Cleveland Cavaliers

Celtics, Cavs, Knicks Have Discussed Love Trade

10:15pm: The Cavs have been shopping Love but the asking price is very high, Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe tweets.

9:00pm: The Cavaliers and the Celtics have had discussions regarding a trade that would send Kevin Love to Boston, Frank Isola of The New York Daily News reports. Preliminary talk also took place about a three-way deal that would include the Knicks and small forward Carmelo Anthony, Isola adds. Anthony’s contract includes a no-trade clause, which the veteran would have to waive in order for any deal involving him to occur. New York would be in line to receive draft picks and players in return for Anthony, including center Timofey Mozgov, who was part of the 2011 trade with Denver that landed ‘Melo in New York.

The talks involving the Knicks have not progressed, according to Isola, and Anthony remains committed to New York for the time being. Anthony did relay earlier today that if the Knicks were to miss the playoffs this season, he would have to think about his future with the franchise. “That doesn’t sit well with me to know that it can be three years if we don’t pick it up right away,” Anthony said. “I try not to think about that right now but in actuality you have to start thinking about that.

Anthony has expressed his desire to play alongside another star player, which LeBron James certainly qualifies as if Anthony were indeed to end up in Cleveland. “I think everybody always kind of dreams and hopes that they can play with another great player, another star player,” Anthony said. “It’s a star players’ league. I think that’s what we all talk about every time we get together. ‘I want to play with you. I want to play with you.’ Even here different guys say, ‘Come play with me, come play with me.’ That’s always the mindset. I think everybody that’s in my situation, in my position, they all want the load off, especially the older that they get. You realize that you just can’t do it by yourself. Everybody knows that. You have teams, great teams, great guys — individual guys on the teams — that still haven’t won either. They realize it just doesn’t work like that.

The Celtics could also look to deal with the Knicks directly if they are unable to land Love, Isola notes. Boston executive Danny Ainge is determined to add a star player and is intrigued by Anthony, the Daily News scribe adds. Boston certainly has assets the Knicks would likely be interested in, including multiple future draft picks and perhaps second-year playmaker Marcus Smart, who could be the answer at point guard for New York, though that is merely my speculation. With their lack of future draft picks thanks to a number of ill-advised trades, the Knicks could benefit from hitting the reset button and building around rookie phenom Kristaps Porzingis.

Central Notes: Lue, Dinwiddie, Bayless

New Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue, who is a student of Phil Jackson‘s coaching style, has no qualms about taking LeBron James to task for any mistakes, a practice that has been well-received by James thus far, Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com writes. “The thing with Phil is he did all of his coaching in practice,” Lue said. “He always held Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal more accountable than anyone else on the team. It always starts at the top and trickles down to the bottom. If you can get the respect of your best players, everyone else will fall in line. That was the biggest thing with Phil, like, in a game he’d let you figure it out and let you play, but in practice he’s coaching.

As for James’ response to Lue’s methods, the coach told McMenamin, “It’s been good, so far. He understands what we’ve got to do to get to the point we want to get to. It’s not personal. It’s just teaching and correcting. If I can teach and correct him, like I said, other guys will follow in line. We can’t be afraid to do that and hold him accountable.

Here’s more from the Central Division:

  • Pacers coach Frank Vogel expects the team’s roster to remain untouched through the trade deadline, as he said Wednesday, according to Scott Agness of VigiliantSports (Twitter link).
  • Spencer Dinwiddie will be with the Pistons after the All-Star break instead of on D-League assignment, coach/executive Stan Van Gundy said, according to Rod Beard of The Detroit News (Twitter links). Dinwiddie said last month that GM Jeff Bower told him he’d be in the D-League the rest of the season. The Pistons recalled Dinwiddie on Tuesday, but that was so their doctors could look at his sprained ankle.“We’ll weigh what’s best for him and what’s best for us. Initially, we’ll bring him back. I’d like to see him now,” Van Gundy said.
  • Bulls power forward Taj Gibson believes this year’s Chicago squad has more talent than the one that made it to the 2011 Conference Finals but doesn’t play hard for each other the way the 2010/11 team did, K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune tweets.
  • The Bucks coaching staff is pleased with the improvement combo guard Jerryd Bayless has demonstrated shooting the ball from beyond the 3-point line, Matt Velazquez of The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel writes. “He has worked extremely hard at it and put a lot of time into it,” coach Jason Kidd said. “He is not short on confidence, so right now he is shooting the three at a very high level.” Bayless, who is earning $3MM this season, will become an unrestricted free agent this summer.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Cavs Interested In McLemore, Ariza, Joe Johnson

The Cavaliers are one of multiple Eastern Conference teams with strong interest in Ben McLemore, league sources tell Chris Haynes of the Northeast Ohio Media Group and the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Cleveland would quickly snap up Joe Johnson if he works a buyout with the Nets, Haynes also hears from league sources, though it doesn’t look like he’s one of the Cavs’ trade targets. Trevor Ariza is also on Cleveland’s radar, Haynes adds, as are Kyle Korver and Jared Dudley, as previous reports indicated, but it’s highly unlikely Cleveland ends up with one of those three, according to Haynes, who paints McLemore as the more obtainable target.

The Kings have so far resisted offers for the shooting guard, Haynes writes, but it’s widely known around the league that agents are pushing to get their players out of Sacramento amid organizational turmoil there, Haynes also reports. Trade candidate Rudy Gay wouldn’t mind a deal that ships him out of town, but the Kings haven’t found any offers for him that pass muster, Haynes hears.

Cleveland isn’t connected to Gay, but it’s a matter of when, not if, the Cavs will make a move of some sort, according to Haynes. The Cavs have been seeking a three-and-D wing player and have been linked to multiple names, including Omer Asik, who’s a center, and Tyreke Evans, who has an injury that threatens to wipe out the rest of his season. They’ve reportedly explored trading Timofey Mozgov, having met with rejection on that front from the Kings and also engaging in talks with the Pelicans that didn’t bear fruit.

Johnson said recently that he wouldn’t dismiss the idea of a buyout from his contract with the Nets, which expires at season’s end, and the Heat, like the Cavs, reportedly want to make a run at him if he shakes free from Brooklyn. One source close to Johnson told Moke Hamilton of Basketball Insiders that Johnson is “miserable” with the Nets and would welcome a change. His nearly $24.895MM would make a trade difficult, so a buyout appears a more feasible route.

Eastern Notes: Dudley, Joseph, Dellavedova

Jared Dudley has been with a new team each of the last three seasons and the combo forward believes that he needs continuity to be the best player he can be, Joel Brigham of Basketball Insiders relays. “I’m a rhythm player,” Dudley told Brigham. “My game revolves around system, team, unselfishness. Obviously I’ve had to be healthy, though, and continue to adjust to playing a new position at power forward this year and last year. I had a great situation in Milwaukee, but I had to go between being a starter and a bench player back and forth.” Dudley, an unrestricted free agent at season’s end, noted that he is happy being a member of the Wizards, but did acknowledge the uncertainty that the future brings for veteran players, Brigham adds. “I’ve now come to the realization that you’ve got to rent instead of buying a home,” Dudley continued. “I don’t know where I’ll be 15 years from now. I don’t know what my job is going to be, but I’ve got time, and I’m happy where I am for now.

Dudley could be on the move once again as the Cavs are reportedly interested in his services. Here’s more from the East:

  • If the Heat look to make a deal in advance of the trade deadline, the expiring contract of Chris Andersen could be used to help the team pull off a deal, Bobby Marks of The Vertical on Yahoo Sports writes in his deadline primer for Miami. The Vertical scribe also notes that the franchise could save itself approximately $2.3MM in luxury tax penalties by dealing away rookie Jarnell Stokes, who has spent the bulk of the season in the D-League. Dana Gauruder of Hoops Rumors examined Andersen as a trade candidate before the season.
  • The Raptors‘ luxury tax situation will likely prevent the team from making any significant moves prior to next week’s trade deadline, Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca opines. To obtain an impact player, Toronto would likely have to part with either Cory Joseph or Patrick Patterson, both of whom have been solid contributors this season, to make a deal work under the luxury tax threshold, Lewenberg writes. The TSN scribe argues that it wouldn’t improve the team enough to make it worthwhile to part with either player in a trade during the season.
  • Injured Cavaliers point guard Matthew Dellavedova is unlikely to return to action until after the All-Star break, Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal relays. The long layoff may be a boon to the point guard, who is dealing with a hamstring injury, Lloyd notes. “I would like that,” coach Tyronn Lue said regarding Dellavedova having extra time to heal. “I’m not sure Delly would like that. That’s the smartest thing to do, just come back, get seven or eight days off, and then come back fresh. He should be healthy by then. That’s the smartest thing to do.

Cavs Eye Korver, Evans, Asik; Kings Reject Mozgov

The Cavaliers are interested in Kyle Korver and also have Tyreke Evans and Omer Asik on their radar, while recent talks with the Kings about Timofey Mozgov have met with rejection from Sacramento, Brian Windhorst of ESPN said in a radio appearance today on ESPN Cleveland’s “The Really Big Show,” according to a series of tweets from ESPN Cleveland. The Cavs have also been showcasing Anderson Varejao for a trade, Windhorst said, nonetheless adding that it doesn’t seem he’s drawing much interest. It’s unlikely that Cleveland lands Korver, Windhorst also said, though the relatively likelihood of Evans, Asik and Mozgov changing teams is unclear. The Cavs and Pelicans had talks earlier that involved Mozgov and Asik, but the Cavs were reluctant to deal, as Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical on Yahoo Sports reported last month.

Atlanta has reportedly solicited offers for Jeff Teague and Dennis Schröder of late and isn’t entirely certain that Al Horford will re-sign in free agency this summer, and Windhorst speculates that the Hawks could be sellers. They’re in fifth place in the Eastern Conference at 30-24, having already lost more games than they did during the entire regular season last year. Korver is under contract through next season, at more than $5.746MM this year and more than $5.239MM for 2016/17. His normally elite 3-point shooting is down to 38.3% this season, but that’s still better than most, and the Cavs have reportedly sought to add long distance shooting and defense to the wing.

New Orleans has reportedly sized up the market for Tyreke Evans and had discussions about trading him, though it’s unknown whether those talks were internal or external. The former Rookie of the Year is out until at least the All-Star break with tendinitis in his right knee. He’s once more been seeing time at point guard, where he’s matching his career high with 6.6 assists per game, though it would seem more logical that Cleveland would have interest in him as a wing player. His salary of nearly $10.734MM is just barely outside the bounds of the $10,522,500 trade exception Cleveland has as a vestige of Brendan Haywood. That’s true even though Evans’ salary for next season, the last year on his contract, is only about $10.204MM.

Asik’s numbers are off significantly this year, having suffered a right calf strain in the preseason that continued to bother him well into the regular season. The five-year, nearly $53MM contract he signed this past offseason looks player-friendly so far, though his more than $9.213MM salary for this year would fit within Cleveland’s exception.

He’d ostensibly offset the lack of production the Cavs have seen from Mozgov, who has also been slow to recover from injury, having undergone offseason surgery on his right knee. I examined Mozgov’s trade candidacy shortly after Wojnarowski reported that the Cavs had begun to explore the trade market for him. Sacramento would be an odd fit for him, given the presence of big men DeMarcus Cousins, Kosta Koufos and Willie Cauley-Stein, though it’s unclear what the Kings would have relinquished in Cleveland’s proposals. Mozgov is making $4.95MM this season on an expiring contract.

Varejao saw 27 minutes of action against the Pelicans on Saturday, but his minutes have otherwise been spotty. The longtime confidant of LeBron James is making $9.638MM this season in the first year of a three-year extension.

Do you see a deal involving any of these names that the Cavs should make? Leave a comment to tell us.

Central Notes: Sanders, Hoiberg, Christmas

Former Bucks center Larry Sanders plans to attempt an NBA comeback, but he wants to address other opportunities first, as he tells Shams Charania of The Vertical on Yahoo Sports. People close to the 27-year-old who abruptly walked away from the game in the middle of last season tell Charania that he’s serious about a return sooner rather than later, but Sanders said to the Vertical scribe that he has no timetable and first wants to continue growing his management company for artists, designers and photographers.

“Once my art, music and passions off the court feel stable, I will look into coming back,” Sanders said. “I still love basketball. I want stability around me, and part of my mindset to leave was not to put all my eggs in one basket. I feel highly valuable on any team. There aren’t a lot of people who can bring my game to a team. I still play basketball all the time, staying in shape. I will need to make sure the situation is right for me.”

Sanders was reportedly drawing preliminary interest from the Mavericks at the start of this past season. The Bucks are paying Sanders nearly $1.866MM each season through 2021/22 through the terms of the stretch provision and his buyout arrangement. See more from the Central Division:

  • The Bulls are a flawed team, not the championship-caliber bunch that the front office thought, which makes it tough to figure why management and the players remain in place from last season instead of coach Tom Thibodeau, contends Steve Rosenbloom of the Chicago Tribune.
  • Still, Bulls players are taking the blame for their own inconsistency, and new coach Fred Hoiberg has support from key figures, including Mike Dunleavy, a coach’s son and respected veteran voice, as Tribune scribe K.C. Johnson details.
  • Cavaliers training camp cut Dionte Christmas has been released for a second time this season from an overseas team, international journalism David Pick observes (Twitter link). AEK Athens parted ways with the one-year NBA veteran swingman, the team announced today (translation via Sportando’s Emiliano Carchia). The Greek club signed him last month shortly after Israel’s Hapoel Holon let him go, and Athens reportedly planned to keep him for the balance of the season as of just a few weeks ago.

Eastern Notes: Johnson, Cavs, Raptors

Tyler Johnson, who had surgery Wednesday to a repair a torn rotator cuff in his left shoulder and is expected to miss at least two months, told of the Miami Herald that there is no guarantee he will return at all this season. As Navarro points out, the Heat‘s regular season ends April 13th and the playoffs begin the weekend of April 16th. Johnson would be 10 weeks into his recovery by then.

“The doctors said it’s going to be two to three months before I can resume contact,” Johnson said. “It’s a possibility [I could be back for the playoffs]. But we’ve just got to see. Again, we’re not trying to rush it back. If it feels healthy by then, and I’m actually able to contribute and not just be out there trying to figure it out during the playoffs, [then I’ll play]. [The playoffs are] not the time to try and figure out if you can go. If there’s a couple practices before it, I’ll try and practice and figure out what I can do.”

Here’s more from around the Eastern Conference:

Central Notes: Lue, Smith, Butler

The Bulls locker room has become a fragmented one that is separated into cliques, Ben Dowsett of Basketball Insiders relays. One group, which includes point guard Derrick Rose and center Joakim Noah, is harboring lingering resentment with the organization over the ousting of former coach Tom Thibodeau, Dowsett notes. The other group includes Jimmy Butler, who despite the public support of Pau Gasol, has struggled to establish himself as a leader and voice of the team, the Basketball Insiders scribe adds.

The best squads in the league have a culture where veterans and rookies are able to criticize one another in the pursuit of greatness, Dowsett notes. This isn’t something that occurs within the Bulls’ locker room, according to coach Fred Hoiberg. “You have to have that,” Hoiberg told Dowsett. “It has to be something where the guys can look at each other in the face, and be able to hold each other responsible and accountable when they’re not doing it on the floor, and to be able to take that.

Here’s more from the Central Division:

  • Otis Smith has rekindled his passion for the game coaching the Pistons‘ D-League affiliate in Grand Rapids, Tim Casey of USA Today writes. The former Magic GM had zero interest when offered a front office role by coach/executive Stan Van Gundy in 2014, but the opportunity to develop young players through coaching held great appeal, Casey notes. “I like to teach,” Smith said. “Coaching, to me, is just another aspect of teaching … Even when I was in the general manager role, it’s just a broader brush, but it’s all that. It’s all teaching guys how to be men both off the court and men on the court.
  • New Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue has risen through the coaching ranks quickly, but despite his relative inexperience, there is the general sense around the organization that the team is in better hands now than it was under former coach David Blatt, Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe writes. One message that Lue is attempting to impart to the Cavs players is that they will need to be willing to sacrifice if they want to win a title, Washburn adds. “Winning takes care of everything,” Lue said. “Winning two championships with the Lakers for me, people probably wouldn’t even know who I was. I was the 15th man that first year and people love me in L.A. I was part of a team, part of a championship. It’s an unbelievable feeling.

Cavs Interested In Jared Dudley

The Cavaliers are interested in acquiring Jared Dudley and are one of the most active NBA teams on the trade market, as Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com said in an appearance on ESPN Cleveland radio with Tony Cartagena this morning (Twitter links; audio link). Dudley is making $4.375MM this season on the final year of his contract with the Wizards, who have lost five of their last six games to fall to 21-26.

It’s unclear whether Cleveland would target Dudley with part of its more than $10.5MM trade exception or look for an exchange of salaries instead. The Cavs have reportedly gauged the market for Timofey Mozgov, whose $4.95MM salary would be a close match with Dudley’s, but the Wizards already have two traditional big men in Marcin Gortat and Nene. In any case, Cleveland has reportedly sought a three-and-D wing player to back up Iman Shumpert, and Dudley is displaying a career-best 45.9% 3-point shooting stroke this season. He ranks 19th among all small forwards in ESPN’s Defensive Real Plus/Minus metric.

Dudley, 30, has assumed a leadership role for the Wizards in his first season with the team. He supported the trade that sent him from Milwaukee to Washington this past summer and expressed contentment last month with his situation in Washington. Still, he doesn’t have the power to veto a swap to Cleveland. Cavs GM David Griffin worked in the Suns front office when Phoenix traded for Dudley in 2008.

Would Dudley be the right fit for the Cavs? Leave a comment to share your thoughts.

Central Notes: Mirotic, Mahinmi, Blatt

The Bulls originally believed Nikola Mirotic would return after the All-Star break, but that timeline is now up in the air after the forward underwent hematoma removal surgery over the weekend, Nick Friedell of ESPNChicago.com writes. Mirotic was originally out of commission due to an appendectomy he underwent on January 27th. “He’s still in the hospital,” coach Fred Hoiberg said. “He developed a hematoma, which is a collection of blood, that he had to go back in and have a second surgery to remove. He’s on a liquid diet right now. He’s in quite a bit of pain, but his spirits are OK. Hopefully he’ll get out of the hospital soon and just get him back. As far as a timetable for Niko to get back on the floor, we just don’t know yet. But he had the complication, got it fixed. Hopefully we’ll get him back soon.

It’s still too early to tell,” Hoiberg said, when asked about the post-All-Star break timeline. “We’ll have a better idea once Niko gets out of the hospital and just gradually have to get his strength back. Hopefully he’ll be out in the next day or two, out of the hospital. Hopefully Niko will recover quickly from it, but you got to be careful any time you’re dealing with surgery. Not just one, but two, you got to be a little bit careful.

Here’s more from the NBA’s Central Division:

  • The struggles he’s had dealing with injuries thus far this campaign have Pacers center Ian Mahinmi calling 2015/16 one of his difficult seasons as a pro, Scott Agness of Vigilant Sports notes. “Yeah, it’s been a little bit of a tough year as far as injuries [for me],” Mahinmi, a free agent at season’s end, told Agness. “When you look at it, I only missed a few games. I probably missed like, what, five games this year. So overall, it’s not crazy. That’s the behind-the-scenes thing that fans and people that work the game don’t really know about it. How much your body goes through. It goes through a lot. You got to keep playing games, and you got to keep practicing every day. It’s been tough. It’s been one of the toughest years for me. Knock on wood — it hasn’t been anything bad, injury wise.
  • Cavs shooting guard J.R. Smith appreciates the opportunity former coach David Blatt gave him in Cleveland and believes Blatt will be a head coach in the league again, Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com writes. “I mean, I think he’s a good coach,” Smith said. “I think he has an opportunity to get another job somewhere. I think somebody will give him a shot given the circumstances. I think before he took the [Cleveland] job, it was pretty much he was going to coach a different team until LeBron James and Kevin Love and everybody came to the situation. So it was kind of weird, I’m sure, for him from the start for him because he was expecting just to have Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson and before you know it, you got all these other guys. So, I think he has a good chance of getting a job somewhere else. It’s just a matter of time.

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