DeMarcus Cousins on his All-Star chances: ‘If I make it, I make it. If I don’t, I don’t.’


DeMarcus Cousins is in his fifth season with the Kings, but despite putting up numbers that may have warranted it, he’s never been selected to an All-Star team.

Part of that, of course, is on Cousins himself.

The petulant attitude he’s consistently displayed to this point in his career hasn’t exactly endeared him to the fans, who are responsible for voting in the starters. And similarly, the coaches aren’t going to reward that type of behavior by voting him in as a reserve, no matter how much his game may deserve the honor when viewing it by itself.

Cousins has cut down on the negative, non-basketball antics significantly this season, even though they may have crept back up just recently. His game has improved enough to where he’s likely to be strongly considered by the coaches this season, even if he appears to be taking an apathetic approach to whether or not he appears in the midseason exhibition.

From Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee:

“DeMarcus is a great player in this league,” Kings head coach Tyrone Corbin said. “He certainly has demonstrated, in my opinion, he deserves to be considered one of the best big men in the league.”

Cousins entered the game averaging 23.8 points and 12.3 rebounds. He’d be in the top five in the league in both categories if he hadn’t missed 11 games because of illness. …

“To be totally honest, it is what it is,” Cousins said. “If I make it, I make it. If I don’t, I don’t.”

Last season’s West All-Star roster had a total of seven frontcourt players. If we once again go that deep this year, there will be four reserves chosen from a group that includes Kevin Durant, Dwight Howard, LaMarcus Aldridge, Tim Duncan, Dirk Nowitzki, and of course, Cousins.

The coaches have some difficult decisions to make in the very crowded Western Conference when voting in their All-Star reserves. Cousins may very well make it — but it’s going to be extremely close.

Report: Pelicans emerge as third team in trade that would send Celtics’ Jeff Green to Grizzlies


Celtics GM Danny Ainge has decided it’s fire sale time in Boston, and is essentially trading away any players that he doesn’t see as a long-term solution, while kickstarting an ongoing rebuilding process into high gear at the very same time.

Rajon Rondo was sent to Dallas, and Brandan Wright, who was acquired in that deal, is on his way to Phoenix.

Jeff Green is the best player remaining on the Celtics roster, but that won’t be the case for much longer. Green was held out of Boston’s loss in Indiana on Friday, because the team is close to dealing him to the Grizzlies.

While the deal has yet to be completed, a third team has reportedly agreed to help facilitate things, and the framework is firmly in place.

From Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

Memphis, Boston and New Orleans are in the advanced stages of a deal framework that would send the Grizzlies’ Tayshaun Prince, New Orleans’ John Salmons and a future Memphis first-round pick to the Celtics, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

Memphis would send forward Quincy Pondexter to the Pelicans and New Orleans would send Russ Smith to the Grizzlies in the proposed deal, sources said.

Boston and Memphis believe they can complete the Green trade without New Orleans, but the Grizzlies want to move Pondexter before Green and his $9.2 million salary joins Memphis, sources said. Memphis is still discussing other deals for Pondexter around the NBA, but the focus on Friday night had been completing the trade with New Orleans, sources told Yahoo.

Pondexter is part of the rotation in Memphis, but isn’t an integral part of what the team does. Shedding his salary would mean Memphis would stay under the luxury tax threshold of $76.8 million, which is important to a team playing in one of the league’s smaller markets.

Nothing has been finalized, and the Celtics will reportedly listen to other offers for Green while this one works itself out. But no matter where he ends up (and Memphis still seems like the likely destination), Green’s time in Boston appears to be a thing of the past.

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Report: Celtics near deal to trade Brandan Wright to Phoenix Suns


The fire sale of the Boston Celtics continues.

The arms race in the Western Conference continues.

The Phoenix Suns are tied with the San Antonio Spurs for the eight seed in the West with the now healthy Oklahoma City Thunder lurking just four games back. The Suns seem like the team that could end up on the outside looking in. Again. So they are doing something about it, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.

Sorry Oklahoma City but the Phoenix Suns will not go quietly into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light… or your playoff chances.

Boston had gotten Wright as part of the Rajon Rondo deal with Dallas.

This is a great deal for the Suns on a few levels. For one, that pick is lottery protected for the first two years of the deal, and with the Wolves likely in the lottery those years then it becomes two second rounders. No big loss for Phoenix.

Next, Wright is on an expiring $5 million contract, so he is not a long-term burden and the Suns can try to re-sign him this summer.

Then there’s this — Wright can flat-out play. And is a good fit in the Suns system. If you missed him when he was getting key minutes in Dallas as Tyson Chandler’s backup then you should know he gave them 8.8 points on 74.8 percent shooting, plus he was a good defensive rim protector. He had a PER of 25.8 in Dallas. He is athletic, bouncy, and loves to run the floor, and can be strong in the pick-and-roll with all those quality guards the Suns have laying around. Plus he can defend for them. He is a quality backup for Alex Len (sorry Miles Plumlee, it’s going to suck for you).

For the Celtics? You get assets toward rebuilding, plus you are worse this year so your lottery odds get better. If you’re going to rebuild, go all in.

Is this move enough to keep the Suns as the eight seed out West?. Maybe, maybe not. I’m not going to try to predict the bottom of the Western Conference. Do you think San Antonio or OKC will miss the playoffs?

But this makes things more interesting.

Report: Rockets interested in Deron Williams and Goran Dragic


The Mavericks landed Rajon Rondo, but before the Celtics traded the point to Dallas, the Rockets were in the running for him.

It’s unclear how serious Houston was. Rockets general manager Daryl Morey likes to inquire into any possible deal, regardless of feasibility.

But perhaps the Rockets are truly interested in upgrading at point guard.

Ric Bucher of Bleacher Report:

Daryl Morey, no doubt, is burning up the phones, and the expectation is that he’s going to go hot and heavy after a point guard.

They love Patrick Beverley, but ideally, he is the third guard in that rotation.

And to give an indication of just how aggressive they might be, sources around the league are saying don’t count Deron Williams out from the Brooklyn Nets, even though he has that fat contract and right now has a rib injury

Far more likely is that they go back to a guy that they already know – Goran Dragic, who is in a crowded backcourt with the Phoenix Suns and could be got with that New Orleans No. 1 pick that the Rockets have right now.

Beyond Williams’ injury, there are major roadblocks for getting him to Houston.

Williams is so highly paid, it’s difficult to construct a trade that has the Rockets sending out enough salary to match. For example, a package of Jason Terry, Corey Brewer and Alexey Shved (the latter two can’t be dealt with other players until days before the trade deadline) would fall $2,360,879 short of meeting Collective Bargaining Agreement rules. Look at Houston’s roster and try finding $2,360,879 worth of salary to add without including players too valuable to deal for someone Brooklyn seemingly wants to dump. Also keep in mind the Nets can’t add more than one player than they send out in a trade, though they could waive minimum-salary players Jerome Jordan, Darius Morris, Cory Jefferson and/or Markel Brown if necessary beforehand to make room.

Houston is also less than $1 million below the luxury-tax line, so adding Williams would almost certainly prove quite expensive for the Rockets.

Dealing for the underpaid Dragic would be much simpler, though it would require Houston surrender much more desirable assets. A lot of teams are interested in Dragic, who previously played for the Rockets, and Phoenix could move him. He’ll be an unrestricted free agent after the season, and he, Eric Bledsoe and Isaiah Thomas haven’t always smoothly complemented each other.

At 22-16, the Suns are eighth in the Western Conference. As long as they remain in playoff position, they’ll probably keep Dragic and hope they can re-sign him this summer. But if the Thunder make a move and knock Phoenix down in the standings, the Suns would be more likely to get what they can for Dragic now.

Of course, Houston could also push Phoenix in that direction by making a substantial offer. The Rockets have the Pelicans’ first rounder (protected 1-3 and 20-30 the next four years and 1-3 and 25-30 the two after that). With New Orleans on pace to finish as the No. 14 seed in the lottery this season, that’s a reasonably valuable pick.

It shouldn’t be enough alone to net Dragic, but it’s a start, and the Rockets have plenty of other intriguing assets. It’s just a matter of whether they want to use them to upgrade at point guard when they have a very solid Beverley there already.

Report: Danny Ainge told Brandan Wright he is on the trading block


This is not a surprise. When the Celtics picked up Brandan Wright from the Dallas Mavericks as part of the Rajon Rondo trade it was thought they would flip him for more future assets rather than make him part of the long-term plan for in Boston.

Celtics GM Danny Ainge told Wright as much, according to J. Michael at

Boston Celtics president Danny Ainge has informed the 6-10 center that he’s on the block and should expect to be on another team. That’s why Wright had a head-scratching DNP this week on a team that could use his skill set.

Wright is attractive as a trade target for two key reasons.

One, he has an expiring $5 million contract, so he is not a long-term burden on the finances of a team plus said team may have the upper hand in re-signing him this summer.

If you’re a Celtics fan living in Boston and a Comcast subscriber, you can watch a live stream of the Celtics vs. Pacers on Comcast Sportsnet New England by following this link.

Second, Wright can flat out play. He was getting key minutes in Dallas as Tyson Chandler’s backup and was giving them 8.8 points on 74.8 percent shooting (no, that is not a typo) plus 4 rebounds a game, plus he was a good defensive rim protector as shown by his 1.6 blocks a game. Look at it this way, he had a PER of 25.8 in Dallas.

There are a number of teams that could use a big man for depth as teams start to gear up for the playoffs. The Cavaliers had been a possible destination but that ends with the Timofey Mozgov trade. What Boston will want back are picks and young players, things that can help them in the rebuilding process.

If you’re looking for guys most likely to be moved by the February trade deadline, Wright and Boston teammate Jeff Green should be at the top of your list.