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.
Indiana’s loss to the Warriors on Tuesday kept the Pacers from clinching a playoff berth, but the team will lock up a trip to the postseason the next time it wins a game. Once that happens, that means the team’s first-round pick is guaranteed to go to Phoenix, as I noted today when I looked at protected first-rounders that could be changing hands. Here’s more from the Central Division:
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.
TUESDAY, 10:58am: The team officially announced the move, via Twitter.
MONDAY, 5:30pm: The Bucks are set to sign forward Tony Mitchell to a 10-day contract, sources tell Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports (on Twitter). Mitchell has been with the D-League’s Fort Wayne Mad Ants.
Mitchell is putting up averages of 19.4 points and 5.4 rebounds in 21 games with Fort Wayne this season. It’s an encore of his 2012/13 campaign in which he put up 21.9 points and 6.4 rebounds per contest over 48 games. Mitchell, 24, was in camp with the Kings over the offseason but was unable to survive the final cut.
The 6’6″ forward is not to be confused with the Pistons’ 6’9″ forward of the same name. The Bucks’ Mitchell was a standout at Alabama while the Pistons forward made his name at North Texas.
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 big news of the night was the Sixers officially retiring Allen Iverson‘s #3 during a halftime ceremony at tonight’s contest with the Wizards. Iverson had officially announced his retirement back in October. He averaged 26.7 PPG and 6.2 APG in 914 career regular-season games, and scored 29.7 PPG in 71 career playoff games. Iverson, who also saw action with the Nuggets, Pistons, and Grizzlies, was an 11-time All-Star, a four-time scoring champion, a three-time member of the All-NBA First Team, and won the MVP award in 2001. Congrats go out to A.I..
More from around the Eastern Conference:
- Gary Neal is overjoyed at the trade that sent him to the Bobcats, writes Dan McCarney of MySanAntonio.com. Neal told McCarney that he got on the first available plane out of the city, as he wasn’t fond of how he was utilized in Milwaukee, nor about the direction of the franchise. Neal stated, “I’m excited to be playing meaningful basketball again. After three years of being with the Spurs, with every possession of every game counting I’m just glad to being back to that. I’m a little too old for the tanking situation.”
- Jay Yeomans of the Deseret News analyzes how Jimmer Fredette fits in with the Bulls, who he is rumored to have reached an agreement with earlier today.
- With free-agency right around the corner, Carmelo Anthony must be taking notice of how much has gone wrong with the Knicks, writes Al Iannazzone of Newsday.
- If ‘Melo is really committed to winning, then he should follow the example of Miami’s “Big-Three”, writes Moke Hamilton of SNY.tv. LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh all took less to fit in under the salary cap, and Anthony should consider that before signing his next contract, opines Hamilton. It will be the only way for him to bring other star players to New York.
- The Knicks might attempt to acquire Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau after the season if they let go of Mike Woodson. Marc Berman of the New York Post looks at why the Knicks should try, the probability of the Bulls letting him go, and what it might cost.
- Tom Moore of Calkins Media looks at what Sixers GM Sam Hinkie can do with the five second-round picks the team has in this year’s draft.
- Metta World Peace has interest in joining the Pistons, according to his brother, writes Marc Berman of the New York Post.
Luke Adams contributed to this post.
Chronic knee injuries have taken a permanent toll on Andrew Bynum, who will have to play through pain for the rest of his career. The Pacers big man says he has the drive to push through the injuries and contribute at a high level again, despite a lost season with the Sixers and an ugly release from the Cavs this year, he tells Candace Buckner of The Indy Star. “My motivation is because I want a championship. I want to play.” Here’s more from the Central Division:
- Bynum admits to Buckner that he launched a half court shot and mocked an assistant coach in Cleveland out of frustration, which was rumored as the impetus behind the Cavs choice to suspend and then release him.
- Bynum found Cavs coach Mike Brown‘s system too complex, and the winning attitudes in Cleveland lacking. Alternately, Bynum is impressed with the Pacers culture. “It’s better, it’s more structured. You’re here, they do what they need to do with you and then you’re out. It’s not like something is going on forever. Everything has a plan and you try to stick to it and accomplish it, that’s always good.”
- Ersan Ilyasova tells Charles F. Gardner of Milwauke Journal Sentinel that he’s hoping the latest reset for the Bucks will be the last for a while. “Even last year being in the playoffs and we were hoping we were going to build on it. I came back to Milwaukee and it was like a new team. It’s really frustrating but at some point we have to find stability,” says Ilyasova. “We have a great organization. We have good fans, but we just have to be consistent with what we do. At some point I’m hoping we find the right pieces. I feel really comfortable being with the Milwaukee Bucks. We’ve had a lot of change, but I hope we find the right players.” Ilyasova requested a trade earlier in the year, but while Milwaukee shipped out guards Gary Neal and Luke Ridnour, they held on to the 26-year-old power forward they signed to a five-year, $40MM contract two offseasons ago.
- Joel Brigham of Basketball Insiders thinks the Jimmer Fredette signing by the Bulls will be good for both the team and player. Chicago needs outside shooting, which Fredette can provide, and Fredette needs playing time to rebuild his value before becoming a free agent this offseason.
After years of futility and being seen as a less than desirable location to play, the Clippers have officially become a draw for players, writes Arash Markazi of ESPNLosAngeles.com. With the recent signing of Glen Davis and the team possibly inking Danny Granger, it definitely is a departure from the past. The fact that a veteran player in pursuit of a championship ring would consider signing a minimum deal to join the Clippers over teams like the Spurs and the Heat is yet another example of how far the Clippers have come as both contenders on the court and in the minds of players as a destination franchise, opines Markazi. Doc Rivers, weighing in on the matter, said, “I don’t know if we’re going to make it THE destination, but we want it to be one of them. That’s our goal. Bringing in Big Baby when he could have gone to a lot of other places was a good thing. Darren Collison could have gone to a lot of other places and came here. At the end of the day we just have to keep being a good basketball team and the rest of the stuff will follow. I think the key to this is showing that we have a shot and we’re a good team. Players follow that. They’ll go anywhere for that.”
More from the west:
- Speaking of Granger, he is expected to make a decision on Friday, and the Clippers are his likely destination, tweets Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com.
- In a video for the Journal Times, Gery Woelfel says the Jazz were considering Nate Wolters for the 21st overall pick last summer. Wolters wound up going 38th overall and has been a mainstay for the Bucks this season.
- The Kings have been entertaining the idea of signing Royce White to a 10-day contract. Tom Ziller of SB Nation details the reasons why this pairing could work out, and also looks at some possibilities for why the Sixers traded for him this past summer.
- Rockets center Greg Smith is going to have surgery on his knee, tweets Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. It is unknown if and when he will return to the court this season.
- A scout claims the Timberwolves tried to trade J.J. Barea at the deadline because team executives want Ricky Rubio finishing games, writes Chris Broussard of ESPN.com (Insider subscription required). The scout also weighs in on why he thinks Rubio is overrated as a player.
The Sixers wound up with only a second-round pick in return for Evan Turner, thanks to their buyout deal with Danny Granger, but a team offered GM Sam Hinkie a first-rounder for Turner at last year’s draft, according to Tom Moore of Calkins Media (Twitter link). With Granger now waived, the team came away with a significantly lower return for Turner at the trade deadline.
More from the east:
- Carmelo Anthony says whether or not the Knicks make the playoffs this year won’t be among a litany of on-court and off-court factors that will play into his contract decision this summer, as Mark Berman of the New York Post examines.
- The Hawks and Antawn Jamison had mutual interest in a parting of ways when the team waived him shortly after the trade deadline last week, as Lang Greene of Basketball Insiders writes.
- The multiyear contract that Chris Johnson signed with the Celtics was originally reported as a three-year deal, but it’s actually a four-year arrangement that runs through 2016/17. Only this season is guaranteed (Twitter link).
- Mark Montieth of Pacers.com, in his mailbag column, casts the likelihood of Orlando Johnson returning to the Pacers this summer as greater than the odds of Indiana reuniting with Danny Granger.
- The Bucks are eyeing D-Leaguers and the overseas market for someone who can fill Caron Butler’s roster spot on a 10-day contract, tweeted Gery Woelfel of the Journal Times.
Chuck Myron contributed to this post.
4:43pm: The Bucks have officially waived Butler, the team announced. There’s no mention of a buyout arrangement in the statement, but presumably that’s what took place. He’s set to become a free agent on Saturday.
3:56pm: A source tells Charles F. Gardner of the Journal Sentinel that Butler’s parting of ways with the Bucks is official, and Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com hears he’ll be placed on waivers today (Twitter links). Still, there’s been no official announcement from the team.
8:01am: Caron Butler and the Bucks have reached agreement on a buyout, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, who casts the Thunder and Heat as the favorites to sign the small forward once he clears waivers. The Bulls and Spurs are also in the running, according to Wojnarowski (Twitter links). Butler will hit waivers once Milwaukee makes the move official, and presumably will become a free agent 48 hours later.
The Heat appeared to be the front runners for their former lottery pick when news broke earlier this week that Butler and the Bucks were talking about a buyout, but it appears they have strong competition from Oklahoma City. The Spurs have also previously been linked to Butler, but the Bulls appear to be a newcomer to the pursuit.
The 33-year-old Butler was in trade chatter leading up to the deadline, and while one report indicated the Bucks would be reluctant to give up the Wisconsin native, another suggested the team was ready to part ways, either via trade or buyout. Milwaukee acquired Butler in a trade with the Suns in the offseason, though he never played for Phoenix, which traded for him earlier in the summer in a deal with the Clippers. Butler’s expiring contract calls for him to make $8MM this season, though it’s unclear how much of that the Raymond Brothers client is giving up in the buyout.