Eastern Notes: Thornton, Hardaway Jr., Wallace

December 17 at 8:01pm CST By Eddie Scarito

With Dwyane Wade‘s injury history and the lack of production from the bench, one possibility for the Heat to correct this deficiency is Celtics shooting guard Marcus Thornton, Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald writes. Miami wanted to sign Thornton this past offseason, but Thornton was unable to come to terms on a buyout arrangement with Boston, Jackson notes. In 20 games for the Celtics this season, Thornton has averaged 8.2 points and is nailing 42.3% of his three-pointers. The 27-year-old is currently suffering from a small tear in his left calf and is expected to miss a few weeks of action.

Here’s more from the East:

  • The deal with the Nets that garnered Boston three first round draft picks, but also required the Celtics to take back Gerald Wallace‘s bloated contract as part of the arrangement, is looking better for the franchise every day, Chris Forsberg of ESPNBoston.com writes. Though Boston would jump at the chance to trade Wallace and the remaining $10.1MM that he is owed for next season, the veteran is providing value as a leader and a spot defender, notes Forsberg.
  • With J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert currently out for the Knicks with injuries, Tim Hardaway Jr. has been struggling with his increased minutes, but Hardaway says the pressure to make his case for more playing time in the future isn’t a factor in his struggles, Fred Kerber of The New York Post writes. “I’m not going to hold my head. I’m not going to get frustrated,” Hardaway said. “I’ve just got to go in the gym and work on it. I’ve got to see the ball going in the basket. That’s what I’m going to do.
  • The play of Sixers‘ 2014 first-rounder Dario Saric overseas has Philadelphia’s coaches and front office excited for the future, Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer writes. Saric is currently the only player in the Turkish Basketball League who is averaging at least 11.0 points, 6.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists, notes Pompey. “I pay attention to him [in] all the games he plays,”  Sixers coach Brett Brown said. “I’ll go and either watch a portion or all of it or highlights. We play text tag all the time. [GM] Sam [Hinkie] was just over there last week. The exciting thing is he’s ours. He will be a Philadelphia 76er and we all have to be excited about that.

Knicks Notes: Anthony, Chandler, Jackson

December 17 at 6:14pm CST By Eddie Scarito

Carmelo Anthony gave serious consideration during his free agency this past summer to relocating to Chicago. With the Knicks off to a 5-22 start, second-guessing his decision to return to New York would only be natural, but Anthony won’t allow himself to dwell on what might have been, Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPNNewYork.com writes. “If I start doing that and saying what if to myself and second-guessing and questioning myself, it won’t be right,” Anthony said. “For me, mentally it won’t be right, so I will not allow myself to sway toward asking myself what if with this situation or that situation. What’s done is done. I kinda don’t look at it. I kinda don’t think about it anymore. That’s in the past for me.

Here’s more out of the Big Apple:

  • Trading Tyson Chandler to the Mavs this past summer is coming back to haunt the Knicks this season, especially since team president Phil Jackson failed to garner an equal return on his most valuable trade asset in the swap with Dallas, Chris Herring of The Wall Street Journal opines.
  • As the Knicks’ struggles continue, the scapegoating of Chandler as the alleged source of New York’s difficulties last season seems more like a smokescreen by the team with every passing game, George Willis of The New York Post writes. Judging by the warm reception the big man received from his former teammates before and after Tuesday night’s game against Dallas at Madison Square Garden, Chandler seems to be genuinely missed, and New York seems to be dealing with much more internal strife than a season ago, sans Chandler, Willis notes.
  • Reflecting back on the trade that sent Anthony from the Nuggets to the Knicks, a Denver executive marveled at how desperate New York’s front office was to obtain a player whom they could have just signed as a free agent a few months later, Frank Isola of The New York Daily News writes. “We were trying to figure out a way to create rosters spots because they were willing to give us anything we wanted,” said a Denver executive involved in the negotiations. “We kept thinking, ‘don’t they realize he’ll be a free agent in July?’ They could just sign him then.” Stripping the franchise of all those assets to obtain ‘Melo is still haunting the team to this day, Isola adds.

Celtics Willing To Trade Rajon Rondo

December 17 at 4:29pm CST By Eddie Scarito

4:29pm: According to Chris Mannix of SI.com (Twitter link), word around the league is that the Celtics are the ones making preliminary calls to teams about Rondo. Mannix also notes that the Kings are the team to watch in regards to acquiring Rondo.

4:12pm: The Celtics are showing a renewed willingness to pursue trade packages that include point guard Rajon Rondo, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reports. According to Wojnarowski, Boston’s front office has left a strong impression with rival organizations around the league that it is prepared to make a deal that includes the veteran guard. Boston has been engaged in discussions described as “serious” in recent days, but no trade agreement is imminent, the Yahoo! scribe adds.

Trade discussions involving Rondo have been focused more toward Western Conference teams than with those in the East, Wojnarowski notes. The Celtics’ asking price for the 28-year-old remains “pretty high, probably higher than most want to pay,” one league official told Wojnarowski. Rondo is averaging 8.0 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 10.6 assists in 31.8 minutes per games this season.

Celtics GM Danny Ainge has been consistently shopping forward Jeff Green, in an attempt to secure a trade package that includes a first-round draft pick, Wojnarowski notes. With Boston now seemingly willing to trade Rondo, this would suggest that Ainge is prepared to embark on a full rebuild of the franchise, and perhaps attempt to guide the team toward a much higher spot in June’s NBA draft, Wojnarowski writes.

With Rondo set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, and 2014 first-rounder Marcus Smart showing quite a bit of promise, trading Rondo instead of running the risk of losing him for nothing would seem like a wise move on the organization’s part. The Celtics have been hesitant to to commit to the idea of a maximum-salary deal for Rondo, something he will likely be seeking in free agency.

If Ainge is indeed looking at Western Conference teams, the two most likely suitors would probably be the Kings, who were previously said to be interested in acquiring Rondo, and the Lakers, another franchise also known to have significant interest in the point guard’s services. If Boston decides to try and deal with an Eastern team, the Knicks and the Pistons would immediately come to mind as potential suitors, though that is just my speculation.

Hoops Rumors Chat Transcript

December 17 at 4:03pm CST By Chuck Myron

Check out this week’s chat transcript below:

Live Blog Hoops Rumors Chat: 12/17/2014
 

Pistons Rumors: Monroe, Hawks, Smith, Kings

December 17 at 2:12pm CST By Chuck Myron

The Pistons are 5-20 with three frontcourt pieces that don’t appear to fit, making them a ripe contender to pull a trade this season. There’s been plenty of chatter in recent days, and we’ll round up the latest here:

  • Falk made it clear to Zillgitt, who writes in a full story, that Monroe doesn’t want a trade in part because he wants to honor a commitment he made to Pistons coach/president of basketball ops Stan Van Gundy. Teams have been calling the Pistons about Monroe, but the fifth-year big man continues to stonewall the idea of leaving Detroit. “He made a commitment to Stan (Van Gundy) when he took the qualifying offer that he would work as hard as he could and help the team as best that he could and he would keep his mind open and at the end of the season, he would evaluate all of his options,” Falk said. “That was his plan in July, and that’s his plan in December and that will probably be his plan in February and will be his plan when the season ends.”
  • Monroe will be seeking the best fit and not necessarily the highest payday in free agency this coming summer, as he and Falk have said, Zillgitt writes.

Earlier updates:

  • The Pistons are “shopping” Josh Smith and willing to trade him for the right return, writes Vincent Goodwill of The Detroit News. The Kings remain interested in Smith, a source tells Goodwill, and Kings owner Vivek Ranadive was behind Sacramento’s pursuit from the start, Goodwill adds. Yet while the Kings are still thinking about trying to trade for Smith, they’ve been gradually moving past that idea, according to USA Today’s Sam Amick (video link).
  • Greg Monroe says the Pistons would have to initiate discussions about a trade, since he wouldn’t ask for one, as Goodwill notes in the same piece, writing that it’s likely that Pistons GM Jeff Bower asked agent David Falk about his willingness to approve one. Monroe has a de facto no-trade clause this year because he signed his qualifying offer in the summer, and he’d lose his Bird rights if he gave the OK to a trade. Monroe prefers to play out the season as a Piston, agent David Falk told Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today, who passes along his report in the same video with Amick.
  • Detroit asked the Hawks for Jeff Teague and Kyle Korver in exchange for Monroe this summer, but Atlanta wasn’t willing to go along with the sign-and-trade idea, Goodwill writes. The Hawks are reportedly set to pursue Monroe in unrestricted free agency this coming summer.
  • The Pistons never believed that Monroe would ultimately sign the qualifying offer, according to Goodwill.

Alexey Shved Eyes Return To Europe

December 17 at 1:16pm CST By Chuck Myron

Sixers guard Alexey Shved is dissatisfied with his playing time and plans to give strong consideration to signing with a European team when his contract expires after the season, reports Shams Charania of RealGM. European club officials have already made it clear that they’d be willing to make multimillion-dollar offers to the 26-year-old native of Russia if he were to return to Europe, according to Charania. Still, there was healthy NBA interest this summer when the Timberwolves were looking for teams willing to take him on, and the Pacers were among the interested parties before he went to Philadelphia in the three-team Kevin Love trade, Charania writes.

The Sixers would have the right to match offers from any NBA team for Shved this coming summer if they make a qualifying offer worth more than $4.103MM, but they’d be powerless to bring him back to Philadelphia if he inked with a club from overseas. Shved is putting up a career high 9.9 points per game this season for the Sixers, and he’s seeing 16.8 minutes per contest. That’s significantly more burn than the 10.5 MPG he received last year in Minnesota but less playing time than in his rookie season, when he averaged 23.9 MPG and started 16 games.

Agent Obrad Fimic, who represents Shved, is with the Warsaw, Poland-based Alti Sport agency, so Shved has maintained European ties. He averaged 21.8 MPG and made 30 starts in 62 appearances for CSKA Moscow in 2011/12, his final season before coming to the NBA.

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December 17 at 11:31am CST By Chuck Myron

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Pacific Notes: Morris Twins, Thomas, Thompson

December 17 at 10:01am CST By Chuck Myron

The Suns gave Markieff Morris and Marcus Morris the chance to decide how to split $52MM in extension cash this fall, and Marcus tells Rolling Stone’s Jeff Allen that has no qualms about the uneven split that sets him up to make $5MM per year while his twin brother gets $8MM.

“Keef played really well last year. Coming off the bench he was a potential Sixth Man of the Year candidate. So I think he deserved for his number to be higher than mine,” Marcus said. “He’s one of the great power forwards in the league. If he was by himself he would’ve gotten way more than that. I just wanted personally for his number to be higher. We look at it as a number for the household, you know? $13MM a year for our family. Whatever it broke it down to, we didn’t really care.”

The brothers took the long-term deals rather than go for a chance to hit free agency in 2016, when the salary cap is expected to shoot up, to give themselves a better chance to continue to play together, Allen writes. There’s more on the Suns amid the latest from the Pacific Division:

Jabari Parker Expected To Miss Rest Of Season

December 17 at 8:56am CST By Eddie Scarito

FRIDAY, 8:56am: Parker indeed has a torn ACL that the team expects will keep him out for the remainder of the season, the Bucks announced.

THURSDAY, 9:42pm: Bucks rookie Jabari Parker is expected to miss the remainder of the season with a suspected tear of the ACL in his left knee, Marc Stein of ESPN.com reports. The rookie injured the knee during the third quarter of Monday night’s contest against the Suns when his knee buckled during a drive to the basket. This injury now means two of the top three picks in this year’s NBA draft are likely out for the season, including Joel Embiid, who was selected No. 3 overall by the Sixers. The team and Parker’s representatives are conferring on when the surgery will be scheduled for the first-year player, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports tweets.

Milwaukee currently has 15 players on its roster, all of whom are on fully guaranteed contracts, which means the team would need to release a player and eat the remainder of their salary in order to add another player to the squad. With the Bucks currently under the salary cap they would be ineligible to apply for a Disabled Player Exception in order to sign another player.

Parker was the early favorite for Rookie of the Year honors through the first 25 games of the season, averaging 12.3 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 1.7 assists in 29.5 minutes per night. His slash line is .490/.250/.697.

Latest On Kings Coaching Search

December 17 at 8:41am CST By Chuck Myron

Kings GM Pete D’Alessandro, advisor to the chairman Chris Mullin, DeMarcus Cousins and rumored coaching candidate Mark Jackson visited in private for more than an hour and a half late Tuesday, USA Today’s Sam Amick reports. D’Alessandro downplayed any significance to the affair, insisting that “it was not a meeting,” instead calling it a reunion of old friends and reiterating that Tyrone Corbin is the team’s head coach, as the GM said to Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports (Twitter link). Jackson was in Sacramento to broadcast Tuesday’s Kings-Thunder game for ESPN. D’Alessandro, Mullin and Jackson have longstanding connections to each other, but Cousins doesn’t share much history with the group, and he had expressed a desire to meet with Jackson prior to the visit, Amick writes.

The connection between Mullin, another apparent Kings coaching target who’s reportedly reluctant to take over head coaching duties at midseason, and Jackson dates back to their high school days, and they were teammates in college and the NBA, Amick notes. D’Alessandro was a video coordinator at St. John’s after Mullin had left but while Jackson was still there, and the three always meet when they have the chance, according to Amick. Jackson also has ties to owner Vivek Ranadive, who owned a minority stake in the Warriors while Jackson was coaching at Golden State.

Ranadive said D’Alessandro and Mullin had given full-throated support to Corbin when they suggested that Michael Malone be let go, though the owner left the door open for another change at any time as he spoke with Sean Cunningham of News10 in Sacramento (video link; hat tip to Spears).

“I sat down with Pete D’Alessandro and Chris Mullin when they recommended that we make this change at this time,” Ranadive said. “I asked them, ‘What are all the options?’ and “Who should we consider?’ and while we’re always looking at options, they were very emphatic that Tyrone Corbin had earned the right to be the head coach of the Sacramento Kings at this time, and that we all needed to get behind him and support him. So we’re going to put all the wood behind the Ty Corbin arrow, and we’re going to support him to our fullest.”

Ranadive also made a tangential reference to Ray Allen in his chat with Cunningham, saying that, “Just because you win 16 games in a row, it doesn’t mean that you don’t try to get Ray Allen on your team to make your team even better.” However, that appears to be a reference to the Warriors, who had their 16-game winning streak snapped Tuesday and have recently been identified as a suitor for the free agent shooting guard, and not an indication that Sacramento is making any sort of push to sign Allen.