Welp, this figures to be a fun MVP race. In case you were leaning towards the likes of Kevin Durant or Chris Paul, LeBron James re-stated his case tonight in a big, big way. The Heat star put up a career-high 61 points on 22-33 shooting, 8-10 from three-point range, with seven rebounds, and five assists. LeBron bested his previous career-high of 56 (2005 against the Raptors) and blew past Glen Rice‘s franchise record of 56 points. Here’s tonight’s look around the Association..
- Former Oregon State star Jared Cunningham says he plans to sign with an NBA team this week, writes Conner Letourneau of The Oregonian.
- The Morris twins will be eligible for contract extensions in the fall and both players are hoping they’ll be with the Suns, together, for the long-term, writes Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic. “The game is more fun when I have my brother. I look forward to it every day. look forward to getting better. I look forward to watching him get better and I know he looks forward to me improving and having good games. I’m excited when he plays good, even when I don’t play good. If I see him scoring and all the small stuff to win, I’m excited and that brings me up no matter what,” Markieff Morris said of playing with brother Marcus Morris.
- Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar says he’s interested in returning in some capacity to the Bucks, writes Andrew Wagner of the Associated Press. ”If I get a call, I will definitely offer my services,” said the Bucks’ career leading scorer with 14,211 points. “There’s nothing on the table right now. A couple of people have asked me and if I had the chance to be part of this franchise again, I would take it.“
- If Dwyane Wade continues to play at his current level and helps lead the Heat to another championship, there won’t be much negotiating when it comes to his contract, writes Yannis Koutroupis of Basketball Insiders. Wade recently re-iterated his desire to stay put in Miami to David Aldridge of NBA.com.
The Hawks have requested waivers on Jared Cunningham, the team announced today. Cunningham was selected in the first round of the 2012 draft, but has only seen 48 total minutes in the NBA over the course of two seasons. He’s spent much of his professional career in the D-League, and the team has decided to cut ties with him.
This action might be indicative of another forthcoming move by Atlanta, notes Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal Constitution (via Twitter). We haven’t heard that Atlanta is interested in Glen Davis or any other players who are rumored to be waived in buyout deals, but a signing might make sense, given the injuries to Al Horford, Pero Antic, and John Jenkins.
It’s been a pretty active week for the Hawks, who waived Antawn Jamison after acquiring him from the Clippers at the deadline and shortly after inked a deal with Cartier Martin for the rest of the season. Waiving Cunningham means the team will have to pay the remainder of his $1.2MM salary, but it will give the club an open roster spot and flexibility going forward.
In a radio appearance this morning with William Qualkinbush on WCCP-FM in Clemson, South Carolina, I praised the Pacers‘ acquisition of Evan Turner and deemed the inability of the Suns to find a taker for Emeka Okafor and his expiring contract a missed opportunity. There’s plenty more reaction to Thursday’s trade deadline amid our latest look around the NBA:
- The Nuggets are relieved to move on from the Andre Miller situation, writes Christopher Dempsey of the Denver Post. For his part, GM Tim Connelly took the high road when discussing the 37-year-old guard. ”There’s always going to be issues that pop up,” said Connelly. “There’s no villain here. Unfortunately what happened, happened. We have to have the full support of our coach. I think it’s important that everyone understands that is Brian (Shaw)‘s locker room. (Miller) was out of character. He’s a pro. I’m sure he’s excited to move on to D.C. and help that team make a playoff push.“
- Gary Neal didn’t see a whole lot of playing time with the Bucks and head coach Larry Drew acknowledged that the rapid progress of rookie Nate Wolters was partially responsible for that, writes Charles F. Gardner of the Journal Sentinel. Neal will now hope to see more burn with the Bobcats.
- GM David Griffin says the Cavs will “take a swing at someone” in an effort to fill the open roster spot that Thursday’s trade created, notes Bob Finnan of The News-Journal.
- The Warriors would have more interest in Earl Clark than Glen Davis, tweets Marcus Thompson of the Bay Area News Group. Both hit waivers today and should become free agents on Sunday.
- The Hawks have recalled Jared Cunningham from the D-League, the team announced. The 24th overall pick in 2012 has made 22 appearances for the Bakersfield Jam this year and only five for Atlanta.
Zach Links contributed to this post.
With the buyout of Glen Davis, Jameer Nelson is only remaining member of the Magic who played alongside Dwight Howard, tweets Brian K. Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel. A quick look at the Southeast Division..
- Wizards president Ernie Grunfeld told reporters in a conference call, including Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders, that he didn’t like the way Eric Maynor ran the point guard position for the club and jumped at the opportunity to get a floor general like Andre Miller. Miller, 37, has averaged 13.6 points, 7.0 assists, 3.9 rebounds and 1.3 steals over the course of his career, which has spanned 14 and a half seasons in the NBA.
- The Bobcats were heavily linked to Evan Turner, but, ultimately, they weren’t interested, tweets Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer.
- The Hawks may recall guard Jared Cunningham from the D-League to help replenish their thinned ranks, tweets Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The club is set to release Cartier Martin after acquiring Antawn Jamison, who may also be on his way out.
Earlier today, we heard that the Suns’ interest in continuing talks with the Lakers about a potential Pau Gasol deal hinges on the 7’1 Spaniard’s recovery from a strained groin injury. With news from InsideSoCal.com’s Mark Medina that Gasol’s rehab will keep him out of action for at least another two weeks, this most likely creates another hurdle in trying to complete a potential deal.
Here’s plenty more from around the Association:
- Kevin Ding of the Bleacher Report (via Twitter) says that because of the injury, Gasol may or may not have played his final game for the Lakers. One certainty, however, is that the Lakers are now more motivated to deal him than before.
- The Pelicans have been “extremely active” in trade talks over the past few days, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. It’s unclear exactly what sort of deals they’re working on, but they announced last night that center Jason Smith is lost for the season, and they’ve reportedly been seeking a trade for a big man.
- Regardless of whether or not Andrew Bynum can produce for the Pacers, the decision to bring him aboard represents a pledge from team management to the players that they’re willing to do whatever it takes to win a championship, says Jared Zwerling of the Bleacher Report.
- In the same piece, Zwerling lists several teams who could be among the league’s buyers and sellers at the trade deadline this season, labeling the 76ers, Jazz, Bucks, Lakers and Bulls are potential sellers, while the Bobcats, Warriors, Knicks, Nets, Cavaliers, Wizards, Suns, Mavericks, and Pistons are potential buyers. According to one executive, the Timberwolves and Nuggets could fall into either group depending on what transpires in the next week or so.
- Cedevita of Croatia has waived Josh Selby after the former Grizzlies guard suffered an injury, tweets David Pick of Eurobasket.com. Selby played 10 games in the NBA last season.
- The NBDL’s Texas Legends’ close proximity to their NBA-affiliate Mavericks has made it easy for both to enjoy a highly active partnership as far as developing the Mavs’ young players, writes Dwain Price of the Star-Telegram. Frisco, Texas – where the Legends are based – is located about 30 miles north of downtown Dallas, conveniently allowing the Mavs an option to send someone to play for the Legends one night and then head back for NBA practice the next day.
- The 76ers announced that they’ve assigned big man Arnett Moultrie and guard Lorenzo Brown to the Delaware 87ers (Twitter link).
- The Hawks have sent guard Jared Cunningham to the Bakersfield Jam of the NBDL, according to a team press release earlier this afternoon.
- The Celtics announced that center Vitor Faverani was assigned to their D-League affiliate Maine Red Claws earlier today.
Chuck Myron contributed to this post.
Yannis Koutroupis of Basketball Insiders runs down six things you need to know about the Suns, including their enviable cap position. While some might think that Phoenix would have a hard time landing big free agents, Eric Bledsoe is the kind of guy who other elite players will want to play with because he’s a fierce competitor and unselfish. It also helps that Jeff Hornacek is a player’s coach, being a former player himself.
- Can an NBA owner do a sufficient job while living on the other side of the world? No, says Mavs owner Mark Cuban, according to Tim Bontemps of the New York Post. “Absolutely not,” Cuban said. “Hypothetically speaking — and this only applies to individuals 6-foot-5 and under — you can’t,” Cuban said as an obvious shot at 6-foot-7 Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov. “That’s why I sit so close. It’s like trying to run a company and not being able to go to the sales meetings, not being able to go to the customer service meetings or the support meeting.”
- The Hawks announced that they have recalled guard Jared Cunningham from the Bakersfield Jam of the NBA Development League. Cunningham, who was re-assigned to Bakersfield on January 1st, has averaged 15.2 points, 4.2 assists, 3.5 rebounds and 1.1 steals in 29.8 minutes in 17 games (14 starts) over three stints with the Jam this season. He has appeared in three games with the Hawks this year and will be available tonight at Milwaukee. To keep up with all of this year’s D-League assignments and recalls, check out our running list.
- Wizards big man Marcin Gortat says he looks back on his time with the Suns fondly, writes Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic. Gortat has also found a nice home for himself in Washington and the Wizards are very interested in locking him up long-term.
- Scott Rafferty of Ridiculous Upside has a breakdown of P.J. Hairston’s 40 point performance for the D-League’s Texas Legends. The former UNC standout figures to be a first-rounder in the 2014 draft and could vault himself up the board with more performances like that one.
It’s been a fascinating year for the Celtics following their blockbuster deal with the Nets. The C’s hit the reset button by shipping Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to Brooklyn and while they’re anxiously awaiting Rajon Rondo‘s return, there’s plenty of reason to believe that the future in Boston is bright. GM Danny Ainge reflected on 2013 with the Boston Herald’s Steve Bulpett. “It was tough because we had so many injuries during the course of the year,” said Ainge. “I thought that our team was actually better than it ended up showing in the playoffs — without Rondo, without Sullinger, without (Leandro) Barbosa, who was playing really well for us (before be tore his left ACL in February). That was tough to overcome. I think our guys did as good as could be expected with what we had.” More from the East..
- Terrence Williams has no plan to return to the Nets‘ D-League affiliate, the Springfield Armor, a source tells Shams Charania of RealGM. The guard, who signed with Turk Telekom in October before parting ways after just two games, is talking to other teams. Williams finished the 2012/13 season with the Celtics.
- The Hawks announced that they recalled guard Jared Cunningham from the Bakersfield Jam of the D-League. Cunningham, who was re-assigned to Bakersfield on December 16, has averaged 18.1 points, 5.4 assists, 4.5 rebounds and 1.0 steals in 33.1 minutes in eight games (all starts) in two stints with the Jam this season.
- Arron Afflalo‘s NBA journey has taken him from the Pistons to the Nuggets to the Magic but he says that all of the movement hasn’t affected his development, writes Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press.
Newly acquired Wizards big man Marcin Gortat expressed some frustrations last night with his role in Washington, according to Michael Lee of the Washington Post. Despite being quoted directly for the story, Gortat took to Twitter this afternoon to combat the report. ”That’s BS …. People trying create drama within our team! I know my role and I’m not [frustrated]!!!,” tweeted the big man. Here’s more out of the Southeast Division..
- In this weekend’s mailbag, a reader asked Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel if the Heat will bring in someone with size in advance of the playoffs. Winderman notes that they won’t need that big presence if Greg Oden is on track. If Oden isn’t, it’s in Miami’s best interest to keep that under their hat to avoid the price of frontcourt insurance getting jacked up. There’s also the buyout market, where they’ve done well in recent years.
- Mitch Lawrence of the Daily News reported over the weekend that multiple GMs identified Jordan Crawford of the Celtics as a potential trade target for the Heat, but Winderman isn’t sure if Miami and Boston can line up for a deal.
- The Hawks recalled rookie Dennis Schröder from the NBA Development League today. The point guard played six games for the Hawks’ affiliate, the Bakersfield Jam, and averaged 17.0 points, 6.7 assists, 4.2 rebounds and 3.7 turnovers in 34.0 minutes. Schroder appeared in eleven games for the Hawks before being assigned to the D-League earlier this month. Jared Cunningham is headed back to Bakersfield to take his place. To keep track of all of this year’s D-League assignments, check out Hoops Rumors’ running list.
- As Oden looks to get healthy, he has a fan in Pacers assistant coach Nate McMillan, Winderman writes. McMillan was the only coach Oden played for in the NBA while the two were together with the Trail Blazers.
Let’s take a look at today’s D-League moves from around the NBA:
- Charlie Westbrook has been claimed by the Heat‘s D-League affiliate, the Sioux Falls Skyforce, reports Shams Charania of RealGM. We heard Wednesday night that Westbrook had entered the D-League’s waiver process.
- Kings center Hamady N’Diaye has been assigned to the club’s D-League affiliate in Reno, the team announced today in an official press release. Ndiaye has played 52 minutes in nine games for Sacramento his season.
- The Hawks have swapped out two shooting guards today, assigning John Jenkins to the Bakersfield Jam of the D-League while subsequently recalling Jared Cunningham. A press release earlier today revealed the pair of moves.
Six Eastern Conference teams have 2-3 records, and all of them had playoff aspirations coming into the season. The Bulls, Nets and Knicks had even loftier expectations, but they’re among the clubs that find themselves below .500 five games into the season. It might not seem like it’s time for a drastic move yet, but tell that to Mike Brown, whom the Lakers fired five games into last season. Our look across the East has the latest on a team that could make a change soon: