Beno Udrih played three seasons for the Spurs, and Marc Berman of the New York Post thinks the veteran journeyman might end up back in San Antonio before the deadline passes. The Knicks have been trying to find suitors for Udrih, and former New York GM Scott Layden, now in the front office of San Antonio, was at attendance for Wednesday’s Knicks game. It might be too early to make assumptions, but it’s certainly possible Udrih might be on the move some time soon. Here’s more out of the Western Conference..
A well placed source tells Bill Ingram of Basketball Insiders that the Bucks aren’t interested in Pelicans guard Eric Gordon (Twitter link). Ingram hears Milwuakee doesn’t have any interest in dealing for oft-discussed guard.
The Jazz would be wise to find a suitor for Gordon Hayward, suggests Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders in his weekly chat. Kennedy thinks Hayward might command max dollars from a rival team as a restricted free agent, but there’s still some doubt whether he’s worth that kind of money.
Kennedy also believes the Lakers would be better off trading Pau Gasol for some assets that could help the team down the road. At this stage in his career, Kennedy thinks Gasol would like to play for a winner, so he might be likely to leave LA in free agency.
Carmelo Anthony brushed off rumors of trade talks involving him and Blake Griffin, calling the reports “silly and stupid” to gathered media today, including Frank Isola of the New York Daily News (Twitter link). That doesn’t mean that he and Chris Paul wouldn’t like to join forces, Isola notes, and Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com wrote yesterday that their desire to play together hasn’t waned since Paul first raised the idea in 2010. Anthony addressed the latest talk linking him to Paul, pointing out that, “It never happens,” as Isola also tweets. Of course, there’s wiggle room with that statement, too, since Anthony didn’t say it will never happen. As cryptic messages and conflicting reports abound, here’s the latest from the Knicks and their Atlantic Division rivals:
The Nets believe Brook Lopez will recover fully from the latest surgery on his right foot, but if the procedure designed to make the foot more resistant to injury doesn’t prove successful, the 25-year-old’s career is probably in jeopardy, writes Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com.
The Knicks and Clippers are denying that they’ve had internal discussions about an Anthony/CP3 trade, but with the Knicks far adrift from their title aspirations, Keith Schlosser of Knicks Journal thinks New York’s front office should be open to such a deal.
With Chris Paul separating his shoulder Friday night against the Mavericks it appears the point guard will spend a substantial amount of time on the bench. Head coach and Senior Vice President of Basketball Operations Doc Rivers hinted that the Clippers may be looking as far as players outside the NBA to fill this hole. Rivers told Eric Patten of Clippers.com they “aren’t going to do much right now” and will just “wait and see what the report is on Chris and how Maalik Wayns is coming along.”
Wayns hasn’t played since the preseason when he tore his meniscus but was activated January 1st shortly before the Clippers played the Bobcats. Rivers told Patten that Wayns still isn’t ready to join the rotation and as we have noted, the Clippers have to make a decision on whether they even want to keep Maalik before his contract becomes fully guaranteed on January 10th.
With only Darren Collison guaranteed to play at point guard for the next few weeks, Doc Rivers told Patten they are looking at a few guys that could get out of their contracts in China. Rivers did also hint that they may not sign a point guard and may look for a shooting guard that could handle the ball.
According to ESPN’s Arash Markazi, two point guards currently playing in China that could be options for LA are Delonte West and Bobby Brown. (Twitter Link) West last played in the NBA for the Mavericks in 2011/12 and Brown last saw regular season NBA action with the Clippers back in 2009/10. West seems to have the advantage to get Clipper consideration over Brown as he played for Rivers two separate times in Boston.
The Clippers are at the 15-man maximum roster limit so any signing will subsequently require a player to be waived. The two players most likely to be waived would be those playing with non-guaranteed contracts, previously mentioned Wayns and 13 year veteran Stephen Jackson.
Front office executives from the Bucks, Suns, Clippers, along with Redick, whose willingness to join the Clippers in the sign-and-trade was at the center of the deal, reached an agreement on July 2nd, but Sterling called Roeser the next day to veto the trade. Sterling had OK’d the deal on July 1st, but had a change of heart. That left Rivers “beyond embarrassed and humiliated,” Wojnarowski hears, as Rivers feared the failure of the trade would short-circuit his credibility in his new role as Clippers senior vice president of basketball operations. Redick and agent Arn Tellem were incensed, as well, since the sharpshooter’s other suitors had moved on once the news that he was headed to the Clippers had emerged.
Rivers heard appeals to bring Chris Paul along with him to lobby Sterling, but Paul ultimately wasn’t involved, Wojnarowski writes. Rivers never threatened to resign when he spoke with Sterling, but a source tells Wojnarowski that Rivers stepping down was a possibility.
Ultimately, the mercurial Sterling changed his mind before the league’s July Moratorium ended on July 10th and allowed the deal to go through. The incident showcases the volatility of any trade before it’s officially announced, but it also casts suspicion on the level of trust between Sterling, Rivers and the rest of the front office. Sterling was fond of Eric Bledsoe, who went to Phoenix in the swap, and some believe he questioned the wisdom of awarding Redick a four-year, $27.755MM contract when he’s often been a bench player, according to Wojnarowski. Still, it’s unclear what made Sterling hesitate and ultimately change his mind.
Let’s round up a few odds and ends from around the Association….
Elton Brand tells Dwain Price of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that he was “a little surprised” that the Mavericks didn’t re-sign him this summer. However, the veteran big man added that Dallas had been in the mix: “They had to get their cap situation straight and they did tender an offer.”
Appearing on Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel (video link), Chris Paul admits that he could see himself retiring a little earlier than expected in order to spend more time with his children (hat tip to Matt Moore of Eye on Basketball). Of course, the Clippers guard just signed a five-year deal with the club this summer, so he’s not about to call it a career anytime soon.
Rigas Dardalis of Eurohoops.net translates an interview with longtime Panathinaikos coach Zeljko Obradovic on Greece’s OTE TV. Shortly after the 2012/13 NBA season ended, Obradovic said he’d consider taking an NBA job if a playoff team reached out to him, but he tells OTE TV that while a couple clubs were considering interviewing him, none ended up contacting him directly.
After recently working out at the Lakers facility, former NBA vet Kareem Rush is prepared to rejoin the team’s D-League affiliate, the L.A. D-Fenders, he tells Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com (Twitter link). Rush appeared in seven games for the D-Fenders in 2011/12.
Earlier today, ESPNLosAngeles.com published another excerpt of Jeanie Buss' updated memoirs, "Laker Girl." In this piece, Buss says that she was less-than-involved in the 2011 trade that jettisoned Lamar Odom from L.A. According to Jeanie, her brother Jim notified her of the trade via text, writing, "Traded Odom to Dallas for first-round pick. I think it might make it easier to make a big trade. Will keep you posted. Have a good night." That wasn't the only significant storyline that Buss touched on, however. Here's more from Buss' memoirs and other items of interest on the Lakers..
Buss went on to describe the events that led to Chris Paul being traded to the Lakers and the deal being called off shortly thereafter. In Buss' mind, the timing of the deal rubbed the small-market owners the wrong way as they all just got done ratifying a CBA that was supposed to ensure a more even playing field for all teams. Had the Hornets and Lakers waited, say, two days to pull the trigger, it's possible that the deal never would have been reversed by David Stern.
In an interview in Dubai, Kobe Bryant told Jessica Kahawaty of Yahoo (video link) that he would like to be reunited with a longtime teammate. “My all-time favorite teammate has always been Derek Fisher. He’s been my favorite teammate, I would love to see him back in a Lakers uniform so we could kind of finish out together," Bryant said of the veteran guard.
In discussing Chris Paul's election as the new NBPA president, ESPN's Brian Windhorst writes that neither Paul nor former union vice president Jerry Stackhouse would commit to a timetable nor discuss whether a search firm was in place to find a replacement for ex-NBPA executive director Billy Hunter. Stackhouse, who will remain active with the union in an advisory role, said they aren't in a rush but have already identified a number of candidates. Windhorst also says the union would ideally want a new executive director in place by February 1st, when Adam Silver is set to begin his job as the new commissioner. Here are more of tonight's miscellaneous news and notes, along with more from the above piece:
Some comments from Paul: "I've been thinking about (running) for a while on and off…I've had a lot of dialogue about it with committee members. I wouldn't have taken on the role if I was going to do it alone."
There are a few specific issues that were tabled during the 2011 CBA which still need to be resolved, especially blood testing for performance enhancing drugs (including human growth hormone) and the current age limit to declare for the NBA draft.
The union has turned to Deloitte Financial Advisory Services to examine its structure and will make necessary changes, such as adding a human resources and information technology department (J.A. Adande of ESPN.com).
Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today notes that the NBPA has hired Reilly Partners to help with restructuring and forming a job description for the executive director position, and that two names have surfaced as potential candidates for the opening: former NBA executive vice president of basketball operations Stu Jackson and former NBA and Madison Square Garden executive Steven Mills.
Suns forward Caron Butler says he's looking forward to being a mentor to teammate Michael Beasley, gives his thoughts on the Clippers, and talks about how he's approaching the upcoming season in Phoenix. Butler adds that no one from the Clippers front office has spoken to him since he was notified by his agent about being traded, but insists there's no ill will: “I don’t leave with bitterness or anything, but a phone call would have helped the situation…But it’s cool, it’s no hard feelings because that’s the nature of the business" (NBA.com's Jeff Caplan).
Hoopsworld's Alex Kennedy looks at a list of 11 of the top 13 players drafted this past June and discusses their chances at winning Rookie of the Year.
In the same piece, Kennedy relays a clip from Gary Payton's interview on FOX Sports, in which the Hall of Fame point guard reveals that he may have had something to do with Allen Iverson's "practice" rant on the 76ers several years ago: "(Iverson) asked me…'How do you keep your body is so good of a shape, and don’t get hurt, and stay always on the court?’ And I just told him for real, my coach George Karl didn’t let me practice. So that was it. I said, ‘You have to stop practicing." While watching the actual rant, Payton recalled thinking: ‘Don’t say it like this! Don’t do it like that, Allen…When he said it, I said, ‘No, that was not our conversation.’”
We learned tonight that Chris Paul will replace Derek Fisher as the president of the NBA Players Association. It is no secret that Paul is exceptionally popular among the NBA's players and fans, as Sean Deveney of Sporting News writes in his story about Paul's new position. Deveney also notes that the point guard has been involved in the union since he was a rookie, which allows him to utilize star power and knowledge in a position and union that desperately need both.
Since rumors of LeBron James eyeing the position surfaced in late July, the idea of a league star as the union front man has been universally advocated after more than a decade without one. But is that advocacy on point? And if so, is CP3 the man to prove it? There are a lot of new faces in new roles this year, from commissioner to NBPA president, so this selection could have legitimate ramifications. Let us know what you think, and feel free to elaborate in the comments section.
Clippers point guard Chris Paul has been elected as the president of the NBA Players Association, the union announced via Twitter. The NBPA tweeted that Roger Mason Jr., who was also interested in the top position, has been named first vice president.
Paul, previously a union vice president, will be the first star player to head the players' union since Patrick Ewing, who held the position from 1997 to 2001, and the first "in-his-prime" president since fellow point guard Isiah Thomas. As LeBron Jamesindicated when he was considering the position, a player of his or Paul's caliber would likely have a louder voice as president than their predecessors — something the union sorely needs after being shrouded in controversy in the late stages of Fisher's reign. Fisher served as the union's president until his term expired this summer. He was preceded by Antonio Davis and Michael Curry, who, like Fisher, were also role players. James decided he would not pursue the presidency early last week.
The union also tweeted that it will add Steve Blake and Anthony Tolliver as vice presidents and executive committee members. As USA Today's Jeff Zillgitt reports (viaTwitter), Jerry Stackhouse has resigned as first vice president and will accept some sort of special advisory role within the NBPA. The league will also hire an executive director in the near future to replace Billy Hunter, who was ousted earlier this year. With Paul and a new executive director in place, it could be an interesting first year for commissioner Adam Silver.
Rockets GM Daryl Morey has had an eventful offseason, landing the top big man on the free agent market, adding a handful of free agents around Dwight Howard, and losing his annual Las Vegas ping pong match to Bobcats GM Rich Cho. He addressed all of those topics today in an "Ask Me Anything" session at Reddit.com, and the questions and answers in full can be found here. We'll round up a few of Morey's more notable responses below….
Asked whether Omer Asik will be happy with his new role in Houston, Morey acknowledged that Asik would prefer to be a starter, but added that the big man is concerned with winning first, and will like being on a competitive team. According to Morey, coach Kevin McHale will also experiment with a lineup in training camp that includes Asik at center and Howard at power forward.
According to Morey, the Rockets' pitch to Howard centered around three main factors: The opportunity to join a rising star in James Harden, McHale's presence on the bench, and the fact that, among the clubs D12 was considering, Houston has the most assets and flexibility to continue improving the roster around him.
Chris Paul reportedly had interest in the Rockets before re-signing with the Clippers, but Morey says he believes Houston was "always on the periphery of where [Paul] might choose to go."
Morey says he'd love for every NBA team to send all trade offers Houston's way, whether those offers are "ridiculous or reasonable," since even the ridiculous ones can eventually grow into something real.
Asked to reply to Steve Kerr's suggestions for how to improve the NBA's draft lottery, Morey indicated that he thinks the league rewards losing too much, and that potential alternatives are "something we need to work on." Morey went on to say that "bottoming out" is the highest probability strategy for rebuilding, and that he thinks a team like Philadelphia took the best path available, given the current CBA and draft rules.
Morey had nothing but praise for future commissioner Adam Silver, who is "very forward-thinking" and has plenty of great ideas for how to improve the NBA, according to the Rockets GM.