Eric Bledsoe is scheduled to return to game action for the Suns sometime in the next week, writes Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic. He will be back on the court either Monday at the Clippers, or Wednesday at home against the Cavs. Before he went down with an injury, the future restricted free agent averaged 18.0 PPG and 5.8 APG. After starting the season 19-11, the team has cooled slightly and gone 16-14 without Bledsoe.
More from the west:
- Chris Haynes of of CSNNW.com details the choice that Blazers guard Earl Watson will have to make this off season between continuing his playing career or coaching.
- 37 year-old Vince Carter believes he can play two more seasons, according to Dwain Price of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (Twitter link). The Mavs swingman is averaging 11.9 PPG in 24.3 minutes per contest this year. Carter will be an unrestricted free-agent after the season.
- Mike Trudell of NBA.com looks at the dividends the recently acquired Kent Bazemore is paying for the Lakers. Since being picked up, he has averaged 15.8 PPG, 3.7 RPG, and 2.5 APG while playing 32.5 MPG. Trudell also looks at whether this production is worth the team considering keeping him around beyond this season.
This summer, the Knicks will have a load of expiring 2015 contracts, including Tyson Chandler, who could be used as a pawn in a trade bid for Timberwolves forward Kevin Love (Marc Berman of the New York Post). One league source didn’t mince words when commenting about New York’s chances at dealing for the 6’10 big man, telling Berman: “They’re selling New York fans land in New Mexico.’’
Carmelo Anthony recently spoke about Love’s game, and when specifically asked about the similarities between them as stretch-fours, Anthony didn’t see a comparison: “I didn’t know we had similarities…He’s a guy who became a stretch 4 but never was a stretch 4. He worked on his shot, his 3-ball and stretching the floor and spreading the floor out. He can also go inside. He’s one helluva rebounder. He’s a big load. He’s gotten better every year since been in the league and still is.’’
Here are more miscellaneous news and notes to pass along tonight:
- Former NBA coaches George Karl, Avery Johnson, and P.J. Carlesimo weighed in on the state of the Knicks, the Warriors‘ title hopes, and who should have been moved during the trade deadline, among other topics (ESPN Insiders only).
- The Suns are poised to make their first postseason appearance since the 2009/10 season, thanks in large part to an All-Star caliber season from Goran Dragic. The 27-year-old point guard recently shared his thoughts on the season with Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders, speaking with the confidence one would ideally expect from a seasoned veteran: “I’m more relaxed…I know all of the situations I’m put in and I know how the opposing teams are going to guard me. I’m just more relaxed. It feels like I’m playing basketball with my friends back home, with no pressure. I just go out there and do my job. I’ve gotten some great support from my teammates and I’m just having fun. It’s not like I’m thinking too much or anything. I’m just having fun.”
- Luol Deng and Marcin Gortat are two players that the Mavericks should go after in free agency this summer, opines Eddie Sefko of SportsDayDFW.
- Brad Stevens’ emphasis on establishing a winning culture along with the players’ continued commitment toward playing hard is proof that the Celtics haven’t given up on the season just yet, explains Chris Forsberg of ESPN Boston.
Darrell Arthur isn’t completely sold on exercising his player option for next season, worth more than $3.457MM, but he’s strongly leaning toward picking it up and remaining with the Nuggets, as Chris Dempsey of the Denver Post observes.
“I’m just going to wait until the season is over with and talk to (Nuggets GM) Tim (Connelly) and see what’s up and go from there,” Arthur said. “But I’m looking forward to coming back here. I like it here. I feel like when we’re healthy, we have a great team to build with, and I want to be a part of it.”
Here’s more from around the NBA:
- Former Jazz swingman Kevin Murphy received multiple NBA training camp invitations this past offseason, but he didn’t think any of them gave him a fighting chance to make an opening night roster, as he tells Cameron Schott of RealGM. Murphy has instead split the season between a French team and the D-League, where he’s putting up impressive numbers for the Idaho Stampede.
- The Mavericks have sent Gal Mekel to the D-League, the team announced. It’s a rehab assignment, notes Dwain Price of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. The rookie point guard has missed the past 21 games for Dallas after having surgery on his right knee.
- Bucks 10-day signee Tony Mitchell admits he has a “strange game,” but coach Larry Drew explains how it fits what the team was looking for. Charles F. Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has the details.
- Even if Canisius point guard Billy Baron goes undrafted, several NBA teams say they’d invite him to training camp for next season, as Bleacher Report’s Ric Bucher writes.
Danny Granger should help to bolster the Clippers‘ thin front line, writes Arash Markazi of ESPNLosAngeles.com. “He hasn’t played a lot over the last couple of years, but I thought before the trade he was starting to round into shape and starting to make shots,” coach Doc Rivers said of Granger. “What I see in him is length. He’s a long small forward who has the ability to add a different dimension to us. The way I look at it is we can have a post game at the 3 spot as well now, which would be nice for us. If gives us another dimension.” More from around the league..
- The Clippers have one roster spot open and while there are no plans to use it at this time, Rivers didn’t rule out the possibility of a 10-day deal later on in the season, tweets Markazi.
- Jodie Valade of the Plain Dealer looks at 10-day contracts and how they can benefit clubs.
- There’s a lot of talk about overhauling the NBA draft, but Sheridan Hoops’ Peter May says it’s fine just the way it is.
- The Mavericks announced that they have recalled Jae Crowder and Shane Larkin from the Texas Legends of the D-League. Crowder and Larkin were assigned to the Legends yesterday and played in last night’s overtime win against the D-Fenders. Crowder had his second triple-double in as many games with 22 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists, while Larkin added a double-double of 22 points and 10 rebounds. To keep up with all of this year’s assignments and recalls, check out our running list.
- The Lakers announced that they have recalled Xavier Henry from their D-League affiliate. Henry was on a rehab assignment and spent just a few days in his latest stint.
Mark Cuban was in the news today for his thoughts on the possibility of the NBA raising the age requirement for players entering the league. Cuban took it further, and believes that if the minimum age isn’t raised then the NBA D-League should work to convince players to play there instead of a single college season, writes Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com. Cuban stated, “I think what will end up happening — and this is my opinion, not that of the league — is if the colleges don’t change from the one-and-done, we’ll go after the one. The NCAA rules are so hypocritical, there’s absolutely no reason for a kid to go [to college], because he’s not going to class [and] he’s actually not even able to take advantage of all the fun because the first semester he starts playing basketball. So if the goal is just to graduate to the NBA or be an NBA player, go to the D-League.”
More from out west:
- Some of the more interesting trade scenarios are the ones that didn’t happen. This past offseason the Rockets tried to pry Dirk Nowitzki away the Mavs, writes Royce Young of CBS Sports.com. According to the article, Rockets GM Daryl Morey was nervous that the Warriors addition of Andre Iguodala would sway Dwight Howard to sign with Golden State. In response, Morey contacted Cuban to inquire on Dirk’s availability, which Cuban had taken as a taunt about the Mavs missing out on Howard, writes Young.
- Speaking of the Iguodala signing, Andy Larsen of SaltCityHoops.com details the role that the Jazz played in the Warriors inking the player this past summer.
- The Mavericks have sent Jae Crowder and Shane Larkin back to the D-League, tweets Dwain Price of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Both are expected to be in the Texas Legends lineup this evening.
- Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times writes about the role reversal for the city’s two teams, the Clippers and the Lakers, in regards to free agent appeal.
Steve Nash worked hard to return to the court this season and eliminate the Lakers‘ ability to use the stretch provision, he reveals in a video at Grantland. Nash dispels the notion that he would consider joining the Clippers if the Lakers were to release him, saying, “It’s either back with the Lakers next year or this is it.” (Transcription via Bill Oram of Orange County Register on Twitter.) Here’s more from the Western Conference:
- Timberwolves president of basketball operations Flip Saunders told Dan Barreiro of KFAN 100.3 that he’s confident coach Rick Adelman will complete this season with Minnesota (as transcribed by Andy Greder of St. Paul Pioneer Press on Twitter). Adelman contemplated leaving the Timberwolves prior to the season due to concerns over his wife’s health, and has spent time away from the team this year tending to her issues.
- The Nuggets aren’t planning to shut down point guard Ty Lawson for the season, coach Brian Shaw tells Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post. “Going forward, we’re pretty much out of the mix in terms of the playoffs, being realistic at this point. But you still want to see combinations of guys working together,” says Shaw. “Our young guys get a chance to have the focus a little more on them and play in combination with Ty, looking forward to the rest of the season and what possibly lies ahead for next season as well.” Lawson has battled multiple injuries this year, and is currently missing time due to a fractured rib while the Nuggets slide further out of contention.
- The Mavs have recalled Jae Crowder, Bernard James, and Shane Larkin from their D-League affiliate, while reassigning Ricky Ledo to the Texas Legends, reports Adam Wermuth of Mavs.com. This was the reversal of a one-game assignment/recall of the same players the Mavs made yesterday.
- Rockets center Greg Smith is out indefinitely after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery to repair a meniscus tear, reports Jenny Dial Creech of The Houston Chronicle. A lengthy recovery could put the rest of his regular season in jeopardy. The second-year big man played in 70 games for the Rockets last year, but injuries and Houston’s acquisition of Dwight Howard have limited Smith’s role this season.
Rockets GM Daryl Morey said today that he asked Mark Cuban about acquiring Dirk Nowitzki this summer out of fears the Warriors would keep Dwight Howard from coming to Houston, according to ESPN (Twitter link). Cuban didn’t realize Howard hadn’t committed to the Rockets, and interpreted the proposal as a taunt over the Mavs‘ failed pursuit of Howard. Morey made his remarks at the Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, and we’ve got more from that meeting of the minds as we pass along the latest from the NBA:
- Former Raptors and Suns GM Bryan Colangelo admitted that he attempted to tank a few seasons ago, tweets Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com. Presumably, that happened during his Raptors tenure.
- Jimmer Fredette piqued the interest of the Celtics, but it ”wasn’t a good fit for either side,” as president of basketball operations Danny Ainge told reporters today, including Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe (Twitter link).
- The Timberwolves have no interest in Fredette for “myriad reasons,” according to Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities (Twitter link).
- Some within the Lakers organization wanted to retain Pau Gasol through the trade deadline to keep his Bird Rights, but Gasol writes in his blog that L.A.’s financial advantage to re-sign him won’t play into his decision (translation via HoopsHype). The 7-footer says he wants to go where he can help a team win a title, but he’s not ruling out a return to the Lakers.
- Caron Butler‘s role on the Heat would have been similar to the one Mike Miller played in recent years, and part of his decision to instead join the Thunder centered on the chance for more playing time, notes Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel (Twitter links).
- The top half of the lottery picks in this year’s draft will be a star-studded bunch, but there are still other potential franchise-changing players in the mix, writes Zach Harper of CBSSports.com, who examines five potential steals.
The Blazers are ending their one-to-one affiliation with the D-League’s Idaho Stampede and will share an affiliate with other NBA teams next season, reports Joe Freeman of the Oregonian. GM Neil Olshey prefers to let Portland’s assistant coaches develop talent rather than farm the job out, as Freeman explains.
More D-League news:
- The Mavs have assigned Jae Crowder, Bernard James and Shane Larkin to the D-League, and they’ve recalled Ricky Ledo, the team announced. It’ll be a one-game stint for the trio of assignees, notes Marc Stein of ESPN.com, who first reported the moves (Twitter links).
- Xavier Henry will see those three Mavs tonight when the affiliates for Dallas and the Lakers meet up, since the Lakers have sent Henry to the D-League, the team announced. It’s a rehab assignment for Henry, who’s been out since December 29th, tweets Mike Trudell of Lakers.com.
- The Wizards Otto Porter had been mentioned as a candidate to head to the D-League, but that looks less likely to happen now, writes J. Michael of CSNWashington.com. Porter is needed for depth in case Martell Webster or Trevor Ariza suffer an illness or an injury. The team might also resist sending him down as not to damage his confidence, opines Michael.
- Dakota Schmidt of SB Nation profiles Sioux Falls 7-footer Justin Hamilton, and thinks that he is the most talented big man still available to make the jump to the NBA. The former second-round pick out of LSU has developed quite the offensive arsenal and could be the next player to land a 10-day contract, opines Schmidt.
Chuck Myron contributed to this post.
The Southwest Division, where four out of five teams could make the playoffs, is abuzz today. The Rockets and Spurs are jostling at the top of the Western standings, and have both been linked to Danny Granger, who could be the biggest buyout prize this year. The Mavs are also rumored to be in on Granger, and they’re bumping shoulders at the bottom of playoff contention with the Grizzlies, who claimed Beno Udrih off waivers today. Here’s some more from what should remain one of the more interesting divisions this year:
- Ramona Shelburne of ESPN Los Angeles seconded earlier reports that the Spurs, Rockets, and Mavs all have a shot at Granger (Twitter link).
- Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger told reporters before tonight’s game, including Ronald Tillery of The Commercial Appeal, that he won’t address newly acquired Udrih until tomorrow (Twitter link).
- The Grizzlies are a game and a half out of the playoffs this season after former coach Lionel Hollins took them to the Western Conference Finals last year, but CEO Jason Levien has no regrets about hiring new coach Dave Joerger. Levien made his comments in an appearance on Sports 56 WHBQ radio in Memphis, as Ronald Tillery of The Commercial Appeal notes (Twitter link). “I feel better about the decision today than I did in June or July,” Levien said. “He’s been terrific.”
- The Grizzlies have assigned Jamaal Franklin D-League, the team announced. The 41st pick in the draft this past June hasn’t started in any of his three appearances with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, an affiliate Memphis shares with five other NBA teams.
- Spurs coach Gregg Popovich tells Jeff McDonald of San Antonio Express-News that the team hasn’t yet been active in the buyout market, but is ready when the opportunity arrives: “Like everyone else we’re looking at all the names. If we see there’s a body there we think can help us we’ll try to do it, but we haven’t done anything to this point.” The Spurs are reportedly one of the front-runners for Danny Granger’s services once the short-timer Sixers guard clears waivers.
- Metta World Peace is one player in the buyout market the Spurs are not interested in, according to Jeff McDonald of San Antonio Express-News (Twitter link). The former Ron Artest was reportedly interested in San Antonio as a landing spot, but the interest apparently isn’t mutual.
Chuck Myron contributed to this post.
The Mavs are expected to have conversations with Danny Granger about joining them once he clears waivers, a league source tells Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. Dallas is joining a long list of teams that are reportedly interested in the former All-Star with a career average of 17.6 PPG. The Clippers, Rockets, Bulls, Heat and Spurs are also in on the Granger sweepstakes, with the Clippers and Spurs believed to be the favorites.
The Mavs would presumably have more room for Granger behind Monta Ellis at the shooting guard slot than his traditional small forward role, as Shawn Marion, Vince Carter, and Jae Crowder are all productive wings taking up minutes there. The Mavs have played well of late, climbing up into the Western Conference 7th seed slot for the playoffs at 12 games over .500. However, they are still just 2.5 games ahead of the Grizzlies, who are currently on the outside looking in for the playoffs with the 9th best record in the West. In the fiercely competitive West, no team is safe as we head into the stretch run.
Dallas sits at roughly $4.47MM under the luxury tax line, which could give them an edge against other teams near or already over the tax line, as the actual cost of adding Granger will be steeper than his salary for those teams. The Mavs are nonetheless limited to offering the minimum salary.