DeAndre Jordan

Kyler’s Latest: Jordan, Kings, Mirotic, Whiteside

The streaky Clippers, who lost nine straight games back in November, have now won a season-high six consecutive contests, re-inserting themselves in the playoff picture in the Western Conference. Even though DeAndre Jordan has been sidelined with an ankle injury for the Clips’ last three wins, the streak seems to bode well for his chances of sticking in Los Angeles through the trade deadline.

As Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders writes, Clippers ownership and management doesn’t seem at all eager to blow up the roster. For now, the club is focused on seeing if it’s capable of competing in the West, preferring to wait until a bit closer to the deadline to evaluate all of its options.

If the Clippers do change course by February 8, the Bucks and Rockets figure to be among the teams with interest in Jordan, whose contract situation is worth monitoring. According to Kyler, there’s a belief that the veteran center won’t be able to top his $24.12MM player option as a free agent, meaning it’s possible he could decide to opt in for 2018/19. That possibility may affect how the Clippers and potential trade partners view Jordan at the deadline.

Here’s more from Kyler:

  • The Kings‘ veteran players are all potential trade candidates at the deadline, though some are more likely to be moved than others. George Hill, for example, won’t have much value, given his contract situation, his injury history, and his underwhelming play this season. Sources close to the situation tell Kyler that Sacramento seems to be trying to help its veterans find better situations as those players fall out of the team’s regular rotation.
  • Kyler hears that Nikola Mirotic‘s camp is pushing for the Bulls to pick up the forward’s $12.5MM team option for 2018/19. Until that team option is exercised, Mirotic has the ability to block a trade, giving him some leverage if Chicago wants to complete a deal. League sources tell Kyler that the Bulls have “gotten pretty far down the road” in talks with the Jazz and Pistons about Mirotic.
  • There’s “growing talk” around the NBA that the Heat would be open to the idea of moving Hassan Whiteside for the right mix of contracts and young players, Kyler writes. The Bucks and Cavaliers, both on the lookout for a center, would be obvious suitors, but it would tough for either team to make a deal, given Whiteside’s large cap hit ($23.78MM). John Henson, Mirza Teletovic, Tristan Thompson, and Iman Shumpert are among the players whose contracts might have to be included for Milwaukee or Cleveland to make a deal work, which doesn’t sound overly appealing for Miami.
  • The Mavericks are “dangling” some expiring contracts and appear to be seeking a promising prospect on a rookie scale deal, along with future picks, says Kyler. Dallas also has cap flexibility to take on a contract or two.

Central Notes: Jordan, Bucks, Pacers, James

The Bucks remain interested in acquiring DeAndre Jordan and it was reported last week that Milwaukee was the team most likely to land the center. However, Gery Woelfel of the Racine Journal Times (Twitter link) hears that the Bucks are no longer the frontrunners for Jordan’s services. The scribe did not specify which team is the most likely to acquire the 29-year-old.

Jordan can become an unrestricted free agent if he turns down his player option, which is worth slightly over $24.1MM, and he has been the subject of trade rumors with the Clippers having an up-and-down season. He’s currently nursing a left ankle injury and has missed the team’s last three contests.

Any team looking to make a deal for the center will likely want to see him come back at full strength before pulling the trigger on a trade and with this season’s early trade deadline (February 8), time is ticking.

Here are some other notes from the Central Division:

  • Pacers president Kevin Pritchard is thrilled with the trade that netted the team Victor Oladipo, as Clifton Brown of the Indianapolis Star passes along.“From our perspective, we targeted Victor and [Domantas Sabonis]. It wasn’t by chance. They are two young players we wanted. Victor has been like a breath of fresh air. What’s that saying, High tide lifts all boats? That’s what he’s been for us,” the executive said. Indiana owns a record of 24-20 this season and is in the thick of the Eastern Conference’s playoff race.
  • The Cavaliers need to trade for a rim protector, Bill Livingston of The Cleveland Plain Dealer contends. Livingston names Jordan as a player who would help Cleveland with their defensive woes.
  • LeBron James, who is expected to turn down his player option worth over $35.6MM and become a free agent at the end of the season, may be having his most impressive season to date, Nate Wolf of NBAMath contends. Wolf crunches the numbers and also finds that LBJ is having the best season ever for anyone at the age of 33.

Clippers Notes: Jordan, Griffin, Beverley

The time has come for the Clippers to trade DeAndre Jordan, Moke Hamilton of Basketball Insiders writes. The big man’s name has been subject to speculation for much of the season but now a rebuild is inevitable.

While Jordan isn’t the problem, he can be part of the team’s solution heading forward, Hamilton writes. Re-signing the 29-year-old big man would keep L.A. competitive enough to miss out on the benefits of being a bad team — unloading him for parts could help the team set off in the right direction.

There’s more out of L.A.:

  • An in-depth interview conducted by Marc Spears of The Undefeated sheds light on Blake Griffin‘s upbringing in Oklahoma. The scribe spoke with the power forward about everything from growing up biracial in Oklahoma to Chris Paul‘s departure.
  • The Clippers’ second unit has taken to referring to itself as the Goon Squad, Kevin Baxter of the Los Angeles Times writes. Front and center of the bunch is Lou Williams, even though he’s spent time as a starter of late. “I am the leader of the Goon Squad. Yet and still,” Williams said. “I’ve started, what, six games this season? [Actually 11]. So I can’t really call myself a starter. I’m still a bench guy.”
  • While his return to the court may still be months away, Patrick Beverley is thrilled to return to rejoin his team on the sidelines. “I’m ecstatic, I get to talk some [trash] on the bench today,” he told Elliott Teaford of the Orange County Register. “[…] I wanted to stay in Houston until I was off the crutches, but I’m back. I’m back for good now.”

Kyler’s Latest: Fournier, Jordan, Mirotic

The NBA’s G League Showcase is playing out in Mississauga, Ontario this week and the event has brought a plethora of league executives under the same roof. With next month’s trade deadline looming, it’s inevitable that the celebration of the NBA’s affiliate league also doubles as an unofficial chance for teams to discuss possible deals.

Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders has a number of updates from the Showcase, the highlights of which we’ll get into below. For a full breakdown of the trade chatter going down north of the border, check out the full feature here.

  • The Magic aren’t committing to the notion of “blowing the team up” but that’s the impression that teams on the other end of the phone seem to be getting. The club is supposedly going to be active ahead of the deadline and they want to make changes that help them shed salary. Kyler notes that guard Evan Fournier seems to be the player most teams have an interest in.
  • There remains a sense that DeAndre Jordan will be moved ahead of the deadline and the Bucks continue to be mentioned as the team most likely to make that happen. Kyler writes that a possible Jordan-to-Milwaukee deal could yield the Clippers John Henson, a young player and a draft pick. The Clips apparently like Malcolm Brogdon but his inclusion seems to be a non-starter.
  • The Jazz and Pistons are in pursuit of Nikola Mirotic and the deciding factor could possibly come down to Mirotic’s ability to veto a deal. Mirotic supposedly likes the idea of the Jazz and playing for Quin Snyder. At the end of the day, however, a Mirotic-to-Utah deal would likely require a first-round pick heading from the Jazz back to the Bulls, something Utah seems currently reluctant to part with.
  • Kyler notes that there’s belief that Joe Johnson will seek a buyout from the Jazz after the trade deadline if he isn’t dealt to a playoff-bound squad.
  • There isn’t any sense in NBA circles that Pelicans big man DeMarcus Cousins or Thunder forward Paul George could be move ahead of the deadline, although some teams may make an “11th hour run” at George.

Pacific Notes: Jackson, Jordan, Clippers

A difficult string of games in which the Suns were noticeably better without Josh Jackson than with him precipitated a change in his relationship with head coach Jay Triano. Now, Scott Bordow of the Arizona Republic writes, the first-year forward has started to regain the coaching staff’s trust.

When Triano told Jackson that he was losing his confidence in him, he asked the player what he might suggest to repair the situation. Since then, the two have watched film of Suns games.

[Jackson suggested they watch film of Suns games] just to see what [Triano] sees,” Jackson said. “Sometimes, two people look at the same play and see two totally different things. He has a basketball mind and he’s really smart, so just trying to see what he sees and trying to pick his brain a little bit.

In the three games since, Jackson has averaged 14 points, 5.7 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game for the Suns, shooting an impressive .486 from the field and .556 from three.

There’s more from the Pacific Division this afternoon:

  • The Clippers were treated to some good news on Thursday when it was revealed that Blake Griffin could return to action following a concussion and Milos Teodosic after another bout of plantar fascia issues (NBA.com report). Of course, in true Clippers fashion, DeAndre Jordan sprained his ankle hours later and had to leave the match (ESPN report).
  • The NBA fined Warriors forward Draymond Green $25K for comments critical of officials on Saturday, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweets. The Dubs took down the Clippers that night.
  • Clippers head coach Doc Rivers thinks that NBA players seem to get injured more often than they used to because they’re not playing basketball enough. Per Elliott Teaford of the Orange County Register, Rivers posits that players do more things outside of the sport these days and that consistently reliable Jamal Crawford is one example of a guy that is constantly playing the game outside of his professional commitment.

Cavaliers Willing To Move Tristan Thompson

Multiple NBA teams have identified veteran center Tristan Thompson as a player the Cavaliers would be willing to move in the right deal, according to Shams Charania of Yahoo! Sports.

While it’s not clear what the “right” deal would look like for Cleveland, Charania suggests that Thompson would be a prime candidate to head the other way if the Cavs were to make a move for a player like Clippers center DeAndre Jordan.

Thompson, who will turn 27 in March, has been a regular part of the Cavaliers’ rotation since being selected fourth overall in the 2011 draft. He has appeared in 487 regular season games and another 59 postseason contests over the course of his career, averaging 9.2 PPG and 8.5 RPG in the regular season, primarily as a starter.

However, in 2017/18, injuries have limited Thompson to 21 games, and the Cavs’ system and style of play have limited his importance to the team. In 21 games, the seventh-year big man is averaging just 5.3 PPG and 5.7 RPG in 19.0 MPG, all career lows.

Thompson’s $16.4MM cap hit makes him a logical outgoing piece if the Cavs look to acquire a big-money player, though the fact that he still has two more guaranteed years on his contract beyond this season likely won’t appeal to some potential trade partners.

In addition to Thompson, the Nets’ 2018 first-round pick is Cleveland’s other noteworthy trade asset. The Cavs have reportedly been hesitant to include that Brooklyn pick in any trade offers so far. Charania suggests that stars like Paul George and DeMarcus Cousins would be worth that Nets first-rounder, but neither George nor Cousins are currently on the trade block, despite their expiring contracts and their respective teams’ mediocre first-half results.

Latest On DeAndre Jordan

The 17-21 Clippers continue to linger on the outskirts of the postseason race in the Western Conference, and the team’s play over the next month may dictate whether or not DeAndre Jordan remains in Los Angeles through the February 8 trade deadline.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the NBA’s trade market as a whole has been moving slowly so far, and the “sluggish pursuit” of Jordan around the league reflects that relative inactivity. The Clippers have yet to receive many serious offers for their standout center, Wojnarowski writes.

“He’s a difference-maker, but I’m not sure anyone thinks he puts you over the top,” one GM said of Jordan, per ESPN.

So far, potential suitors for Jordan have been content to see which other centers may surface on the trade market before the deadline, rather than rushing to offer up trade assets to the Clippers right away. For their part, the Clips aren’t set on trading Jordan at any cost, so if they only receive offers featuring mediocre draft picks and players, they may simply hang onto the 29-year-old and try to extend him in the offseason, according to Wojnarowski.

Wojnarowski adds that teams around the league believe Jordan would be willing to re-sign with a team that trades for him if that club is ready to pony up big money for a long-term extension. However, while a player of Jordan’s caliber might have yielded multiple first-round picks a few years ago, teams are hanging onto those picks tighter than ever these days, with one Eastern Conference GM telling Woj that no club wants to end up “embarrassed like the Nets were” in their infamous trade with Boston.

Besides Jordan, Lou Williams also figures to be a valuable trade chip for the Clippers at the deadline if they do become sellers, Wojnarowski notes. Williams has an affordable expiring contract and is having the best offensive season of his career, with 21.9 PPG and 4.9 APG, plus a .445/.406/.900 shooting line.

Cavaliers Notes: Jordan, Rose, Thomas, Crowder

Trading for Clippers center DeAndre Jordan might be the answer to the Cavaliers’ defensive woes, writes Terry Pluto of Cleveland.com. Although they have a 26-13 record, defense has been a problem all season for Cleveland, which is allowing 107.2 points per game and ranks 28th in the league in defensive efficiency. One of the issues is the lack of a shot blocker in the middle, which Jordan would immediately solve.

There were reports last month that the Cavs “quietly explored” the possibility of trading for Jordan, who has spent the past decade with the Clippers. He has a player option worth slightly more than $24MM for next year, and L.A. may want to get some value for him now rather than risk losing him in free agency.

Pluto notes that Tristan Thompson at $16.4MM and Channing Frye at $7.4MM would provide a workable salary match for Jordan, and said sources have told him the Clippers would “strongly consider” the deal if Cleveland includes the Nets’ unprotected first-rounder for this year’s draft. However, the Cavs don’t plan to part with that asset given LeBron James‘ uncertain future. Pluto suggests an offer of Thompson, Frye and the Cavs’ draft pick, which falls at No. 25 in our latest Reverse Standings.

There’s more today out of Cleveland:

  • Depth at point guard is the most valuable thing Derrick Rose will provide when he returns from his ankle injury, Pluto adds in the same story. Coach Tyronn Lue would like to reduce the minutes for Dwyane Wade, and Rose may take some of his playing time.
  • In just two games since returning from a hip injury, Isaiah Thomas is having a profound effect on the Cavaliers’ offense, notes Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com. Thomas came off the bench Tuesday, scoring 17 points in 19 minutes, then added 19 points in 22 minutes in his first start with the team Saturday as Cleveland scored a season-high 131 points in a win at Orlando. “I’m able to push the pace a little more, get the ball out of Bron’s hands and show the defense something different that they haven’t seen all year,” Thomas said. “I think with me being out there it definitely gives us another level that we can reach.” 
  • After being acquired as part of the Kyrie Irving trade, Jae Crowder is enjoying his surroundings with older, more accomplished teammates in Cleveland, relays Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe [subscription account].

Deveney’s Latest: Thunder, Bucks, Kings, Evans

In his latest piece for The Sporting News, Sean Deveney takes a closer look at several teams that are good bets to be either buyers or sellers as February’s trade deadline approaches. We’ve rounded up several of the highlights of Deveney’s piece below, but the article also includes several notes on the Nuggets, Cavaliers, Timberwolves, and a few other teams, so be sure to check it out in full. Let’s dive in…

  • According to Deveney, the Thunder figure to be targeting a shooter who can help create space and possibly an extra defender to bolster their depth.
  • Having already rolled the dice on Eric Bledsoe, the Bucks are looking to take another step toward legit contention and may be willing to gamble again before the deadline, says Deveney.
  • The Kings are in the market for a deal that could improve their long-term outlook. George Hill has already been shopped, per Deveney.
  • Tyreke Evans, who is enjoying an excellent season for the Grizzlies, has generated “significant interest,” according to Deveney.
  • Even though they’re not a contender, the Mavericks remain reluctant to sell off veterans like Wesley Matthews, J.J. Barea, and Devin Harris, writes Deveney. Nerlens Noel will be on the trade block though.
  • The Clippers would be willing to move DeAndre Jordan in the right deal, but so far the names connected to him have been underwhelming, says Deveney.
  • Don’t be surprised if the Hawks put out feelers to test the market value of point guard Dennis Schroder, per Deveney.

Cavaliers ‘Sniffing Around’ DeAndre Jordan

The Cavaliers are keeping a close eye on the DeAndre Jordan situation in Los Angeles, and have “quietly explored” the possibility of a deal, league sources tell Sam Amico of AmicoHoops.net. Amico cautions that the Cavs haven’t aggressively pursued Jordan, with one source suggesting that the club is simply “sniffing around” the idea.

This is the second time this week that a report has linked the Cavaliers to Jordan. On Tuesday, Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders wrote that the veteran center’s future in Los Angeles is “anything but clear,” adding that the Cavs may be willing to offer Tristan Thompson, Iman Shumpert, and a first-round pick.

Sources informed Kyler that the Cavs were only open to discussing their own first-round pick in trade talks, rather than the Nets’ 2018 first-rounder, which is consistent with what we’ve heard elsewhere. Sean Deveney of The Sporting News reported last week that the Cavs aren’t believed to have put that Brooklyn pick on the table at all so far.

The Clippers, who lost Chris Paul in the summer and have been hit hard by injuries this season, currently have an 11-18 record and have been slowly slipping out of playoff contention in the Western Conference. There’s still time for the club to turn things around, but if the losses continue to pile up, there’s an expectation that the front office will at least consider trading Jordan, who can opt out of his contract at season’s end.

It’s worth noting that after operating without an agent for a couple years, Jordan recently hired Jeff Schwartz of Excel Sports Management. Jordan may have simply made the move with an eye toward his upcoming free agency, but an agent can get involved in trade discussions as well, acting as a facilitator if a potential suitor wants to assess its chances of locking up a trade target long-term.

In addition to the Cavs, the Bucks have also been linked to Jordan.

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