Anthony Davis

Cavaliers Notes: James, Anthony, Cousins, Wade

Don’t expect a firm answer from LeBron James tomorrow when Media Day questions turn to his future, writes Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com. Monday will mark the first time the Cavaliers star has spoken to reporters since Game 5 of the NBA Finals and the first time since rumors emerged that he has plans to join the Lakers as a free agent next July. LeBron will probably tell the media that he hasn’t made up his mind, which Vardon believes is true.

The talk about LeBron’s next decision will overshadow other issues surrounding the team heading into training camp, such as the condition of Isaiah Thomas‘ hip, the new personnel on hand, the chances of Dwyane Wade coming aboard after a buyout from the Bulls and whether the organization plans to keep or trade the unprotected first-rounder it got from Brooklyn. But Cavaliers fans had better get used to it because LeBron’s future is going to eclipse everything all season.

There’s more news out of Cleveland:

  • The Knicks were demanding a first-round pick from the Cavaliers in exchange for Carmelo Anthony, Vardon writes in a separate story. Anthony included Cleveland among the three teams he was willing to waive his no-trade clause to join, but the Cavs felt the price was too high.
  • The Cavaliers are listening to offers for the Brooklyn pick, but it’s unlikely a deal will involve either of the Pelicans’ big men, according to Sam Amico of Amicohoops. Rumors have been circulating about DeMarcus Cousins, who will be a free agent next summer, but Amico says the teams haven’t discussed a Cousins trade and the Cavs may not even be interested. Also, Amico hears that New Orleans won’t trade Anthony Davis under any circumstances.
  • Amico believes Wade is headed to Cleveland, possibly before the season begins. He and the Bulls are ready to part ways, and Amico sees no reason why the buyout should be a lengthy process. He passes along a few other roster details in the same piece, stating that it’s unlikely that Kay Felder or Edy Tavares earns a spot, although both could wind up with the team’s G League affiliate in Canton; most scouts like Ante Zizic, who was acquired in the Kyrie Irving trade, more than Cedi Osman; and the Cavs and Rockets “were at the one-yard line, ready to punch it in” on an Iman Shumpert trade this summer.

Lowe’s Latest: Celtics, Irving, Hayward, Butler

In our recap earlier today of where things stand on the Kyrie Irving front, we passed along several items of interest from ESPN’s Zach Lowe, who identified a number of potential trade partners for the Cavaliers if their deal with the Celtics falls through. Lowe also cited sources who said that there’s at least a slight chance Isaiah Thomas could miss the entire 2017/18 season if his recovery doesn’t progress as smoothly as hoped.

Lowe’s in-depth piece on the Irving situation included a few more noteworthy details, which we’ll pass along here:

  • Timing played a major part in the Celtics‘ decision to go hard after Irving, rather than Paul George or Jimmy Butler. As Lowe notes, the team wanted to add two star players this summer, but wanted to make sure it could land Gordon Hayward in free agency before giving up key assets for that second star. Because the Bulls and Pacers agreed in June to trade their stars, they were no longer options for Boston, post-Hayward.
  • Irving’s age was also a key consideration for the Celtics, says Lowe. With Boston poised to build around young pieces like Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, the fact that Irving is two years younger than either George or Butler was important, and allows the C’s to extend their window of contention.
  • The Celtics also had some concerns about how Butler and Hayward might mesh – on and off the court – if they were to acquire both players, sources tell Lowe.
  • Even if the Celtics have to include a little more in the Irving deal to get it done, they still may be the most well-stocked team in the league in terms of trade assets, according to Lowe, who notes that could become important if the Pelicans eventually make Anthony Davis available. There’s no indication at this point that New Orleans will do so, but the Celtics’ eyes “are very much trained on” Davis, says Lowe.
  • According to Lowe, if Irving officially becomes a Celtic, he could play a part in helping to recruit an additional superstar, since the league’s stars respect Irving’s “ballsy showman’s game.” Celtics president Danny Ainge likes Irving more than many of his peers around the NBA for some of the same reasons, Lowe adds.

Anthony Davis Discusses Trade Rumors, Pelicans, Playoffs

Anthony Davis hears the rumors about his potential departure from the Pelicans. Boston keeps coming up as a destination for Davis should things not work out in New Orleans, but the big man isn’t giving much thought to the noise, as William Guillory of The Times-Picayune relays.

“I understand it’s a business, but if I don’t hear anything from [GM Dell  Demps] or my agent, I don’t pay attention to it,” said Davis. “Once I first heard [the rumors], then I heard it again, then I heard it again, I just wanted to make sure. I found out it wasn’t [true], and that was the beginning of the summer, so I haven’t paid attention to it since.”

Davis reiterated that he wants to remain in New Orleans. “I am happy here as a Pelican,” he said. “I am happy here.”

Demps spoke with Davis earlier in the offseason and assured the big man that he isn’t going anywhere. The 24-year-old has spent his entire five-year career in the Big Easy but was only able to make a trip to the playoffs one time. He sees that changing soon despite several analysts projecting the Pelicans to end up in the lottery.

“I don’t really care what anybody says. We know what we’re doing,” Davis said. “Especially having an entire training camp with me, DeMarcus and [Jrue Holiday] and [Rajon Rondo]…We feel like we have a shot against anybody, that’s our mindset coming in. We’re not worrying about all the white noise and what other people are saying.”

Davis added that simply making the playoffs is not the lone goal.

“We definitely believe we have enough pieces on paper to make the playoffs,” he said. “Not just make it, but actually, make a run in the playoffs.”

Southwest Notes: Davis, Irving, Melo, Mavericks

The Pelicans will enter the 2017/18 season with a rising superstar in Anthony Davis, prized acquisition DeMarcus Cousins, long-term investment Jrue Holiday, veteran Rajon Rondo and others ready to compete. Davis, in particular, is focused on turning the franchise’s fortunes around and proclaimed the team is “tired of losing,” per the Associated Press.

Davis, still just 24 years old, wants to lead New Orleans out of the Western Conference cellar into the playoff picture, which could prove difficult if the rest of the conference plays to its potential. However, Davis explained that the team is making efforts to improve and the talented roster must perform.

“We’re doing everything, whether it’s signing players, trading players … whatever it is to just try to make sure that we try to be a winning organization,” Davis said. “We have the tools right now to be successful. … Right now, I think we look good on paper. So we’ve just got to figure it out.”

Below are additional notes around the Southwest Division:

  • As the Carmelo Anthony-to-the-Rockets rumors persist, Sean Deveney of the Sporting News examined Anthony’s play on Team USA during the Olympics. While Anthony is often viewed a “selfish” player focused on scoring, Deveney writes that his Olympic exploits show he’s a versatile player who can be effective as a number two or three option. If Anthony does end up in Houston, alongside James Harden and Chris Paul, that side of Anthony could prove to be effective.
  • Newy Scruggs of Dallas Sports Day answered several fan questions, one of which involved Cavaliers star Kyrie Irving. Scruggs believes Irving is not ideal for the Mavericks, given the presence of Dennis Smith Jr. and Irving’s reported desire to be a No. 1 option.
  • While 2017/18 may be Dirk Nowitzki‘s final season, Kevin Sherrington of Dallas Sports Day believes that “tanking” may not be the right word for the Mavericks‘ approach to the year. Sherrington writes that tanking is the fault of an organizational mindset and not the players; the team can be competitive with its current core, he adds.

Southwest Notes: Davis, Cousins, Miller, Prince

After the trade that sent DeMarcus Cousins to the Pelicans last season, New Orleans’ new big man and incumbent big man, Anthony Davis, did not have much time to establish an on-court chemistry. This offseason, however, Davis and Cousins have spent a lot of time working out together in Los Angeles and Las Vegas, Jim Eichenhofer of NBA.com writes.

“We’ve just tried to get in as much work as possible this summer,” Davis said to Eichenhofer. “We didn’t have that much time last season to work out with each other, because we didn’t have training camp or (many practices). So we wanted to take advantage of this opportunity, where we had time in the summer in the same city and can get in some work together, because we’ll be playing with each other a lot.”

The Pelicans have been active this offseason, inking Jrue Holiday to a long term extension and adding another backcourt upgrade in the form of veteran point guard Rajon Rondo. Davis also gave his candid thoughts on Cheick Diallo‘s play in the Summer League and his expectations for the 2017/18 season.

Below are additional notes around the Southwest Division:

  • Darius Miller signed a two-year deal with the Pelicans yesterday and it was the opportunity that enticed the 27-year-old forward. Per Scott Kushner of The Advocate (via Twitter), Miller chose the Pelicans over the Magic and Rockets because of the opportunity to “contribute to winning.”
  • The Mavericks may not be in position to contend for a championship but an exciting core with first-round pick Dennis Smith Jr. and a slew of veterans should make the team interesting, Dallas News’ Eddie Sefko writes. With Dirk Nowitzki back in the fold, Harrison Barnes and Wesley Matthews still in Dallas and a variety of veteran point guards, the Mavericks could surprise many next season, Sefko adds.
  • In a separate post, Sefko answers several questions pertaining to the Mavericks. In regard to Kyrie Irving‘s trade request, the scribe believes the Cavaliers All-Star heading to Dallas is a long shot as the Mavericks likely do not have the assets to swing a deal.
  • In a series of tweets, Vincent Ellis of the Detroit Free Press says former NBA champion Tayshaun Prince is pondering a possible front office or coaching gig with the Grizzilies. However, the 37-year-old — who did not play last season — is also weighing a possible on-court return.

Western Notes: Bledsoe, George, Rondo

While his name has been consistently floated in trade rumors over the course of the past season, Eric Bledsoe wants to remain in Phoenix. That said, the Suns guard recently told Scott Bordrow of azcentral that he also wants to win.

Most recently linked to the Cavaliers in a move that would help Cleveland honor a recent Kyrie Irving trade request, Bledsoe has once again been earmarked as a potential trade chip. If the Cavs are seeking established veterans capable of contributing to a contender, then a player like Bledsoe could be an appealing part of a larger Suns package.

There’s no denying Bledsoe’s value in the NBA — he posted a career best campaign with the Suns in 2016/17, averaging 21.1 points, 6.3 assists and 4.8 rebounds per game. He just doesn’t line up with Phoenix’s “timeline” built around a young, rebuilding roster.

If the Cavaliers do choose to seek a buyer for Irving, then the question becomes whether or not the Suns are willing to package Bledsoe with enough assets to make a deal palatable for the Eastern Conference champions.

There’s more out of the West:

  • The Thunder shocked the NBA when they managed to trade for Paul George earlier this summer. It’s already easy to see the swingman’s impact on the franchise. Erik Horne of the Oklahoman details how George can help the team’s offense, defense and even second unit.
  • The decision to sign Ronnie Price to a two-year deal last summer has come back to haunt the Thunder. Fred Katz of the Norman Transcript has broken down the significant luxury tax impact the since-waived guard will have in 2017/18.
  • The Pelicans are excited about the addition of point guard Rajon Rondo, particularly big man Anthony Davis who will be one of the prime beneficiaries of Rondo’s playmaking abilities. “He and I will do very well in pick-and-rolls, especially the way I dive to the basket, or I can pick-and-pop,” Davis told Jim Eichenhofer of the Pels’ official website. “He’s great at finding guys at the right times with the ball. Anyone who’s been in pick-and-rolls with him has been very successful. Hopefully we can do the same thing.

Trade Notes: Carmelo, Blazers, Celtics, Drummond

The Knicks put Carmelo Anthony trade talks on hold last week, but that decision is likely temporary, according to Chris Mannix of The Vertical, who suggests that the team wanted to get new general manager Scott Perry involved in the process. The Knicks reportedly hope that Anthony will be willing to expand his list of preferred destinations beyond Houston and Cleveland, but there has been no indication yet that the star forward is open to going to a team like the Trail Blazers, despite alleged interest from Portland.

According to Mannix, the Trail Blazers have been involved in Anthony talks, but have primarily been acting as a third-team facilitator in discussions so far. Per Mannix’s report, an inability to find a fourth team willing to take on Meyers Leonard‘s contract stalled “at least one version” of the proposed deal.

Anthony’s preferred destination is believed to be Houston, and given his no-trade clause, the fact that Carmelo is willing to accept such a deal is a good start for the Rockets. However, GM Daryl Morey will still have to get the Knicks and potentially one or two other teams on board in order to land Anthony, which is why the situation remains in a holding pattern for now.

Here are a few more trade rumors and notes from around the NBA:

  • Within the Vertical piece linked above, Chris Mannix notes that it’s “widely believed” the Celtics will make a run at Anthony Davis if the Pelicans‘ season goes south. New Orleans has been vehemently opposed to considering Davis deals, and while it’s possible that will change if the team struggles this season, DeMarcus Cousins would almost certainly land on the trading block first.
  • According to Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post, many teams around the NBA sensed this offseason that Pistons coach and president Stan Van Gundy was dissatisfied with center Andre Drummond. Detroit took calls on Drummond, but team owner Tom Gores is a big fan of the 23-year-old, and the Pistons didn’t receive any offers strong enough to merit a serious conversation about the big man’s future, per Bontemps.
  • Appearing on The Bill Simmons Podcast, Jimmy Butler confirmed that he left a June exit meeting with Bulls brass believing that he’d remain in Chicago. “I thought I was going to be there so I’m not going to say word for word what they said, but when I left there I did think I was going to be there,” Butler said, per Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. “But like I said, it’s a business and it is what it is.”

Green, Gobert Headline 2016/17 NBA All-Defensive Teams

The NBA has announced its All-Defensive teams for the 2016/17 season, and Defensive Player of the Year finalists Draymond Green, Rudy Gobert, and Kawhi Leonard all earned a place on the First Team. Green led the way with 99 First Team votes, while Gobert received 97 votes for a spot on the First Team.

Here are the full rosters for the NBA’s All-Defensive teams:

First Team:

Second Team:

Avery Bradley (Celtics), Klay Thompson (Warriors), and John Wall (Wizards) were among the other players receiving votes who just missed out on an All-Defensive spot.

As Bobby Marks of The Vertical observes (via Twitter), Gobert’s cap hit for the 2017/18 season will now increase by $500K to $21.9MM based on his spot on the All-Defensive First Team.

Atlantic Notes: C. Lee, Celtics, Raptors, Nicholson

A year after signing Courtney Lee to a four-year, $48MM contract, the Knicks are “absolutely open” to the idea of dealing him, according to Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders, who tweets that the club is “moving in a different direction.” Lee didn’t have a great first season in New York, but he’s still a capable three-point shooter, and his contract isn’t as much of an albatross as some of the other deals signed following 2016’s salary cap spike. He’ll be a player worth keeping an eye on if the Knicks delve into the trade market in the coming weeks.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic division:

  • Guerschon Yabusele, who was selected with the No. 16 overall selection in the 2016 draft, appears to be on his way to joining the Celtics, Olivia Healy of WEEI writes. Yabusele will miss this year’s summer league as he recovers from surgery, but Healy believes that the French native could find himself in Boston’s rotation next year due to his size and strength.
  • Gary Tanguay of CSNNE.com makes the case for why the Celtics‘ top – and only – target this summer should be Pelicans big man Anthony Davis, and why Danny Ainge should be willing to deal any pick and/or player to make it happen.
  • The Raptors find themselves at a crossroads this summer, according to Bobby Marks of The Vertical, who breaks down many of the crucial personnel decisions facing the team, as well as the increasing “cost of being good.”
  • Andrew Nicholson was a throw-in when the Nets sent Bojan Bogdanovic to Washington at the trade deadline earlier this year. Since Nicholson remains under contract for a few more seasons, Charles Maniego of Nets Daily explores whether Brooklyn can salvage some value out of the former first-round pick.

Chris Crouse contributed to this post.

No Paul George, Gordon Hayward On All-NBA Teams

The NBA has officially announced its All-NBA teams for the 2016/17 season, and neither Paul George nor Gordon Hayward is among the 15 players honored. That’s big news for both players and their teams, since they’ll be ineligible for the Designated Veteran Extension, reducing the amount of money the Pacers and Jazz – respectively – could offer their star forwards in contract extensions this offseason.

Here are this year’s All-NBA teams:

All-NBA First Team

All-NBA Second Team

All-NBA Third Team

Based on this year’s All-NBA voting results, Wall is now eligible to sign a Designated Veteran Extension this summer, while Leonard is eligible to sign one next summer. Harden, Westbrook, and Curry are also eligible to sign DVEs this summer, as Bobby Marks of The Vertical notes (via Twitter).

Those Designated Veteran Extensions – which are dependent on a player making an All-NBA team in the year before he signs an extension, or in two of the previous three years – apply to players finishing up their rookie scale extensions. They allow a player re-signing with his own team to earn up to 35% of the salary cap, rather than just 30%. So, if we assume a $101MM salary cap for 2017/18, a player like Curry could sign a new Warriors contract with a starting salary of $35.35MM, instead of $30.3MM.

The Pacers and Jazz will still be able to offer George and Hayward larger and longer contracts than any other team, but the advantage won’t be as significant as it would have been if those players had earned All-NBA spots. Teams can offer their own Bird-rights free agents up to five years (instead of four) and 8% raises (instead of 5%).

Hayward figures to opt out of his contract and become a free agent this summer, while George is expected to reach free agency in 2018. George could still become eligible for the DVE in ’18 if the Pacers hang onto him through next season and he earns All-NBA honors a year from now. However, there’s no guarantee that Indiana will be willing to take that risk.

As for the rest of the All-NBA votes, there weren’t any major surprises, particularly on the first two teams. Perhaps the biggest surprise, in a year which was dominated by four clear-cut MVP candidates, is that Harden was the only player who received 100 out of 100 possible First Team votes. Westbrook and James received 99 apiece, while Leonard received 96.

Note: Hoops Rumors readers voted last month on All-NBA teams, and our squads looked awfully close to the official ones, with a couple notable exceptions. You can check out the results of our voting right here.

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