Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert is open to hiring a “big-name team president” who would have authority over GM David Griffin, but the team has not been considering David Blatt for that role, according to Ken Berger of CBSSports.com (Twitter link). Cleveland will also explore trading Dion Waiters and Tristan Thompson this summer, tweets Sam Amico of FOX Sports Ohio. Neither are on the trading block, but Amico adds that the Cavs are listening and evaluating their options.
Here’s are some more miscellaneous news and notes to pass along tonight:
- One NBA team president said that Pat Riley appeared nervous when talking about keeping LeBron James during his media presser today, adding that more teams will now be in pursuit of the superstar forward (Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports via Twitter).
- ESPN’s Chris Broussard says that the Cavs should have met with LeBron in free agency first before making a coaching hire, implying that David Blatt’s lack of NBA coaching experience doesn’t help their case of luring the Akron native back home (Twitter link).
- According to Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press, Pistons coach/president Stan Van Gundy has been in consistent contact with restricted free agent forward Greg Monroe and Monroe’s agent, David Falk.
- The Hawks, Pelicans, and Wizards are expected to be potential suitors for Monroe this summer, writes Vincent Goodwill of The Detroit News. While Stan Van Gundy maintains that keeping Monroe is a “high priority,” he also appears prepared for other scenarios. “We have ideas on who might offer (Monroe) what…You weigh what’s out there because once you give him a qualifying offer, he can sign it or get an offer sheet. What level of an offer would we match? We’re prepared for that and doing due diligence for people who want to sign-and-trade for him.”
- Tom Moore of Calkins Media (via Twitter) hears that a Southeast Division team offered the 76ers more in a trade package than the Pacers did for Evan Turner; that team didn’t hear back from Philadelphia GM Sam Hinkie before the trade deadline ended and Turner was eventually dealt to Indiana.
- Le Mans of the Ligue Nationale de Basket has signed former NBA guard Rodrigue Beaubois, reports Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. The 6’2″ guard’s deal reportedly includes an opt-out clause that will allow him to sign with an NBA team before July 25.
Pacers president of basketball operations Larry Bird today reiterated a stance he took early in the season, telling reporters, including Candace Buckner of the Indianapolis Star, that he wants soon-to-be free agent Lance Stephenson back in a Pacers uniform (Twitter link). A report late last week indicated that some within the Pacers had begun to question whether re-signing the mercurial guard was the right idea.
“When it comes down to it, it’s up to him whether he wants to be here or not. … I always want him back,” Bird said, as Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today notes (Twitter link).
There’s much more from the team’s exit interviews today, much of it coming from Bird, via Buckner, who live-tweeted his remarks. Here are the highlights:
- Coach Frank Vogel also offered his support for re-signing Stephenson, as Buckner passes along via Twitter.
- Bird confirmed that Vogel will return and that his job was never in jeopardy, pinning rumors to the contrary on far-flung reporters, Buckner tweets.
- There appears to be less certainty about the future of George Hill, in spite of three more seasons on his contract, Bird indicated. “Lately, I’ve been hearing a lot about our point guard situation,” Bird said, according to Buckner (Twitter link). “I like George. But you never know what’s going to happen this summer.”
- Bird also cast an eye toward Rajon Rondo, as Buckner notes in a pair of tweets. “He’s a very good player,” Bird said of Rondo, who’ll be a free agent next summer. “Been great for a long time. It’s always good to daydream and wish for these guys, but everything we do has to be through trades.”
- The Pacers have only one pick, at No. 57, in this month’s draft, but Bird suggested there’s a decent chance the team will move up, either into the first round or the early part of the second, according to Buckner (Twitter links).
- Bird also offered support for Evan Turner, Indiana’s major trade deadline acquisition and another soon-to-be free agent, saying that he loves the swingman’s game and predicting that he’ll average 17 points per game wherever he ends up, Buckner tweets.
- Ex-Pacer Danny Granger helped in the locker room, but he “was never this leader that everybody thought he was,” Bird said, according to Buckner (on Twitter).
- Bird refused to say whether anyone on the roster was an untouchable, and hedged about the idea of altering the team’s core, as Buckner passes along (Twitter links). “They’re young, I don’t want to make major changes … but we’re open, we’re going to listen and we’re going to see what’s out there,” Bird said.
Word around the league continues to indicate that the Cavs might not extend a max contract offer to Kyrie Irving, and Bob Finnan of The Morning Journal reports that there are two reasons behind Cleveland’s hesitancy. The Cavs aren’t positive that Irving is a max talent, and they also want the assurance that he is committed to Cleveland in light of persistant rumors that he is dissatisfied with the team. Here’s more from the Central Division:
- The Cavs have fielded multiple callers attempting to make a trade for Irving, writes Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio (on Twitter).
- Stan Van Gundy is closing in on hiring a day-to-day Pistons GM to his liking, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.com. The ESPN scribe says that Spurs assistant GM Scott Layden and former New Orleans GM Jeff Bower are names being brought up frequently, with Otis Smith and Stu Jackson remaining as strong candidates. (All Twitter links)
- Vince Ellis of Detroit Free Press wonders if Anthony Morrow would be an ideal player for the Pistons to use some of their cap space on this summer. Morrow will reportedly opt out of his player option with the Pelicans.
- Rodney Stuckey has switched agents, moving from Leon Rose to Paolo Zamorano, reports Vince Ellis of Detroit Free Press.
- Evan Turner told Candace Buckner of The Indianapolis Star that he doesn’t know whether he’ll be back with the Pacers next season, and acknowledged that his limited playing time with Indiana could have hurt his value as he approaches free agency. “I really don’t know because I’m not a GM,” Turner said. “Clearly, you’re judged on, like, your last game. The last couple of months then [probably weren't] ideal for me in regards to [the] contract but at the same time, I think it’s known that I can play basketball and everything will work itself out.”
Charlie Adams contributed to this post.
The Sixers need to land at least one star player with their multitude of draft picks, writes Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders. Coach Brett Brown also agreed with the article’s assessment, saying, “I think it’s important. I think it’s really important. Stars want to play with stars. And it’s too early to say anything about Michael [Carter-Williams] or what you can project Nerlens [Noel] out to be. Just because somebody’s chosen high in the draft doesn’t mean they’re going to be a star either.”
More from the east:
- Sixers GM Sam Hinkie attended a prospect workout in Long Island, New York today for Noah Vonleh and Tyler Ennis, tweets Tom Moore of Calkins Media.
- Evan Turner has an uncertain future, writes Michael Kaskey-Blomain of Philly.com. Turner is set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, and him being a “non-factor” in the playoffs for the Pacers won’t help his contract situation, opines Kaskey-Blomain.
- Tim Bontemps of the New York Post looks back at the season Andrei Kirilenko had with the Nets. In 45 games, Kirilenko averaged 5.0 PPG, 3.2 RPG, and 1.6 APG in 19.0 minutes per night.
Kentucky freshman James Young hasn’t made a decision on if he’s entering the NBA Draft yet, reports The Kentucky Advocate Messenger. Young’s godfather, Sean Mahone said, “I am not even certain what the deadline is for deciding. That shows how we are not fixated on the draft. That is just an innocent admission of where we are and what we have been thinking about. It’s just been chaos the last few weeks during this incredible run with a lot of late night worries and anxiety and then some great, great moments. That was our focus, not next year.”
More from around the league:
- The Heat were offered Evan Turner in a trade by the Sixers before the trade deadline with Udonis Haslem being the only significant piece they would have had to send in return, writes Dan Le Batard of The Miami Herald. The Heat didn’t make the trade, at least in part because they didn’t like how it would look to deal one of the club’s longest tenured players, reports Le Batard.
- According to Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun (Twitter link), whoever takes over as GM of the Pistons needs to clear out the logjam at power forward. Greg Monroe is looking for a big pay raise and Josh Smith doesn’t mesh well with Brandon Jennings and Monroe, opines Wolstat.
- The Cavaliers are going to have to figure out if Dion Waiters and Kyrie Irving can play together, writes Terry Pluto of The Plain Dealer. It’s not the players personalities that are the problem, but rather that their ball-dominant games are too alike, opines Pluto.
- The Lakers Pau Gasol is officially done for the season, reports Mike Trudell of Lakers.com (Twitter link). Team doctors had told Gasol that he was still a few weeks away from returning to action.
- Hofstra senior guard Zeke Upshaw has signed with agent Brian J. Bass, reports Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com (Twitter link).
The Pacers started the season 41-13, but since the trade that brought Evan Turner to Indiana, the team has gone 12-11, and not looked at all like a championship contender, writes Michael Kaskey-Blomain of Philly.com. It’s not all Turner’s fault, opines Kaskey-Blomain, and in the article he breaks down what has gone wrong for the team.
More from the east:
- Tommy Beer of Basketball Insiders breaks down the true cost of guaranteed contracts in the NBA.
- The news that the Raptors plan to re-sign Kyle Lowry doesn’t surprise Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun (Twitter link). Wolstat mentions that there aren’t many eastern teams that have cap space and are in need of a point guard, which would limit Lowry’s options should he want to depart after the season.
- Wolstat also tweeted that while it’s always possible Lowry could depart, the player just built a home, which would make the Lakers a long shot because of the distance. Another team that has expressed interest in Lowry, the Knicks, don’t have the cap space to sign him, notes Wolstat.
- Jazz player development coach Alex Jensen has a bright coaching future in the NBA, writes Mike Sorensen of The Deseret News.
- It wasn’t that long ago when the Magic were a contender in the Eastern Conference, writes Cody Taylor of Basketball Insiders. Taylor lays out the steps the team needs to take in order for the organization to rebuild quickly.
As a guest on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher and Rich show, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge revealed that he’s had discussions with forward Kris Humphries about the possibility of returning next season:
“I have had a few conversations with Kris…(he) knows where we are as an organization and he knows we like him. And he knows there is a lot of uncertainty, depending on which direction we choose to go this summer. None of us know…he knows we like him, his coaches and teammates like him, (but) we just can’t make any promises” (interview transcribed by Gary Dzen of Boston.com).
Here’s more out of the Eastern Conference tonight:
- Dzen points out that Ainge was also asked about Jerryd Bayless and Phil Pressey but only offered comment on Humphries.
- Having gone from a team with the NBA’s second-worst record to playing for the second seed in the Eastern Conference, Evan Turner has conceivably endured his share of challenges in trying to fit in. The fact that the Pacers have compiled a 12-10 record since the deal while Turner continues to struggle offensively hasn’t helped the situation, but the 6’7 guard tells NBA.com’s Manny Randhawa that he’s confident about being able to contribute sooner rather than later.
- Once considered a possible candidate to be traded, Thaddeus Young is looking more and more like a keeper in Philadelphia, writes Dei Lynam of CSN Philly. The 25-year-old forward spoke glowingly about playing for 76ers head coach Brett Brown: “Coach (Doug Collins) didn’t want me to shoot a lot of threes…I didn’t like that at all. And this year Brett tells me, ‘I want you to shoot threes, get to the basket, I want you to do everything.’ I am back to playing the way I was before Coach Collins and Eddie Jordan, just a more free flowing offense…I think I have transitioned and turned things around where (as a player) I can just focus on my job.”
- Based on the numbers this season, Brandon Knight‘s production may not have unequivocally surpassed what Brandon Jennings brought to the table during his four-year tenure in Milwaukee; However, Knight being two years younger and more affordable than his predecessor is proof of why the Bucks are better off with him now, opines Steve Aschburner of NBA.com.
The Sixers are performing a tank job the likes of which the league has never seen before, writes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. While some have said the team is “making a mockery” of the game, Pompey says the team wouldn’t have been in contention this season even if they had held onto Jrue Holiday, Evan Turner, and Spencer Hawes. Instead the team has set itself up to snag a quality player or two in the upcoming draft, as well as getting the opportunity to take a look at a number of young players to see if they fit into the team’s future, opines Pompey. He also believes that fans will change their tune this offseason when they see what the team can do with their abundance of draft picks and cap space.
More from where the sun rises:
- Recently signed to a 10-day contract, Darius Johnson-Odom sees an opportunity for himself with the Sixers, writes Max Rappaport of NBA.com. Because of the team being out of the playoff hunt, Johnson-Odom believes he’ll get his share of playing time in order to showcase his abilities.
- Jimmer Fredette is another player who thinks his new team will give him an opportunity. After years of playing inconsistent minutes and not having a defined role, he hopes to revitalize his career and the perception of his abilities around the league, writes Jason Jones of The Deseret News. He hasn’t seen many minutes for the Bulls yet, but Fredette believes he can thrive in Tom Thibodeau‘s system, according to Jones.
- Tom Moore of Calkins Media assesses Evan Turner‘s career with the Sixers and looks at where it might be heading now that he is with the Pacers.
The Spurs made a deadline-day effort to trade for Evan Turner before the Sixers sent him to the Pacers instead, tweets Marc Stein of ESPN.com. A rival executive made public mention the Spurs as a possible destination for Turner a couple of weeks in advance of the deadline, but aside from that, there wasn’t much chatter connecting San Antonio to the former No. 2 overall pick.
Pacers president of basketball operations Larry Bird told Candace Buckner of the Indianapolis Star shortly after the deadline that he didn’t think the Sixers were able to find a team willing to give up a first-round pick for Turner, the asset Philadelphia was seeking. The Sixers instead wound up with Danny Granger, whom they later waived in a buyout agreement, and a 2015 second-round pick. It’s unclear exactly what the Spurs offered, but since Philly is left with only a second-rounder to show for Turner at this point, the Sixers might have been better off dealing with San Antonio.
The only deadline move the Spurs made was swapping Nando De Colo to the Raptors for Austin Daye. San Antonio was also in the mix to acquire Granger after he bought his way off the Sixers, but he signed with the Clippers instead. Still, the Spurs sit atop the NBA with a 47-16 record, a half-game ahead of Turner and the Pacers. Turner will become a free agent at season’s end, and if Indiana’s wary that Turner might accept a qualifying offer of more than $8.7MM for next season, the Pacers may decline to make that tender and turn him into an unrestricted free agent. The report linking San Antonio to Turner early last month suggested that the Spurs might have been just as interested in acquiring him via free agency as they were in trading for him at the deadline.
Matt Moore of CBSSports.com looks at a recent report from Ric Bucher of Bleacher Report about the future of Joe Dumars in Detroit. Dumars is weary of the criticism he has received in trying to rebuild the Pistons after constructing a franchise that went to the Eastern Conference Finals six years in a row. The criticism fails to account for the dismal Detroit economy and restraints placed on Dumars while the team was up for sale and changing ownership, as Bucher notes, and Moore points to the success the team had early in Dumars’ tenure. Still, Moore advocates for a change. The Pistons are currently 24-36, three games out of the 8th spot in the East.
More from around the league:
- During a rough season, Bucks GM John Hammond is being praised for drafting a “gem” in Giannis Antetokounmpo, tweets Chris Mannix of SI.com. The “Greek Freak” is averaging 7.2 PPG, 4.6 RPG, and 1.9 APG over 24.5 MPG.
- Evan Turner is still getting acclimated with the Pacers, but both he and the team think it’s been a good fit so far, writes Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders. Turner has played in five games with the team, and has averaged 9.2 PPG, 4.4 RPG, and 1.6 APG in 22.2 MPG. How Turner adjusts to the Pacers will impact if he is in their plans going forward when he becomes a free-agent after the season, writes Kennedy.
- Danny Ainge said that the Celtics had asked Rajon Rondo to travel with the team last week, but instead Rondo chose to stay in Los Angeles to celebrate his 28th birthday, writes Royce Young of CBSSports.com. Ainge said, “In the end, him and I had a long talk about it. He planned it before and he had reason to believe it would be OK. I understand his reason because of what he’s grown up with and what he’s witnessed. You won’t see it happen again, and we’ve just moved on from it.” This isn’t expected to change the team’s immediate plans regarding keeping Rondo, according to Young.