It’s room for that with this situation. So the fact that it’s possible and we wouldn’t get an opportunity at that, that’s weak to me. I ain’t getting no younger.”

In ninth place, Portland is 3.5 games behind the eighth-place Grizzlies. The Trail Blazers might still have a chance to reach the playoffs. It depends on the NBA’s format for resumption.

There’s consideration to bringing back only teams with a postseason chance, anyway. But there’s also talk of all 30 teams playing in order to fulfill local TV contracts.

Lillard is a tremendous leader. If he doesn’t play, that would cast such a negative feeling onto his Portland teammates – and beyond. Lillard’s voice could affect how the entire league handles its return.

With a super-max extension already signed, Lillard has the luxury of being able to afford risking his paycheck by not playing. Not everyone can do that. There are major complications in determining how much money, if any, non-returning players should earn.

This also gets into an issue even in normal times: There are too many games late in the season involving at least one team incentivized to lose. The Trail Blazers have made the playoffs every season after Lillard’s rookie year. He has never had to worry about this since becoming a star. But players and teams annually grapple with games that, at best, don’t really matter. It creates a horrible product.

The concern is just magnified now because of the heightened risk of playing.

The NBA should listen to Lillard’s apprehension, realize he’s not alone and take it seriously. Then, whenever normal play resumes, the league should also realize this type of situation comes up – admittedly, with lower stakes – every year.