Report: Pelicans ‘aggressively’ targeting first-round pick

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The Jrue Holiday trade could go down as one of the worst deals in NBA history.

Of course, the 76ers haven’t gotten a single second of playing time from the play anyone acquired in the deal with the Pelicans. It’s far from certain Philadelphia will even win the trade with full hindsight.

But the potential definitely exists for an all-time robbery.

New Orleans sent Philadelphia both Nerlens Noel and a first rounder which became the No. 10 pick this year. Noel, if not for injury, likely would have gone No. 1 last year. If he hasn’t lost any athleticism, he has star potential. In this draft, the 76ers could also land a gem at 10.

On the other side, Holiday has done nothing more than tread water with the Pelicans. You wonder whether they would have made the trade if Holiday didn’t hold the coveted “All-Star” label. And remember, Holiday received the less-significant “All-“ honor only because his 2012-13 season flowed in the “right” order. Here are his pre- and post-All-Star Game splits:

  • Pre: 19.0 points on 45.1 percent shooting with 8.9 assists per game
  • Post: 15.8 points on 38.9 percent shooting with 6.7 assists per game

Had those been reversed, Holiday never would have even made the All-Star team. New Orleans probably should have seen this coming, which is just another reason the trade holds potential as a heist for the ages.

Anyway.

Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports:

I bet the Pelicans wish they never traded the pick, but it’s too late now. They don’t have much to offer for a replacement first rounder.

Anthony Davis is far too valuable to trade. Eric Gordon, due to his contract and dispirited play, is too toxic. Holiday and Tyreke Evans are also paid too much to much to make a simple deal work, and I doubt New Orleans wants to admit defeat on either so soon. Austin Rivers’ value has probably sunk below a first rounder, especially in this loaded draft.

Ryan Anderson is the best trade candidate, but like others, his high salary ($8,308,500 on draft night) makes the cap complications difficult when the return is a pick that counts as $0 in a trade.

Maybe the Pelicans can trade future picks, but one future first rounder won’t buy a first rounder in this draft. Dealing future picks could get costly in a hurry.

New Orleans’ best bet might be getting  first rounder in exchange for taking a bad contract.

If Udonis Haslem opts in and the Heat want to pursue Carmelo Anthony, they might be open to trading the No. 26 pick as a sweetener for a team taking the final year of Haslem’s contract ($4.62 million). The Pelicans would have enough cap room to do that – on July 10. The teams could agree to a trade on draft night and complete it later, but Miami likely won’t even know then whether Haslem plants to opt in. The Heat probably wouldn’t let New Orleans dictate their first-round pick on the chance everything falls into line two weeks later.

If the Pelicans get a 2014 first-rounder, it’ll almost surely require a complicated trade.

If only it were was easy as dealing one away.

NBA makes it official, moves up free agency six hours to 6 p.m. June 30 (Eastern)

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I’d like to think this means we’ll all be able to go to bed at a reasonable hour on June 30. I also know better.

There is a frenzy of activity right as free agency opens (Tampering? There is no tampering in the NBA…), which traditionally has been as the clock turns to July 1 in New York, right at midnight. Things got so active that a lot of agents and players made sure they were in Los Angeles, even if they didn’t live there in the offseason, just so things started at the more reasonable hour of 9 p.m.

Now the NBA has made the rumors official: Free agency will begin at 6 p.m. Eastern on June 30. Six hours earlier than before.

This was done as an agreement between the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association.

This is going to be a wild July with a lot of big-name free agents — Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Klay Thompson, Jimmy Butler — and maybe a third of the players in the league on the market, plus there are a lot more teams with cap space to spend this season. It’s going to be a frenzy.

Now we know what time the wild times start.

Why does Kevin Durant respond on social media? “I’m qualified to talk about basketball”

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Every NBA player gets ripped on social media, even the guys who are not on social media. Most of the time players just ignore it, the way they ignore fans yelling stuff courtside or distant family asking them for money.

Kevin Durant, however, gets into it sometimes, even with national media members (and even had a burner account). Which always becomes a thing.

Why? Why not just ignore it? From Durant himself at practice Friday, via NBC Sports Bay Area.

“Because I have social media,” Durant said Friday… “I mean, I’m a human being with a social media account. I could see if I ventured off into like politics, culinary arts or music and gave my input, but I’m sticking to something that I know. You know what I’m saying? This is all I know. I’m actually talking about stuff that I know. I’m qualified to talk about basketball.

“So when I respond to something, especially if it’s about me personally, of course I’m going to tell you if you wrong about it. When I’m on the training table getting treatment on my calf and I see a tweet that come by and I disagree — I don’t talk to people because I’m worried about what they say, it’s just that I’m interested. So if you talking about in-game or the NBA Finals, they’re the same to me, you know what I’m saying?”

Durant seems to have more time on hands to get into these spats while he is out injured. Which likely will last into the start of the NBA Finals.

Does this mean the Drake/Durant beef is inevitable?

LeBron likes Instagram of Kyrie Irving in Lakers jersey, Internet goes berserk

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The Lakers landing Kyrie Irving in free agency this summer might be their best realistic option. It’s far, far from a lock — the Knicks, and yes Celtics, will make their pitch, too — but reuniting the pair that won a title in Cleveland is on the Lakers’ radar. (Insert your own, “you know who should coach this team” Tyronn Lue joke here.)

Fueling the speculation, LeBron James and Irving were seen hanging out together at a club in Los Angeles recently. Then Friday, this happened: Cuffthelegend posted this on Instagram and LeBron liked it.

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I like how this feels

A post shared by Savage Season 365 (@cuffsthelegend) on

(For the record, Cuffthelegend gets some stuff right, he’s not a guy who posts stuff out of nowhere.)

Of course, NBA Twitter and the web responded to this in its usual measured, thoughtful way. Some Lakers fans think the deal is done, others mock the idea altogether.

Two thoughts on Irving and the Lakers:

• Multiple reports say Irving is open to it. Irving also has a strong relationship with Kevin Durant, and Boston still plans to trade for Anthony Davis and then try to re-sign Irving (even if Boston fans are done with Kyrie). The only person who knows which way Irving is leaning right now is Irving, and there’s a good chance he changes his mind in the next five weeks anyway.

• If the Lakers are going to land a star free agent this summer, it will be because LeBron was an active recruiter. These elite players have options, and the Laker front office is not inspiring confidence of late, it will be on LeBron to win guys over.

 

Jeremy Lin: Milwaukee security guard asked for my pass to Raptors team bus

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Jeremy Lin has discussed people not believing he plays in the NBA.

It apparently still happens.

Lin, whose Raptors are playing the Bucks in the Eastern Conference finals, via Bill Michaels Sports Talk Network:

After Game 2 in Milwaukee, I was trying to get to the team bus and one of the dudes in the Milwaukee arena just screams at me. He’s like, “Where do you think you’re going?!” And I’m like, “Uh, I’m trying to get to the team bus.” He’s like, “What?! Where’s your pass?” I was like, “I don’t have a pass. I don’t know what you’re talking about. I don’t have a pass.”

This happens in a lot of arenas, so I just kind of go with the flow.

It’s a fine line. Lin shouldn’t be profiled as a non-athlete because he’s Asian-American. Arena staffers should keep everyone safe by stopping unauthorized people.