DeAndre Jordan

DeAndre Jordan Interested In Joining Rockets?

With DeAndre Jordan considering whether to turn down his 2018/19 player option and test free agency this summer, the Rockets are believed to be one of his preferred destinations, sources tell Kelly Iko of Rockets Wire.

One source tells Iko that Jordan spoke to several Rockets players throughout the 2017/18 season to express his interest in playing for his hometown team. The last time he hit free agency in 2015, Jordan agreed to play for the Mavericks, a team in his home state, before pulling out of the agreement to re-sign with the Clippers.

After a now-infamous postgame locker room altercation between Rockets and Clippers players in January, Jordan interacted with several Rockets players on their team bus to voice his frustration with Los Angeles, Iko’s source claimed. A few weeks later, Blake Griffin was shipped to Detroit as the Clippers shifted their strategy.

Jordan, 29, enjoyed a strong season with the Clippers, averaging 12.0 PPG and 15.2 RPG in 77 games. While those numbers are strong, the Rockets appear committed to 24-year-old restricted free agent Clint Capela at center. Team owner Tilman Fertitta has said that Houston will match any offer sheet extended to Capela, so unless the team has a change of heart, Jordan does not have a direct path to the Rockets.

Southwest Rumors: Jordan, Anderson, Leonard, Mavs Pick

The Mavericks are unlikely to pursue DeAndre Jordan again, according to Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News. Jordan was listed among the big men Dallas would seek out in free agency in a story from The Ringer. Sefko cannot imagine owner Mark Cuban going after the Clippers center after Jordan backed out on a verbal agreement with the Mavs three summers ago.

Seth Curry‘s return to the Mavericks seems less likely than it did late in the season, Sefko adds, speculating that the Warriors or another legitimate contender will secure the guard’s services. Curry will be an unrestricted free agent in July.

In other developments around the Southwest Division:

  • Ryan Anderson continues to be the odd man out in the Rockets‘ rotation, Brian T. Smith of the Houston Chronicle reports. The high-priced power forward has only played 14 minutes during the first three games of the Western Conference Finals and his status is unlikely to change. “Ryan’s ready to go, but it’s a different type of series,” coach Mike D’Antoni told the media. “So he’ll just have to wait until his time.”
  • Kawhi Leonard‘s image has taken a big hit but it won’t be difficult to repair, according to Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express News. Marketing experts believe Leonard can patch things up with Spurs fans if he remains with the team and tells them that his past issues with the staff and front office are behind him. Doing charitable work in the community would also hel mend fences, Orsborn adds. Leonard only played nine games this past season due to a quad injury, even though the team’s medical staff cleared him to play the second half of the season.
  • The Mavericks are in a tricky spot in the lottery, Sefko writes in a separate pieceDeandre Ayton, Luka Doncic, Marvin Bagley III and Jaren Jackson are likely to be drafted ahead of Dallas’ pick at No. 5, Sefko continues. If that’s the way the draft it unfolds, there’s no obvious choice at No. 5 and Dallas doesn’t have the assets to move up, Sefko adds.

Combine Notes: Porter, Bamba, Young, Hutchison

The Clippers have their eyes on Michael Porter Jr. and are hoping to use their picks at No. 12 and 13 to trade up in the draft, according to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer. The Missouri forward, who missed almost the entire season with a back injury, could give L.A. a reliable scorer in the frontcourt. O’Connor notes that team owner Steve Ballmer stopped his session with the media at the combine to listen to Porter’s interview.

Porter, who is projected at No. 8 to the Cavaliers in the latest mock draft by ESPN’s Jonathan Givony, told reporters he had combine interviews scheduled with 13 teams, including the Clippers. He also stated that he believes he’s “the best player in the draft.”

L.A.’s challenge is finding a team willing to trade down. O’Connor cites the Grizzlies, Mavericks, Magic and Bulls — who hold picks four through seven — as teams in need of multiple assets. However, it’s not clear if any of them is willing to move back in the draft, and O’Connor has heard that Memphis is planning to keep its No. 4 pick. The Grizzlies are looking for size, O’Connor adds, but are the only team in the top eight not to ask for a meeting with Texas center Mo Bamba.
O’Connor’s recap on the combine is filled with interesting tidbits. Here are a few of the highlights:
  • Bamba believes he could form a dangerous combination with Mavericks point guard Dennis Smith Jr., but Dallas may not be interested. With Dirk Nowitzki returning for another season, the Mavs will try to rebuild quickly to put a contending team around him. That means targeting a free agent big man such as DeAndre Jordan, DeMarcus Cousins or Julius Randle, which would make a scorer like Porter more attractive in the draft. O’Connor notes that Cousins’ agent, Jarinn Akana, has strong ties to the Mavericks. Of his 12 clients, five have played in Dallas and another was with its G League affiliate, Jaleel Cousins, who is DeMarcus’ brother.
  • The Knicks are interested in Oklahoma point guard Trae Young if he falls to the ninth pick. They see him as a good fit alongside last year’s first-rounder, Frank Ntilikina, who can take on the tougher defensive matchup and help space the floor for Young to drive to the basket. However, the Magic at No. 6 and the Cavaliers at No. 8 both need point guards, so Young could be off the board before New York’s selection.
  • It still isn’t clear who made a draft promise to Boise State forward Chandler Hutchison, but O’Connor was told he won’t drop into the late first round. Hutchison, who is expected to be taken between the 18th and 24th pick, held workouts for the Timberwolves and Bulls before withdrawing from the combine. It may or may not be a clue, but Hutchison’s agent, Mark Bartelstein of Priority Sports, is a friend of Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf and has represented many Chicago players.
  • Kostas Antetokounmpo showed a lot of similarities to his older brother Giannis Antetokounmpo in his combine workouts. Kostas, 2o, could be a second-round pick and may be a valuable asset for a team to have when Giannis hits free agency in 2021.

Cavaliers Notes: Smith, D. Jordan, James, Draft Pick

J.R. Smith won’t face any repercussions from the league for a hard foul on Al Horford in Tuesday’s Game 2, according to an ESPN report. Horford was in the air late in the fourth quarter when Smith shoved him from behind, causing him to crash to the court. The officials called a flagrant 1 on Smith after a video review.

Smith agreed with the call when interviewed after the game, admitting he “blatantly” shoved Horford.

“It wasn’t like I was trying to low-bridge him or something to make sure he didn’t get it. It was a good, hard foul,” Smith said. “I can understand why they gave me a flagrant.”

There’s more today from Cleveland:

  • Smith has been through a lot of scrapes in his 14-year career and doesn’t mind playing the role of villain in playoff road games, relays A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston. “I don’t want the opposing fans to like me,” he said. “That’s not why I’m here. They can chant and scream all they want.”
  • LeBron James  and coach Tyronn Lue both wanted to trade for Clippers center DeAndre Jordan at the deadline, according to Jason Lloyd of The Athletic. Lue felt the team needed a rim protector to anchor the defense.
  • The trades the Cavaliers made instead in February are letting them down in the conference finals, notes Terry Pluto of Cleveland.com. George Hill managed just three points in 33 minutes of Game 2 and couldn’t contain Celtics guard Terry Rozier. Rodney Hood didn’t take a shot from the field in 11 minutes, while Larry Nance Jr. was scoreless and Jordan Clarkson didn’t play.
  • The Nets’ first-rounder the Cavaliers acquired in the Kyrie Irving trade will strengthen their position whether LeBron James stays or not, contends Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com. The Cavs will have 14 of their 17 players under contract for next season if James returns, but they have minimal guarantees beyond that, which will make rebuilding easier if it becomes necessary. Vardon suggests the team might try to trade Kevin Love again this summer and speculates that the Hornets could be interested in the No. 8 pick as a way to part with Kemba Walker‘s contract.
  • A podcast on Cleveland.com examines whether James’ future with the organization is tied to how the team performs in the conference finals.

Raptors Notes: Casey, Valanciunas, Lowry, DeRozan

Rival executives expect the Raptors to make a coaching change if they can’t rally from a 3-0 deficit against the Cavaliers, writes Kevin O’Connor of the Ringer. Dwane Casey is a Coach of the Year candidate after leading Toronto to a 59-win season, but his lack of playoff success may have caught up to him.

Toronto has three qualified replacements in its organization in assistants Nick Nurse and Rex Kalamian and G League coach Jerry Stackhouse. Nurse, who recently interviewed with the Suns and Hornets about their head coaching vacancies, would be the favorite to take over if Casey is dismissed, according to O’Connor, who adds that Nurse played a bigger role than Casey in the changes the Raptors made to their offensive system.

There’s more today out of Toronto:

  • The series with the Cavaliers is displaying the problems with Toronto’s roster, O’Connor notes in the same story. The Raptors are short on defenders at the wing and forward, their big men aren’t versatile enough for the modern NBA game and they don’t have a superstar who can be the best player on the court in a playoff series. O’Connor states that even if LeBron James heads to the Western Conference in free agency, the Raptors will have difficulty getting past the Celtics or Sixers in the future.
  • With Toronto already in tax territory for next season and this year’s draft picks dealt away, O’Connor points to trades as the only realistic way to improve. He notes that the Raptors had interest in DeAndre Jordan before this year’s deadline and may explore that route again if he opts in. O’Connor states that a young player like Jakob Poeltl or Delon Wright would have to be included along with Jonas Valanciunas to get the Clippers’ interest. He suggests offering Lowry, C.J. Miles and Pascal Siakam to the Wolves for Jeff Teague and Andrew Wiggins. That would free Minnesota from the cap-clogging contract it gave to Wiggins, and it would pair Lowry and Jimmy Butler, who became friends during their Olympics experience.
  • DeMar DeRozan had his worst postseason game Saturday with eight points on 3-of-12 shooting and was benched for the final 14 minutes, notes Brian Windhorst of ESPN. Casey told reporters not to read too much into the move and expressed confidence that DeRozan will get back to normal. “He had a tough night,” Casey said. “He wasn’t the reason we lost. We are professionals, he’s a pro. He has had tough games before, he’ll bounce back. But we have one more game, our pride is on the line, basically our season is on the line, but I think he’ll bounce back.”

Clippers Notes: Jordan, Boban, Teodosic

Of all this season’s trade candidates who didn’t end up being dealt, DeAndre Jordan may have been the most frequent subject of trade rumors. However, after sticking with the Clippers through last month’s deadline, Jordan doesn’t seem eager to leave Los Angeles this summer. Although he’ll have the opportunity to become a free agent in July, Jordan tells Michael Lee of Yahoo Sports that his preference is to stay where he is.

“I’m here and that’s what I’m focused on,” Jordan said. “I’m excited. Like I told somebody the other day, I hope I can play another 10 years here. That’s what I’m focused on now.”

Jordan, who spoke about the “great times” he has had over the course of his 10 years with the Clippers, is probably unlikely to exercise his player option for 2018/19, according to Lee. However, even if he opts out, the veteran center could ink a new deal with the Clips. Whether such a deal is in the cards remains to be seen.

Here’s more on the Clippers:

  • Center Boban Marjanovic was an afterthought in this season’s Blake Griffin blockbuster, with the analysis of that deal mostly focusing on the other pieces the Clippers received — Tobias Harris, Avery Bradley, and a first-round pick. However, Marjanovic has been proving his value to the Clippers as of late, writes Elliott Teaford of The Daily Breeze. Boban has one more year left on his deal after this season and will earn $7MM in 2018/19.
  • Clippers point guard Milos Teodosic says he has no regrets about leaving Europe to come to the NBA, as he tells Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times. “So far, I really enjoy [playing in the NBA],” Teodosic said. “I’m happy to be here and I really enjoy playing with the best players in the world and against the best players in the world.”
  • Earlier today, we opened up a discussion on the Western Conference playoff race, which features the ninth-seeded Clippers looking to work their way into the top eight.

Pacific Notes: Jordan, LeBron, Harris, Cauley-Stein

The lack of teams with ample salary-cap space this summer will present a tough choice for Clippers center DeAndre Jordan, as Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer explains. Jordan has a player option of $24.1MM this summer and multiple league executives told O’Connor he probably wouldn’t receive an annual salary approaching that on the open market. Some of the teams that will have cap room, such as the Nets, Hawks and Sixers, aren’t looking to add a veteran center at a high salary, O’Connor continues. It’s plausible that Jordan will opt in and take his chances on the open market in 2019, O’Connor adds.

Also around the Pacific Division:

  • The lack of elite, established players on their current rosters will make it tough sell for the Lakers and Clippers to land LeBron James this summer, Marc Spears of The Undefeated opines. The Lakers could sign two major free agents this summer, but the Clippers don’t have that much cap room, Spears notes. The Clippers may have hurt their cause to sign a top free agent by trading away Blake Griffin in the first year of his long-term contract, Spears adds.
  • Forward Tobias Harris has been traded three times during his career and he’s taken the latest one in stride, as he told Joel Brigham of Basketball Insiders. Harris was the top player acquired by the Clippers in the Griffin blockbuster. “My first trade from Milwaukee to Orlando was a situation where I just wanted to prove myself to the league,” Harris said. “When I was traded from Orlando to Detroit, it was a situation where I wanted to help the team get to the playoffs, and that’s similar to this one here, too.” 
  • Willie Cauley-Stein establishing his market value is among the storylines surrounding the Kings the remainder of the season, according to James Ham of NBCSports.com. Cauley-Stein has to emerge as the defensive stopper he was in college and improve his rebounding to earn an extension this offseason, Ham continues. The development of the De’Aaron FoxBogdan Bogdanovic backcourt and the need for Buddy Hield to become a playmaker are some of the other things to watch, Ham adds.

Woj’s Latest: Cavaliers, Clippers, Kings, Jazz

In his latest piece for ESPN.com, Adrian Wojnarowski goes into extensive detail on the deadline deals completed last week by the Cavaliers, and offers some fascinating tidbits on how those trades got done, and one potential blockbuster that didn’t get done. Let’s dive in and round up the highlights…

  • Before making his series of trades, Cavaliers GM Koby Altman got an elusive face-to-face sitdown with LeBron James to let his star player know what he was working on. Altman later met with LeBron again to tell him that the trades for Jordan Clarkson, Larry Nance, George Hill, and Rodney Hood were complete, and to ask for his blessing on the deal that sent Dwyane Wade to Miami, says Wojnarowski.
  • Altman had received ownership approval to trade Jae Crowder, Channing Frye, Iman Shumpert, and the Cavs’ own 2018 first-round pick to the Clippers for DeAndre Jordan, according to Wojnarowski. Los Angeles was on board with the deal, but wanted to find a third team to take Shumpert and to give the Clips a center, since they didn’t want another shooting guard. Altman and Clippers GM Michael Winger weren’t able to find that third team, and since L.A. was unwilling to take on Shumpert (or Tristan Thompson or J.R. Smith) and the Cavs had some reservations about extending Jordan’s contract in the offseason, the deal ultimately fell through.
  • The three-way trade between the Cavaliers, Kings, and Jazz nearly fell apart on deadline day when Sacramento insisted that Georgios Papagiannis be included in the deal. According to Woj, Cleveland and Utah were “adamant” that Papagiannis had never been discussed, but Kings assistant GM Brandon Williams insists that his notes confirm that either Papagiannis or Malachi Richardson would be included.
  • As an aside, Wojnarowski writes that Williams was handling negotiations because GM Vlade Divac “seldom gets on the phone for the trade-building parts,” even though any Kings trade requires his approval, along with the approval of owner Vivek Ranadive.
  • The Cavaliers were very much against Papagiannis’ inclusion in the trade, since taking on his $2.3MM cap hit would have cost the club significantly more than that in tax payments. Utah also had no interest in acquiring the former lottery pick, with Wojnarowski suggesting that Jazz GM Dennis Lindsey was “livid” about the insertion of Papagiannis and was ready to call off the trade. As for the Kings, they were hoping to move 2016’s 13th overall pick to avoid the embarrassment of waiving him themselves, says Woj.
  • Eventually, Altman was able to work out a solution and talked Lindsey into it, per Wojnarowski. Papagiannis’ rest-of-season salary for this year and his guaranteed salary for 2018/19 totaled $3.2MM, and the Cavaliers were willing to pay that amount to Sacramento, but Cleveland was limited to sending out $2.1MM for the rest of this league year. Altman convinced the Jazz to send the Kings the remaining $1.1MM, with Lindsey getting a little something out of the deal: the ability to swap 2024 second-round picks with the Cavs. The Kings, having been compensated for Papagiannis’ remaining salary, simply waived him rather than insisting he be a part of the trade.

L.A. Notes: Thomas, Ball, Rivers, Jordan

Isaiah Thomas looked more like his old self in his Lakers debut Saturday night, writes Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN. Two days after being acquired in a trade with the Cavaliers, Thomas posted 22 points and six assists and showed flashes of the dynamic offense he displayed in Boston.

“I wanted to bring something to the table,” Thomas said. “I felt like I got my powers back playing on this team.”

During a Friday night dinner with coach Luke Walton, Thomas received a crash course in Lakers philosophy. He studied the team’s playbook on his iPad, but admitted he had little knowledge of the plays when he took the court last night. It barely mattered as his natural talents took over.

“He brings another dimension to what we have,” Walton said. “When he is able to control pick-and-rolls and get people shots, obviously we couldn’t run a ton of stuff because he has been with us for one day, but he was good.”

There’s more this morning from Los Angeles:

  • Thomas’ duties with his new team will include serving as a mentor for rookie point guard Lonzo Ball, Youngmisuk adds in the same story. Lakers president Magic Johnson said Ball, who has been sidelined since mid-January with a knee injury, will remain in the starting lineup when he returns. “I mean, that’s fine,” Thomas said. “I have been in the league six more years than he has. Obviously, I am going to help him out. We are part of the same team, he’s a special young player, and he is going to be an incredible talent in this league for years to come. My job is to help where I can. I am still in my prime. So it is not like I am taking a backseat to anybody. I am here to be who I am and here to make a difference on this team, and I am excited about the opportunity.”
  • Clippers guard Austin Rivers is focused on making the playoffs after missing nearly six weeks with an injured right ankle, relays Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times. Rivers was diagnosed with post interior ankle impingement and had to have anti-inflammatory injections to keep the swelling down. He said he did so much conditioning work that he wasn’t tired when he returned to the court Friday. “Yeah, man, it has been 18 games. That’s the most games I’ve ever missed,” Rivers said. “It was new for me. I had to take that rehab process more seriously. But I feel great, though.”
  • DeAndre Jordan remained with the Clippers through the trade deadline, but the veteran center still isn’t sure he’s in the team’s long-range plans. In a video tweeted by ESPN’s Sports Center, Jordan responded to a reporter’s question of whether he feels wanted in L.A. by saying, “What you think?” When the reporter said, “I don’t know,” Jordan retorted, “Me neither.”

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.”