Greg Monroe and agent David Falk have made it clear that they don’t want any trade this season, though the Pistons have asked about Monroe’s willingness to approve a trade, writes Vincent Goodwill of The Detroit News. Monroe has the right to block any deal because he signed his qualifying offer in the offseason, and he’d lose his Bird rights if he were to be traded. There have been conflicting reports about whether the Pistons are shopping Brandon Jennings, but Goodwill writes that he is indeed on the block. The team’s brass is setting a high price for its assets, but other front offices have yet to meet those demands, according to Goodwill, who wrote his piece before today’s Josh Smith bombshell. We’ve been tracking the latest on Smith all day, and as we continue to do so, here’s more news from the Central Division:
- Wolves president of basketball operations Flip Saunders insists that had it not been for the offer from the Cavaliers, he wouldn’t have traded Kevin Love this year, as Saunders told reporters, including Jon Krawczynski of The Associated Press (Twitter link). There were simply no other proposals he liked, despite seemingly fevered interest from half of the league’s teams.
- Saunders also seemed to confirm that Love had forced his way off the Wolves, as Krawczynski relays in a full piece. “Minnesota people are pretty loyal,” Saunders said. “When you turn on Minnesota they don’t forgive you.” Still, Saunders added that he has no hard feelings, Krawczynski tweets.
- Bucks owners Wesley Edens and Marc Lasry saw the Milwaukee franchise as a “blank slate,” Krawczynski writes in another piece, adding that the ownership duo has quickly revamped the business side of the team and is very pleased with how their roster is taking form. “It’s better than the Spurs. Those are the old guys,” Edens told Krawczynski. “Would you trade Giannis [Antetokounmpo] and Jabari [Parker] and all the rest of the young guys for them?”
- While initial reports had Edens and Lasry pledging $100MM towards a new arena in Milwaukee, the actual number the owners have agreed to commit has since grown to $150MM, reports Don Walker of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Walker reminds us that former Bucks owner Herb Kohl agreed to kick in $100MM himself and that there might be additional private capital coming. Whatever amount on top of that is required to build the arena will come from public financing, Walker says, adding that the team faces an NBA-mandated deadline of fall 2017 to have the new facility in place.
- Pacers players aren’t embracing the idea of bringing Lance Stephenson back to the team, as Marc Stein of ESPN.com hears (Twitter link). Indiana’s front office was reportedly cool to the idea as the Pacers engaged in preliminary talks with the Hornets about trading for the shooting guard.
Alex Lee contributed to this post.
Coach David Blatt believes the mediocre play of the Cavs this season is a result of their play on the defensive end, writes Chris Haynes of the Northeast Ohio Media Group. “That’s the battle for consistency,” Blatt said of the defensive woes. “A lot of that is the plan and the principles and inherence to those things. A lot of that is commitment on the part of the guys to doing it. Of course you have the element of effort, which is critical. And then finally it’s the pride that you take in doing it if that is really and truly going to become part of who you are. And we’re working towards that.” The Cavs are allowing 99.7 points per game, which ranks 16th in the league.
Here’s more from the Central Division:
- The Bucks are unexpectedly in the playoff hunt at 14-14, but even after the season-ending injury to rookie Jabari Parker, the team isn’t likely to make any moves with an eye only on contention this season, writes Charles F. Gardner of the Journal Sentinel. “Nothing has changed. This is still about the future and the goals we have as we move forward, and that is to build this into a championship-caliber team,” GM John Hammond said. “We like where we’re at today, and we’re going to continue to battle throughout the season.”
- The Bulls have a fortunate problem in that they have too many high caliber players competing for playing time, opines Mike McGraw of the Daily Herald. McGraw argues that although Pau Gasol, Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson are all veterans who have earned their stripes, rookie Nikola Mirotic is playing at a level that doesn’t warrant being sent to the bench once they are all healthy. The forward is shooting 44.1% from the field and 80.9% from the foul line during his potential rookie of the year campaign.
- The Pistons are off to a rough start at 5-22, but the team isn’t making any trades with the short-term in mind, writes Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press. Ellis notes that Detroit would like to trade Josh Smith, but other teams are asking for a first-rounder to take the the 29-year-old forward. The Pistons were in a similar predicament in 2012 when they sent a first-rounder to Charlotte in order to move Ben Gordon because of his player-friendly contract. Ellis adds that the team is unlikely to have a repeat of such a short-sighted move.
The Bulls may have to adjust to life with an “ordinary” Derrick Rose, opines Steve Aschburner of NBA.com. The former MVP is averaging 16.2 points, 5.1 assists and 3.2 rebounds in the 13 games he has been healthy enough to play this season, while shooting 41.4% — all far below his usual standards. “The thing about Derrick, he is the same person, he’s the same player,” teammate Taj Gibson said. “[The media] is so hypocritical in what he does. You got to understand, he’s playing with hamstring injuries. That stuff is tough. Track runners sit out after getting their hamstrings hurt.” Rose’s contract runs through 2016/17 and is worth a total of approximately $41.4MM over the final two seasons.
There’s more from the Central Division:
- The Bulls‘ Doug McDermott is focused on returning as soon as possible from his meniscus tear, reports Sam Smith of Bulls.com. McDermott said he was “shocked” to learn the MRI results. His prognosis is three to six weeks out of action, but the rookie is hoping to cut that down. “I’m trying to take it as a positive,” McDermott said, “settle down and take a deep breath and learn from Jimmy [Butler] and Mike [Dunleavy] and watch them play and watch [coach Tom Thibodeau] and how everyone reacts on the floor. I think it will be a good thing to watch practice every day and get better.”
- Give Stan Van Gundy a second chance at the offseason, and David Mayo of MLive believes several things would have turned out differently. Mayo speculates that if Van Gundy, the Pistons‘ coach and president of basketball operations, knew what he knows now, he would have traded Josh Smith to the Kings, spent money on a high-profile wing player and not connected any other moves to Greg Monroe‘s decision. The writer also believes the team would have passed on Aaron Gray and Cartier Martin.
- Bucks coach Jason Kidd tells Ric Bucher of Bleacher Report that he has no regrets about leaving the Nets. Kidd said Brooklyn’s front office was leaning toward letting him go after a slow start last season, then agreed to let Milwaukee talk to him about the coaching job in the summer. “Everybody can run with their conspiracy theories or power struggles,” Kidd said. “But at the end of the day, Milwaukee asked Brooklyn for permission and they granted it.” The Bucks dealt two second-round picks to the Nets in July for the rights to Kidd.
Knicks president Phil Jackson took to Twitter today to defend his trade of Tyson Chandler to the Mavs in response to a tweet by Chris Sheridan of Sheridan Hoops. In a series of tweets, Jackson said, “I’m okay with the Dallas deal. Tyson fits there and our 3 players, Jose Calderon, Samuel Dalembert, and Shane Larkin are on the court. Our season got off to a rocky start thanks to injuries. Tyson could not have changed the outcome. Trades are judged in 4-5 year terms. Remember how people complained about the Pau Gasol trade? How does that trade look now? Just relax…and be patient.”
Here’s more out of the Eastern Conference:
- When Pistons president Stan Van Gundy was asked if Detroit is involved in trade talks, Van Gundy replied, “We’re 5 and 21. I don’t think you need to say a whole lot else. Of course we’re talking,” Keith Langlois of NBA.com tweets.
- What Detroit is looking for in the trade market are high-energy players, David Mayo of MLive.com reports. Van Gundy hopes to remake the Pistons into a smaller, quicker team, Mayo adds. “We need high-energy guys,” Van Gundy said. “And going with that, you say energy, but part of that is quickness and stuff. Slow guys are never going to look high-energy. We definitely have had trouble keeping up. We’re a step behind defensively on some things, and the game has changed, it’s spread out. So quickness, length, people who really can cover some ground, I think, would be another thing [that the Pistons seek].”
- Bucks rookie Jabari Parker suffered only a “slight” tear of the ACL in his left knee, tweets Gery Woelfel of The Journal Times. While this is good news for Parker’s long-term prospects and recovery, the news doesn’t necessarily change the prognosis that he is likely done for the season.
- Carmelo Anthony has been struggling with knee issues all season, and people close to him are now recommending that the Knicks‘ star take a few weeks off from basketball activities, Nick Friedell of ESPNChicago.com reports. “I have multiple people say kind of just shut it down,” Anthony said. “Or just take time off. But at the end of the day, it’s hard for me to just do that right now in the midst of what’s happening with the team and this season. So just trying to be smart about that.”
- Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau is very comfortable with how Chicago’s free agency plan worked out this season, K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune writes (Twitter link). Thibodeau said that the Bulls “ended up fine, just as we did in 2010. We came out great with Pau [Gasol].“
FRIDAY, 8:56am: Parker indeed has a torn ACL that the team expects will keep him out for the remainder of the season, the Bucks announced.
THURSDAY, 9:42pm: Bucks rookie Jabari Parker is expected to miss the remainder of the season with a suspected tear of the ACL in his left knee, Marc Stein of ESPN.com reports. The rookie injured the knee during the third quarter of Monday night’s contest against the Suns when his knee buckled during a drive to the basket. This injury now means two of the top three picks in this year’s NBA draft are likely out for the season, including Joel Embiid, who was selected No. 3 overall by the Sixers. The team and Parker’s representatives are conferring on when the surgery will be scheduled for the first-year player, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports tweets.
Milwaukee currently has 15 players on its roster, all of whom are on fully guaranteed contracts, which means the team would need to release a player and eat the remainder of their salary in order to add another player to the squad. With the Bucks currently under the salary cap they would be ineligible to apply for a Disabled Player Exception in order to sign another player.
Parker was the early favorite for Rookie of the Year honors through the first 25 games of the season, averaging 12.3 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 1.7 assists in 29.5 minutes per night. His slash line is .490/.250/.697.
Greg Monroe is growing weary of the trade rumors surrounding him and the Pistons, Vince Ellis of USA Today reports. “The same thing happened this summer,” Monroe said. “They put that stuff out there, say somebody said it, and then I got to answer for it. I really don’t have time for that. Especially right now. After losing 13 straight and finally getting a couple of games, and then you got to come in here and hear this when you getting ready for a game. At this point, it’s definitely annoying. We’re trying to turn things around here right now, and I gotta come in here and answer to stuff that I absolutely have nothing to do with. It is annoying, yes.”
Here’s more from the Central Division:
- After being drafted by the Bucks with the No. 2 overall pick in this year’s NBA draft, Jabari Parker said that he would like to remain in Milwaukee for his entire career, a statement Parker still stands by, Sean Deveney of The Sporting News writes. “I want to be here as much as possible, I want to stay as long as possible,” Parker said. “I want to just grind it out and see what happens. Even if I were to slump and they wanted to trade me, I would probably want to try and get better so I could stay here.”
- The primary reason for Parker’s comfort level with the Bucks is how team owners Marc Lasry and Wes Edens have sold their vision for the future of the franchise to the young player, Deveney notes. “I feel very comfortable with them [Lasry and Edens],” Parker said. “A lot of times, when you think of ownership, it is almost like you think of slavery. You’re a piece of property. But with them, it is a partnership.”
- Ben Hansbrough will have his D-League rights rescinded by the Grand Rapids Drive, the Pistons‘ affiliate, to accommodate an overseas deal, Gino Pilato of D-League Digest reports (Twitter link). Hansbrough was in training camp with the Bulls this season.
- Larry Drew doesn’t harbor any resentment toward the Bucks after being fired as head coach so that Milwaukee could replace him with Jason Kidd, Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes. “I’ve seen stranger things happen,” Drew said. “Whether you think it’s fair or not, I don’t really dwell on that. I look back at guys who have been in similar situations and had stuff happen to them. I’ve learned to move on. I don’t any hard feelings about how things happened. Certainly, I wish it could have been handled a little differently [in Milwaukee] but it wasn’t.”
Doug McDermott will likely be sidelined for six to eight weeks following surgery by team physicians to repair a small meniscus tear in his right knee, reports K.C. Johnson of the Chicago tribune (Twitter link). Before the injury, McDermott was off to a slow start to the season averaging just 3.2 points per game in 11.6 minutes per game for the Bulls.
Here’s more from the Central Division:
- A series of injuries on the Bulls have created an opportunity for Nikola Mirotic and he has thrived in his increased role, writes Mike McGraw of the Daily Herald. Mirotic’s teammates are certainly noticing the stellar play of the forward. “Niko, he doesn’t know how good he is right now,” Derrick Rose said. “He can rebound, he can cut, he can pass. I don’t know what he can’t do on the floor.” Mirotic is shooting 43.9% from the field in 17.7 minutes per game during his rookie campaign.
- Cavs guard Dion Waiters chalks up his improved play to an attitude adjustment, writes Chris Haynes of the Northeast Ohio Media Group. Waiters’ role and minutes on the team have fluctuated and he was the subject of trade talks earlier this season. The up-and-down playing time clearly bothered the former fourth overall pick. “I would be mad before I even got in the game,” Waiters told Haynes. “I was mad, [but] it is what it is.” Now, Waiters is more understanding of his role in Cleveland and understands the team’s intention is to help him improve. “I was just fighting myself, man,” Waiters said. “That’s what I was doing. I just left it alone. I’m going to make the best of it. I’ve got good people in my corner who actually care for me. I’ll be good.”
- Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo is one of the most improved sophomores in the league, opines Charles F. Gardner of the Journal Sentinel. Coach Jason Kidd believes Antetokounmpo’s increase in free-throw attempts have been key to his success. “He’s learning how to play without having to score the ball, say shooting threes or shooting jump shots. He can live at the free-throw line. Some of the top players in this league, that’s what they do,” said Kidd. The forward has already shot 98 free-throw attempts in just 24 games this season after only shooting 202 attempts in 77 games last year.
Clippers coach Doc Rivers never wanted to part with Jared Dudley, writes Charles F. Gardner of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Dudley came to the Bucks via trade last summer after a frustrating season in Los Angeles. “We just had to create roster room,” Rivers said. “We actually really wanted to keep him. He was the one who had the most value. We really haven’t used the [salary] space yet, but we think we may need it at some point.”
There is other news from the Eastern Conference:
- The Bulls‘ Derrick Rose is slowly regaining his MVP form, writes Sam Smith of Bulls.com. Rose scored 31 points in Friday’s win over Portland, his largest outburst since March of 2012. “We all feel he is going to be back to the guy he was,” coach Tom Thibodeau told the team’s official website. “He is going step by step. He has to keep building, keep attacking. When he is aggressive like that, there is no one like him.”
- Magic coach Jacque Vaughn warned his young guards that they have to take better care of the ball if they want to stay in the game, according to Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel. The Hawks turned up the pressure in Friday’s game, forcing three turnovers by Victor Oladipo and two by Elfrid Payton. “You try to prepare them with a solution,” Vaughn said. “But you also want them to be able to go through the situation and try to swim their way through it as well.”
- Jared Sullinger‘s sudden scoring slump has hit at the same time as the Celtics‘ three-game losing streak, writes Chris Forsburg of ESPNBoston.com. Sullinger missed all six of his shots from the field in Friday’s loss to the Knicks, but the Celtics are remaining supportive. “Sully’s a really good player who’s had a couple tough games in a row,” said coach Brad Stevens. “I think the most important thing we can do is encourage him, but we certainly need him to be good. But there’s a lot of things when you lose a game that factor into losing the game, and so I don’t think it’s any one person’s play or any two people’s play — it’s a collective effort, win or lose.”
Jason Kidd has just as much authority on player personnel for the Bucks as GM John Hammond does, co-owner Marc Lasry tells Chris Mannix of SI.com. If Hammond and Kidd disagree, the owners will cast the deciding vote, Lasry adds.
“I don’t want John to say we need to do something and Jason to say the opposite, and then there is a fight,” Lasry said. “If John wants to do something, Jason should be on board. If Jason wants to do something, John should be on board with it. That’s how we do it in our business, that’s how we want to do it here.”
Reports from before Milwaukee hired Kidd as coach this summer indicated that Kidd was seeking to become Bucks president of basketball operations. Hammond’s deal with Milwaukee runs through 2015/16, but the new owners were reluctant to commit to him for this season before ultimately deciding to do so. Here’s more from around the Central Division:
- The style of play the Bulls employ was key to their recruitment of Pau Gasol and to his early-season resurgence, as he told reporters, including Nick Friedell of ESPNChicago.com. “It’s just a really nice fit for me and something I evaluated before I made my decision,” Gasol said. “… The system, the way we run things, our principles, how we want the ball to touch the paint and get to the post and then operate from there.”
- Gasol’s performance so far this season has been impressive enough to create a compelling case that he was the most important free agent acquisition this summer outside of LeBron James, writes K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune. The ex-Laker is averaging 19.8 points and 12.2 rebounds per game.
- The Pistons figure to be active in trade talk this season, and MLive’s David Mayo, amid his latest mailbag column, identifies a few potential buyers and sellers with whom Detroit could partner.
With the recent signing of Earl Clark, the Shandong Lions of the Chinese Basketball Association are considering releasing former NBA player Miroslav Raduljica, Enea Trapani of Sportando reports (Twitter link). The 26-year-old Raduljica appeared in 48 games for the Bucks last season, averaging 3.8 points and 2.3 rebounds in 9.7 minutes per contest.
Here’s more from around the NBA:
- Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports ran down the top 10 international prospects for the 2015 NBA draft. Topping Spears’ list are Kristaps Porzingis, Emmanuel Mudiay, and Mario Hezonja.
- The Magic have already bested their 2013/14 season total of four road wins, and the improved play of Kyle O’Quinn is a big reason, Ken Hornack of FOX Sports.com writes. O’Quinn has been starting in the place of the injured Nikola Vucevic, and he is improving as a player while he works his way back from his own injury woes, notes Hornack. “We’ll continue to get him [O'Quinn] in condition where he can play more than 18 minutes,” coach Jacque Vaughn said. “We’ll continue to address his ability to do his work early so he can stay out of foul trouble. And he’ll continue to help us on the floor. He can play both positions [center and power forward], but he’s got a lot of room to grow.”
- Chris Mannix of SI.com released his initial player rankings for the 2015 NBA draft. The top three players on Mannix’s big board are Jahlil Okafor, Karl-Anthony Towns, and Mudiay.
- LeBron James has nothing but praise for Matthew Dellavedova, his Cavs teammate, Chris Fedor of The Northeast Ohio Media Group writes. “I had Norris Cole on my team in Miami,” James said. “He was the same type of guy. We called him the pit bull. You just put him out there on anybody and he’s always going to be successful and know you can never discredit how he goes about the game and how hard he plays. You put him out there for 20 seconds and it will be the hardest 20 seconds he ever played, like he’ll never play again. Everything they do won’t show up in the box score but teammates and people that know the game know he made an impact.” James’ comments regarding Cole are potentially noteworthy considering that Cole is set to become a restricted free agent next summer, is originally from Ohio, and is represented by Klutch Sports, the agency that represents James.