This morning, we rounded up several of the latest rumors out of New York, with both the Nets and Knicks off to brutal starts to the 2013/14 season. Throughout the day, a few more Nets and Knicks items have trickled in, along with a few updates on their Eastern Conference rivals. Let’s dive in and check in on the latest….
- Ian Begley of ESPN New York hears from league sources with knowledge of Knicks trade talks that GM Steve Mills has been citing Mike Woodson‘s coaching as a reason why Iman Shumpert has struggled this season. According to one source: “They’re saying that Shumpert’s a better player [than he's shown], but Woodson isn’t using him right.”
- Carmelo Anthony acknowledged that Knicks players are concerned about Woodson’s job security, but stressed that the blame should fall on the players rather than on the coach. Begley has the details and quotes in a separate piece.
- Asked about a report that indicated he wants to be traded, Mirza Teletovic denied knowing anything about it, according to Newsday’s Rod Boone (via Twitter).
- Nets assistant Lawrence Frank has been re-assigned, and will no longer be on the bench for games, Jason Kidd told reporters today, citing “different philosophies” (Twitter links via Howard Beck of Bleacher Report).
- GM Gar Forman told ESPN Radio in Chicago that he still hopes to work out a new deal with Luol Deng next summer, but Nick Friedell of ESPNChicago.com believes the Bulls will want Deng to accept a hometown discount. In a column, Friedell explains why there’s no better time than the present for Forman and the Bulls to trade deng.
- The Bulls assigned Marquis Teague to the Iowa Energy earlier today, but according to Forman, Teague’s stint won’t be long-term — the young point guard could be assigned and recalled occasionally throughout the season (Twitter link via K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune).
- Examining the Wizards in a column for The Score, Mark Deeks of ShamSports.com suggests the acquisition of Marcin Gortat should be the last move the team makes this year that involves adding a veteran with little upside. In fact, Washington shouldn’t rule out trading away a veteran like Trevor Ariza in the right deal, says Deeks.
We heard last night that Knicks veterans Metta World Peace and Kenyon Martin had a heated exchange on Sunday prior to the team’s game against the Pelicans, a contest in which Iman Shumpert and Carmelo Anthony had a confrontation of their own. As Marc Berman of the New York Post details, those are just the two latest incidents in a string of run-ins dating back to Halloween, when Shumpert and Tyson Chandler got into a shouting match over a defensive breakdown. World Peace and Tim Hardaway Jr. also had a recent confrontation, according to Berman.
Our own Zach Links pointed out last night that the Knicks’ recent discord can’t be a good sign for the job security of coach Mike Woodson. The club’s nine-game losing streak isn’t helping matters either. Here’s more on the Knicks and their crosstown rivals, as the two teams prepare to meet in Brooklyn on Thursday night:
- Knicks owner James Dolan gave Woodson a vote of confidence last month, but that doesn’t apply indefinitely, as Berman writes in a second piece. Noting that Dolan is “obsessed” with the Nets, Berman suggests that a loss on Thursday could trigger a major move — perhaps either a trade or a coaching change.
- If the Knicks decide to replace Woodson, the team would be open to bringing back Jeff Van Gundy, who likely would have interest in the position, says Berman. A potential Van Gundy return may be more likely in the offseason rather than during the season, however. Berman adds that JVG may want input on personnel decisions if he returns to coaching, which could be a factor in whether or not he makes his way back to New York.
- Jason Kidd‘s seat in Brooklyn isn’t as hot as Woodson’s, but Chris Dempsey of the Denver Post wonders if the Nets regret not hiring Brian Shaw. As Dempsey details, the current Nuggets coach looked like the frontrunner for the Brooklyn job earlier this year, before Kidd emerged practically out of nowhere.
- According to Mirza Teletovic‘s agent Misko Raznatovic, he and his client are interested in a trade that would sent Teletovic to a team that would give him more playing time. The Sarajevo Times passes along the quotes from Raznatovic on the little-used Nets forward (hat tip to Sportando).
While some rumors popped up last night suggesting that a Steve Nash trade between the Lakers and Raptors is a possiblity, Steve Kyler of HoopsWorld is skeptical that such a deal is realistic. As Kyler notes (Twitter links), Toronto’s old regime had interest in Nash, having pursued him during the summer of 2012, but there hasn’t been any indication that the team’s new leadership group has that same level of interest.
Here’s more from around the Atlantic:
- Following up on Kevin Love‘s assertion that he “loves” New York City, Zach Braziller of the New York Post points out that Love will likely hit free agency in the summer of 2015, at the same time the Knicks will free up a ton of cap space.
- Mirza Teletovic acknowledged to Bosnian newspaper Daily Azaz that the thought of returning to Europe has crossed his mind, but says he still hopes to succeed in the NBA with the Nets. NetsDaily has the details on Teletovic’s early-season frustrations.
- Tom Ziller of SBNation.com argues that as long as the Sixers keep winning, there’s nothing GM Sam Hinkie can do. In Ziller’s view, Hinkie can’t and won’t seriously attempt to move veterans like Evan Turner and Spencer Hawes until the team starts to struggle.
- League sources tell Sam Amico of FOX Sports Ohio that former coach Doug Collins may have been a reason that Andrew Bynum never wanted to be a Sixer.
- Doug Smith of the Toronto Star answers a handful of Raptors-related questions in his latest mailbag.
Here's a look at the latest out of the Atlantic..
- The Nets received more calls at the trade deadline about Mirza Teletovic than any other player, as other teams found his three-year, $9.687MM contract a bargain given his track record in Europe, reports Fred Kerber of the New York Post. Teletovic has only averaged 9.1 minutes per game this season, but he's intent on making it in the NBA and has no plans to return to Europe.
- Nets coach P.J. Carlesimo defended Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni from the criticism he's taken over Kobe Bryant's injury, writes Tim Bontemps of the New York Post. “When you’re playing for a playoff position, and in particular you’re playing a guy that would play 48 minutes if you’d let him, I think there’s been a lot of unfair commentary directed towards Mike. The only way you get Kobe off the floor is if you pull him off the floor," said the coach.
- Julius Erving told John Mitchell of the Philadelphia Inquirer (on Twitter) that he wouldn't mind being involved in the vetting process for free agents for the 76ers.
Chuck Myron contributed to this post.
With seven playoff spots clinched and the Bucks likely to lock their spot up as soon as this weekend, there won't be much late-season drama in the Eastern Conference. But seeding is still on the line, and a win for the Bulls tonight over the Nets would increase the likelihood of the two teams playing each other in the first round later this month. As we look forward to that game, let's check out a few notes from around the conference….
- Although he and the Bulls agreed to a contract extension way back in October, it took head coach Tom Thibodeau a while to actually sign his new contract, with multiple reports in February and March indicating that he had yet to do so. Thibodeau confirmed today, however, that he has signed the agreement, telling Nick Friedell of ESPNChicago.com that the delay was a non-issue.
- Jannero Pargo inked a deal yesterday to remain with the Bobcats for the rest of this season, but he'd like to stay in Charlotte beyond this year, according to Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer. It's not clear yet whether Pargo's deal with the Bobcats includes a non-guaranteed option for 2013/14, as many late-season agreements do.
- Despite spending the first few years of his career overseas before making the jump to the NBA, Nets forward Mirza Teletovic has no intention of returning to Europe, as Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News writes.
- One player who is heading overseas is Samardo Samuels, who was waived by the Cavaliers earlier this season. Despite reportedly drawing some interest from the Nets and others, Samuels didn't land with another NBA team, and is close to signing with Hapoel Jerusalem in Israel, according to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando.
- Celtics president Danny Ainge is also overseas this week, having traveled to Europe on a scouting trip, says Aris Barkas of EuroHoops.net. According to Barkas, Ainge was in Volos, Greece to watch 18-year-old prospect Giannis Adetokunbo, who is expected to enter this year's draft.
5:31pm: A source with ties to the Nets indicates to Alex Raskin of HoopsWorld the team is unlikely to acquire Pierce.
4:25pm: The Celtics and Nets have discussed a trade for Celtics star Paul Pierce, league sources told Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports. However, the Celtics want a better package than what Brooklyn is currently offering, according to the sources.
The Nets' offer centered on forward Kris Humphries, guard MarShon Brooks and a first-round draft pick. "The Celtics still highly value Pierce and it wouldn't make sense to trade him for that kind of a package if they're keeping Kevin Garnett," one league source said.
Boston has shown interest in forward Mirza Teletovic and securing another possible first-round pick, but the Nets don't seem willing to pay that kind of price for the 35-year-old guard. Boston had interest in guard C.J. Watson in a separate deal, but GM Billy King & Co. don't want to part with him, sources said.
The Nets and Celtics discussed a deal for Pierce at last year's deadline, but the C's decided to keep him for another playoff run. The veteran is averaging 18 PPG for the Celtics this season while shooting just 41% from the floor, his worst percentage in the past eight seasons.
Trade talk has come in fits and starts over the past few days, but the action should start to pick up soon. Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor is among many who expect discussion to intensify this weekend, tweets Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities. As the clock ticks closer to the deadline, which is a week from Thursday, here are a few late-night nuggets:
- While we've heard the Nets will go after Paul Millsap if they don't land Josh Smith, Nets Daily reports that Brooklyn has more interest in Millsap anyway, adding that MarShon Brooks and Mirza Teletovic are drawing consideration from other teams (Twitter links).
- The Lakers have an open roster spot, but coach Mike D'Antoni isn't anxious to add anyone, notes Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times. "We could bring somebody in and have them sit on the bench for a while but that doesn't make any sense either," the coach said. "You're playing games that you have to win. . . . Would I even play him?"
- Though he said this weekend that he couldn't assure Iman Shumpert he wouldn't be traded, Knicks coach Mike Woodson indicated to Stephen A. Smith on ESPN New York 98.7 FM radio that Shumpert is staying put. Jared Zwerling of ESPNNewYork.com has the details.
- Center Nerlens Noel, one of the top contenders to become the No. 1 overall pick in June, suffered a knee injury in Kentucky's game tonight and, according to Andy Staples of SI.com, left the arena in a wheelchair en route to a hospital (Twitter links).
- Texas Legends co-owner Donnie Nelson, who doubles as president of basketball ops for the Mavs, maintains the "door is open" for Delonte West to join the D-League team, even though the guard has yet to report after the Legends acquired his rights last month, The Associated Press reports (link via ESPN.com).
- The Chicago Tribune's David Haugh wonders if agent B.J. Armstrong and the Wasserman Media Group, along with Adidas, are pushing the Bulls to delay Derrick Rose's return until next season.
- Jessica Camerato of CSNNE.com catches up with Shelvin Mack, whom the Celtics are reportedly considering.
Chris Forsberg of ESPN Boston delves further into what today's roster moves meant for the Celtic green, noting that the $275K the team saved by waiving Kris Joseph is nearly the amount it will cost the team to sign a veteran-minimum player late in the season. He also points out that Boston must wait for Joseph and Jarvis Varnado to clear waivers before being able to offer 10-day contracts. As for the now-former Celtics, Forsberg writes that both will have the option of returning to the D-League while awaiting their next opportunity. Here's the rest of what we've heard out of the Atlantic Division tonight:
- ESPN New York's Jared Zwerling describes how current Celtics assistant Jay Larranaga played a pivotal role in helping Knicks forward Chris Copeland earn a shot to play in the NBA.
- With P.J. Carlesimo, Nets rookie Mirza Teletovic has another chance to make a first impression (Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News reports).
- In a Q&A with readers that covered a variety of miscellaneous topics, Doug Smith of TheStar.com said that with a full roster, the Raptors aren't currently inclined to waive anyone in order to sign someone to a 10-day contract. With regards to their point guard situation, Smith thinks that Toronto should stand pat for now and seems confident that the team will eventually have discussions next summer to try and keep Jose Calderon.
The latest news and notes from around the Atlantic Division on Sunday afternoon:
- Despite rumors that Dwane Casey's job is in jeopardy, Doug Smith of the Toronto Star backs the Raptors coach and notes that perception around the league is generally optimistic about Casey and the team's future.
- Mirza Teletovic was used to being the focal point of his team in Europe, so it's been a challenge for him to adjust to being on the end of the Nets' bench this season, as Newsday's Roderick Boone chronicles.
- Mark Narducci of the Philadelphia Inquirer talks to Lakers guard Jodie Meeks, who reflects on the 76ers organization where he spent the first three seasons of his career as his new team prepares to play his former one.
- Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com reports that Iman Shumpert and Amare Stoudemire are making progress toward returning to the Knicks.