Cleveland Cavaliers Rumors

And-Ones: Heat, D-League, Brown, Knicks

January 28 at 10:26pm CST By Eddie Scarito

Knicks coach Derek Fisher said that it was very important for New York to sign Louis Amundson and Lance Thomas for the remainder of the season, Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com reports (Twitter link). Both players are inked to 10-day deals that expire this week. In five appearances for the Knicks this season, Thomas has averaged 9.8 points and 4.8 rebounds in 26.0 minutes per game. Amundson has also made five appearances for New York, and his averages are 4.6 points and 5.8 rebounds in 21.4 minutes per night.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • All of the injuries that the Heat have endured this season haven’t allowed the team to see how effective its intended roster could be, Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel writes. “The most disappointing thing is we’re not even having a chance to be at full strength, to even see what we could do,” said Miami center Chris Bosh. “Not 100%, but just at least have most of our guys. It just seems like every time we’re about to turn the corner, there’s a drawback. And it is what it is. I can’t really say anything else.”
  • The Cavaliers have recalled Joe Harris from the Canton Charge, their D-League affiliate, the team has announced. This was Harris’ third jaunt of the season to the D-League. Harris has played in two games for the Charge this season, averaging 18.0 points and 8.0 rebounds in 39.5 minutes per game.
  • The Warriors have assigned center Festus Ezeli to the Santa Cruz Warriors, their D-League affiliate, the team has announced in a press release. Ezeli has missed the last 16 games with an ankle sprain. Golden State also announced that it has recalled Ognjen Kuzmic, who concludes his fifth sojourn of the season in Santa Cruz.
  • With the trade deadline rapidly approaching, Basketball Insiders’ Cody Taylor looked at some players whom the Hawks, Hornets, Heat, Magic, and Wizards could be willing to deal.
  • Lorenzo Brown will earn $48K from his 10-day contract with the Wolves, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders reports (Twitter link). One-year veterans, like Brown, and rookies cost their teams slightly less than other players when they sign 10-day contracts, as Chuck Myron of Hoops Rumors explained earlier this month.

Wizards Interested In Will Bynum

January 28 at 11:52am CST By Chuck Myron

The Wizards have joined the Cavs among the teams interested in point guard Will Bynum, reports Shams Charania of RealGM (Twitter link). The seven-year veteran is in China with the Guangdong Southern Tigers, who haven’t lost since he joined them in early December. The regular season ends February 1st for the Tigers, but the playoffs could keep him off-limits for NBA teams until late March, Charania adds.

Bynum has put up strong numbers in China, averaging 23.2 points and 7.4 assists against 3.3 turnovers per game. The longtime Piston went to the Celtics in a preseason trade, but the Celtics waived the Mark Bartelstein client amid a roster crunch before opening night in spite of a guaranteed salary of nearly $2.916MM.

Washington has an open roster spot, and though it seems the club would prefer to use it to sign Ray Allen, for whom the Wizards are reportedly the most aggressive suitor, it’s still seems a long shot that Allen would head to the nation’s capital. Washington, just like Cleveland, is limited to handing out the prorated minimum salary to Bynum, Allen or any other free agents.

Latest On Celtics, Tayshaun Prince

January 28 at 10:43am CST By Eddie Scarito

JANUARY 28TH: Sources tell Bulpett that Prince will push to leave the Celtics, a notion that the forward hinted at publicly.

“Obviously I want to be in a winning situation,” Prince said. “Everybody wants to be in a winning situation, make no mistake about it, especially toward the end of your career. But at the end of the day, it’s about doing what’s right and going out there and having fun. If you get to the point where I am in my career after all these years, you just want to go out there and have a chance to win and do the right things.”

JANUARY 24TH: The Celtics still wish to trade Prince prior to the February deadline, and are seeking a future draft pick in return, Bulpett reports. There have been reports that Boston would attempt to work out a buyout deal if they failed to find a taker for Prince. But Celtics coach Brad Stevens may lobby for the team to keep the forward if a trade fails to materialize, Bulpett adds. Stevens believes that Prince can help the franchise with both with his talent and leadership, Bulpett notes. Stevens also added, “I think there’s no question about his value, but also there’s the fact that he’s a veteran who knows how to,” the coach said. “The other thing is he just has such great poise and presence. Tayshaun just knows how to play. There’s a lot of things that come very natural to him. I think natural is right, but also he’s been in the league for 13 years.

JANUARY 19TH: A buyout deal with Prince is likely in the event the Celtics don’t end up trading him, Bulpett writes.

JANUARY 18TH: The Celtics are expected to attempt to trade Prince, and perhaps do a buyout deal if they can’t find a taker, according to Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald. Prince told reporters including Bulpett that all options remain in play, adding that talks about his future with Boston took place today for the first time. The Clippers and Prince reportedly have mutual interest, though the Clips would rather sign him post-buyout than trade for him.

“But the most important thing is, even though all options are on the table, my job is to be a Boston Celtic at this point in time and help where help is needed,” Prince said. “So that’s the main thing, and I can’t have one foot in and one foot out the door right now — even though everything’s on the table. That would be wrong on my behalf. So we’ll see how it plays out.”

4:40pm: Ainge and Prince will meet in Los Angeles during Boston’s upcoming trip to the West Coast to discuss Prince’s future with the club, and it’s not out of the question that Prince would remain with the Celtics, Murphy tweets.

JANUARY 15TH, 9:14am: The Celtics are exploring potential trades involving Prince as they seek more draft picks, and a buyout is a “secondary option,” according to Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald. They can’t aggregate his salary in a swap, since they just acquired him via trade, but they’re otherwise still allowed to flip him.

JANUARY 13TH, 6:44pm: Sean Deveney of The Sporting News (Twitter link) reports that “no substantive talks” have taken place between Prince and the Celtics regarding a buyout yet.

6:27pm: Prince is unlikely to ever don a Celtics uniform, and the two sides are making progress on reaching a buyout agreement, Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe reports (Twitter link).

4:43pm: The Celtics continue to reshape their roster with an eye on the future. Boston and newly acquired forward Tayshaun Prince are negotiating toward a buyout arrangement, Chris Mannix of SI.com reports (Twitter link). No agreement has been reached just yet, Mannix adds. Prince is set to become an unrestricted free agent at season’s end, and is making $7,707,865 in the final year of his deal.

Prince came to Boston as part of the three-way deal between the Celtics, Grizzlies, and Pelicans that sent forward Jeff Green to Memphis. But with Boston obviously building toward next season and wanting to get a better look at younger assets, Prince seemed like an obvious candidate to be dealt to a contending team or to reach a buyout arrangement that would allow him to try and catch on with a squad in the playoff hunt. The Cavs have been reported to have interest in the 34-year-old if he were to become a free agent.

In a career spanning 908 games, Prince has averaged 11.9 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 2.5 assists per game. His slash line is .455/.368/.758. He was averaging 7.3 PPG and 3.2 RPG for Memphis this season prior to being dealt.

Mavs Confident Of Edge For Jermaine O’Neal

January 28 at 8:01am CST By Chuck Myron

WEDNESDAY, 8:01am: The only reason a deal between O’Neal and the Mavs hasn’t happened yet is because of the Orthokine knee treatments O’Neal traveled to Germany to receive, writes Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders.

SUNDAY, 11:31pm: The Mavericks are high on their chances to ink Jermaine O’Neal this season, and they believe they’re slowly moving closer to a deal, report Tim MacMahon and Marc Stein of ESPN.com. Dallas hopes to sign the 36-year-old center by the All-Star break, MacMahon and Stein hear. O’Neal has made it clear to suitors that he won’t play until he’s in better shape, but he’s been going through intense workouts this month at his home near Dallas, according to the ESPN scribes. The 18-year veteran recently visited Germany to undergo a treatment on his knees, one that he believes helped him prepare to play for the Warriors last season, MacMahon and Stein note.

It’s unclear whether the Warriors remain interested in re-signing O’Neal, as they reportedly were last month, when Stein identified the Cavs and Clippers among the teams eyeing the Arn Tellem client. Stein left the Warriors off his list of teams when he identified the Blazers as one of the teams in the mix. In between, O’Neal seemed to drop hints that he wouldn’t return to Golden State.

This latest dispatch from MacMahon and Stein echoes the confidence that Mavs president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson expressed a month ago when he said he felt chances were “pretty good” that Dallas would sign either O’Neal or Josh Smith. That was shortly before Smith went to the Rockets instead. The Mavs only have the prorated minimum salary to spend on O’Neal, but none of the other teams that reports have linked to him can offer more at this point.

And-Ones: Smith, Pelicans, Hornets

January 27 at 10:18pm CST By Eddie Scarito

J.R. Smith believes that being away from the nightlife of New York will help improve his game and focus, TNT’s David Aldridge, writing in his Morning Tip column for NBA.com reports. The Cavs guard said, “I think this is the best situation for me, ’cause there’s nothing but basketball. There’s nothing you expect but basketball. There’s nothing, there’s no going out, there’s no late nights. There’s video games, basketball and basketball. So it’s a great thing, ’cause I go back to where I came from. When I grew up, I never, I wasn’t allowed to go out.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Smith also intimated that he wished things would have worked out with the Knicks, and wanted to become successful in the triangle offense, Aldridge adds. “I wanted to be one of the players that understood it, that got it,” Smith said. “The two greatest players in the world at my position played in it [Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant], and thrived in it, got all the accolades and championships and whatever else came with it. I wanted to be a part of that significant group. Not that I think I’m like those two guys in any way, but to be a part of the building process that that’s the base of, and go from there.”
  • Pelicans and Saints owner Tom Benson is asking a judge to dismiss the lawsuit that his heirs have filed regarding the control of the two franchises, Brett Martel of The Associated Press writes. Benson’s legal stance is that he made a “deliberate, reasoned and difficult decision” to change his succession plan so that Gayle Benson, his wife of 10 years, inherits control of the team, Martel notes.
  • The Pacers have assigned Shayne Whittington to the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, Candace Buckner of The Indianapolis Star reports (Twitter link). This will be Whittington’s initial D-League assignment of the season.
  • Hornets GM Rich Cho isn’t willing to sacrifice any long-term assets in his search for a backup point guard, Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer writes.  “I think one of the worst things you can do is lose [draft] picks and flexibility and then get caught in a corner,” Cho said. “That’s one of the challenges of this job: You’ve got to balance winning now with winning in the future.”

Central Notes: Bucks, Harris, Pistons

January 27 at 8:28pm CST By Eddie Scarito

Wisconsin governor Scott Walker said today that he’ll put a plan that would raise $220MM in public money for a new Bucks arena into the state’s budget, as expected, writes Don Walker of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The budget requires approval from the state legislature. The money will come from a “jock tax” charged to Bucks players as well as those from visiting teams. The Bucks owners have pledged up to $150MM for the arena, and former owner Herb Kohl has put up $100MM, so it appears Walker’s plan would fill the gap needed to fully fund the building, which will likely cost $400MM-$500MM, as Walker wrote Monday.

Here’s more from the Central Division:

  • The Cavaliers have assigned Joe Harris to the Canton Charge, their D-League affiliate, the team has announced. This will be Harris’ third stint in the D-League of the season.
  • Brandon Jennings has undergone successful surgery to repair the damage to his ruptured left Achilles tendon, the Pistons have announced. The team didn’t put a timetable on Jennings’ return to the court, but he will certainly be out for the remainder of the 2014/15 campaign.
  • Pistons president of basketball operations Stan Van Gundy indicated that the team is likely to add another point guard to the roster soon, Keith Langlois of NBA.com reports (Twitter link). Detroit is reportedly eyeing Norris Cole of the Heat as a trade target
  • Detroit isn’t willing to sacrifice future assets to obtain a point guard or to make a run at the playoffs this season, Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press reports. “We want to give ourselves every chance, so we want to get some help, but we won’t mortgage anything in terms of the future,” Van Gundy said. “We’re not going to go out and give away assets, picks or anything like that. No, we’re not gonna do that.” The Pistons could look to the NBA D-League for backcourt help instead, Ellis adds. “Again, we’ve got several options,” Van Gundy said. “We haven’t decided which direction to go right now.”

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Central Notes: Bucks’ Arena, Pistons’ Guards

January 26 at 10:14pm CST By Chris Crouse

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is expected to announce on Tuesday that he is putting together a financing plan to help build multipurpose arena in downtown Milwaukee, according to Don Walker of the Journal Sentinel. A new arena is expected to cost between $400MM and $500MM. The Bucks‘ ownership group has pledged as much as $150MM towards it and former Bucks owner Herb Kohl has pledged $100MM of his own money as well. It’s unclear how much the state’s plan will allocate towards the facility but the franchise is under mandate by the NBA to build a new arena in the city by November 2017 or the league has the right to buy back the team. Such a move would mean the possibility of relocating the Bucks would be back on the table, so the latest development is good news for the city of Milwaukee.

Here’s more from the Central Division:

  • After the season ending injury to Brandon Jennings, the Pistons are seeking help at the point guard position, but they are not the only team looking for reinforcements, writes Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio. Amico cites the Cavs as another team exploring the market for a point guard. Cleveland’s current back up at the position, Matthew Dellavedova, has struggled this season and the team could use someone with more consistency in that role. Amico adds that both teams are likely to go the free agent route if they do make acquisitions.
  • Jordan Farmar, Marquis Teague and Peyton Siva are some of the players whom the Pistons could target to fill the void in their lineup, writes Amico in the same piece. Siva and Teague are currently playing in the D-League and earlier in the month, Farmar agreed to a buyout arrangement with the Clippers, making him a free agent. Siva and Teague would probably only warrant 10-day contracts from the team, while Farmar might require a contract that runs at least the remainder of the season, although that is just my speculation. Detroit has also been linked to Pablo Prigioni of the Knicks and Lorenzo Brown, who is playing for the team’s D-League affiliate, the Grand Rapids Drive.
  • An internal option for the Pistons would be Spencer Dinwiddie and the team is hoping his play improves by getting regular minutes, writes Brandan Savage of Mlive.com. “I think he’ll do well,”  new starting point guard D.J. Augustin said. “Spence is big guard. He played great defense on [Greivis] Vasquez. I think he’s going to get better the more he plays.”

Eastern Notes: Kobe, Wizards, Durant, Lopez

January 26 at 12:59pm CST By Chuck Myron

Kobe Bryant wanted to join the Wizards more than a decade ago when Michael Jordan was with the team, Bryant acknowledged to Michael Lee of The Washington Post. While Jordan was playing with the Wizards, Bryant told him several times that he wanted to come to Washington, assuming that Jordan would again head basketball operations for the Wizards as he did before his comeback, sources tell Lee. Jordan was confident he would sign Bryant when he became a free agent in 2004, Lee hears, but the current Hornets owner never got that chance, since then-Wizards owner Abe Pollin decided against letting Jordan run the front office upon his final retirement from playing in 2003. The Wizards missed out on a star then, but they have their sights set on acquiring one a dozen years later, as we detail:

  • It’s a long shot but more than a pipe dream that the Wizards would land Kevin Durant when he hits free agency in 2016, as TNT’s David Aldridge writes in his Morning Tip column for NBA.com. A D.C. income tax loophole would allow Durant to save more than $700K per year in tax payments if he played for the Wizards instead of the Thunder, as Aldridge explains. However, the Thunder, who hold Durant’s Bird rights, can offer better annual salary raises than the Wizards or any other team can.
  • J.R. Smith got over some initial mixed feelings about the trade that sent him from the Knicks to the Cavs and calls playing for Cleveland “the best situation for me as a person,” as he told Aldridge for the same piece. Smith has a player option worth nearly $6.4MM for next season.
  • Trade candidate Brook Lopez would prefer to stay with the Nets, as Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports writes amid his weekly power rankings.
  • Scouts, coaches and GMs at the D-League showcase were puzzled when the Sixers signed Larry Drew II, who had been playing for the Heat’s affiliate, to a 10-day contract earlier this month, as Gino Pilato of D-League Digest hears (Twitter links). Drew put up strong numbers, with 10.1 assists per game and 40.4% three-point shooting in 21 D-League appearances this year, but there were other, more intriguing prospects, Pilato believes. Drew signed his second 10-day deal with Philly earlier today.

Multiple Teams Interested In Nate Robinson

January 26 at 12:21pm CST By Chuck Myron

JANUARY 26TH: The Clips remain interested in Robinson but are looking into other deals first, a source told Spears for his weekly power rankings column.

JANUARY 23RD: The Clippers are still Robinson’s preferred free agency destination, Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders reports (Twitter link). Doc Rivers, Los Angeles’ president of basketball operations and coach, recently said that the team intends to use its remaining two roster spots to add veteran players next month. Robinson would certainly qualify as a veteran addition, but there have been conflicting reports regarding L.A.’s level of interest in the diminutive guard.

5:09pm: The Cavs won’t pursue Robinson beyond their initial inquiry, according to Chris Haynes of the Northeast Ohio Media Group (Twitter link).

JANUARY 19TH, 11:55am: Robinson reached out to the Heat, but the Heat still hadn’t responded two days after the inquiry, as Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald hears. That seemingly conflicts with Spears’ report from Thursday that Miami was interested in Robinson (below).

2:12pm: USA Today’s Sam Amick suggests that the Clippers have cooled on the idea of signing Robinson (Twitter link). The situation regarding the former Slam Dunk champ is “fluid,” Amick says.

JANUARY 16TH, 7:45am: The Clippers are “running unopposed” atop Robinson’s wish list, according to Marc Stein of ESPN.com.

JANUARY 15TH, 7:37pm: Washington won’t make a roster move until it knows what Ray Allen‘s plans are, J. Michael of CSNWashington.com tweets.

7:32pm: Robinson would like to play for the Wizards, but the team isn’t currently interested in his services, Jorge Castillo of The Washington Post reports (Twitter link). This conflicts with Spears’ earlier report that Washington was indeed interested in Robinson’s services.

7:04pm: The Clippers are still the frontrunners to land Robinson, Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders tweets.

5:49pm: The Wizards and the Heat are also interested in Robinson, Spears tweets.

5:42pm: The Cavaliers have also expressed interest in Robinson, Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports reports (Twitter link).

4:18pm: The Clippers are likely to sign Robinson now that he’s reached a buyout agreement with the Celtics, Arash Markazi of ESPNLosAngeles.com reports (Twitter link).

3:33pm: The Clippers have interest in Nate Robinson, who’s agreed to a buyout deal with the Celtics, and they’d still like to sign him once they complete the Austin Rivers trade, tweets Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports suggested earlier this week that the Clippers were a possible suitor, and Bolch indicates that’s indeed the case. The Clippers had spoken with the Nuggets about acquiring the 5’9″ guard via trade before the Nuggets instead sent him to Boston this week, Wojnarowski also wrote.

Clippers president of basketball operations and coach Doc Rivers was Robinson’s coach when Robinson was with the Celtics for parts of 2009/10 and 2010/11, including Boston’s run to the 2010 NBA Finals. Robinson, whose seeing a career-low 14.1 minutes per game, reportedly wants to have a chance to showcase his talents in advance of this summer’s free agent market as well as to again play with a contender.

The Clippers would give him a crack at another title, but their backcourt is fairly crowded, with Chris Paul, Jamal Crawford and J.J. Redick in prominent roles. Backup point guard Jordan Farmar has averaged almost precisely as much playing time this year as Robinson did with the Nuggets, and Farmar has apparently been wanting more. Farmar doesn’t appear likely to head to Boston in the Austin Rivers trade, but Kings have reportedly discussed swapping Ramon Sessions for Farmar.

The Clips’ roster is at 15 players, including Dahntay Jones, whom the team signed to a 10-day contract Wednesday, though much remains up in the air. The Clippers are less than $1MM shy of the hard cap as it stands, and it’s not quite clear what they’ll relinquish in the Rivers trade and where they’ll stand in relation to that $80.829MM hard cap once the trade goes through, but they’d need roughly $450K available to sign Robinson anytime soon to a prorated minimum salary for the rest of the season.

Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com suggested this week that the Cavs are in the mix for Robinson, too. The Celtics have yet to officially waive Robinson, though Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders indicated Wednesday that they were waiting on Jameer Nelson to complete his physical with the Nuggets, which would put a bow on the trade that sent Robinson to Boston (Twitter link).

Central Notes: Mozgov, Pistons, Bulls

January 25 at 11:02pm CST By Chuck Myron

The Cavaliers are suddenly the hottest team in the Central Division, and with their sixth straight win Sunday, over the Thunder, they own the NBA’s longest winning streak aside from the Hawks and their 16 wins in a row. Here’s the latest from Cleveland and the rest of the Central:

  • The record will show that the Cavs gave up two first-round picks in their deal to acquire Timofey Mozgov, but in the original structure of the trade, Cleveland never would have held one of those first-rounders, as Chris Haynes of the Northeast Ohio Media Group details. The Mozgov swap was supposed to have been part of the team’s three-way deal with the Knicks and Thunder involving Dion Waiters, Haynes reports. A scheduling conflict on Denver’s end broke what would have been one four-team transaction into separate trades, and the Thunder’s protected 2015 first-rounder that was destined for Denver wound up with the Cavs for the two-day period in between swaps, according to Haynes.
  • Stan Van Gundy acknowledged that the Pistons are looking for a third point guard to go with D.J. Augustin and Spencer Dinwiddie in the wake of the season-ending Achilles injury to Brandon Jennings, TSN’s Josh Lewenberg tweets. Detroit is looking either to swing a trade or sign a D-Leaguer, sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. The D-League option would jibe with the team’s reported interest in Lorenzo Brown.
  • Van Gundy’s brother, ESPN commentator Jeff Van Gundy, accused Bulls management on Friday of trying to undermine coach Tom Thibodeau, and Bulls executive vice president of basketball operations John Paxson shot back Sunday, as K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune writes. “Tom Thibodeau isn’t being undermined at all,” Paxson said. “What’s being undermined is the entire Bulls organization by [Jeff] Van Gundy, who has an agenda against our organization for whatever reason and has for years. I guess he thinks he’s trying to protect his friend, but he’s doing just the opposite. It’s pretty pathetic when you think about it, and truth be told he owes Jerry Reinsdorf an apology for his disparaging remarks.”