Report: Ty Lawson, Kenneth Faried among many Nuggets available in trades

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Denver is a team in transition. What they are transitioning too is a question nobody around the league can answer, Denver appears a confused mess. But they are transitioning.

With that, basically their entire roster is available via trade — including quality players such as Ty Lawson and Kenneth Faried. That is in addition to the often rumored Arron Afflalo and Wilson Chandler, who have been shopped for a while.

Zach Lowe of Grantland had his usual, fantastic breakdown of Denver approaching the trade deadline.

They’ve been seeking multiple first-round picks for both Wilson Chandler and Arron Afflalo, talking with obvious contender types like the Blazers and ambulance-chasing with banged-up playoff teams like the Wizards. Snagging two firsts for Timofey Mozgov emboldened the Denver front office to chase big returns, and the rest of the league is waiting for Denver to step back as the deadline approaches. Anyone could have JaVale McGee for a fruit basket.

The more interesting questions surround Ty Lawson and Kenneth Faried. Denver isn’t shopping those guys, but Jusuf Nurkic is the only true untouchable on the roster, per several league sources who have dealt with the Nuggets. The sense around the league is that you could land Lawson or Faried with a Godfather offer. They are gettable. Boston and Denver have had exploratory talks about Lawson, per several sources.

Lawson isn’t inexpensive — he is owed $25.6 million total for two seasons after this one — but he provides production on the court. He is averaging 16.9 points and more than 10 assists a game, and especially in a more up-tempo system he could be a key part of a quality team.

It’s much harder to imagine Faried getting moved. Never say never, but four-year, $50 million extension kicks in next season, which is going to scare teams off. Faried brings energy through that points (15.4 a game) and rebounds (11 a game). But he’s not a guy you run the offense through, he’s best suited to be the third option on a team. Picture how he played so well for Team USA last summer because defenses had to focus on James Harden, Anthony Davis, and others — that opened up room for Faried to do his thing. That thing is valuable, but teams will balk at the price tag.

More likely is Denver taking back less than it is asking now to move Afflalo or Wilson. Those talks are still going on but are not yet heated, reports Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.

Denver is the poster child for this coming trade deadline — they are talking to a lot of teams about a lot of different players, but they are not likely to get a deal done before the Feb. 19. Maybe they pull off a small deal, but it’s not going to be the big deals we used to see at the deadline.

Patrick Beverley reportedly gloated to LeBron James about Kawhi Leonard signing

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The NBA has decided to change how they regulate tampering. Whether those harsher rules will lead to real change or simply to different circumvention is still yet to be seen.

Meanwhile, we have heard all the stories about how the Los Angeles Clippers landed both Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. Leonard was of course a major Los Angeles Lakers target, and it was disappointing for those in Lakerland that they didn’t land him.

Of course, Clippers guard Patrick Beverley was probably pretty happy about how things went, and now we have a story to back that up.

Speaking on Adrian Wojnarowski’s podcast this week, Brian Windhorst relate a story that he heard about Beverly celebrating around LeBron James after his team snagged Leonard.

As Windhorst tells the story, there were several groups of NBA players in private dining rooms at a restaurant in Las Vegas during summer league. Paul George was in one room, and James was in another. After hearing the news that the Clippers landed Leonard, Beverley walked into several rooms containing NBA players to gloat.

Via Woj Pod:

And so the deal actually gets done. [Adrian Wojnarowski reports] that Kawhi has not only agreed to sign with the Clippers, but the Clippers are trading half their future for Paul George, it’s a stunning development. And it all goes down while those players are at the same restaurant in various private rooms.

The story that I heard was that Patrick was making a beeline down the hallway of private rooms — sticking his head into all the rooms gloating about the Clippers’ giant haul — including into LeBron’s room.

This feels like it’s right on brand for Beverley.

Now the Clippers will need to prove they’re better than the Lakers on the court (and not just on paper).

Collin Sexton says he’s going to wear fan-designed shoes this season

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Cleveland Cavaliers second-year point guard Collin Sexton is already a fan-favorite in northeastern Ohio. This year, it appears that Sexton is trying to deepen that connection.

In a message posted to Twitter on Sunday, Sexton reached out to his followers to design a new set of shoes for him this year. The Cavaliers sophomore said that he will take the top five designs that fans submit and then wear them throughout the course of the upcoming 2019-20 NBA season.

Via Twitter:

This is a pretty cool idea, and a great way to have a direct link between fans and players. Social media is in an era of extreme personal branding, and even if this is a thinly-veiled Nike marketing thing, it at least has a twinge of genuineness to it.

The only thing left now is to see what designs people submit, and whether Sexton’s taste is any good.

James Harden plays in Rico Hines games at UCLA and destroys people

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Elite NBA defenders, with a team and a game plan behind them, can’t slow down James Harden.

So imagine what happens when he shows up for an open run.

One spot a lot of NBA players head in the summer to get some games in is Rico Hines’ games at UCLA. Harden showed up and, well, you know what comes next. Via Ball is Life.

The man is so smooth, so under control, and just able to get buckets however he wants. It’s just fun to watch. Unless you’re an opposing coach.

Could Kevin Durant return from torn Achilles, play for Nets this season? Maybe…

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Every case is different, but many players return from a torn Achilles in about nine to 10 months. Kobe Bryant pushed and did it in eight. Other players will take a full year.

If Kevin Durant returned in nine months it would be March, enough time to get in game shape and be ready for the Nets’ playoff run.

There’s a growing sense from teams we could see just that scenario, and Spencer Dinwiddie talked about it with Brian Lewis of the New York Post.

Though Nets GM Sean Marks refused to rule Durant out for the season, the feeling within the league is trending toward him potentially playing this season.

“I know KD is taking the rehab process ultra-serious. He wants to come back as soon as it’s appropriate, and healthy and the right decision for him, and then also subsequently that would also be the right decision for,” said Dinwiddie, who points out that even a slightly-diminished Durant could still be a superstar.

“The beautiful part about this is, the man is 7-foot and one of the best shooters of all time. At worst you get Dirk [Nowitzki], and Dirk was a monster. So we’re ready for him to come back whenever he wants to and whenever he’s ready to do so, and we know that he’s going to be a phenomenal major piece of our roster.”

Durant is an intense competitor who wants to get back on the court. He pushed to get back from a calf injury and play in the NBA Finals only to suffer the Achilles tear. He’s smart enough to be sure he’s all the way back before he steps on the court, if that means he sits out a full season so be it. However, he absolutely could return this season.

If he’s back, the Nets go from interesting team to potential threat to the Bucks and Sixers at the top of the conference. Durant was the best player in the world the past couple of years and he could return to that status quickly, and lift Brooklyn up with him.