Avery Bradley

Pacific Rumors: Ball, Bradley, Warren, Payton

Lonzo Ball went through a full-contact practice on Tuesday but won’t return until after the All-Star break, Elliott Teaford of the Orange County Register reports. The Lakers rookie point guard has been sidelined since spraining his left knee on January 13th. Coach Luke Walton remained vague on when Ball would suit up. “When his body is ready, then he’ll play again,” Walton told Teaford and other reporters. “I can’t tell you whether that’s going to be the first game [after the All-Star break], the second game or the third game.”

In other news around the Pacific Division:

  • Clippers shooting guard Avery Bradley admits he’s having trouble finding his place in the team’s offensive scheme, Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times reports. Bradley is averaging just 9.0 PPG in 28.6 MPG since he was dealt by the Pistons to Los Angeles as part of the Blake Griffin blockbuster. “I think it’s a mix of me trying to find my rhythm and my game and trying to learn how to play off these guys,” Bradley told Turner. “They have a lot of offensive-minded guys on this team. So I have to figure out, and not only myself, but (coach Doc Rivers) has to figure out how he wants to use me.”
  • Forward T.J. Warren is making the four-year, $50MM contract extension the Suns gave him look like a bargain, according to Scott Bordow of the Arizona Republic. He’s averaging 19.7 PPG and making over 50% of his field-goal attempts. “Coming into the league, I was known for being a scorer,” Warren told Bordow. “Just getting the opportunity and staying consistent is big for me. I’m just trying to get better, make my way in this league and earn the respect of my peers.”
  • It’s no sure thing that the Suns will try to re-sign restricted free agent point guard Elfrid Payton this summer, as Bordow explains in a separate story. Phoenix, which acquired Payton for a second-round pick from the Magic, could free up $10MM in salary-cap space by renouncing Payton’s rights, Bordow continues. With Brandon Knight expected to return next season from a knee injury, the Suns could then draft a point guard as Knight’s eventual replacement and pursue a center in free agency. Bordow adds.

Windhorst/Lowe On Cavs, Clips, Dinwiddie, Hood

The Cavaliers had an eventful trade deadline, trading away six players and taking back four new ones in three Thursday trades. However, it sounds as if the team was somewhat close to making an even bigger splash. Appearing today on Zach Lowe’s Lowe Post podcast, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said that there were people around the NBA who believed on Thursday morning that the Cavs and Clippers were gaining traction on a DeAndre Jordan deal.

“The reason people thought that was because there were other teams that were engaged in trade talks with pieces that would have spun off from that trade,” Windhorst explained. “So it got to the point where the Cavs and Clippers felt like they were close enough to some sort of agreement with each other that they could begin looking to bring in third teams and that’s why I know about it.”

According to Lowe, who says that the Cavaliers were never willing to send the Nets’ 2018 first-rounder to the Clippers in exchange for Jordan, talks between Clevleand and L.A. never got into “the red zone.” Still, Windhorst says that the two teams got at least “some distance down the road” before the Cavs opted to make other deals and the Clippers decided to keep Jordan.

Here’s more from Windhorst and Lowe:

  • The Nets were asking for “a lot” in return for Spencer Dinwiddie, according to Lowe, who says the Cavaliers explored a trade for Dinwiddie that involved Cleveland’s own 2018 first-rounder. Such a deal would have had the added benefit of improving the value of Brooklyn’s first-rounder for the Cavs, the Nets’ asking price was too high for Cleveland.
  • According to Lowe, Avery Bradley‘s asking price for his upcoming free agency is “gargantuan.” Lowe expects the Clippers guard to have to recalibrate his expectations at some point.
  • Lowe doesn’t think Rodney Hood‘s deal in restricted free agency this summer will be exorbitant, speculating that the Cavaliers might be able to lock him up for something in the neighborhood of $10-12MM per year.
  • Windhorst, who said last week that the Cavaliers had explored whether George Hill would be open to a buyout next year if they were to acquire him, clarified some details on that report. Since Hill was believed to be “miserable” with the Kings, per Windhorst, the Cavs looked into whether he’d be willing to reduce the guarantee on his $19MM salary for 2018/19 in order to facilitate a trade. That didn’t end up happening though.
  • Windhorst and Lowe said today there has been a lot of chatter around the NBA about the Grizzlies‘ approach to the deadline. For about 36 to 48 hours, Memphis was giving the teams the impression that they were on the verge of moving Tyreke Evans, presumably in an effort to get clubs to increase their offers, according to Lowe, who says the Grizzlies may have “out-thought themselves.”

Cavaliers Notes: Deadline Deals, Wade, LeBron

No NBA team overhauled its roster at the trade deadline more drastically than the Cavaliers, who shipped out six current or former rotation players: Isaiah Thomas, Derrick Rose, Dwyane Wade, Jae Crowder, Iman Shumpert, and Channing Frye.

According to general manager Koby Altman, all those deadline deals were as much about repairing the culture in Cleveland as they were about seeking better on-court results. “We were really worried that what was going on on the floor and sort of our culture in the building that we were marching a slow death and we didn’t want to be a part of that,” Altman said on Thursday, per Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com.

Acknowledging that the veteran players acquired in last summer’s Kyrie Irving trade never really fit in Cleveland, Altman said that those pieces still had enough value to allow the team to go out and acquire players it liked. Altman also hopes Thursday’s deals will re-energize his star player, LeBron James, who has been visibly frustrated this season.

“I don’t want to say he didn’t believe in this group and want to be careful in saying that because he’s going to compete every night and try to get whatever teams he’s on to the Finals,” Altman said of James, per Dave McMenamin of ESPN. “But I wanted to see a renewed sense of joy in him, and being around him the last 24 hours has been great.”

Here’s more from out of Cleveland:

  • Here’s Altman on the motivation behind the Wade trade with the Heat, according to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com: “As I started to get closer to deals to bring back youthful wings that I wanted to see play right away, I realized that this was going to be a role for Wade where minutes are going to be reduced, and reduced, and reduced. … I said, ‘Is this fair for Dwyane? Is this something that he signed up for?’ And so, we explored that with Miami. I wanted to make sure that I talked to LeBron about that. Because Dwyane did come in large part because of LeBron, and because of the situation here. And we wanted to give Dwyane the option. ‘Do you want to be a part of this? No one’s telling you that you have to go by any means, but, we want to give you a chance to go home.’ I think he and his representation were very, very appreciative of that.”
  • While LeBron hasn’t spoken publicly about the Cavs’ deadline deals, multiple reports suggest that he’s on board with the moves. One league source called the moves “win-win” in terms of competing now and constructing a roster built for long-term success, per Vardon. Meanwhile, Sam Amick of USA Today writes that the “behind-the-scenes reaction from James’ inner circle was a resounding thumbs-up.”
  • LeBron didn’t commit to the Cavs beyond this year before the team completed its series of moves, according to Vardon, who adds that Altman and owner Dan Gilbert didn’t ask the four-time MVP for that sort of commitment.
  • One league executive who spoke to Sean Deveney of The Sporting News believes the Cavs significantly improved their chances of re-signing James this offseason as a result of their deadline-day trades. “Even if they don’t win this year, they’ve given themselves room to grow,” that exec told Deveney.
  • ESPN’s Zach Lowe takes an in-depth look at the Cavaliers’ deadline, and is generally in favor of the team’s moves, questioning only the decision to give up a first-round pick while taking on Jordan Clarkson in the swap with the Lakers. Citing league sources, Lowe also notes that the Cavs wouldn’t have been able to acquire Avery Bradley from the Clippers without surrendering a first-round pick.

Spurs Interested In Trading For Avery Bradley

FEBRUARY 8, 8:23am: According to Jake Fischer of SI.com (Twitter link), the Pistons discussed the possibility of trading Bradley or Stanley Johnson to San Antonio for Danny Green before including him in the Blake Griffin trade, so it makes sense that the Spurs would still have interest.

One potential deal the Spurs and Clippers have discussed is Green and a first-round pick in exchange for Bradley, league sources tell Stein (Twitter link). However, San Antonio would prefer not to part with a first-rounder, Stein adds (via Twitter).

FEBRUARY 7, 10:31pm: The Spurs have become a “trade suitor” for Clippers guard Avery Bradley, tweets Marc Stein of The New York Times.

Bradley was acquired from the Pistons last week in the deal that sent Blake Griffin to Detroit. He has an $8.8MM expiring contract and reportedly isn’t in the Clippers’ long-term plans. He has been productive in two games for L.A., playing 30 minutes per night and averaging 10.0 points.

The Spurs have been shorthanded on the wing with both Kawhi Leonard and Rudy Gay sidelined by injuries. It would take Gay, Danny Green or a combination of smaller salaries to match up with Bradley’s, and the Clippers will probably want some draft assets in return.

O’Connor’s Latest: Thunder, Bradley, Simmons

When we relayed the latest rumors on the Thunder‘s search for wing help on Tuesday, Avery Bradley was one player we mentioned, with a report suggesting Oklahoma City has done its due diligence on the Clippers guard. It wasn’t the first time Bradley’s name has surfaced as a potential OKC target, and multiple league sources tell Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer that Bradley’s name “keeps popping up” as a player of major interest to the Thunder.

As O’Connor observes, one deal that would make sense on paper and would work financially is Bradley for Alex Abrines and Terrance Ferguson. However, the Thunder are reportedly very reluctant to part with Ferguson, recognizing that they’ll need inexpensive role players for the next few years if they hope to keep their current core together.

Still, some sort of deal involving Abrines could be possible. O’Connor hears from a league executive that Clippers director of pro player personnel Johnny Rogers – who played and broadcasted in Spain – “loves” Abrines, a former Barcelona standout.

O’Connor shares a few more items of interest in his latest piece for The Ringer, so let’s round them up…

  • Although the Thunder have kicked the tires on Magic swingman Jonathon Simmons, multiple sources tell O’Connor that Simmons isn’t expected to be available — at least not for what Oklahoma City would offer.
  • Two front office sources have informed O’Connor that the Thunder would be among the frontrunners to sign Joe Johnson if he’s bought out by the Jazz this month.
  • The Hawks have had some trouble gaining traction on deals for some of their veterans, according to O’Connor, who says that the Thunder and Pacers are among Atlanta’s potential trade partners for players like Marco Belinelli, Dewayne Dedmon, or Ersan Ilyasova. O’Connor notes that the Hawks had interest in T.J. Leaf prior to last year’s draft, but he’s skeptical that the Pacers would surrender the rookie forward for a veteran rental.

Latest On Thunder’s Search For Wing Help

With Andre Roberson sidelined for the rest of the season, the Thunder are on the lookout for help on the wing. With less than 48 hours left until the arrival of this year’s trade deadline, let’s check in on the latest reports on OKC’s options…

  • There’s a “growing expectation” that the Thunder will make a move in advance of the trade deadline, since there’s a lot riding on this season, says ESPN’s Royce Young. Oklahoma City would prefer not to give up rookie Terrance Ferguson in a deal for a veteran rental though, Young adds.
  • TNT’s David Aldridge (Twitter link) identifies Maurice Harkless and Tony Allen as two potential targets to watch for the Thunder. Harkless would be an interesting fit, though it may be difficult for the Trail Blazers and Thunder to figure out a deal, since both teams are projected taxpayers and will be reluctant to add salary. As for Allen, Aldridge tweets that the veteran swingman has been cleared to play after recovering from his broken leg, but will need some time to get back to full speed.
  • The Thunder have done “due diligence” on Clippers guard Avery Bradley and Magic swingman Jonathon Simmons, per Chris Mannix of Yahoo Sports. Mannix suggests that the Thunder might wait until closer to the deadline in the hopes that teams’ asking prices come down, noting that they could also wait until after the deadline and take their chances on what’s expected to be a “robust” buyout market.
  • Within his trade deadline preview, Jake Fischer of SI.com writes that the Thunder have shown interest in Clippers guard Lou Williams and expressed “serious” interest in Grizzlies guard Tyreke Evans.
  • Oklahoma City has also been linked to Rodney Hood.

Lowe’s Latest: Cavs, Jordan, Magic, Nuggets, Sixers

On Monday, we rounded up some of the highlights from a Lowe Post podcast featuring ESPN’s Zach Lowe and Adrian Wojnarowski. Late last night, Lowe published an extensive look at the trade market at ESPN.com, following up on some of the scuttlebutt he shared in that podcast. While there are a few repeated items with Lowe’s piece, he also has plenty of new notes for us as Thursday’s trade deadline approaches. Let’s dive in…

  • Lowe views Marc Gasol as a target that would make sense for the Cavaliers if they’re willing to trade the Nets’ 2018 first-rounder. However, he notes that the Grizzlies seem satisfied to stand pat, and the two teams haven’t discussed Gasol. Rival executives also say that the Cavs continue to act as if they won’t trade the Brooklyn pick.
  • Outside of the teams already known to have expressed interest in DeAndre Jordan – such as the Rockets, Bucks, and Trail Blazers – the Wizards are another club that has looked into the Clippers center, says Lowe. However, despite investigating the market for Jordan, Washington hasn’t gained any momentum toward a deal.
  • Every Magic player except for Aaron Gordon and Jonathan Isaac is “readily available,” sources tell Lowe. Most people around the league think that Elfrid Payton will be playing somewhere besides Orlando next season, Lowe adds.
  • As Lowe observes, Nuggets may not be able to afford Will Barton‘s next contract, but the team appears okay with holding onto him through the deadline and risking losing him for nothing this summer. Denver also remains on the lookout for point guards, having kicked the tires on Pacers backup Cory Joseph, per Lowe. However, potential targets like Joseph and Garrett Temple may not be viable due to the guaranteed 2018/19 money on their contracts.
  • The Sixers are approaching the trade deadline as buyers, but no longer have as many extra first-round draft picks as they’ve had in recent years, so they may only willing to dangle second-rounders, says Lowe.
  • According to Lowe, the Timberwolves have been very cautious about discussing the 2018 first-rounder they’ll get from the Thunder, since they recognize they’ll need cheap players to fill out the roster as Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns get very expensive.
  • The Warriors remain on the lookout for bench help — they inquired on Avery Bradley, but got nowhere, league sources tell Lowe.
  • The Heat don’t appear to have traction on any major deals, according to Lowe.

Northwest Notes: Thunder, Favors, Timberwolves

The Thunder have until Thursday to decide which direction they want to take for the rest of the season, writes Erik Horne of The Oklahoman. Andre Roberson‘s season-ending injury leaves them with little chance of beating the Warriors or Rockets in the playoffs, Horne adds, as he examines the organization’s options before the trade deadline.

First-round picks have become increasingly valuable, but the Thunder have already dealt away their first-rounders for this year and 2020. League rules prevent teams from trading future first-round picks in consecutive years, so the earliest one OKC can offer is for 2022. Horne speculates that in lieu of draft picks, the organization may have to part with a young player such as Terrance Ferguson.

The Thunder are also limited in the buyout market because they can only offer the $2.3MM veteran’s minimum. Oklahoma City is over the cap and spent its $5.2MM taxpayer’s mid-level exception to acquire Patrick Patterson.

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • Clippers guard Avery Bradley has been mentioned as a possible replacement for Roberson, but the Thunder have many options, according to Brett Dawson of The Oklahoman. The Bulls may waive Tony Allen, who was acquired from the Pelicans this week, and he would be a low-cost option who could help replace Roberson’s defensive prowess at the wing. Other possibilities Dawson suggests are Atlanta’s Marco Belinelli, Memphis’ Tyreke Evans, Utah’s Rodney Hood and Orlando’s Jonathon Simmons.
  • Jazz forward Derrick Favors hasn’t been distracted by hearing his name in trade rumors, relays Tony Jones of The Salt Lake Tribune. Favors has been playing well, averaging 12.3 points and 7.2 rebounds per night, but he is headed for free agency and Utah may want to get some value now rather than risk losing him for nothing. “I’ve just cleared my mind, and now I’m having a lot more fun,” Favors said. “I’m playing. I’m not worried about scoring, or about minutes. I’m just going out there and hooping. So just playing basketball and not worrying about other stuff, that’s helped me a lot.”
  • Shabazz Muhammad, who has asked the Timberwolves to trade or release him, doesn’t have much value in a potential deal, writes Jerry Zgoda of The Star Tribune. Zgoda identifies Minnesota’s main assets as Nemanja Bjelica and Justin Patton, but says the team may be reluctant to part with either one. Gorgui Dieng‘s $16MM salary could be useful in landing another star, and the Wolves can offer Cole Aldrich‘s deal, which is only guaranteed for a little more than $2MM for next season until June 20.

Clippers Notes: Jordan, Bradley, Rivers, Harris

The Trail Blazers contacted the Clippers about DeAndre Jordan but never made a formal offer, according to Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times. His story corroborates a recent report from Marc Stein of The New York Times that the Blazers are among the teams with interest in the 29-year-old center.

L.A. is hoping to get a first-round pick, financial flexibility and young talent in any deal for Jordan, league sources tell Turner. That would be a package similar to what they received when they sent Blake Griffin to Detroit earlier this week. The same sources say teams are reluctant to trade for Jordan without assurances that he won’t opt out of his $24.1MM salary for next season and that he is willing to sign a long-term extension.

Jordan, who is averaging 11.8 points and 14.9 rebounds, would bring a huge defensive presence to Portland. Finding an acceptable match for his $22.6MM deal wouldn’t be easy for the Blazers, whose roster is filled with expensive, long-term contracts, though they do own all of their future first-rounders.

Thunder Interested In Avery Bradley

In the wake of losing All-NBA defender Andre Roberson to a ruptured left patellar tendon for the remainder of the 2017/18 season, the Thunder are interested in trading for newly-acquired Clippers guard Avery Bradley, reports Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post.

Bradley, who is in the final year of his contract, likely doesn’t fit into the Clippers’ long-term plans, and Oklahoma City appears interested in taking advantage of a potential deal as a result.

Long considered an elite man-to-man defender in this league, Bradley would be able to step in for Roberson admirably, while at the same time giving the Thunder an upgrade on the offensive side of the ball, where Bradley is a career 36.8 percent shooter from long range (Roberson’s career three-point percentage is 25.7%).

Despite the Thunder’s interest, however, it’s difficult to envision a plausible scenario in which a potential trade would occur. The Clippers are building for the future and the Thunder don’t have a first-round pick to trade until 2022 at the earliest.

Also, Bradley is making $8.8MM this season and the Thunder’s best pieces for salary-matching purposes include some combination of Alex AbrinesPatrick Patterson, and Kyle Singler, none of whom are on an expiring deal or overly productive.

The Thunder would likely have to throw promising rookie Terrance Ferguson into any plausible deal in order to realistically pique the Clippers’ interest, and the Thunder are thus far unwilling to do so, per Bontemps.

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