Just four days before the NBA Draft — and with that what has for the past couple years been the most active NBA trading season — rumors are flying around faster than twitter can keep up. Almost.
Chad Ford of ESPN had a couple of big ones in his latest mock draft. That starts with a number of teams wanting the Cavaliers No. 1 pick.
The Cavs received intriguing offers from the Sixers, Magic and Jazz late last week. Each is offering its own high lottery pick plus a veteran. The Cavs could theoretically get either of Thaddeus Young, Arron Afflalo or Derrick Favors and still have a top-5 pick in the draft. It would make it much easier to draft Embiid if you knew you got additional value in the form of a veteran who can help now.
If the Cavaliers do not grade out Andrew Wiggins as a transcendent player — and apparently they don’t as they were ready to take Joel Embiid in front of him — then a trade is a good option. The Cavs seem to be leaning toward taking Jabari Parker because he can be plugged into a need and help this season, rather than thinking who will be the best player in five years. That’s shortsighted. First off, the Cavs are not good enough at any position save point guard to think they don’t need an upgrade. This is not a good roster. If the Cavs don’t love the guy they would draft at the top trade out to 3-4-5, then they can get Jabari Parker there (or Embiid or Dante Exum or whoever) plus they get a veteran, good player who also can help now. But get the best player you can, the talent isn’t there in Cleveland for them to be picky.
Parker, however, doesn’t want to go to the Cavs, reports Ford.
Parker came in to work out on Friday in front of the Cavs’ front office and ownership. Parker wasn’t great. He was a bit heavy (he weighed in at 255 pounds), didn’t shoot the ball well and got winded at times. Furthermore, two different sources told ESPN.com that Parker seemed a bit indifferent. One source said he thought Parker “tanked” the workout.
Why? A source says he strongly prefers to play in Milwaukee. The Cavs appear to be aware of this. “Jabari wasn’t himself,” one source said. “It was clear we weren’t his first option.”
I don’t buy this. And it’s insulting to Parker.
Is it possible that Parker prefers the Bucks and being next to John Henson than what he has seen from the Cavaliers player development team in recent years? Sure. Not sure I would blame him.
But to suggest he would be so unprofessional as to tank a workout (and to publish that rumor) is crap — nobody I have every spoken to about Parker has been anything less than glowing about his professionalism and effort. Nobody has talked about him being out of shape or not giving it his all. Guys have off days, but this is more than that. This sounds more like Cavs people blowing smoke or trying to cover their own behinds than it does reality.
But it is the time of the NBA calendar for smoke and behind covering.
The Nets are hot on the heels of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.
What could put Brooklyn over the top to land those star free agents?
Maybe DeAndre Jordan.
Marc Stein of The New York Times:
If Jordan would help the Nets attract Durant and Irving, great. Sign Jordan.
But Jordan would also fit well at center if Brooklyn signs Durant and Irving.
The Nets need another center with Jarrett Allen, as Ed Davis hits free agency. They could ideally use someone bigger, like Jordan. Though Allen has positioned himself well as Brooklyn’s long-term center, Jordan could even start – if he comes motivated.
Jordan has drifted lately. He fell out of favor with the Clippers, never meshed with the Mavericks then finished last season with the losing Knicks rather than taking a buyout. Jordan has ability as a finisher and rim-protector, but he’s not as active as used to be, and energy is important for playing that style.
The Nets’ room exception, which projects to be worth nearly $5 million, might be the right amount for him.
Andre Iguodala is a smart businessman who is heavily invested in tech startups (as are several Golden State Warriors players). That — and the fact he’s a famous NBA player — made him a good guest on CNBC’s Power Lunch show Monday.
Iguodala also has a few good connections to the thinking of the Golden State Warriors’ free agents Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson. Here is his response when asked about free agency and the Warriors on the show.
Of course, he said he expects Durant and Thompson to come back to the Warriors, what did you expect him to say? However, it was the exit line that got noticed:
“Nobody’s going to the Knicks. Sorry.”
More and more it’s looking like that.
Sources have said Thompson is staying with the Warriors since the start, he was never in play. Durant and the Knicks have been linked all season, but suddenly rumors of him going to Brooklyn with Kyrie Irving (and maybe Durant’s good friend DeAndre Jordan) have gotten a lot louder around the league. Brooklyn may be the frontrunner, with the Clipper still on the fringes of the conversation. The Warriors may be on the outside looking in.
The Knicks want a meeting with Kawhi Leonard, but that is a two-team race between the Raptors and Clippers, with Toronto seeming to have the edge after winning a title.
The smart play by the Knicks, if this happens, is not to spend wildly on the next tier of free agents but rather to sit on their cap space, develop and add to their young core, and wait for another star. That seems to be the plan, but how long before James Dolan gets impatient and forces something stupid to happen. For the Knicks, that’s always a concern.
Portland is always on the search for some quality play and shot creation at the forward spots (something that is a long-running weak spot), and with this trade the Trail Blazers get a little better.
Atlanta is sending Kent Bazemore to Portland in exchange for Evan Turner in a straight up, two-player trade, a story broken by Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
Both players are in the final year of their somewhat overpaid contracts, Bazemore will make $19.3 million while Turner will pull down $18.6 million. Atlanta does save about $640,000.
This trade makes a lot of sense for Portland. Bazemore is a quality wing rotation player who averaged 11.6 points per game, is athletic and can create shots. Last season Bazemore was on his way to a career year until a mid-season ankle injury, and while he did come back to the court he was never healthy and the same player. He’s not a knock-down three-point shooter but he has usually been at around 35 percent or a little higher five of the past six seasons (he was down to 32 percent last season because of the ankle injury). This is more than just Rodney Hood insurance, this is an upgrade.
Turner was the guy Portland counted on as another shot creator, but he could not do that consistently or under pressure. He averaged 6.8 points per game last season, shot 21.2 percent from three, and is not a great defender. He is a popular teammate and good in the locker room (something useful with a young Hawks squad), but this is not an upgrade for the Hawks.
Then why did Atlanta make this trade? Good question. The franchise does save $640,000, which is helpful but not earth-shattering. Maybe it’s a favor to Bazemore to get him on a team that went to the Western Conference Finals a season ago and is a threat going forward. However, the best reason may be the Hawks have three young players they like — Kevin Huerter, plus just-drafted DeAndre Hunter and Cam Reddish — at the same spot and this frees up minutes for them to play.
Whatever the reason, the deal can get done soon, before free agency opens.
Knicks owner James Dolan escalates fight after fight after fight after fight after fight after fight after…
One of his latest battles has been with the New York Daily News, the newspaper that urged him to sell the team. The Knicks have repeatedly denied Daily News reporters access. Barring the Daily News from a recent press conference apparently crossed a line.
The NBA announced today that the New York Knicks have been fined $50,000 for violating the NBA’s rules regarding equal access for media.
The Knicks did not allow the New York Daily News access to their post-draft press conference on Friday, June 21 while allowing all other credentialed media who cover the team to attend.
The organization has agreed to comply with NBA Media Access Rules moving forward.
The Knicks released this statement:
“The Knicks acknowledge that we did not comply with the NBA’s media policy, and made an error in interpreting Friday’s announcement as an invite only event. As we do throughout the year, we have and will continue to provide access to credentialed media as per the League’s policy.” <
This has been a dumb plan by the Knicks. Even executed as designed, it makes them look bad.
The Knicks should be trying to generate enthusiasm around No. 3 pick R.J. Barrett and double-max cap space (which could turn into Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving). Instead, the Knicks are drawing attention to their thin skin and pettiness. And they’re not stopping the Daily News from writing about the team, anyway.
For Dolan, a $50,000 fine is small. But it’s larger than my confidence his franchise will abide by the league’s media rules – which are designed to ensure fans receive information – going forward.