Report: Suns trade Isaiah Thomas to Celtics


Phoenix reportedly preferred trading Isaiah Thomas rather than Goran Dragic.

Why not both?

Not only did they deal Dragic to the Heat, the Suns sent Isaiah Thomas to the Celtics.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

The Celtics, loaded with draft picks, are beginning to put them to use.

The Cleveland pick they traded is top-10 protected in 2016, 2017 and 2018 and unprotected in 2019. As long as LeBron James remains healthy, it’s hard to see that pick having much value.

Not only is Thomas a solid point guard, he’s also locked into a contract that pays fewer than $7 million each of the next three years. That cheap salary will allow the Celtics to spend elsewhere.

Brandon Knight is the key new piece in Phoenix’s backcourt, but Marcus Thornton can also provide a little scoring punch. This is mostly about the draft pick for the Suns, though.

Three-team trade: Michael Carter-Williams to Bucks, Brandon Knight to Suns, 2015 first round pick to Sixers


In what was an insane final rush before the trade deadline, the Philadelphia 76ers sent reigning Rookie of the Year Michael Carter-Williams to Milwaukee as part of a three-team deal that included Phoenix.

In return, the Sixers get the Lakers’ top-five protected 2015 first round pick that was owed to Phoenix, while the Suns get Brandon Knight from the Bucks (to help replace Goran Dragic and Isaiah Thomas, who were sent out).

Milwaukee also receives Mason Plumlee and Tyler Ennis from Phoenix.

Adrian Wojnarowski was first with the story, but it was quickly confirmed by multiple sources.

This trade broke all at once — with some false reports along the way — but here’s how it shakes out.

What the Sixers got that they wanted more is picks. Maybe some very good picks.

That pick is top five protected this season and next (it’s likely the Lakers are one of the five worst teams in the league this year, but 2016 is up in the air).

The Bucks are fans of Carter-Williams and they landed their man (on a rookie deal) along with Tyler Enis and Miles Plumlee of the Suns. That’s three guys with some potential. They wanted to get rid of Knight because they were afraid he would get overpaid this season.

The Suns may be willing to pay Knight because he will make less than Dragic. Knight is averaging 17.8 points a game, shooting 40.9 percent from three and has a PER of 18.5. He was a borderline All-Star in the East and can be a solid fit next to Bledsoe.

The Suns made massive changes to the roster through multiple deals — they traded away both Goran Dragic and Isaiah Thomas, they get in return two Miami first round picks (likely 2017 and 2019), the Cavaliers 2016 first-round pick, Marcus Thornton, Kendall Marshall, Danny Granger, Shawne Williams, and Justin Hamilton, in addition to Knight. They have remade the roster, and not in a way that’s just about grabbing the eight seed this season.

Suns trade Goran Dragic to Miami Heat


The Suns have traded Goran Dragic to the Heat, according to a report from Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.

Goran and his brother Zoran Dragic went to Miami, and the Suns received Danny Granger, Norris Cole, Shawne Williams, Justin Hamilton and two first-round picks — one from 2017 (top-seven protected), the other from 2021.

The deal was part of a big roster shakeup for the Suns, but one that leaves them in a better position going forward, and especially heading into next season.

Dragic had informed Phoenix that he wouldn’t re-sign there as an unrestricted free agent this summer, due to trust issues he had with the front office, along with being unhappy with his off-the-ball role alongside fellow point guards Eric Bledsoe and Isaiah Thomas.

The Suns netted two first-round picks for Dragic, which is a lot for someone who would have been gone at the end of the season regardless. Most of the ancillary players in the deal are likely to be waived, and one — Norris Cole — was already traded to the Pelicans.

Phoenix also netted Brandon Knight from Milwaukee as a very nice Dragic replacement, and one who will be a restricted free agent this summer, yet won’t command the max contract that Dragic is likely to (and almost certainly would have been seeking). That move cost them Miles Plumlee and Tyler Ennis, but neither player was a key part of the rotation this season.

Finally, the Suns solved their too-many-point-guard problem by sending Isaiah Thomas to the Celtics, in exchange for Marcus Thornton and a 2016 first round pick (via Cleveland) that is top-10 protected in 2016, 2017 and 2018, and unprotected in 2019. With the Cavaliers expected to be one of the league’s top teams again next season, however, Phoenix will likely get to use it next year.

Report: Amar’e Stoudemire’s representatives pushing for buyout from Knicks


Amar’e Stoudemire said he’d take the All-Star break to decide whether or not he wants a buyout from the Knicks.

Apparently, he has made up his mind.

Howard Beck of Bleacher Report:

Stoudemire’s representatives are pushing for a buyout, and the Knicks seem inclined to grant it, according to sources.

The following players, per league sources, are also considered likely buyout candidates if they are not traded by the deadline: Andrea Bargnani (New York); Brandon Bass, Tayshaun Prince and Marcus Thornton (Boston); Andrei Kirilenko (Philadelphia); Willie Green (Orlando); Randy Foye and Darrell Arthur (Denver).

This will come down to how much money Stoudemire wants to give up. Stoudemire, whose salary this season is $23,410,988, is owed $8,538,125 the rest of the season.

How badly does he want to join the Suns, Mavericks, Warriors or another team outside New York?

Stoudemire is clearly not in the Knicks’ plans beyond this season, so if they can save some money and open a roster spot, why not?

At this point, it’s just about negotiating the exact buyout – same as with those players if they’re not traded. With several decent players likely to become free agents after the trade deadline, it’ll be hard for teams to get much in trades for back-end rotation players.

Celtics’ Evan Turner on Hawks’ Kyle Korver: ‘He can’t guard to save his life’


The Celtics led by as many as 23 points in Atlanta on Tuesday, before ultimately falling to the Hawks.

And at least one player on Boston’s side believes the officiating had something to do with it.

Kyle Korver led the Hawks in scoring, finishing with 24 points on 8-of-9 shooting. Evan Turner of the Celtics used Korver as an example when pointing out his version of how the referees called this particular matchup.

From Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe:

Turner was annoyed at a couple of calls in particular, including one in the third quarter when he and Kyle Korver chased for a loose ball and Turner was called for causing Korver to fall. Turner was assigned to the 3-point specialist most of the night and it was a frustrating experience. …

“They started pressuring and it’s tough to score when you have two hands inside your jersey as well,” he said. “At the same time, I got a foul call on Korver and they said I pushed him and tripped him and he just fell. He can’t guard to save his life and he’s grabbing Marcus Thornton and he’s grabbing me and he has no business being in the game on the defensive end but what can you possibly do if they’re allowed to have their hands on you?”

Korver had a hot shooting night, certainly. But Turner and Thornton combined to shoot a respectable 8-of-14 from the field, so Korver’s “grabbing” couldn’t have bothered either player all that much.

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Frustration is understandable after blowing such a large lead. But any loss is ultimately almost never the fault of the officials.