Posted on: June 22, 2011 10:40 am
NEW YORK -- Suns president Lon Babby put the brakes on Steve Nash trade speculation Wednesday, saying, "We are not trading Steve Nash. Period. Exclamation point."
Despite the questionable syntax, the otherwise clear dictation from Babby to the Arizona Republic quashed the latest Nash trade discussions, which had him going to Minnesota for the No. 2 pick in Thursday's draft. The Timberwolves have been among the most active teams in trade discussions leading up to the draft, offering the second pick to several teams with a list of demands that included Nash, the Lakers' Pau Gasol, and the Wizards' JaVale McGee, league sources said Wednesday. The proposed Gasol trade is "not happening," one of the sources said, and Washington has been unwilling to seriously discuss trading McGee.
A person close to Nash said of a possible trade to Minnesota, "I can't believe (Phoenix) would do that to Steve." Nash, 37, would be relegated to mentoring point guard Ricky Rubio on a rebuilding team that won 17 games last season.
If Minnesota is unsuccessful in procuring a veteran star for the second pick, sources said the Wolves are comfortable selecting Arizona's Derrick Williams, who team officials strongly believe will be on the board after the Cavaliers select Duke point guard Kyrie Irving.
Babby also told the Republic that the Suns "are not trading Marcin Gortat," whose name was included in the discussions with Minnesota.
A source also said discussions between Atlanta and Orlando with Josh Smith going to the Magic are "totally legit." Executives say the Hawks have expressed an eagerness to move Smith and would like to shed salary in the process.
Several executives were surprised to learn the Spurs are fielding offers for point guard Tony Parker, whose infamous statement that San Antonio's championship window has closed could usher in some significant changes for the four-time champions. An integral piece of the puzzle for the Spurs is the pending early-termination option for Tim Duncan, who has yet to act on his $21.2 million option for next season. It would clearly benefit Duncan to agree to an extension before the collective bargaining agreement expires at 12:01 a.m. ET July 1, though Spurs officials are currently focused on the draft -- with one obvious priority being whether Parker or other assets could get San Antonio into the high lottery on draft night.
With top prospects in New York Thursday for media and service responsibilities, a person familiar with the draft discussions said the Pistons appear to have zeroed in on Texas small forward Tristan Thompson with the eighth pick. Thompson canceled other scheduled workouts after working out for the Pistons with five other players Wednesday.
Posted on: June 27, 2009 1:23 am
Reading between the lines is a favorite pastime when it comes to the Knicks. Anything remotely resembling a clue that the NBA's supposed flagship franchise might acquire one of basketball's hottest commodities results in endless speculation, twisted interpretation, and innuendo.
See the entry under James, LeBron.
Now see the new entry under Rubio, Ricky.
Meeting with the media at the Knicks' Westchester County training facility on Friday, team president Donnie Walsh mentioned that he planned to call his former employee, Minnesota Timberwolves GM David Kahn, to find out why he drafted so many point guards. And yes, Walsh coyly stated, Rubio's cold response to being drafted by the 'Wolves and his probable return to Spain as a result would be discussed.
I shudder at the thought of viewing the back pages of the New York tabloids on Saturday. For one, it's my first day off in a long time. For another, Rubio most certainly will be pictured there. If not for Michael Jackson, Rubio might be on the front page.
As I tried to tell you on draft night, there's no need for this. Kahn isn't trading Rubio. He's not going to be a Knick, no matter how much agent Dan Fegan wants him to be. This should be the end of it.
Hot items like Rubio have a long shelf life in the basketball-starved New York news cycle. And yes, things change. Circumstances change. People have a right to change their minds. But as of now, Kahn believes in Rubio so much that he's willing to wait a year or two for him to come out of exile in Spain. And the Knicks like their first-round pick, Jordan Hill, just fine.
"Kahn thinks Rubio is the best point ever," a knowledgeable, high-level basketball source told me. And the Knicks? Coach Mike D'Antoni, the person said, "loves Hill. Both stay put."
Just to make sure, I asked the same person early Saturday if anything had changed or was expected to change based on Walsh's planned conversation with Kahn.
"No," he said.
But just to satisfy the endless thirst for a splashy move by the Knicks, what is the best they could offer Minnesota in such a deal? Not Hill, but restricted free agent David Lee, who has received a qualifying offer from the Knicks and can be signed-and-traded after the league and NBA Players Association agree on the 2009-10 salary cap and luxury tax in mid-July. Last time I checked, the Timberwolves have Al Jefferson. No disrespect to Lee, but Jefferson is better.
Yes, things change and circumstances change. And people have the right to change their minds. But as another high-level basketball source (note sarcasm) said as one of the media availability sessions ended during the NBA Finals: "Move along. There's nothing to see here."
Posted on: June 25, 2009 8:56 pm
Edited on: June 27, 2009 1:19 am
Discussions between the Suns and Warriors about a trade that would send Amare Stoudemire to Golden State were advancing Thursday night, two people familiar with the situation told CBSSports.com.
Posted on: June 25, 2009 6:59 pm
Edited on: June 25, 2009 10:41 pm
NEW YORK -- It's almost time for David Stern to stroll to the lectern. A few minutes ago, the players posed for their photos with the commissioner on the stage in the Theater at Madison Square Garden. I don't know what the players are talking about in the green room, but the media is almost without exception consumed with conflicting and stunning reports of Michael Jackson's death.
We'll stay away from that here for now, especially since we don't know what we don't know. What we do know, getting back to basketball, is that Brandon Jennings won't be participating in the festivities. After all the big talk about how Ricky Rubio is "all hype" and how he would validate his decision to skip college and play in Europe if he were picked in the top five or 10, Jennings has gone AWOL.
Most likely, at the behest of his very capable agent, Bill Duffy, who must have sensed what everyone else does -- this is going to be a very disappointing night for Jennings. Duffy did the right thing, sparing his client the humiliation of being the last draftee in the green room. The agent issued the following statement, which was distributed to the media moments ago:
"Because we do not have a strong grasp of Brandon's draft position, I've advised that he and his family enjoy this day in a more private setting with the people he loves the most. Brandon Jennings will have a very illustrious career in the NBA, and at the end of the day, that is all that is important."
Wow. Talk about turning tail and running.
Check back here for updates, as I'll be adding to the buzz, observations, and events as things unfold.
People are chanting various things, such as "Lakers Suck!" while Stern gives his introductory shpiel. I'm ignoring them, though.
Blake Griffin to the Clippers. Shocking!
The discussion between the Knicks and Grizzlies about a Quentin Richardson-for-Darko Milicic swap appears to be in a holding pattern. The talks have not advanced in the past 24 hours, a person connected to the situation said.
A person familiar with the Suns' strategy for Amare Stoudemire said speculation that the four-time All-Star is on his way to Golden State in a deal involving the Warriors' No. pick is premature. Nothing has transpired there to raise it to the high-level discussion it would require, because Stoudemire needs to indicated he'd consider a contract extension in exchange for waiving his termination option after next season.
Memphis takes Hasheem Thabeet at No. 2. Does that mean they like him better than Tyreke Evans, or is something up?
James Harden to Oklahoma City. Trade? If not, the Kings have a decision to make. Ricky Rubio or Tyreke Evans. As for Memphis, I'd say their selection of Thabeet means Boston failed in its pursuit of the No. 2 pick. The Celtics were targeting Evans.
Oohh, Evans over Rubio. Not a good night so far for la Pistola.
With Rubio going to Minny, now what? I was advised by a rival exec not to be surprised if the T-Wolves took two guards with the fifth and sixth picks. Stephen Curry? Or a trade? The Knicks love them some Curry, but would be happy with Jordan Hill, too.
My source was right about the two guards, but wrong about which one. Jonny Flynn to Minny. That means, in my opinion, Jordan Hill to Golden State and Curry to the Knicks, who get to exorcise the demons of Stephon Marbury and Eddy Curry with one pick. Steph ... Curry.
So much for demons being exorcised. The Garden crowd let out a primal, exorcist-like scream after Golden State just picked Curry at No. 7. That leaves Hill for the Knicks. Their fans don't want to hear this, but I was told the Knicks brass were prepared for that scenario and that they'll be happy with Hill.
Jordan Hill it is for the Knicks at No. 8. Not sure they're keeping him, though. Still can't believe Minnesota will keep both Rubio and Flinn ... Rubio and Curry, fine. But not two point guards.
DeMar DeRozan to the Raptors at 9, but the one that intrigues me is Jennings to the Bucks at 10. So there was no need to blow off the draft, after all. Jennings said on Wednesday that being a top-10 pick would justify his decision to skip college and play in Europe.
Of more importance, there is growing speculation that discussions are advancing on a trade sending Amare Stoudemire to Golden State, perhaps involving the Warriors' No. 7 pick, Steph Curry. Would make sense. Back with more on that soon.
Terrence Williams to the Nets at 11, which seemed like a foregone conclusion after they traded Vince Carter.
Been on the phone working on the Stoudemire and Rubio stuff. Check it out here. Meanwhile: Henderson to Charlotte, Hansbrough to Pacers, Clark to Suns, and Daye to Pistons. Oh, and Jennings returned from the hotel to the Garden once he found out he was a top-10 pick and actually got his handshake with Stern ... after Clark, who wasn't in the building, was picked by Phoenix. AWKWARD ...
Moving along ... Johnson to the Bulls, Holiday to the 76ers, and Minnesota just picked Ty Lawson 18th for Denver as part of a trade. Good spot for Ty. Learn from a savvy, championship-tested veteran in Chauncey Billups.
I am going to take a walk and a deep breath now or I may very well go insane.
The first round is over, which of course means the diehard drunkards ... I mean, fans ... who are still here have begun chanting, "Ad-am Sil-ver!" The Cavs selected someone named Christian Eyenga with the 30th and final pick of the first round. Nobody knows who he is, including the people who made the nameplates that are hung on the draft board above the stage. They eventually threw a bootleg nameplate up there for him.
One more order of business before I start writing my column. The Knicks-Memphis trade sending Quentin Richardson and cash to the Grizzlies for Darko Milicic has been completed. The Knicks likely pick up the approximately $1.2 million difference in salaries.
Enjoy the Adam Silver Show!
Posted on: June 25, 2009 6:50 pm
Edited on: June 26, 2009 7:10 am
NEW YORK -- Last summer, the Nets were politely rebuffing inquiries about Vince Carter, not ready yet to part with their highest-paid and most impactful player as part of their plan to attract major free agents in 2010.
That plan intersected with the opportunity to move Carter and the $35 million left on his contract Thursday, when New Jersey sent Carter to the defending Eastern Conference champion Orlando Magic.
It was the final blow to the core of Jason Kidd, Richard Jefferson, and Carter, who led the Nets through some of the best seasons in franchise history. It also made New Jersey a major factor in the 2010 free-agent sweepstakes and signaled to their fans in New Jersey that they're packing it in for the move to Brooklyn. The Nets also had talks with the Spurs and Cavs about Carter.
The Nets cleared more hurdles this week in making their dream of moving to Brooklyn by 2012 a reality. And by moving Carter, they put themselves $17 million in 2010 cap space closer to putting a marquee star -- or two -- in that new playpen.
The Magic? To me, the trade signals that Orlando GM Otis Smith doesn't believe he can keep Hedo Turkoglu, who will be an unrestricted free agent in a couple of weeks. Carter will join a healthy Jameer Nelson in the backcourt, but he's similar to Turkoglu from the standpoint of ball-dominance and big shot-making -- two ingredients that the Magic would've sorely missed had they not hedged their bets by replacing them.
Orlando sent Rafer Alston, Courtney Lee, and Tony Battie to the Nets for Carter and Ryan Anderson. Battie and Alston have contracts that expire after next season, while Lee and Anderson are a wash. So the Nets save $17.3 million from Carter's contract in 2010 and have only three players guaranteed money that season -- Josh Boone, Eduardo Najera, and Keyon Dooling. (They hold team options on Lee, Yi Jianlian, Brook Lopez, and Sean Williams.)
The Cavs, Spurs, and Magic have struck so far with a win-next-season-at-all-costs strategy. Who's next?
Posted on: June 25, 2009 4:16 pm
Edited on: June 25, 2009 7:21 pm
It's three hours and counting until the Clippers are on the clock, so here's another dose of buzz and other tidbits. A caveat: This late in the game is when some of the most scurrilous subterfuge is pawned off -- not only on reporters, but on the executives and other high-level people who provide information to reporters. It gets harder and harder to see through all the smoke, but here's the latest of what my sources are hearing:
Posted on: June 25, 2009 11:55 am
Yes, LeBron James was consulted about the Cavs' decision to go for broke and acquire Shaquille O'Neal. Yes, LeBron was all for it.
No, the blockbuster acquisition has no bearing on LeBron's decision on whether to sign an extension with Cleveland this summer, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.
With two years left on the extension he signed in 2007 -- the last year, of course, with a player option -- James is eligible to sign as much as a four-year extension with Cleveland when the free-agent signing period begins next month. By doing so, he'd be forfeiting his right to decline the player option for the 2010-11 season. It's a tricky predicament. If league revenues decline by 5 percent next season -- half of commissioner David Stern's doomsday scenario of a 10 percent decline -- the salary cap for 2010-11 could go as low as $51 million, according to one team's internal projections. (The cap for this past season was $58.7 million.) With seven years of service in 2010, LeBron could max out at 30 percent of the cap as an unrestricted free agent. But 30 percent of the reduced cap is less than James' scheduled $17.1 million salary in 2010-11 (if he exercised the player option.) It's not supposed to work that way, but it's part of the new reality for everyone -- not just the NBA.
Without getting too complicated, the falling cap means that James would wind up with about $3.5 million more over the next five seasons by signing an extension with Cleveland this summer as opposed to opting out on July 1, 2010 and signing a new contract as an unrestricted free agent. In the grand scheme of what would be a $100 million-plus contract either way, $3.5 million is not a significant amount of "cheddar," as one team exec put it. But it's certainly worth thinking about, and it would be foolish to ignore the economic environment and its impact on LeBron's decision. At least you know that if LeBron doesn't re-sign this summer, it means he wants to wait and see what direction the Cavs take -- and he wants to do that badly enough to leave money on the table.
The bottom line is this: LeBron isn't making any decisions about his future until he sees how the Cavs perform this season. That means no extension this summer -- Shaq or no Shaq, $3.5 million or no $3.5 million. He could make that money up with one endorsement deal. And he'd rather win a championship than quibble over about 3 percent of his projected earnings.
"His whole thing is based on how they do this year, period," one rival exec said.
Which is another reason why trading for Shaq and going all-in for 2009-10 was a smart move by the Cavs -- for this season and beyond.
Posted on: June 25, 2009 11:04 am
The Rockets have been fielding plenty of inquiries about oft-injured former All-Star Tracy McGrady, whose $23.2 million expiring contract is attractive to teams looking to clear cap space for 2010.
Rockets GM Daryl Morey told the Houston Chronicle that teams have been "very aggressive" in their pursuit of McGrady, and unlike last summer, Morey is listening intently. One such scenario floated by the New York Post, has McGrady, Aaron Brooks, and Carl Landry going to Phoenix for Stoudemire and Leandro Barbosa. That's a dubious one, considering the Suns' long-held reluctance to trade Barbosa. But with Phoenix in fire-sale mode, everything appears to be on the table.
One team known to have discussed McGrady is the Knicks, whose stated plan since Donnie Walsh took over as team president has been to get the financial books in order for 2010. "They have interest," a person with knowledge of the McGrady discussions said.
Stoudemire's situation is muddled by the fact that he has a termination option in his contract after next season. Any team acquiring him would want assurances that Stoudemire would sign an extension this summer in exchange for waiving the termination clause. To this point, according to a source, Stoudemire's representation has not been brought into any trade discussions involving the four-time All-Star.