The Cavaliers missed the playoffs and have already hired Mike Brown as their new coach. The draft lottery, in which they'll have a 15.6% chance at the top pick, is more than three weeks away. Still, the rumor mill is far from dry in Cleveland. Bob Finnan of The News-Herald rounds up the latest:
- Finnan doesn't believe rumors that the Cavs are willing to part with young talent like Dion Waiters and Tristan Thompson in return for All-Stars LaMarcus Aldridge or Kevin Love, in part because Cleveland would have to give up too much to swing such a deal.
- Finnan thinks Marreese Speights might not fit the Cavs culture, and the scribe believes the team is hoping Speights turns down his $4.515MM player option for next season.
- A source tells Finnan that Shaun Livingston will likely ask for $3MM to $4MM this summer and settle for $2MM to $2.5MM.
- It's no longer a given that the Cavs will bring back C.J. Miles next season. His $2.225MM contract for 2013/14 is fully non-guaranteed.
- John Kuester has been expected to join new Brown's staff, but sources tell Finnan he might be reluctant to coach again in the NBA after negative experiences as head coach of the Pistons and as an assistant with the Lakers.
- Donyell Marshall, a player under Brown from 2005 to 2008, has likely inquired about a position on Brown's coaching staff, according to Finnan, who suggests Eric Snow, Jamahl Mosley, Nate Tibbetts and Alex Jensen as other possible assistant coaching candidates for the team.
Here's a look at some notes out of the Southwest division..
- Guard Shaun Livingston was among the Rockets' final cuts this offseason, but coach Kevin McHale says that the move was based on his contract and not on his play, writes Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. Livingston was guaranteed just $1MM of his $3.5MM salary for 2012/13 and wound up hooking on with the Cavs after being cut loose.
- One NBA GM told Ric Bucher of 95.7 The Game (on Twitter) that he believes the Spurs could put together a streak similar to Miami's if Gregg Popovich wasn't so determined to keep his aging stars rested. If you exclude San Antonio's loss to the Pistons when Tim Duncan was kept out and three overtime losses, the Spurs would have a 25-game winning streak today.
- While the Hornets aren't playing for much on the surface, Greivis Vasquez told reporters, including John Reid of the Times-Picayune, that winning down the stretch is important for the young club. The Hornets have knocked off two-straight playoff bound teams.
The Cavaliers nearly pulled out an upset of the Spurs last night in a game bereft of injured All-Star point guards Kyrie Irving and Tony Parker, but instead Cleveland lost and continued its trudge toward the lottery. The lottery and draft are usually banner events for the Cavs, who will come away with two top-20 selections for the third season in a row if the Lakers hold on and make the playoffs. Bob Finnan of The News-Herald checks in with the latest from Ohio's team, and we'll hit the highlights:
- Finnan hears from league sources who believes there will be pressure on GM Chris Grant and coach Byron Scott next season, and speculates that both could be gone if the team doesn't make the playoffs.
- The Cavs picked up Shaun Livingston's minimum-salary contract off waivers from the Wizards earlier this season, but Finnan believes it will take more than the minimum to keep him around next season, estimating that a two-year, $4MM offer could be enough to bring him back.
- Scott is pining for someone who can protect the rim. "I'd love to have a couple of guys down there that would change shots and block shots," the coach said. "Hopefully, we'll get that in due time." Scott believes Tyler Zeller and Tristan Thompson could eventually develop into shot-blockers.
- Finnan also passes along a look at the NBA's top agents from Michael Pina of Hoops Rumors.
The Plain Dealer's Terry Pluto believes that the Cavaliers will have to tread carefully with Kyrie Irving's health, as he says that the young star has missed a significant amount of time over his first two seasons due to several different basketball-related injuries. Whether it involves reducing his minutes or learning how to manage his game to take less hits, Irving's durability will have to take top priority for Byron Scott and the organization, opines Pluto. Here are a handful of more significant notes about the Cavs from his column on Cleveland sports:
- The team will likely part ways with Daniel Gibson this summer, when the 6'2 guard is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent.
- Wayne Ellington, a restricted free agent, will probably be re-signed.
- C.J. Miles has a $2.25MM team option and will likely be kept.
- Whether or not the Cavaliers keep Shaun Livingston will depend on the price that the market sets for him.
- While Dion Waiters is still prone to making rookie mistakes, the rookie out of Syracuse has made noticeable improvements over the course of the season. With Kyrie out of the lineup, Pluto thinks this will be a key opportunity for Waiters to handle the ball more.
- Although the team's biggest needs include a small forward or a big man, Irving's injuries may prompt the team to draft a guard in June.
J.J. Redick spent nearly six and a half seasons with the Magic before being dealt to the Bucks right before the trade deadline. According to Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel, Redick says that he never felt any ill-will toward the Magic organization during the process and completely understands why they traded him: "Based on Arron (Afflalo) being there and who’s in the draft this year and where the Magic are likely to pick, there’s no way they would commit anything to me long-term — not just me, but just anybody in my situation. From a business standpoint, from a cap-building and rebuilding standpoint, it wouldn’t make sense. I get that. That’s fine."
You can find more of what we've gathered up from the Association tonight below:
- Mark Medina of the LA Daily News (via Twitter) provides a brief update of Lakers star Kobe Bryant's injury status, saying that his ankle sprain is considered serious enough to deem his return indefinite.
- Keith Langlois of Pistons.com tweets that the draft lottery odds will be affected on a nightly basis moving forward, as eight teams have between 22-24 wins. Most notably, those teams could be choosing as high as third or as low as tenth depending on how their season ends.
- Eddie Sefko of SportsDayDFW thinks that Brandan Wright's dependable play could very well make him a keeper for the Mavericks for the long-term.
- Marco Belinelli has relished his time in Chicago so far, and the Bulls shooting guard - once viewed as Kyle Korver's replacement as a perimeter shooter - has worked hard to remove the stereotype that he's just a one-dimensional player (Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times reports).
- Shaun Livingston has been the beneficiary of heavy playing time for Cavaliers coach Byron Scott, who has looked to the 6'7 point guard to fill in for the injured Kyrie Irving, observes Jodie Valade of the Plain Dealer.
- Charles F. Gardner of the Journal Sentinel catches up with former Bucks forward Tobias Harris, who appears to be thriving in a significant role with the Magic.
- Perry Jones III credits the Thunder veterans for preparing him before he filled in for the injured Hasheem Thabeet on Friday, says Darnell Mayberry of NewsOK. Coach Scott Brooks made note of the rookie's eight-point, five rebound performance, and despite saying that there currently isn't any room in the rotation, the Baylor product has "a very bright future" with the team.
A look at a few random notes from around the league:
Today is January 15th, which means that a number of players who had been ineligible to be traded until this point are now free to be moved by their respective teams. As Chuck Myron of Hoops Rumors outlined last month, Eric Gordon, Brook Lopez, Kris Humphries, Ersan Ilyasova, and Jeff Green are among the players who weren't eligible to be dealt until today.
However, in addition to rules that keeps players from being traded until December 15th or January 15th, the CBA also includes a stipulation that a team must have a player on its roster for three months before being able to trade him. That means guys who have signed contracts since October 15th are still ineligible to be dealt.
Here are the players who can't be traded quite yet, along with the dates they'll become trade-eligible:
Leandro Barbosa (Celtics): January 18th
Daniel Orton (Thunder): January 31st
Shaun Livingston (Cavaliers): February 15th
Because the trade deadline arrives on February 21st, players signed after November 21st won't become trade-eligible until after the season. Here are the guys who fit that description:
Jeff Adrien (Bobcats)
James Anderson (Rockets)
Patrick Beverley (Rockets)
Daequan Cook (Bulls)
Kevin Jones (Cavaliers)
Mickael Pietrus (Raptors)
Garrett Temple (Wizards)
In addition to recent signees, players who were claimed off amnesty waivers last July are also ineligible to be traded until July 2013. Some amnesty victims, like Andray Blatche, cleared waivers without being claimed and signed new contracts, so they're trade-eligible now, but the following players can't be moved this season:
Elton Brand (Mavericks)
Brendan Haywood (Bobcats)
Luis Scola (Suns)
Finally, players on 10-day contracts, such as Dominic McGuire, Maalik Wayns, and Josh Harrellson, also won't be trade-eligible at any point this season, even if they eventually receive rest-of-season contracts.
Let's round up some Friday afternoon odds and ends from around the NBA:
- Although J.J. Redick doesn't want to be traded by the Magic, he's not exactly thrilled with the team's 10-game losing streak, as Chris Tomasson of FOX Sports Florida tweets.
- Tomasson also spoke to Hedo Turkoglu, who said he's not actively trying to be bought out by the Magic, though he understands if the team decides to trade him.
- After telling Sheridan Hoops earlier this week that he doesn't expect to coach again, Phil Jackson reiterates the point to Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times (Twitter link), writing in an email that there's no chance he returns to the Lakers.
- A collection of SI.com writers discuss what's next for the Lakers, including potential pre-trade-deadline moves, and the team's chances of re-signing Dwight Howard this summer.
- Shaun Livingston tells Richard Hardy of HoopsWorld that he's hoping to stay with the Cavaliers for longer than just this season.
- Having recently parted ways with agent Joel Bell, Trail Blazers guard Nolan Smith has replaced him with former Bull B.J. Armstrong of the Wasserman Media Group, reports Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com.
- David Mayo of MLive.com explores whether the Pistons should attempt to trade for Rudy Gay, while multiple Celtics writers discuss whether Boston should take a flier on Greg Oden (link via CSNNE.com).
- In an Insider piece, ESPN.com's Chad Ford looks at some potential fits in June's draft for the Hornets.
The only game involving a Central Division team tonight features two clubs that have been linked in trade rumors of late, as the Pistons play host to the Kings. Detroit has drawn mention as a possible landing spot for DeMarcus Cousins, but there's been some doubt about whether GM Joe Dumars would pull the trigger on such a deal. We've got more on that and other news from the Central right here:
- The Pistons consider Andre Drummond "untouchable" and view Greg Monroe almost as highly, notes Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press, writing for USA Today. Ellis, who thinks the Kings "would be laughed out of the league" if they traded Cousins to Detroit without getting either Drummond or Monroe in return, hears from Pistons officials who confirmed the team has changed its stance on Cousins since 2010, when Detroit tried to move up in the draft to acquire him.
- Even if such a deal isn't going to happen, Cousins doesn't mind his name coming up in the same breath Monroe's, as Vincent Goodwill of the Detroit News reveals via Twitter. "I don't like being compared to anybody but it's no disrespect being compared to Greg," Cousins said. "Very underrated player."
- Shaun Livingston wasn't caught off guard when the Cavs claimed him off waivers on Christmas, and now that he has a couple of practices under his belt, coach Byron Scott is ready to insert him into the rotation, as Bob Finnan of The News-Herald details. "I know (coach) Byron (Scott) has been interested in me for the last couple years," Livingston said. When they called, I wasn't totally shocked."
The Pistons reportedly have plenty of interest in DeMarcus Cousins, but Vincent Goodwill of the Detroit News believes GM Joe Dumars has cooled on Cousins as Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond have developed (Twitter link). In another tweet, Goodwill asserts that Detroit won't be dealing any picks and thinks that the Celtics could offer Rajon Rondo in what would be the most attractive trade package for Sacramento. With that aside, here are a few more links we've gathered up out of the Eastern Conference tonight:
- Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun believes the Raptors would have to bite if the Kings offered Cousins for Andrea Bargnani, but he's not optimistic Cousins can overcome his volatile personality (Twitter links).
- Tim Bontemps of the New York Post dissects Mikhail Prokhorov's remarks to reporters on Friday, concluding that the Nets owner is sold on Phil Jackson and would entertain keeping P.J. Carlesimo for the rest of the season if he can't get the Zen Master of Jeff Van Gundy immediately.
- Roy Hibbert got off to a disconcerting start this season after signing a four-year deal for the maximum in the offseason, but his play has picked up of late, as HoopsWorld's Joel Brigham chronicles.
- Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel believes the Magic, at 12-16, have little chance of landing a high lottery pick, and writes that the team should set its sights on making the playoffs instead. Schmitz also speculates that Stan Van Gundy's next coaching job will be on the West Coast, and doesn't foresee Phil Jackson taking the Nets job.
- In a Q&A with The Plain Dealer's Mary Schmitt Boyer, Cavaliers guard Shaun Livingston discusses the career-altering injury he suffered six years ago, being cut by the Rockets, and playing alongside Kyrie Irving.