Kings Rumors: Karl, Rondo, Cousins

The Kings will take on the Celtics today and coach George Karl remains focused on the game rather than the rumors of him being fired, A. Sherrod Blakely of Comcast Sportsnet writes. “I have no control over what people think,” Karl said. “My job is to get prepared for Boston.”

Here’s more from Sacramento:

  • Rajon Rondo appears to have a lax approach in dealing with the rumors, Blakely adds in the same piece. “It’s a part of the business; coaches get fired, players get traded,” Rondo deadpanned. Rondo did acknowledge that Karl has given him more freedom on the court which has allowed the point guard’s game to evolve.
  • Karl believes the roster turnover is partly to blame for the Kings‘ 21-29 record, Chris Forsberg of writes. Karl pointed out that the team entered this season with 10 new players. “The truth of the matter is I think this team has hung together pretty well through a lot of ups and downs this year,” Karl added.
  • If Karl is fired, the DeMarcus Cousins trade talk will heat up again, Blakely speculates in a separate piece. Blakely adds that the Celtics would love to acquire Cousins, though the scribe admits that a trade is unlikely to occur.

Austin Rivers Will Miss 4 To 6 Weeks

SUNDAY, 9:17am: Rivers’ left hand is fractured, Dan Woike of the OC Register confirms (Twitter link). Woike added that Rivers will be further evaluated on Monday.

SATURDAY, 10:14pm: Clippers combo guard Austin Rivers will be sidelined four to six weeks with a broken left hand, tweets Brian Windhorst of Rivers suffered what the team called a hand contusion during Wednesday’s game and was a game-time decision for Friday’s contest before being held out.

“I went into the lane, and something, either an elbow or something, hit me just dead in the middle of my hand,” Rivers told Rowan Kavner of “I just got a bad bone bruise, swelling around it.”

The Rivers injury is the latest blow to a team that is already missing star forward Blake Griffin with a broken hand. Rivers has averaged 8.1 points in 46 games this season, mostly in a back-up role. His loss could mean more playing time for Lance Stephenson, who has struggled for minutes until recently.

Eastern Notes: DeRozan, Young, Vucevic

DeMar DeRozan has improved in every facet of his game this season, Jesse Blancarte of Basketball Insiders contends in a piece that breaks down the shooting guard’s season to date. DeRozan’s ability to drive to the rim has been remarkable this season. Blancarte notes that he leads the league in drives to the rim this season with 11.8 per game and he is generating .99 points per possession, which is the seventh most in the league. DeRozan holds a player option for the 2016/17 season, but he will reportedly turn down his option and become an unrestricted free agent.

Here’s more from the Eastern Conference:

  • Nets combo forward Thaddeus Young dismissed the rumors about being traded to Detroit, which he first heard about from his wife, Brian Lewis of the New York Post writes. “She don’t want to go to Detroit, I know that,” Young said. Pistons president of basketball operations Stan Van Gundy shot down those trade rumors earlier this week.
  • Center Nikola Vucevic believes the Magic shouldn’t make any trades before the deadline this year, Brian Schmitz or The Orlando Sentinel writes. “That’s no reason to think we need to change anything. We have to find a way within each other to get back to what we were doing early in the year,” Vucevic said. The Magic are 21-28 on the season, going 1-9 over their last 10 contests.
  • The Heat own a record of 29-22, but Jonathan Tjarks of RealGM believes the team is underachieving. With Hassan Whiteside and Dwyane Wade set to enter free agency this summer, Miami doesn’t have much time to figure out if this is the core it should invest in for the long term, Tjarks adds.

Hoops Rumors Community Shootaround 2/6/16

Former Hawks executive Danny Ferry is reportedly among the candidates who will be interviewed for the Nets’ GM job. ESPN’s Mike Mazzeo lists Ferry among the finalists for the position, along with Nuggets assistant GM Arturas Karnisovas, Rockets executive vice president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas and Nets assistant GM Frank Zanin.

Ferry served as GM and president of basketball operations in Atlanta from 2012 until 2014, when he took an indefinite leave of absence in the wake of race-related comments that he read from a scouting report on free agent Luol Deng during a conference call. “He’s a good guy overall,” Ferry allegedly said about Deng. “But he’s not perfect. He’s got some African in him. And I don’t say that in a bad way.”

The controversy quickly spread throughout the league, which was already reeling from a scandal involving racially charged comments by former Clippers owner Donald Sterling. Hawks co-owner Michael Gearon Jr. called for Ferry to resign or be fired, but team CEO Steve Koonin said the franchise opted for internal discipline rather than dismissal. Ferry never returned from his leave of absence and accepted a buyout with the Hawks in 2015. Deng forgave Ferry for the comments and said he didn’t consider him a racist.

The Nets’ interest in Ferry stems from his ties with former Duke teammate Billy King, who remains with the organization after being removed as GM last month. Ferry interviewed with Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov for the GM post in 2010 before King was hired, and Ferry’s father, Bob Ferry, works as a scout for Brooklyn.

Danny Ferry’s record as an executive also makes him an attractive candidate. He put together the foundation of the Hawks team that won 60 games last season and claimed the top seed in the East. He also built teams that twice topped 60 wins in Cleveland, where he served as GM from 2005 to 2010.

That brings me to today’s topic: Should the Nets consider Ferry as their next GM considering what happened in Atlanta? Would free agents still hold the Deng incident against him, making them less likely to sign with Brooklyn? Or is it time to give another chance to someone who had been connected with the league for 25 years and built a long history of front office success?

Take to the comments section to share your thoughts on the matter. We look forward to what you have to say.

Western Notes: Green, Rockets, McDaniels, Lillard

Erick Green won’t mind missing the D-League All-Star Game next week after signing a second 10-day contract with the Jazz, writes Aaron Falk of The Salt Lake Tribune. Green has only seen nine minutes of playing time in three games with Utah, but the 6’3″ guard has managed to impress coach Quin Snyder. “We felt like he’s done everything we’ve asked of him and the minutes that he has played he’s played pretty good,” Snyder said. “Some of it is a question of we’ve had a couple situations where guys are getting bumped and banged up a little bit and we feel good about what he brings.”

There’s more from the Western Conference:

  • Today’s lopsided loss to the Blazers is the latest evidence that the Rockets need a complete makeover, according to Calvin Watkins of Houston is 27-26 a year after reaching the Western Conference finals, and there have been rumblings for some time that changes are needed. The Rockets are over the luxury tax threshold and facing a hard cap, so GM Daryl Morey is limited in what he can do.
  • The Rockets have assigned K.J. McDaniels to their D-League affiliate in Rio Grande Valley, the team tweeted today.
  • New teammates surround the BlazersDamian Lillard this year, but the move that bothers him most is LaMarcus Aldridge‘s decision to sign with the Spurs, according to Sam Amick of USA Today“I would have loved nothing more than to have him back,” Lillard said of Aldridge. “To have another All-Star on the team was good for me. I was happy with it. I reached out to him a bunch of times [before and during free agency], but I think he had got to the point where he thought maybe the organization was choosing me over him. And to this day, I still tell people that it’s not my team, it’s [owner] Paul Allen’s team, and I was willing to be the best complement I could to LaMarcus Aldridge. I expressed that to him multiple times, but I think it just came down to him being ready to move on to a new situation.” Portland lost four of its starters over the offseason, with Wesley Matthews signing with the Mavericks, Robin Lopez signing with the Knicks and Nicolas Batum being traded to the Hornets.

Knicks Rumors: Conley, Grant, Jackson, Fisher

The Knicks may dream of adding point guard Mike Conley in free agency, but it won’t be easy to sell him on leaving Memphis, writes Anthony Rieber of Newsday. Conley sparked the hopes of fans in New York and other cities with a comment that “everything will be on the table” when he becomes a free agent this summer. But the hurdles for the Knicks are much higher than that statement makes them appear. Start with finances. The Grizzlies can offer Conley a five-year max deal starting at a projected $25MM with annual raises up to 7.5%. Other teams can match $25MM for the first year, but are limited to four-year deals with 4.5% increases.

Then there’s the matter of loyalty. Conley has been with Memphis for his entire nine-year career and has strong ties to the organization. In New York for a game Friday, Conley denied having a “pact” with Marc Gasol to stay in Memphis, but suggested his free agency could go the same way his teammate’s did last summer. “We’ve grown up together in this league, me and Marc, and with the Grizzlies,” he said. “We don’t know anything different. So just like he did last year, it’s something I’m going to wait and talk about later, because at the end of the day, it is a business and anything can happen. But obviously, they know how I feel about Marc and my teammates here.”

There’s more news out of New York:

  • Conley would be a nice solution for the Knicks if they don’t trade for Atlanta’s Jeff Teague first, according to George Willis of The New York Post. He notes that point guard has been a problem area in New York for a couple of decades and says first-round pick Jerian Grant has been a disappointment so far.
  • Knicks president Phil Jackson is doing a disservice to coach Derek Fisher by not talking to the media, contends Marc Berman of The New York Post. Jackson hasn’t made a public comment on the team since late September, leaving Fisher to take the heat for the team’s current 1-8 slide. Berman argues that the Knicks’ failures are the result of Jackson assembling a fragile roster and says the best strategy would be to clear some cap space by the February 18th trade deadline.

Nuggets Rumors: Hickson, Barton, Lauvergne

J.J. Hickson has handled trade rumors and reduced playing time in the best possible way, writes Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post. The Nuggets have been shopping the 27-year-old center/forward, who has been with the team since signing as a free agent in 2013. Hickson, who has fallen out of the rotation, is making nearly $5.614MM this season in the final year of an expiring contract. Coach Michael Malone has acknowledged the difficult situation that Hickson is in and complimented him for approaching it professionally and keeping himself ready to play.

Dempsey lists several other Nuggets who are attracting interest as the February 18th trade deadline nears:

  • Denver is getting numerous inquiries about Will Barton but doesn’t seem interested in making a deal. The 25-year-old shooting guard has taken a step forward this season, averaging 15.5 points, 6.0 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game. Dempsey says the Nuggets know they have a “gem” in Barton, who is signed through the 2017/18 season.
  • The Nuggets began getting calls on second-year center Joffrey Lauvergne before the season started. Denver turned down those offers, and Dempsey believes the team will keep Lauvergne, in spite of a report that the Nuggets are seeking a late first-round pick for him. The Post scribe acknowledges that it’s not a certainty the Nuggets will hang on to the big man, but Malone has stated more than once that he considers Lauvergne part of the future, Dempsey notes. Lauvergne, who was the 55th pick in 2013, is also signed through 2017/18.
  • Kenneth Faried isn’t on the trade block, but Dempsey believes a “too good to be true” offer might change the Nuggets’ minds. The 26-year-old power forward has three years and nearly $39MM left after this season on the extension he signed in 2014.
  • The Nuggets were mentioned in Blake Griffin trade rumors last week, but Dempsey doesn’t think the Clippers will be dealing their star forward this season. He says L.A. has a “win now” philosophy, but that could change with another playoff disappointment. If that happens, the Nuggets would still be interested in Griffin this summer.

Pacific Notes: Karl, Griffin, Russell

Rumors are again swirling of a possible coaching change in Sacramento, but firing George Karl now might not be the Kings‘ best move, contends Sam Amick of USA Today. The columnist warns that an immediate change could make it difficult for the team to conduct a thorough search for Karl’s replacement. He adds that Sacramento has been looking at former Thunder coach Scott Brooks, ex-Bulls mentor Tom Thibodeau and former Warriors coach Mark Jackson for a while.

There’s more news from the Pacific Division:

  • The Kings should get rid of Karl right away because they have barely improved despite raising their talent level, argues Tom Ziller of SB Nation. Sacramento is just 21-29 and falling out of the playoff picture even though it signed Rajon Rondo, Marco Belinelli and Caron Butler in free agency and drafted Willie Cauley-Stein sixth overall. Ziller also slams Karl for trying to get rid of DeMarcus Cousins, for having an up-tempo game plan that doesn’t fit the team’s talent and for having a poor defensive team.
  • Clippers coach Doc Rivers didn’t waste words when asked about Blake Griffin‘s future in L.A., tweets Ben Bolch of The Los Angeles Times. “Blake’s ours,” Rivers said, “and he’s going to stay ours.” There have been rumors that the Clippers may consider dealing Griffin in the wake of an incident with an equipment manager that the team reportedly believes could keep him out of action for two months.
  • Lakers coach Byron Scott has been trying to make rookie D’Angelo Russell feel like he’s earning his minutes, according to Bill Oram of The Orange County Register. In what he says was an effort to keep Russell’s ego under control, Scott pulled him and Julius Randle from the starting lineup on December 7th. “I didn’t want him to just feel, ‘This is who I am. I should be starting on the Lakers because I’m the second pick,’” Scott said. “No, you’re starting because you work hard and you earn it.”

Following Specific Players On Hoops Rumors

The trade deadline is less than two weeks away, and some names have become the frequent subject of rumors. Hoops Rumors lets you keep up with your favorite teams as they plot their moves, and we also provide ways to easily follow the latest on all of your favorite players and trade candidates. If you want to stay up to date on Markieff Morris rumors, you can find Morris’ page right here. Updates on Jeff Teague are found on this page. For intel on Rudy Gay, go here.

You can get news about players wherever you go with our Trade Rumors app, available for iOS and Android devices. The app is free and allows you to add a feed for any player and set up notifications that will alert you whenever we write about him.

Every player we’ve written about has his own rumors page. You can find any player by using our search box (located in the right sidebar); by clicking his tag at the bottom of a post in which he’s discussed; or, by simply typing his name in your address bar after, substituting dashes for spaces. For example, Dwight Howard’s page is

You can also set up an RSS feed for any of our player pages by adding /feed to the end of the page URL, like this: Entering that URL into the reader of your choice should enable you to get updates whenever we write about David Lee. It works for teams, too. If you’re a Celtics fan, you can enter into your reader and stay on top of all the latest from Boston.

In addition to players and teams, there are a number of other subjects you can track by clicking on the tags that we use at the bottom of posts. You can keep tabs on news related to the draft right here. Items about the salary cap can be found on this page. You can simply scan our top stories here. Again, you can set up a feed with any of these pages by adding /feed to the end of the URL.

Latest On Nets GM Search

The Nets will begin formally interviewing candidates for their vacant GM position on Monday, Mike Mazzeo of reports. Nets team owner Mikhail Prokhorov will attend the sessions along with chairman of the Nets board of directors Dmitry Razumov, Prokhorov’s Russian confidant Sergey Kushchenko, CEO of Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment Brett Yormark and president of ONEXIM Sports & Entertainment Irina Pavlova, Mazzeo notes. The interview process is expected to take a few days, according to the ESPN scribe.

The search committee’s interview candidates are expected to include Nuggets assistant GM Arturas Karnisovas, Rockets executive vice president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas, Nets assistant GM Frank Zanin and former Hawks GM Danny Ferry, Mazzeo writes. The inclusion of Ferry in this group runs counter to a report filed by Brian Lewis of the New York Post which relayed that Ferry was no longer a viable candidate for the vacant post. Mazzeo also implies that Bryan Colangelo, who’s reportedly been under strong consideration, will receive an interview, too, though he doesn’t say so directly.

Not among the names listed in Mazzeo’s report is Wizards senior VP of basketball operations Tommy Sheppard, whom Brooklyn reportedly asked the Wizards for permission to interview. Washington had denied a June 2014 request from the Grizzlies to interview Sheppard, as Chris Vernon of 92.9 FM ESPN in Memphis reported at the time, so there’s no guarantee that the Nets were given the green light to speak with him regarding the position. The Nets have received permission to speak with Karnisovas and Rosas from their respective organizations.

The Nets reportedly want to hire a GM before the trade deadline, which is less two weeks away.  All signs point to the organization hiring someone by that target date, Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post relays in a series of tweets. Bontemps also notes that Brooklyn is expected to hire someone with previous GM experience, though there are some candidates who don’t fit that prerequisite who are also being considered. Assistant GM Frank Zanin has been running the front office since the team removed Billy King from the GM job nearly a month ago.

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