Portland Trail Blazers Rumors

Hornets Hire Chad Buchanan As Assistant GM

July 1 at 5:31pm CDT By Zach Links

The Hornets have hired Trail Blazers scouting director Chad Buchanan as an assistant General Manager, league sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo (on Twitter).  Buchanan will serve under GM Rich Cho, who gained full control of the front office when president of basketball operations Rod Higgins resigned last month.

Buchanan was in charge of Portland’s college scouting but had a fairly uneventful June as Portland didn’t have any picks in the 2014 draft.  Buchanan has long been well-regarded in the Blazers front office and was considered for the GM job a couple of years back.

Southeast Rumors: Wizards, Heat, McRoberts

July 1 at 1:57pm CDT By Chuck Myron

Plenty of teams are hoping for a chance to pitch to LeBron James, but the Wizards aren’t one of them, as owner Ted Leonsis explained in an appearance on 106.7 The Fan today. Scott Allen of The Washington Post has the transcription.

“You’d have to have cap space and you’d have to renounce all your free agents,” Leonsis said. “Then you’d have to be able to call their agent and say, ‘Would you think he would consider coming here?’ So, I never understood the grandstanding. Some of the bloggers have said, just get in the mix and throw your name out there. OK, so you generate positive pixels and it creates these faux expectations, and LeBron is in total control of his future. LeBron will do what LeBron wants to do. We have to be able to control what we want to control, and right now our main targets are retaining our players.”

Here’s more from around the Southeast Division:

  • The Heat‘s top two targets for outside improvement appear to be Kyle Lowry and Luol Deng, but neither seem likely to end up with the team, tweets Marc Stein of ESPN.com. Deng is unwilling to take a discount to go to Miami, according to Chris Broussard of ESPN.com, probably putting him out of reach (Twitter link).
  • Hornets free agent power forward Josh McRoberts and the Blazers have mutual interest in a deal, as Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com hears.
  • The Wizards would like to bring back free agent point guard Garrett Temple, but they face competition from the Heat, Magic and Bulls, who have also expressed interest, tweets Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports.
  • The Hawks are interested in re-signing Elton Brand, but the Knicks are eyeing him, too, writes Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Latest On Greg Monroe

July 1 at 10:27am CDT By Zach Links

10:27am: The Cavs, too, are considering a run at Monroe, according to Stein (Twitter link).

9:52am: There’s a “high possibility” the Pistons will swing a sign-and-trade if Monroe gets a max offer from another team, a source tells Ken Berger of CBSSports.com (Twitter link).

TUESDAY, 12:58am: The Hawks also contacted Monroe tonight, a source close to the situation tells Alex Kennedy of Basketball insiders (on Twitter).

9:48pm: The Blazers also have serious interest in a sign-and-trade for Monroe, tweets Marc Stein of ESPN.com.

8:53pm: The Pistons have made it known that they want to keep Greg Monroe but won’t rule out a sign-and-trade if his price tag gets to be too high, tweets Marc Stein of ESPN.com.  Stein adds (link) that the Hawks are one team that keeps coming up as a potential suitor for Monroe when he officially becomes a restricted free agent.

You can add the Magic to the list of teams that are said to have interest in the big man, Stein tweets.  Monroe, who is ranked fifth in Chuck Myron’s Free Agent Power Rankings for this summer, figures to have many suitors in the coming weeks.  However, the big man doesn’t sound all that eager to take a free agency tour.

Most people would rather, if possible, not to have to go through it and just re-sign with the team they are with so you can have some stability and be secure,” Monroe said earlier this month. “Right now it’s like the draft process all over again. You don’t know if you will have to change cities or where you will end up. It’s a good thing that there are teams out there that want me. But at the end of the day, if I didn’t have to do it, I wouldn’t have a problem with that either.”

Free Agent Rumors: ‘Melo, Gasol, Hayward, Jazz

July 1 at 8:24am CDT By Chuck Myron

The Knicks made a call to Carmelo Anthony shortly after free agency began overnight to remind him of their desire to keep him in New York, as Al Iannazzone details. That’s not surprising, of course, and while the Knicks feel confident in their ability to reel Anthony back to the Big Apple, his first face-to-face is today with the Bulls. Here’s more from the first day of free agency:

  • The Lakers, Bulls, Mavs and Warriors made the first calls to Pau Gasol, reports Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com (on Twitter).
  • The Jazz spoke with restricted free agent Gordon Hayward tonight, a league source tells Tony Jones of The Salt Lake Tribune (on Twitter).  Both sides are expected to continue talks later today. Utah also has high interest in retaining Marvin Williams, Jones says (Twitter links).
  • A league source tells Joe Freeman of The Oregonian (on Twitter) that the meeting between the Blazers and Spencer Hawes “went very well.”
  • The Lakers, Heat, Bulls and Thunder all reached out to Caron Butler, according to TNT’s David Aldridge (Twitter link).
  • K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune adds Kirk Hinrich to the list of free agents with whom the Bulls have had contact since last night (Twitter link).
  • After the Hawks called Kent Bazemore and the Celtics followed suit, the Mavs, Lakers and Suns also made contact with him, in that order, Kennedy tweets.
  • The Celtics contacted Jordan Hill directly and also spoke to his reps at BDA Sports Management, according to Sean Deveney of The Sporting News (on Twitter).
  • The Rockets will meet with James Johnson, TNT’s David Aldridge tweets.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

Free Agent Rumors: Melo, Love, Henry, Sessions,

July 1 at 1:15am CDT By Zach Links

The Knicks are still viewed in league circles as the favorites in the Carmelo Anthony sweepstakes, tweets Ken Berger of CBSSports.com. The team is confident that it will get the final sales pitch with Anthony, a source tells Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports (on Twitter). The latest free agent rumors from around the league..

  • The Rockets, Suns, Bulls, and Warriors are all expected to make plays for Kevin Love if they miss out on LeBron James and/or Anthony, tweets Jon Krawczynski of the Associated Press.
  • The Pacers are targeting Xavier Henry in free agency to replace Evan Turner, tweets Shaun Powell of Sports On Earth.
  • Bucks free agent guard Ramon Sessions‘ camp received calls from three teams in the first hour of free agency, a source tells Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders (on Twitter).
  • The Grizzlies, Nets, Spurs, and Thunder have expressed in free agent point guard Sebastian Telfair, a source tells Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders (via Twitter). Telfair played in China last season. For the Nets, Telfair could be a potential replacement for Shaun Livingston if he goes elsewhere.
  • The Nets reached out as soon as the negotiating window opened to their own free agents Paul Pierce, Livingston, and Alan Anderson, a source tells Ken Berger of CBSSports.com (on Twitter).
  • The Blazers have strong interest in signing a stretch four, tweets Joe Freeman of The Oregonian. Spencer Hawes, Boris Diaw, and Josh McRoberts are among their targets.
  • Blazers GM Neil Olshey met with Hawes and his agent, Greg Lawrence, tonight in Los Angeles, sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports (on Twitter).
  • Channing Frye would be open to returning to the Blazers, writes Joe Freeman of The Oregonian. “Of course coming back would be an option,” Frye wrote in an e-mail. “I love the city, the fans, and the players they have are top notch.”
  • Nick Young was contacted by the Lakers and a number of other teams, agent Mark Bartelstein tells Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com (via Twitter).

Clippers Confident They Can Sign Paul Pierce

July 1 at 12:31am CDT By Zach Links

The Clippers believe they have a real chance of stealing Paul Pierce away from the Nets now that Jason Kidd is no longer coaching in Brooklyn, tweets Marc Stein of ESPN.com.  Of course, it has been long speculated that Pierce could be tempted by a reunion with former coach Doc Rivers.

Besides the Clippers, the Blazers, Grizzlies, Bulls, Mavericks, and Rockets all reached out to Pierce tonight, Stein tweets.

Kidd was dealt to the Bucks this week in exchange for a pair of second round draft picks.  The guard-turned-coach reportedly made a power play for personnel control and possibly a more lucrative contract and was denied.  At that stage, the Nets granted Kidd permission to talk with the Bucks about their opening.  It wasn’t long before Bucks co-owner and former Nets minority owner Marc Lasry had a framework in place for Kidd to replace coach Larry Drew.

Pierce has made nearly $185MM in his career, per Basketball-Reference, so he could certainly afford to take less money to head west and join the Clippers.

Cavs Notes: Irving, Hawes, Miles

July 1 at 12:09am CDT By Chuck Myron

The Cavs used the No. 1 overall pick on Andrew Wiggins last week, but GM David Griffin is making a concerted effort to engineer other significant upgrades this summer. He’ll also be at work trying to keep some of his club’s existing talent around. Here’s the latest from Cleveland:

  • New coach David Blatt is a part of the Cavs’ meeting tonight with extension candidate Kyrie Irving, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports (Twitter link).
  • Stretch big man Spencer Hawes is drawing interest from a bunch of contenders including the Blazers, Rockets, and Mavs, tweets Marc Stein of ESPN.com.  The Clippers and the incumbent Cavs were previously reported as also being interested in Hawes.
  • Unrestricted free agent C.J. Miles will meet with the Pacers on Tuesday, tweets Sam Amico of FOX Sports Ohio.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

West Rumors: Sterling, Williams, Afflalo, Miller

June 30 at 8:02pm CDT By Zach Links

A new doctor has declared Clippers owner Donald Sterling mentally fit after a comprehensive medical examination in Las Vegas over the weekend, a source with knowledge of the situation told Shelby Lin Erdman of CNN.  The testing was arranged by one of Sterling’s attorneys and conducted with one of the top dementia and Alzheimer’s disease specialists in the country.  More out of the West..

  • Free agent Mo Williams has no meetings set with other teams and his “only goal” is to sign a new deal with the Blazers, a source tells Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com (on Twitter).
  • New Nuggets guard Arron Afflalo sounds intent on exercising his opt out after the 2014/15 season.  “It’s probably something that I always anticipated, even beyond when I first signed this deal with Denver,” Afflalo told Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post. “I knew my game, I knew my maturity, I knew I would grow as a player. And I wanted to have that option as I got older and I progressed as a player. So hopefully I’ll out-perform my contract and put myself in a better situation. That was my intent from the beginning, even before this year, was to play out the four years and progress as a player.”
  • Grizzlies swingman Mike Miller tells Ronald Tillery of the Commercial Appeal (via Twitter) that he’s meeting with his agent tomorrow in Los Angeles before talking with four or five clubs.  Meanwhile, the Grizzlies can prevent him from looking around if they come to him with the right deal.
  • A source tells Sean Deveney of the Sporting News (on Twitter) that there are four or five suitors out there for Jordan Hill, including the Rockets and Mavs.  He’s not ruling out a Lakers return and will take his time through the process with an eye on a longer deal.
  • Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak says the club is putting Julius Randle through a series of physicals this week to test his foot though, right now, he doesn’t expect surgery, tweets Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com.
  • There is strong mutual interest in Vince Carter‘s return to the Mavericks, but several playoff teams are expected to express interest in the 37-year-old swingman, writes Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com.  The Heat, Thunder, Blazers, and Raptors are among the playoff teams that are seen as potential fits for VC, according to a source.
  • Warriors coach Steve Kerr is discussing an assistant coaching job on the staff with Luke Walton, league sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports (on Twitter).
  • Lakers unrestricted free agent Kent Bazemore is expected to draw interest from the Hawks, Celtics, and Suns among others, tweets Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders.

Free Agent Rumors: Lowry, Gasol, Parsons, Ariza

June 30 at 12:07pm CDT By Chuck Myron

Raptors GM Masai Ujiri is likely to make a strong push to re-sign Kyle Lowry just as free agency begins tonight to prevent the Heat and Rockets from having a chance to jump in, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports (Twitter link). Here’s more free agency chatter with 11 hours left to go until negotiations can begin:

Draft Grades: Northwest Division

June 29 at 10:57am CDT By Eddie Scarito

With the 2014 NBA Draft officially in the books, it’s time to take a look back and see how each team used the draft to make improvements and fill needs. I’ve already run down the picks for the Atlantic, Central, and Pacific Divisions. We’ll continue on with a look at the Northwest Division:

Denver Nuggets

Team Needs: Frontcourt Depth, Shooting Guard, Point Guard

Draft Picks:

  •  No. 16 Jusuf Nurkic (Center)*
  • No.19 Gary Harris (Shooting Guard)*
  • No. 41 Nikola Jokic (Center)

*Acquired from Bulls in trade for 11th overall pick (Doug McDermott).

The biggest news for the Nuggets on draft day was the trade for Arron Afflalo, which added a much-needed outside shooter to the team’s lineup. Denver then decided to turn their one first-rounder into two by trading with the Bulls, who snatched up McDermott.

The Nuggets used two of their selections on foreign born big men, neither of whom is expected to play in the league next season. Nurkic is huge, as well as being a skilled post player. If he can stay healthy and continue to develop, he could be an impact player in a few years. Jokic is also talented, but extremely raw. Jokic is more of an outside shooter at this point, and needs to add bulk and improve his rebounding and defense if he wants to make it in the NBA.

I like the selection of Harris, but with the trade for Afflalo, he becomes a luxury pick instead of a need. Harris was mentioned as a potential lottery pick by most scouts, so he’s a definite value selection at No. 19. Harris slid because of his size, but he is one of the more polished two-way players in the draft, and his defense will earn him minutes immediately.

Overall Draft Grade:  B —I like the Nuggets turning their one first round pick into two. The selection of Harris was a definite value add, and Jokic was a decent selection, considering what else was available at that spot. Nurkic could turn out to be a good player down the line, but the team did pass on the chance to nab McDermott, Zach LaVine, T.J. Warren, and Adreian Payne by making the trade. All those players could have a much higher ceiling than Nurkic or Harris.

Minnesota Timberwolves

Team Needs: Small Forward, Power Forward, Point Guard

Draft Picks:

  •  No. 13 Zach LaVine (Shooting Guard)
  • No. 40 Glenn Robinson III (Small Forward)

*Traded 44th overall pick to Nets for cash.
**Traded 53rd pick to Rockets for cash.

The Wolves certainly got more athletic on draft night. LaVine is an intriguing prospect who could turn out to be a bargain at that spot. He’s very raw and doesn’t have a defined position yet. He’s been compared to Russell Westbrook quite a bit when scouts discuss his potential. He can play the point, but it’s not his natural position. He’ll likely begin his career at shooting guard, potentially taking some of the ball handling duties on the second team. LaVine has a ways to go, but he’s a freak athlete who has star potential, though he isn’t guaranteed to fully realize all those physical tools.

Robinson is a very raw talent who will need some serious D-League time his first season, but he has the potential to develop into a very useful reserve. I really like this pick, and a good value at No. 40, especially since some experts had Robinson potentially sneaking into the end of the first round.

Overall Draft Grade:  B- —The Timberwolves need players that who contribute right away. Not sure that either of these selections fits that bill, but in a couple of years, if both selections live up to their potential, this draft could be looked back at rather fondly.

Oklahoma City Thunder

Team Needs: Swingman, Point Guard, Size

Draft Picks:

*Acquired via trade with Hornets via Heat.

I can almost swear that the team did this same draft last year when they selected Steven Adams and Andre Roberson. Either the Thunder were very happy with how that worked out, or they figured they needed more of the same.

This isn’t a knock against taking McGary, a player that has a much higher upside than Adams. If his back is OK, he’ll be an immediate contributor. McGary would have been selected much higher if he entered last year’s draft, but an injury-shortened season that also saw him facing a suspension for marijuana use lowered his stock. The Thunder should be very happy with his mixture of athleticism, passing, and offensive potential. He could be a starter by year two.

Huestis is a scrappy player who plays tough defense but doesn’t project to be a regular rotation player. He’ll make a nice 11th or 12th man, but there were better options on the board at the same position. Christon is a project who will need D-League time before he can hope to contribute at the NBA level.

Overall Draft Grade:   C+ —The Thunder got some value with the McGary pick, who if healthy can be an immediate contributor. I’m not a fan of the Huestis pick, especially considering that Kyle Anderson, K.J. McDaniels, and Cleanthony Early were all on the board at the time.

Portland Trailblazers

Team Needs: Center, Defense, Depth

Draft Picks:

  • No picks

The Blazers had traded their first rounder as part of the Gerald Wallace deal a few years back. The fact that he’s not on the team and they don’t have much to show in return has to hurt a bit, but the presence of Damian Lillard is more than a decent consolation prize. Granted, there weren’t any franchise changing players available at No. 24, but there were still a few useful pieces the team could have chosen from.

Overall Draft Grade:  D- —Trading your first round pick is always a risky proposition, and the team has nothing from that trade that will help the franchise next season, other than Lillard, who was acquired in a follow-up swap. The team better hope C.J. McCollum improves in his second year, otherwise it will be status quo in Rip City.

Utah Jazz

Team Needs: Small Forward, Power Forward, Point Guard

Draft Picks:

Despite not having a shot to take their dream player in Jabari Parker, you have to really like what the Jazz were able to accomplish on draft night. Exum was being discussed as a potential top-3 pick, and having him slip to the Jazz at No. 5 was a win. The book is still out on Exum, and it has to be seen how he will handle the much-tougher NBA competition. But physically and athletically, Exum has the makings of a star.

He will most likely begin his career as a shooting guard, playing alongside last year’s top pick, Trey Burke. But Burke’s lack of elite athleticism and speed might force the team to transition to Exum at the point. Wherever he ends up playing, Utah is gambling that he’ll be a top-10 player in the league in a few years. Exum could make the Magic kick themselves for passing over him to nab Aaron Gordon.

Hood at No. 23 was a tremendous value, and he has the potential to become a productive starting player. The Jazz will benefit from Hood’s ability to drain it from deep, and if he can develop into a better defender and rebounder, Hood will end up being a steal for the franchise.

Overall Draft Grade:  A —The Jazz came away with two potential starters, both of whom should see plenty of minutes next season. This could become the draft that gets the franchise turned around. Jazz fans have a lot to be excited about going into next season.