Month: February 2024

Atlantic Notes: Early, D-League, Sixers

With the shooting of Knicks forward Cleanthony Early on Wednesday, plus a number of other unfortunate player incidents over the past year, Frank Isola of The New York Daily News opined that free agents may avoid signing with New York based franchises going forward. Nets point guard Jarrett Jack acknowledged that living and playing in New York is different than many other NBA locales, and believes players are targets because of the popularity of the sport in the area, Brian Lewis of The New York Post writes. “Since being in New York for a couple years, and how seriously sports are taken in this city, you’re a lot more visible than your typical team. When the Knicks draft somebody it’s headline news, or when they trade for somebody it’s headline news,’’ said Jack.

That’s where New York separates itself from a lot of cities. That can be good and bad, but I think you’ve just got to understand what it is and just take it for what it’s worth. Whenever I go somewhere … day or night, we always survey the crowd,” Jack continued. “We always understand what the crowd is wherever we’re going. Like I said, no matter where you go, no one deserves for that to happen. A lot of people want to say ‘It’s his fault, he [Early] shouldn’t have been [out]. How is it his fault?

Here’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Sixers coach Brett Brown is still trying to figure out how too best utilize Jahlil Okafor and Nerlens Noel, and admits the answer to this particular riddle still eludes him, Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer relays.”The four-five, five-four you know it’s still a mystery right now,” Brown said of deciding where to play the two big men. “It really is. And I think we are going to have this conversation throughout the whole year. Trying to grow those two guys is a challenge. So for me, it ends up more matchups than this overwhelming responsibility where it hurts the team. You know we want to win games. How I navigate that is a challenge.
  • The Celtics have assigned power forward Jordan Mickey, point guard Terry Rozier and shooting guard R.J. Hunter to their D-League affiliate in Maine, the team announced. This will be Mickey’s ninth stint with the Red Claws on the season, the fourth for Rozier and the first for Hunter.

Hoops Rumors Community Shootaround: 12/30/15

The Pistons have an interesting situation on their hands with point guard Brandon Jennings. He made his season debut Tuesday night against the Knicks after working his way back from an Achilles injury. While Jennings was out with the injury, however, starter Reggie Jackson shined and backup Steve Blake, who is 35, proved he still has something left. In other words, the Pistons, who are now 17-15, survived without Jennings.

Hoops Rumors’ Dana Gauruder recently profiled Jennings as a trade candidate because Jennings has an expiring contract at $8,344,497. With Jennings set to be a free agent, Frank Isola of The New York Daily News opines that the Knicks should make a play for the 26-year-old.

Of course, it behooves both parties — Jennings and the Pistons — for Jennings to have a successful return from injury. If Jennings plays well, he puts himself in line for a significant pay day this summer. From the Pistons’ perspective, a positive comeback would likely help the team on the court and also boost his trade value.

That leads us to today’s question: Which team will Brandon Jennings be playing for after the trade deadline? Why? Will he still be with the Pistons? How much would it take to acquire him?

Being mindful of our commenting policy, let us know in the comments section below what you think. We look forward to learning about what you have to share.

And-Ones: Kerr, Knicks, D-League

There seems to be a slim chance that Golden State head coach Steve Kerr could resume his duties with the Warriors as soon as this weekend, Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com relays. Kerr took his first road trip of more than one game when he accompanied the team to Texas for its games against the Mavs and Rockets on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively, MacMahon notes.

“It’s obviously a possibility,” interim coach Luke Walton told reporters, including MacMahon, of Kerr’s potential return to the bench this weekend. “He hasn’t said he’s going to. To be honest, I don’t think he knows yet. I think that’s part of why he’s on this road trip, to see how his body handles the travel and getting into Houston at 1 a.m. tonight to turn around and play again then get on another plane and fly home and get in late again. So that’s part of why he’s here on this trip, whether or not this weekend is a realistic return or not.”

Here’s more from around the basketball world:

  • Cleanthony Early getting shot in his right knee early this morning does not exactly endear New York City to soon-to-be free agents, Frank Isola of the New York Daily News opines. Since April, there have been four highly publicized crimes involving NBA players in the greater New York area, as Isola points out. For the Knicks, who are hoping to be major players this summer, the string of recent incidents likely makes New York City a tougher sell, Isola surmises.
  • The Hawks assigned center Edy Tavares to D-League, the team announced in an emailed press release. Tavares is headed to the Austin Spurs of the NBA Development League, pursuant to the flexible assignment rule, because the Hawks do not have their own affiliate.
  • The Spurs recalled Ray McCallum from their D-League, the team announced on its website. McCallum is averaging 1.6 points and 1.2 rebounds per game in 13 appearances this year with San Antonio.
  • The Celtics recalled Jordan Mickey from their D-League affiliate, Boston announced (on Twitter).
  • The Bulls will send Cristiano Felicio to the D-League on Thursday, K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune reports (on Twitter). The power forward has not appeared in a game since November 27th.

Atlantic Notes: Celtics, Knicks, Raptors

The Celtics nearly drafted Kobe Bryant in 1996 because of his immense talent and impressive knowledge of the franchise’s history, but ultimately passed him up, not wanting to take a chance on a 17-year-old coming out of high school, Baxter Holmes of ESPN.com writes in an interesting read. Boston, of course, drafted Antoine Walker  who went on to have a solid career with the sixth pick that year while Bryant fell to No. 13.

“When I tell you this — and I don’t like to say a lot of good things about the Lakers — but I am absolutely telling you this straight-up: [Kobe Bryant] was unbelievable in the interview,” former Celtics head coach and executive vice president/director of basketball operations M.L. Carr told Holmes. “He was the best interview that I’ve ever been a part of. Kobe knew the league as well as anyone. He knew the Celtics from a historical standpoint. He knew the Celtics probably better than most Celtics did at 17 years old.”

Here’s more from around the Atlantic Division:

  • Knicks small forward Cleanthony Early, who will likely be out three months after getting shot early this morning, was a logical candidate to be included in a trade for a point guard, Frank Isola of the New York Daily News tweets. Early has not been a fixture in the Knicks’ rotation this season. He has scored only seven points in 10 appearances this season.
  • Bismack Biyombo views the Raptors, the team he signed a two-year deal with in July, as the perfect fit for him in an interview on the team’s website. “Obviously, going back to the draft, they were trying to draft me here so it feels like it was supposed to happen and it finally happened,” Biyombo said. “I just feel like it’s a great opportunity for me and I’m thankful for it and I thank God for it and obviously the organization and the coaches for giving me an opportunity to be here and help the team grow which is something everybody is looking forward to and I look forward to something special.”
  • Marcus Smart‘s development will have the most profound impact among the Celtics‘ young players on Boston’s reconstruction project, Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald opines. Smart, 21, is widely considered one of the top young defenders in the league, as Bulpett notes.

Al Jefferson Out Six Weeks

Al Jefferson will be out approximately six weeks after suffering a tear in the lateral meniscus of his right knee, the Hornets announced (all Twitter links). The center will undergo arthroscopic surgery Thursday, according to the team.

Jefferson, 30, is in the final year of his contract with the Hornets. Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer wrote earlier this month that trading Jefferson for something that would fit both short-term and long-term would be challenging for the Hornets because he is making $13.5MM this season. Bonnell added that Jefferson’s future with the Hornets beyond this season is likely based on his salary expectations. That means more for the Hornets than it normally would because they are looking to re-sign Nicolas Batum and are not interested in paying the luxury tax, per Bonnell.

Jefferson had most recently been coming off the bench for the Hornets in an effort to get into better game shape after missing 11 games due to a calf injury and a suspension. Jefferson, who is in his 11th season, is averaging 12.5 points and 6.1 rebounds per game.

Latest On Cleanthony Early

Knicks small forward Cleanthony Early faces a recovery time of six to 12 weeks after getting shot in his right knee early this morning, Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports reports (on Twitter).

Early will not need surgery, however, Charania reports (Twitter links). An MRI revealed no structural damage, Charania adds, and the bullet was not lodged, going straight through Early’s knee. Early is being closely monitored for any infection, a source told Ian Begley of ESPN.com.

Early, who will become a free agent this summer, is still in the hospital. He is expected to make a full recovery, though, Charania writes in a full story. Early had arthroscopic surgery on the same knee during his rookie season in 2014/15, as Charania points out. The second-year player has not been a fixture in the Knicks rotation this season. He has scored only seven points in 10 appearances this season.

Central Notes: Jackson, Jennings, Cavs

Pistons point guard Reggie Jackson opened up on why he turned down the Thunder’s four-year, $48MM extension offer last year, telling  Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports (link to Podcast) that he was unhappy with his role on the team and wanted to start (the interview was transcribed by Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman here). Jackson made it clear before last season that he wanted to start at point guard and after his agent, Aaron Mintz, requested that the Thunder make a trade, the Pistons acquired Jackson in February. Jackson also said he was not surprised by the critical reactions to the five-year, $80MM deal he inked with the Pistons in July, but he didn’t pay much attention to them.

“I knew it was going to wow some people,” Jackson said. “Definitely it was going to wow the general population of the world. I had an idea it was going to be an eye-opener.”

Here’s more from around the Central Division:

  • Speaking of the Pistons, Marc Berman of the New York Post speculates that Detroit point guard Brandon Jennings would be a good fit for the Knicks. Jennings played against the Knicks Tuesday night in his season debut. His name comes up in trade speculation because he is set to be a free agent this summer and the Pistons are already financially committed to Jackson. Backup Steve Blake has played well, too, as Berman points out.  “I’m not really worried about contracts,’’ Jennings said. “I’m just worried about getting into the flow of basketball. My first game back, hopefully I’ll be blessed to play rest of season with no injuries.’’
  • LeBron James made headlines when he said Kevin Love was the “focal point” of the Cavs coming into the season, but now the reality is setting in that Love has been inconsistent and as long as James is in his prime, he’ll always be the main point of the offense, Chris Haynes of the Northeast Ohio Media Group and the Cleveland Plain Dealer writes. Love, however, should be able to understand now, in his second year with the Cavs, that James has his support, Haynes adds.
  • After recovering from his broken leg, Paul George is producing perhaps his best season and that is something the Pacers star intended on doing, Michael Lee of Yahoo Sports relays. “I really came into this season wanting to be here, wanting to be on top of the league now,” George told Lee. “I didn’t see it no other way.”

Sixers Notes: Noel, Smith, Wroten

The jury is still out on whether or not Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor can coexist on the court for the Sixers with Noel’s recent string of strong play coming with Okafor being out with a sore right knee, Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer relays. Noel has thrived at center, his natural position, recently, but played power forward when Okafor was healthy. Okafor, as Pompey adds, is expected to return tonight. Sixers coach Brett Brown said that Noel’s most recent performances might lead to a change in where Noel and Okafor can and should play, Pompey adds. Noel is better suited to play the center position because he is a rim-protector, Pompey notes. Noel becomes eligible for a rookie scale extension this summer. It will be interesting to see how this dynamic plays out and how the two big men develop.

Here’s more out of Philadelphia:

  • The Sixers did not intend on releasing Tony Wroten on Christmas Eve, a move they took some criticism for, and preferred to do that the day after Christmas, but the Pelicans insisted on last week’s trade being completed Thursday, Pompey writes in a separate piece. The Sixers, therefore, needed to create a roster spot to complete the trade for Ish Smith from the Pelicans, and thus Wroten was cut. The Sixers are thrilled to have Smith because they believe his presence and skills give them a boost on the court, Pompey notes.
  • There is a strong chance that the Sixers would have acquired Smith for less if they had waited a few more weeks and pulled the trigger on the deal closer to the deadline, Derek Bodner of Phillymag.com writes in a mailbag response. Such a move presents a change in the way the Sixers operate because the team overpaid in exchanging two future second-round picks to fix an immediate problem, Bodner adds.

Eastern Notes: Larkin, Gibson, Wizards

Nets point guard Shane Larkin said that he needed to get away from the Knicks and the triangle offense in order to grow as a player, Brian Lewis of The New York Post writes. “I’m in a pick-and-roll system my third year,’’ said Larkin. “My first year [in Dallas] I was in a pick-and-roll system, but I was coming off a broken ankle, so I missed time with that, didn’t get a preseason, so I was just kind of learning on the fly. Last year wasn’t the best system for me, that year went however it went. And this year I feel like I’m growing every single game and being more comfortable out there and just playing my game. I feel like it’s a good fit.’’ The 23-year-old is averaging 7.0 points, 2.2 rebounds and 3.7 assists in 18.9 minutes of action per game this season for Brooklyn.

Here’s more from the East:

  • Power forward Taj Gibson is supportive of rookie Bobby Portis, whose play in the wake of Joakim Noah‘s injury has many calling for an increased role for the young player, and potentially making Gibson a trade candidate for the Bulls, Vincent Goodwill of CSNChicago.com writes. When asked if the emergence of Portis has given conflicting feelings, Gibson responded, “What do you mean mixed feelings? It’s never mixed feelings. At the end of the day I care about my teammates. I don’t worry about all that. If he plays well it’s good for us, it’s good for the team. I want him to succeed. At the end of the day, we’re millionaires. We play a game.”
  • Paul Pierce believes that the Wizards, his former team, will be a dangerous team once they get healthy, Jorge Castillo of The Washington Post writes. “Right now I think they’ve been dealing with a lot of injuries. I keep up with them when I’m not playing. I’m still good friends with a lot of guys on the team. We chat on the text,” Pierce said. “I just think they’re dealing with a lot of injuries and kind of got off to a slow start. And I think once they get healthy, you’re going to have to watch out for them. They got a lot of depth when they’re healthy. A guy like Alan Anderson can definitely be a positive for them as far as their wing depth. Obviously, they’re missing a lot of their big men so I think once they get healthy, if they get healthy at the right time, they can make a real good run in the East.
  • The Heat have assigned shooting guard Josh Richardson to their D-League affiliate, the team announced. This will be Richardson’s first sojourn of the season to Sioux Falls.

Trade Rumors App For iOS/Android

You can follow all the latest news and rumors as the NBA’s trade deadline approaches with the Trade Rumors app for iOS and Android devices! Here are some of the features of the app:

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