The Houston Rockets desperately need help on the wing (among other things, but wing is the personnel focus). The Rockets would also like to have less salary on the books next season, giving them some flexibility and lowering the tax bill.
J.R. Smith fits both of those bills, so Houston and GM Daryl Morey are at least taking a look at a potential trade, reports Marc Stein of the New York Times.
While there is some logic to this, we are a long way from it being a reality. Smith does not exactly have a positive trade value, at least as a player right now.
Smith was part of the rotation that helped the LeBron-led Cavaliers reach the NBA Finals last season, but he will be best remembered for the Game 1 blunder in the Finals that deflated the Cavs. Without the playmaking of LeBron, Smith struggled to start this season, shooting 34 percent for the Cavaliers in limited minutes, before going on hiatus from the team. That said, in a better situation where he was asked to play a small and specific role, maybe he could still help.
Smith is guaranteed $18.59 million this season but only $3.87 million of his $15.68 million salary for next season is guaranteed.
Houston seems a logical fit. Money wise, a Brandon Knight for Smith trade works, but the Rockets will have to throw in picks or other sweeteners to get the Cavaliers interested. Cleveland also likely will be patient, hoping that as the deadline gets closer there is a little bidding war for Smith.
Still, the Rockets are active on the trade market (as always), and they need wings, so this is worth keeping an eye on.
Luke Walton is being sued by a female reporter claiming sexual assault from a hotel room incident that dates back to before he was hired as the Lakers’ head coach (he was recently let go from that position and is currently the coach of the Sacramento Kings).
Kelli Tennant was writing a book and wanted Walton to write the forward, according to a lawsuit obtained by TMZ. The two had a business relationship and she agreed to meet him in a Santa Monica hotel to discuss him writing the forward to the book, according to the report. We’ll let TMZ take it from there:
In the suit, Tennant says when she arrived at Walton’s hotel, he convinced her to come up to his room so they could discuss the book. She claims when they got up to his room, Walton suddenly pinned her to the bed, placing his hips and legs over her body.
In the docs, Tennant claims Walton then began forcing kisses on her neck, face and chest. She claims she screamed for him to stop and tried to free herself, but he held her down, groped her breasts and groin, and rubbed his erection on her leg.
She says he eventually relented and let her get up from the bed, but as she was walking towards the door to leave he grabbed her from behind and again forced his body up against hers.
The lawsuit goes on to say Walton and her would interact after that, because of her job, and he would give her exaggerated hugs, kisses, and would make lewd comments to her.
Walton took over coaching the Lakers for the 2016-17 season, while the TMZ initial story said the incident happened before he was the coach, other reports have it happening in May of 2017 (after the end of his first season).
Walton has yet to comment on the lawsuit. The Kings and Lakers also have not commented.
I just hope he can afford this.
Brooklyn Nets GM Sean Marks was suspended and fined by the league for breaking a taboo and going into the officials’ locker room after the Nets’ Game 4 loss at home to challenge the referees. Marks — along with pretty much every Nets’ fan — was livid about how Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid has been officiated in the series.
Brooklyn minority owner (for now) and alternate governor Joe Tsai Tweeted this about Marks.
The NBA has fined Tsai $35,000 for “making public statements detrimental to the NBA.”
Tsai is the second-largest shareholder of online shopping powerhouse Alibaba and is worth an estimated $10.2 billion. He owns 49 percent of the Nets.
Virginia is going to lose three starters from its national championship team. De'Andre Hunter is a likely top-7 pick that a lot of teams think can be a good “3&D” NBA player. Ty Jerome is a bubble first-round pick expected to stay in the draft. Mamadi Diakite also has his name in the mix.
Now it’s official, Kyle Guy says he is keeping his name in the mix.
Guy had 24 points in the title game against Texas Tech and was named the NCAA tournament’s Most Outstanding Player for leading the Cavaliers to a title.
What he brings is shooting — he hit 42.6 percent from three this past season. He moves well off the ball and can catch-and-shoot, skills that NBA teams want. However, while he was a playmaker in college his handles and passing need work to be NBA ready, according to scouts. There also are concerns about his athleticism at the next level, and with that how well he can defend.
Guy is likely a second-round pick if taken at all, but he’s all in and going to take his shot while at the hight of his college career.
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich is taking over Team USA, and he has assistant coaches for the 2019 World Cup and 2020 Olympics:
- Warriors coach Steve Kerr
- Pacers coach Nate McMillan
- Villanova coach Jay Wright
- Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce
USA Basketball release:
Atlanta Hawks head coach Lloyd Pierce was named to the USA Basketball Men’s National Team coaching staff today. Pierce replaces Indiana Pacers head coach Nate [McMillan] who withdrew because of scheduling conflicts.
This is a pretty big honor for Pierce, who just completed his first season as an NBA head coach. He guided Atlanta to only a 29-53 record.
But the young Hawks, especially Trae Young, improved throughout the season. Atlanta pushed the pace, hoisted 3s and defended aggressively (though not well). An identity is forming.
Though it’s far too early to say much about Pierce’s head-coaching acumen, he acquitted himself well in his first year.
Working with Team USA could even help Pierce ingratiate himself with stars. This could eventually pay off for the Hawks in free agency.