Hoops Rumors Community Shootaround 2/13/16

Chatter about a blockbuster three-way deal that would send Carmelo Anthony to the Cavaliers, Kevin Love to the Celtics and an assortment of players and draft picks to the Knicks interrupted NBA All-Star weekend on Friday night. The proposed trade would align Anthony with another star player, which is something that would appease the 31-year-old. “I think everybody always kind of dreams and hopes that they can play with another great player, another star player,” Anthony said. LeBron James has since dismissed the rumors and Anthony, who holds a no-trade clause in his contract, said he isn’t leaving New York.

Anthony has played well this season, accumulating 21.4 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 4.2 assists per game while sporting a 20.3 player efficiency rating. He had trouble with his surgically repaired left knee this season, which along with a January ankle injury, has caused him to miss seven games and play others at less than 100%.

The Cavs have reportedly been shopping Love, though their asking price is very high. Netting Anthony would be a nice return for a player of Love’s caliber, but it would be a move with the short term in mind. In tonight’s shootaround, let’s assume Anthony is willing to waive his no-trade clause for a deal that sends him to Cleveland. Would acquiring Anthony be the best move for the Cavs or is there a Love trade that makes more sense for Cleveland?

Take to the comments section to share your opinions. We look forward to what you have to say.

Western Notes: Cousins, Trades, Thunder

DeMarcus Cousins doesn’t believe he’s in the best situation with the Kings, Ken Berger of CBS Sports writes. “I prefer to be in a perfect situation,” Cousins deadpanned, “but that’ll never happen.” The center described the perfect situation as one where everyone is happy before reiterating that it just won’t happen. “There’s nothing in life that’s perfect,” the 25-year-old said. Cousins will be an unrestricted free agent following the 2017/18 campaign.

Here’s more from the Western Conference:

  • Oklahoma City has a pair of trade exceptions that are set to expire on Tuesday,  Erik Horne of The Oklahoman notes in a piece that analyzes the Thunder’s trade assets. The team has a $2.2MM trade exception from last year’s Reggie Jackson trade and a trade exception worth roughly $861K from last season’s Ish Smith deal.
  • If the Rockets look to make drastic changes, Trevor Ariza and Corey Brewer would be realistic trade targets for Oklahoma City, Horne opines in the same piece. The scribe also names Courtney Lee and P.J. Tucker among the players on the market who would be good fits for the Thunder.
  • The Thunder shouldn’t be making trades to try to bridge the gap between them and Golden State, and they especially shouldn’t consider dealing away Serge Ibaka, Berry Tramel of The Oklahoman argues.

And-Ones: Nets’ GM Search, International Players

The Nets have asked the Nuggets for permission to interview assistant GM Arturas Karnisovas, sources tell Alex Raskin of The Wall Street Journal. The team could hire their next GM in the coming days, but no specific deadline is in place, according to the WSJ scribe.

The general consensus around the league is that the job is Bryan Colangelo’s to lose. In addition to Colangelo and Karnisovas, other candidates include Rockets executive VP of basketball operations Gersson Rosas, former Cavs and Hawks GM Danny Ferry and Spurs assistant GM Sean MarksRaskin notes that all the candidates have a background in international basketball, something that will be important for the Nets. Brooklyn doesn’t control its own draft pick until 2019, so acquiring talent through atypical means will be key to putting together a successful roster, Raskin opines.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Owner Mikhail Prokhorov expects to be personally involved with the interviewing process while in Brooklyn on Wednesday when the Nets officially open their new training center Raskin reports in the same piece.
  • The Spurs were able to trade Tiago Splitter to the Hawks last offseason in part because they had targeted Boban Marjanovic as his replacement, Raskin adds in the same piece. Marjanovic, who went undrafted in 2010, signed a one-year, $1.2MM deal with San Antonio in July.
  • The Nuggets‘ second round gamble on Nikola Jokic during the 2014 draft is paying tremendous dividends, Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post contends in a piece that examines the Serbian’s journey to the NBA.

Eastern Notes: Horford, Ainge, Magic

Al Horford is happy in Atlanta and remains committed to the Hawks, Sam Amick of USA Today writes. “I’ve said it repeatedly. I love the city. My family, we all live in Atlanta, we stay there in the offseason, so my focus is just to keep playing and taking it day by day,” Horford said. The big man will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season and the team is thinking “long and hard” about offering him a five-year max deal that would pay him an estimated $32.7MM at the age of 34-years-old.

Here’s more from the Eastern Conference:

  • Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge doesn’t believe that the Hawks will move any of their key guys before the deadline, Jay King of MassLive relays (Twitter link).
  • The Magic are one of the few teams with an open roster spot and the health of C.J. Watson will influence how the team uses it, Bobby Marks of the Vertical on Yahoo Sports notes. Watson, who signed a three-year, $15MM deal with Orlando last summer, has only played in eight games this season.
  • The only player that Orlando should look to move is Channing Frye, Marks opines in the same piece. The scribe believes that Frye still holds value throughout the league and the Magic shouldn’t shake up their core, as they have a chance to push for a playoff spot with this group. Orlando sits 4.5 games behind the Hornets for the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference.

Heat Notes: Whiteside, Stokes, Bosh

The Heat own the best defense in the Eastern Conference in terms of points per game, giving up only 96.3 per contest. Some of their success can be attributed to Hassan Whiteside, though the center hasn’t started a game since January 20th. The team is reportedly gauging what the trade market would bear for the 26-year-old.

Here’s more out of Miami:

  • The Heat are looking to net a second-round pick in exchange for Jarnell Stokes, Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald reports. Jackson notes that moving Stokes for a pick would lessen the team’s luxury tax bill this season.
  • Miami is keeping an eye on the market for 3-point shooters this trade deadline, which is something that Chris Bosh endorses, Jackson writes in the same piece. “I’m always a believer in making due with what you have, [though] we could always use another shooter. Everybody could,” Bosh said. The Heat are making just 32.3% of their shots from behind the arc this season. “To get in that upper part of the East, it’s tough to do that without shooting,” Bosh added.
  • Bosh is taking a cautious approach to his injured calf, Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press writes. “I didn’t feel it was wise to continue to push it, especially with this elongated week that we have off,” said Bosh, who dropped out of tonight’s 3-point contest because of the injury.

Southwest Notes: Howard, Morey, Davis, Grizzlies

Dwight Howard‘s risks have become greater than his potential reward, writes Eddie Sefko of SportsDayDFW. Sefko advises the Mavericks against pursuing Howard, whom they tried to get in free agency nearly three seasons ago. He notes that the league’s trend remains toward smaller and more athletic centers, and even among traditional big men, Howard is falling behind DeAndre Jordan and Andre Drummond. With the Rockets going through a disappointing season and Howard expected to opt out of his contract this summer, Houston’s front office has reportedly explored possible deals before next week’s deadline. Sefko notes that former teammate Chandler Parsons is likely to recruit Howard, but adds that Parsons can also opt out this summer, so his future in Dallas isn’t certain.

There’s more news from the Southwest Division:

  • The Rockets need to make a deal before the deadline to shake up their chemistry, argues Calvin Watkins of ESPN.com. After reaching the Western Conference finals last season, Houston stumbled into this year’s All-Star break at 27-28 and in ninth place in the conference. “We’re generally an active team,” GM Daryl Morey said of the trade deadline. “I mean we won’t force anything. They’re not many windows where you get a chance to upgrade your team. We’ll have to look at it very closely.”
  • Pelicans center Anthony Davis doesn’t want to be one of those NBA stars who has a strong say in personnel moves, tweets Brett Dawson of The New Orleans Advocate. “I trust our organization,” Davis said. “Whatever they decide to do, of course they’re going to make sure I’m involved with it. I don’t go out [and say] ‘Let’s do this, let’s do that.’ I try to let them handle that and they come to me, and we all sit down collectively and try to figure out what’s the best move.”
  • Missing the playoffs, which is a possibility for the Grizzlies in the wake of Marc Gasol‘s injury, would also affect the organization on draft day, according to Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post. Memphis sent this year’s first-round pick to Cleveland in 2013 along with Marreese Speights in a salary-shedding deal. Denver currently owns the rights to the pick, thanks to the Timofey Mozgov trade, but it’s protected for both the top five selections and spots 15-30. The Grizzlies would keep the pick if they make the playoffs but likely have to give it up if they fall short of the postseason.

Thunder Notes: Westbrook, Durant, Novak, Augustin

Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook is brushing aside talk that he might join the Lakers when his current contract expires, writes Anthony Slater of The Oklahoman. Westbrook, who will be a free agent in 2017, has close ties to the Los Angeles area, being born in Long Beach and playing college basketball at UCLA. Westbrook was a Lakers fan growing up, but he says he has no plan to play for them. “I like where I am now,” Westbrook said. “Oklahoma City is a great place for me.”

There’s more news today regarding the Thunder:

  • Signing a one-year contract may be Kevin Durant‘s best strategy in free agency, Slater writes in a separate piece. The All-Star small forward, who is expected to be the most sought-after free agent this summer, can benefit financially by testing the market again in 2017. Slater explains that Durant can get a max deal this summer worth 30% of a salary cap that is projected at about $90MM. Next season will be Durant’s 10th in the league, which qualifies him for 35% of the cap, which is expected to rise to about $108MM in 2017/18. Chuck Myron recently examined Durant’s free agency options in depth.
  • Durant would be interested in a front office position once his playing days are done, tweets Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports.
  • Little-used combo forward Steve Novak could be a valuable trade chip for Oklahoma City, according to Bobby Marks of The Vertical on Yahoo Sports. Novak has only played 24 minutes over seven games this season, but Marks thinks a team could be tempted to take on his expiring $3.75MM contract. Novak has been with eight franchises during his 10-year NBA career. Marks also advises the Thunder to hold onto all of their starters and rotation players to make a run at the NBA title. That includes reserve point guard D.J. Augustin, who averages just 15.3 minutes per night, but whose experience might be valuable in the playoffs, as the only other backup at that position is rookie Cameron Payne.

Knicks Rumors: Lowry, Bryant, Fisher, Porzingis

Raptors All-Star Kyle Lowry thought he was headed to the Knicks in a December 2013 trade, writes Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today. The proposed deal, which would have solved New York’s ongoing problem at point guard, would have sent Lowry from Toronto to the Knicks in exchange for Metta World Peace, Iman Shumpert and a future first-round draft pick. “That deal was done,” said Lowry, but it was reportedly stopped by New York owner James Dolan, who was hesitant to make another trade with Toronto GM Masai Ujiri so soon after sending several assets to Ujiri in Denver in exchange for Carmelo Anthony. Toronto was willing to move Lowry at the time because the front office wasn’t sure it could keep him in free agency. Lowry is currently in the second season of a four-year, $48MM deal he signed in the summer of 2014. “At the end of the day, the decision was made for me to be here and it worked out equally, perfectly for both parties,” Lowry said.

There’s more out of New York:

  • Kobe Bryant understands the circumstances that got Derek Fisher, his former teammate, fired as coach of the Knicks, according to Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News. Fisher was dismissed Monday with New York mired in a 1-9 slump. Bryant also has connections to Knicks president Phil Jackson and interim coach Kurt Rambis, who both used to be part of the coaching staff in L.A. “They felt they needed a change so they made a change. It’s pretty black and white to me,” Bryant said. “Derek’s like a brother, always has been. But still it’s hard to be a coach somewhere and last your entire career there. He’s had a good run there and now it’s time for a change.”
  • Rookie Kristaps Porzingis believes Fisher was let go to send a message to the team, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post. Porzingis said players occasionally lost focus and something had to change to make a late-season playoff run. He doesn’t question the decision to give Rambis a shot at turning things around. “They know what they’re doing,’’ he said of Knicks management. “They have a lot of experience. I’m nobody to judge their decisions. I felt guilty for that happening.”

Central Notes: James, Anthony, Vasquez, Bulls

LeBron James is dismissing rumors of a three-team deal that would bring Carmelo Anthony to Cleveland, according to Sam Amico of AmicoHoops.net“It’s false. That’s the only thing I can look at and see — it’s false,” James told reporters today at All-Star practice in Toronto. James added that he’s not concerned with trade talks involving the Cavaliers. Anthony, also in Toronto for All-Star weekend, said he won’t waive his no-trade clause. “There’s always some trade [stuff] going, I don’t pay attention to those rumors,” Anthony told SiriusXM NBA Radio. “I’m not going anywhere.”

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • The rumored deal doesn’t make sense for the Cavaliers, argues Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. Fedor notes that since Tyronn Lue took over as coach, he has been emphasizing ball movement and trying to get away from isolation plays. Fedor says Anthony won’t help with that transition. The trade would send Kevin Love to the Celtics, who have been chasing the power forward for years. Love could be made available, Fedor writes, because his production has been up and down and he has been a poor fit with James and Kyrie Irving.
  • Bucks point guard Greivis Vasquez, who has been sidelined since having ankle surgery in December, expects to be back on the floor in three to four weeks, tweets Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports. Vasquez has appeared in just 16 games this season, averaging 7.1 points and 4.4 assists. Making $6.6MM this year, Vasquez will be a free agent this summer after being acquired from the Raptors in a trade last June.
  • The Bulls couldn’t expect to get equal value back in a trade for Derrick Rose, Pau Gasol or Taj Gibson, writes Bobby Marks of The Vertical on Yahoo Sports. He notes that Gasol is likely to opt out of his contract this summer, but adds that dealing away the 35-year-old center would doom Chicago’s playoff hopes.

Atlantic Notes: Shaw, Howard, Mbah a Moute

Brian Shaw is reportedly a candidate for the Knicks head coaching position, and despite not having run the triangle offense during his tenure in Denver, Shaw said he could coach any system, Marc Berman of The New York Post relays. “I was 12 years involved in it as a player and coach,’’ Shaw told Berman. “The funny thing about it is everybody makes a big deal about the triangle. Almost every team in the league runs different aspects. They’re not dedicated solely to the triangle. It’s something that will always be ingrained in me — the fundamentals of that offense. In Denver, I didn’t run the triangle. I could adapt to any style the personnel dictates.’’

The former Nuggets coach also hopes he isn’t solely judged by his performance in Denver, which was marred by injuries and player unrest, Berman adds. “It was a situation I don’t really feel I was able to succeed in,’’ Shaw said. “I don’t think anyone placed in that situation could’ve succeeded. I hope I’m not judged on the year-and-a-half I was there more so than the 27 years prior to that I’ve been involved in the NBA.’

Here’s more regarding the teams of the Atlantic Division:

  • Despite the reports that the Celtics are targeting Rockets center Dwight Howard, team executive Danny Ainge is reluctant to part with assets for a short-term rental, a description Howard would potentially fit, since he can opt out of his deal this summer, Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe writes. While Boston is looking to make a significant trade prior to Thursday’s deadline, it won’t get itself caught up in a bidding war for players, and the franchise is willing to stand pat, Himmelsbach adds. “This team is not in it for the short term,” a league source told Himmelsbach regarding the Celtics. Boston has also been linked to Kevin Love and Carmelo Anthony, both of whom are under contract beyond this season.
  • Luc Mbah a Moute believed he would be back with the Sixers this season, but the team went in a different direction instead, leading the combo forward to sign with the Clippers after his deal with the Kings fell through. For his part, Mbah a Moute is pleased with how things turned out and he has found his niche in Los Angeles, Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer writes. “It’s a life lesson, you know,” Mbah a Moute said. “It’s always something good when everything bad happens. You never know. When you go through it, it’s kind of tough. It’s always something that better comes out of it.

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