James Harden Rumors
May 22 at 9:01pm CST By Michael Pina
A few random notes from around the NBA.
May 4 at 11:40am CST By Zach Links
Here's today's look around the Association..
- When asked if he'll be an active part of the Rockets' efforts to recruit free agents, James Harden answered in the affirmative, tweets Marc Stein of ESPN.com. When asked specifically about joining the Rockets' plans to chase Dwight Howard, Harden cracked a smile and said: "Maybe. Possibly," Stein tweets.
- David Locke of 1280 The Zone (via Sulia) spoke to someone in the league who said a return to the Jazz for Paul Millsap might be tough. The market for the forward should be around $21MM for three years, which is less than the $24MM over three that Utah offered him last summer. The person reasoned that Millsap would take less than the $24MM offer from another club, but might not do that with Utah.
- Detroit native Steve Smith is scratching his head at the idea of Phil Jackson consulting with the Pistons in their coaching search, writes Vincent Goodwill of The Detroit News.
April 18 at 11:23pm CST By Ryan Raroque
Here are a few more miscellaneous notes to pass along tonight:
- With the Nets basketball operations staff on expiring deals,
Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News (via Twitter) wonders if Mikhail Prokhorov is preparing to offer Phil
Jackson an offer to run the team and make his own hires.
- Wizards guard John Wall tells J. Michael of CSN Washington that he won't be one to recruit free agents, and would rather have players want to join his team.
- RealGM's Sham Charania mentions Nuggets assistant coach Melvin Hunt as someone who could draw interest from teams with head coaching vacancies (Twitter link).
- Tom Moore of PhillyBurbs outlines a list of potential coaching candidates for the 76ers, mentioning team assistant Aaron Mckie, Villanova coach Jay Wright, Michael Curry (who will be interviewed for the head coaching job), Warriors assistant Mike Malone, and Spurs assistant Mike Budenholzer as names that could be considered.
- Grantland's Bill Simmons says that when Thunder GM Sam Presti was quietly shopping James Harden last October, he was quickly rebuffed after calling the Raptors to inquire about a deal involving a package centered on Jonas Valanciunas.
March 20 at 2:35pm CST By Luke Adams
Having dropped nine of their last 12 games, the Jazz will play a crucial contest tonight in Houston. According to ESPN.com's Kevin Pelton (Twitter link), Utah's playoff chances will increase to 38.7% with a win against the Rockets today, but would drop to 18.7% with a loss. As the Jazz prepare for what is virtually a must-win game, let's round up a few Western Conference notes....
- Sacramento city officials remain on track to unveil a proposal for funding a new arena on Thursday, according to Tony Bizjak, Ryan Lillis, and Dale Kasler of the Sacramento Bee. Releasing the term sheet for public viewing on Thursday would give Sacramento City Council five days to examine it before voting on Tuesday.
- Grizzlies players have come around on management's belief that Memphis is a better team following the trade that sent Rudy Gay to Toronto, as Zach Randolph tells Sam Amick of USA Today: "You're (getting) the whole team playing one way, and guys sticking to
what they do and playing together, playing for each other and playing
defense and playing inside-out basketball. It's a lot better – a better
mindset – playing like that.... When it first happened, everybody
was down about it, especially because Rudy was like a brother to us. It
was difficult at first. You wouldn't think it would be this way now, but
- Asked about his 2013/14 player option, Marvin Williams said that he hasn't even thought about his decision yet, according to Bill Oram of the Salt Lake Tribune (via Twitter). Oram notes that Williams is unlikely to exceed the $7.5MM he'd make in his option year on the open market, and he seems to like playing in Utah, so he's a good bet to be back with the Jazz (Twitter links).
- Responding to a Tim Kawakami piece on how a rumored James Harden/Klay Thompson swap between the Thunder and Warriors in 2012 would have been impossible, Daniel Leroux of RealGM.com explores some ways in which a deal could have worked.
March 16 at 10:15pm CST By Ryan Raroque
Although we recently picked up on Bill Simmons' Grantland article mentioning that the Warriors and Thunder engaged in exploratory talks involving Klay Thompson and James Harden last summer, Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News firmly refutes the interpretation that Golden State 'turned down' an offer with Oklahoma City. While he says that Simmons' information in the article is correct and acknowledges that GM Sam Presti's interest in Thompson was accurate, Kawakami explains why a deal would have been "practically impossible."
First, Kawakami looks at Harden's eventual max-contract extension, which would have likely required the Warriors to simultaneously unload Richard Jefferson or Andris Biedrins' contracts. That alone, he says, was already a non-starter for the Thunder, who would not have been willing to take back either of those deals. Secondly, Kawakami points out that the earliest draft choice that Golden State could have offered would have been a 2015 first-rounder, due to the fact that this year's pick is owed to the Jazz and that teams are unable to trade a first-round pick in consecutive seasons (therefore eliminating the inclusion of a 2014 pick). With that in mind, he argues that Oklahoma City wouldn't have favored or been able to gauge the value of a draft choice that would be determined two years from now.
He then refers to what the Thunder actually received in the deal: Kevin Martin on a short-term contract, two potential first round picks this summer (one likely to fall in the lottery), and Jeremy Lamb (a lottery pick from 2012).
While it's reasonable to presume that Presti would have been willing get into more serious discussions with the Warriors if they were able to somehow acquire one or two 2013-14 draft picks, Kawakami says that doing so would have required a major roster shake up, possibly costing Harrison Barnes and/or trading David Lee for much lesser value, and thus leaving a roster with heavy financial commitments to Stephen Curry, Harden, and Andrew Bogut.
In the event that Golden State wouldn't have had to give up Lee and also kept Jefferson and Biedrins, Kawakami shows how the team could have had an annual salary figure of $78MM spanning just 8 players, with the task of filling out the roster potentially costing an additional $6MM. In summation, he concludes that there was no draft choice for the Warriors include, no clear way of making the numbers work, and "no official give and take in the supposed offer."
March 8 at 2:21pm CST By Luke Adams
After looking at the NBA's most cap-friendly deals a week ago, Grantland's Bill Simmons returns today with his picks for the league's top 30 worst contracts. Within the piece, Simmons passes along an interesting nugget regarding the Thunder's James Harden trade talks.
Multiple sources tell Simmons that the Warriors were the first team Sam Presti called when he explored a Harden deal, as Oklahoma City hoped to land Klay Thompson. However, Golden State, wary of future tax bills, wanted the Thunder to take back Richard Jefferson or Andris Biedrins, rather than cheaper or shorter-term contracts, which resulted in Presti exploring other options and eventually reaching an agreement with the Rockets.
While the Warriors would have been in line for a huge tax bill for 2013/14 if they'd extended Harden to go along with all the other big-money contracts on their books, it's hard not to be intrigued imagining what a Harden/Stephen Curry backcourt would have looked like.
Here are a few more Friday notes from around the Western Conference:
- Sports marketing expert David Carter spoke to Sam Amick of USA Today about the Kings sale, exploring whether Sacramento is a better basketball market than Seattle, why a public subsidy in Sacramento's arena proposal could appeal to the NBA, and a handful of other topics.
- ESPN.com's Chris Broussard explains why he believes it's in Dwight Howard's best interests to re-sign with the Lakers this summer.
- Another busy summer is in store for the Mavericks, as the team continues to seek a talent that would make Dirk Nowitzki the second-best player on the roster, writes Dwain Price of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
- Despite the team's projected cap space, the future isn't looking particularly bright for the Mavericks, according to Gil Lebreton of the Star-Telegram.
February 26 at 7:17pm CST By Sean Highkin
Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today has a new column in which he touches on a variety of topics from around the NBA and elsewhere in the basketball world. Here are the highlights:
- Wizards head coach Randy Wittman talks to Zillgitt about the difficulty of keeping the locker room engaged as Washington heads towards another losing season.
- Zillgitt takes a look at the Rockets' offense, which has vaulted them into the thick of the playoff race behind the explosive play of James Harden.
- Zillgitt also gives an update on the status of Royce White, who has struggled in the D-League but does not concern the Rockets organization.
- The Magic received excellent value in return for J.J. Redick, Zillgitt writes. He praises the aquisition of cheap, young assets in Doron Lamb and Tobias Harris, as well as a capable veteran with an expiring contract in Beno Udrih.
- Many international players in the NBA are looking ahead to FIBA's Eurobasket tournament this summer, Zillgitt writes.
February 26 at 12:28pm CST By Luke Adams
Here's the latest from around the Western Conference, where the Lakers are three games back of the Rockets for the eighth seed and three and a half back of the seventh-place Jazz:
- Although his plan was being openly questioned in NBA circles eight months ago, GM Daryl Morey continues to build the Rockets into a team with strong long-term potential, observes Grantland's Zach Lowe. Within his piece, Lowe writes that Morey and assistant coach Kelvin Sampson were both fixated on acquiring James Harden, and that the team would like to add a defense-first wing to the roster.
- The Clippers were "closer than people think" to acquiring Kevin Garnett for Eric Bledsoe and DeAndre Jordan last week, a source tells Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports.
- Tim Cowlishaw of the Dallas Morning News questions whether the Mavericks ought to try to build a team around Dwight Howard, even if the All-Star center is willing to sign in Dallas this summer.
- Although Dirk Nowitzki indicated recently that he hopes to play for a few more years, his focus for now is more on the short term, as he tells Jeff Caplan of NBA.com. "[Mark Cuban]’s obviously said his bank’s open, so we’ll see what happens this
summer," Nowitzki said. "It’s going to be a big summer for us. We want to get back to
winning ways. We always competed and were part of the playoffs, so we’ll
see what happens this summer. It’s going to be a big summer for this
- The Thunder decided to bring back Derek Fisher for the stretch run because they know exactly what they're getting in the veteran point guard, writes Susan Bible of HoopsWorld.
February 23 at 10:13am CST By Sean Highkin
Joel Brigham of HoopsWorld has a new column examining which teams have a chance to be title contenders five seasons from now, taking into account possible moves in free agency and the ages of the teams' core players.
- Brigham believes the Thunder still have the brightest future, given that Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and Serge Ibaka will all be under 30 in five seasons.
- LeBron James' free agency will play a major role in determining the next title contender, Brigham writes. The health and effectiveness of Dwyane Wade will determine whether James stays with the Heat, but the Cavaliers and Lakers are also possible destinations.
- On that note, Brigham writes that, although Kyrie Irving is blossoming into a superstar, the Cavs will not be a contender unless James signs in Cleveland.
- The Bulls will still be contenders if Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah stay healthy, Brigham writes. He also notes that Nikola Mirotic will have come over to the NBA by then.
- The trade for Thomas Robinson added another young piece to the James Harden/Jeremy Lin core the Rockets have built, Brigham writes. Additionally, the team is still well under the cap and can add another high-level player via free agency.
- Damian Lillard and LaMarcus Aldridge give the Blazers a solid core to build around, writes Brigham.
- Brigham writes that there will be uncertainty every year for the next five as to whether Chris Paul will still be with the Clippers.
- Even if Stephen Curry's ankles don't hold up, Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes give the Warriors a good young core, Brigham says.
- Brigham writes that the Pacers have excellent cornerstone players in Roy Hibbert and Paul George.
February 15 at 8:10pm CST By Chuck Myron
Three Northwest Division teams are on track to make the playoffs, but only one of them is sending any players to the All-Star Game. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook will represent the first-place Thunder, and they're joined by LaMarcus Aldridge of the Trail Blazers, the Northwest's other All-Star whose Portland team hits the break three games out of the last playoff spot in the West. All three All-Stars are making noise as the events begin in Houston, where James Harden, the Thunder's erstwhile third All-Star, plays the role of unofficial host. Here's more on all of them:
- Aldridge will have the chance this weekend to try to recruit some fellow All-Stars to the Blazers, and he said his pitch will center on the team's fans, its young core of players and this summer's cap space, which could exceed $13MM, as Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com writes.
- Westbrook and Durant acknowledged that the Thunder haven't missed a beat following the Harden trade, notes Jason McDaniel of the Houston Chronicle. "We’re different, but I think we’re just as good," Durant said. "James, don’t get me wrong, he’s a phenomenal player, but we lost him and we got Kevin Martin back, who’s a really good player as well. And I think for the passing ability that we lost with James, and his defense, we make up for it with Russell and myself, and the guys on the bench that help.”
- Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman chronicles Harden's remarks to reporters on his feelings about Durant and Westbrook and what it will be like to play with his old teammates at the All-Star Game, among other topics.