Josh Jackson

Pacific Notes: Suns, Ball, Randolph

The Suns were painfully bad at defense last season, allowing 113.3 points per game and fouling more than any other team in the NBA. This year, experience and the addition of Josh Jackson could change that, Scott Bordow of the Arizona Republic writes.

With a young core anchored by Devin Booker, Marquese Chriss, Tyler Ulis and Dragan Bender it’s understandable that the team struggled to contain opposing veterans.

You get hit by these NBA players, these veterans and it pretty much hurts,” coach Earl Watson said. “Your natural reaction is just to grab.”

The bench boss believes that the addition of Jackson, whose calling card is perimeter defense, will hold teammates accountable on that end of the ball.

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • The legend of Lonzo Ball has grown throughout training camp, Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN writes. The rookie point guard is said to have made an impression in his first scrimmage and has impressed Lakers head coach Luke Walton with his defensive work and ability to communicate.
  • Don’t rule out seeing Blake Griffin spend time as the Clippers‘ tallest man on the floor, only to turn around and bring the ball up the court, Doc Rivers tells the Associated Press. Quite frankly, the 28-year-old will do a bit of everything now that Chris Paul is with the Rockets.
  • After a busy summer, in which he says he was wrongfully arrested, Zach Randolph will settle into a new role with a new franchise. Ailene Voisin of the Sacramento Bee writes that the 36-year-old back-to-the-basket big man will complement the Kings young frontcourt.

Pacific Notes: Knight, Clippers, Lakers

As expected, Suns guard Brandon Knight will miss the entirety of the 2017/18 NBA season. The 25-year-old underwent successful ACL surgery on Friday, Sam Amico of Amico Hoops writes, after initially tearing the ligament last month.

While Knight’s name has been a mainstay in trade rumors over the course of the past few seasons, he remains a relatively valuable reserve asset. Last year Knight posted 11.0 points per game, shy of the 15.2 point career mark he’s posted across stints with the Pistons, Bucks and Suns.

Per Amico, the Suns could look to apply for an injury exception in order to free up room for a new backcourt option behind Eric Bledsoe and Devin Booker.

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • The Clippers have shuffled around their executive team this summer. Most recently, Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times tweets, the Clips have named Michael Winger their new general manager and Dave Wohl (their previous GM) a special advisor to the team.
  • The Suns have doubled down on their young core but aren’t exactly sure what they’re going to get out of it, Shaun Powell of NBA.com writes. The scribe also wonders if the club may have put too much stock in fourth-overall pick Josh Jackson, refusing to include him in a possible Kyrie Irving trade package.
  • The Lakers had a productive summer, NBA.com’s Shaun Powell writes. The club did well to position itself for the future by scrubbing Timofey Mozgov‘s contract off their books and, of course, drafting Lonzo Ball with the No. 2 pick in the draft.

NBA Rookies View Dennis Smith Jr. As ROY Favorite

For the last decade, NBA.com’s John Schuhmann has been surveying several incoming rookies to get their thoughts on their fellow first-year players.  Schuhmann asks the newest NBA players to identify which rookie they expect to have the best career, which was the steal of the 2017 draft, and which is the frontrunner for the 2017/18 Rookie of the Year award, among other questions.

This year, Schuhmann polled 39 rookies, and more than a quarter of those players made Mavericks point guard Dennis Smith Jr. their pick for Rookie of the Year favorite. The No. 9 overall pick received 25.7% of the vote, beating out top picks like Lonzo Ball (20%) and Markelle Fultz (17.1%). That may be good news for the Mavs, though as Schuhmann observes, the rookies he has surveyed haven’t accurately predicted the Rookie of the Year winner since 2007/08, when they made Kevin Durant the overwhelming favorite.

Here are a few more items of interest from Schuhmann’s survey:

  • Smith was the landslide winner (43.6%) as the most athletic rookie. But while his fellow rookies believe the Mavericks point guard will have the best first year, Ball and Celtics forward Jayson Tatum received the most votes (18.4% apiece) for which rookie will have the best overall career.
  • Donovan Mitchell (18.9%) was the top choice for biggest steal of the draft, after the Jazz nabbed him at No. 13. Some of the second-round picks that the rookies viewed as steals included Jordan Bell (Warriors; No. 38) and Dwayne Bacon (Hornets; No. 40).
  • Luke Kennard (Pistons) and Malik Monk (Hornets) were widely considered the top two outside shooters in the draft. Among their fellow rookies, Kennard (48.6%) easily topped Monk (13.5%) as the pick for the No. 1 shooter of the 2017 class.
  • Suns forward Josh Jackson (26.3%) was narrowly voted the best rookie defender, while Ball (71.8%) was the overwhelming pick for best rookie playmaker.

Western Notes: Jackson, Harden, Muhammad, Wolves, Clippers Arena

Rumors of the Suns trading promising rookie Josh Jackson for Kyrie Irving should be put to rest, writes Greg Moore of AZCentral.com. Moore writes that Jackson and Devin Booker each create a sense of “awe and wonder,” making anyone who watches them dream of the future.

The Arizona-based scribe argues that the manner in which coach Earl Watson talks about Jackson comes off much more as genuine optimism for the future than big talk to boost trade value.

“I love Josh Jackson,” Watson said Monday. “Something about him is just uncommon.” Devin Booker, meanwhile, “always had that edge.” “(Those) two together are going to be great young guys who can push other guys to become better because they’re so inner competitive,” Watson said.

Watson joked in response to being asked about a rumor that Jackson had grown two inches since being drafted:  But “if he did, we love it, and even if he didn’t … let’s build the legend. Yeah, he grew. Absolutely. He’s like 7 feet now … anyone coming up against him should be intimidated by his constant growth vertically, in height, and ability to play above the rim.”

In a recent interview, Jackson addressed the trade talk, saying, “I think if that was going to happen, it would have happened by now.” However, he also said: “I’m going to make the best of whatever situation that I’m presented with. If I’m traded to China, whatever, I’m going to come out, and I’m going to be happy and just try to make the best of it.”

Here are more notes from the Western Conference:

  • James Harden is more fit and fired up than ever, writes Sam Amick of USA Today.  “I know how exciting this season is (going to be, and) I know how important it is, so I’m going to take full advantage of it. I have a lot of charity (events), a lot of things going on, but when I’m in that gym that’s kind of my getaway. That’s kind of when I’m locked in,” Harden said. The Rockets‘ 2017 postseason ended with concerns over Harden’s fatigue and stamina.
  • Shabazz Muhammad may have to settle for a short-term “prove-it” deal for next season, writes Michael Rand of The Star Tribune. Heading into the offseason, coach Tom Thibodeau used the word “optimistic” when discussing re-signing Muhammad. However, in July, the wing’s rights were renounced. On Wednesday, Timberwolves signee Jamal Crawford tweeted Muhammad, “c’mon back home.”
  • The mayor of Inglewood and the four other council members unanimously approved a revised agreement with a Clippers-controlled company to shrink the four-block area where an arena could be built so homes and a church aren’t displaced, reports Nathan Fenno of The Los Angeles Times. More than a dozen citizens had raised concerns about the potential arena before the vote took place.

Poll: Should Suns Include Josh Jackson In Kyrie Offer?

Although the Suns weren’t one of the teams named on Kyrie Irving‘s alleged list of preferred landing spots when he made his trade request earlier this offseason, Phoenix has been frequently mentioned as a possible trade partner for the Cavaliers. The Suns possess a win-now veteran (Eric Bledsoe), a young potential star (Josh Jackson), extra future draft picks, and an ability to absorb an extra contract or two, making them a good fit for the Cavs.

Still, the two sides haven’t found common ground yet, and Jackson – this year’s No. 4 overall pick – appears to be a point of contention. Last month, reports indicated that the Suns were unwilling to include Jackson in an offer for Irving, telling the rookie forward that he wouldn’t be going anywhere. The team reportedly prefers to include last year’s fourth overall pick Dragan Bender.

Jackson has been cited as a primary target for the Cavaliers as they explore their options with Irving. LeBron James himself reportedly asked about Cleveland’s chances of landing Jackson, who was named this week as one of several young players the Cavs were focused on — Kristaps Porzingis, Jayson Tatum, and Jamal Murray were among the others.

If the Suns were willing to include Jackson, a package of the rookie and Bledsoe would be a starting point, though previous reports have indicated Phoenix would need to give up a little more too — perhaps in the form of a draft pick or taking back a player like Channing Frye or Iman Shumpert.

Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer took a closer look at the situation on Tuesday, making cases for why the Suns should and shouldn’t be willing to put Jackson into an offer for Irving. Ultimately, O’Connor’s “bad cop” – who argued for including Jackson – won out, with The Ringer scribe suggesting that an unproven rookie with some question marks shouldn’t be a sticking point in a deal for a legit star.

What do you think? Are the Suns overvaluing Jackson, or are they right to refuse to include him in an offer for Irving? Does it make sense for Phoenix to hope that the Cavs will accept other players in Jackson’s place, and to move on if that bid falls short?

Vote below in our poll and then jump into the comment section to share your thoughts.

Trade Rumors app users, click here to vote.

Pacific Notes: Ball, Jackson, Wilson, Suns

Lonzo Ball‘s rise from UCLA standout to the Lakers‘ teenage cornerstone has been largely hyped up by his outspoken father, LaVar Ball. The elder Ball has become a media sensation, known for his flurry of outrageous claims (claiming he can beat Michael Jordan one-on-one) and promotion of his son’s abilities has been front page news since last year. While the world is still learning how to deal with the circus, the younger Ball is not ashamed or surprised at how his father conducts himself in the public eye.

“I think it’s overblown, I mean, that’s how my dad is, I’m used to him acting like that, so it’s nothing new for me,” Ball said in an interview with USA Today. “The way we look at it as a family is positive, you know, we talked it over before all this happened and we all know he’s going to do what he’s going to do. We just look at it as a positive and try to run with it.”

Once the season is underway, and Lonzo tries to live up to LaVar’s promise of leading the Lakers to the playoffs in his first season, past comments will not be relevant anymore. Ball will have to execute his on-court abilities and block out the noise associated with the NBA season. He will seek showing the world that his dad claiming his son is better than Stephen Curry is more than an offhand comment.

Below you can read additional news surrounding the Pacific Division:

  • The Kyrie Irving saga has continued and training camp, followed by the regular season, are all drawing closer. Irving has drawn interest from around the NBA and in his latest piece, Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer examines the possibility of Kyrie to the Suns. Specifically, O’Connor addresses Phoenix trading 2017 first rounder Josh Jackson for the NBA champion, ultimately viewing a trade for a proven commodity over keeping an athletic asset with upside a no-brainer.
  • The Clippers‘ deal with Jamil Wilson is a two-year, two-way contract, according to basketball journalist David Pick (via Twitter). Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders tweeted that $50,000 of Wilson’s first-year salary is guaranteed.
  • In a minor coaching change, the Suns named Jeff Fish the director of performance and head strength and conditioning coach, per a team announcement.

Kyrie Irving Rumors: Spurs, Celtics, Porzingis

If the Cavaliers had received assurances from LeBron James that he intends to remain with the franchise beyond the 2017/18 season, their approach to a Kyrie Irving trade might be much different, writes ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. While the Cavs certainly haven’t given up hope of James remaining in Cleveland, the franchise wants to use an Irving trade to protect itself against his possible departure — that means focusing on acquiring a young potential star, rather than targeting veteran help for LeBron.

Initially, the Cavs’ desire in an Irving trade was to acquire young players and picks that could help the team down the road and to get pieces that could help the club contend immediately. However, that kind of massive return may not be available for the star point guard, forcing the Cavaliers to choose one path or the other. And with LeBron unwilling to commit, the Cavs are leaning toward prioritizing long-term pieces over short-term help.

As Wojnarowski details, Josh Jackson (Suns), Jayson Tatum (Celtics), Jamal Murray (Nuggets), and even Kristaps Porzingis (Knicks) are among the young players the Cavaliers have their eye on in trade talks. In his own piece on the situation in Cleveland, Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders agrees that those four teams – Phoenix, Boston, Denver, and New York – are mentioned most frequently as trade partners, and continue to have discussions with the Cavs.

Here’s plenty more on the Irving situation:

  • According to both Wojnarowski and Kyler, teams around the NBA believe that the Cavaliers will ramp up trade talks and get more serious about moving Irving in September, with training camps approaching.
  • The Spurs have interest in Irving, but the fact that the Cavs are prioritizing young potential stars over veteran help means Cleveland doesn’t have much interest in the likes of LaMarcus Aldridge, Tony Parker, or Danny Green, says Wojnarowski.
  • Although the Cavaliers are intrigued by Tatum, the Celtics have yet to make an official offer for Irving and the two sides haven’t formally discussed this year’s No. 3 overall pick, according to Wojnarowski. Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe adds (via Twitter) that Boston has remained in touch with the Cavs throughout the process.
  • The idea of including Porzingis in an Irving offer is currently a “non-starter” for the Knicks, per Wojnarowski. However, Woj adds there may still be some lingering tension between Porzingis and the franchise, and teams are wondering how emphatic the Knicks’ “no” really is — especially if the Cavaliers would be willing to take on Joakim Noah‘s contract.
  • Wojnarowski reports that the Bucks have shown interest in Irving. However, with Giannis Antetokounmpo obviously untouchable, Milwaukee may not have a young star who makes sense for the Cavs.
  • Although the Clippers have been mentioned as a possible landing spot for Irving, a league source tells Kyler that L.A. doesn’t appear to have the right combination of assets to appeal to the Cavs — a third team would be necessary, and even that may not be enough to make the Clips a serious contender for Irving.

Pacific Notes: Josh Jackson, Williams, Clippers

In a recent interview on Sirius XM NBA Radio, Suns rookie Josh Jackson said he is confident he won’t be part of a potential deal with the Cavaliers for Kyrie Irving. LeBron James is reportedly interested in bringing Jackson to Cleveland and is using his connection with new Phoenix executive James Jones to try to make it happen. The Suns have assured Jackson, the fourth pick in this year’s draft, that he won’t be traded, according to reports last month.

“I think if that was going to happen, it would’ve happened by now,” Jackson said in the interview. “A little talking to my agent, not really checking social media because that’s not the way to go. People just say whatever. I handled it the same way I tried to handle draft night. Coming in, I didn’t know what was going to happen, I still don’t know what is going to happen. I’m going to make the most of whatever situation I’m presented with. If I’m traded to China, whatever, I’m gonna come out, I’m gonna be happy, just try to make the best of it. I was kind of in the dark a little bit. But I got a feeling that the trade wasn’t going to happen.”

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Jackson said in the same interview that he is continuing to get taller, according to a tweet from PerSources. Listed as 6’8″ at Kansas, Jackson said he has grown to 6’10.5″ over the summer.
  • Brandon Williams, who joined the Kings‘ front office in late July as assistant GM, talked with Kyle Ramos of NBA.com about what he brings to the job. Williams, who holds a law degree from Rutgers, had brief NBA stops as a player for the Warriors, Spurs and Hawks. He is excited about the youth movement in Sacramento, which had three first-round picks in this year’s draft. “I’d encourage everyone to be patient because the great strength of our team is going to be in our belief that these players will improve, that chemistry will develop and that they will develop into professionals,” Williams said. “Our veterans are going to help mentor them and pave the way. It will happen over time – and you can believe that everyone in the front office and the coaching staff is working together, giving it everything we’ve got to do our part.”
  • The Clippers‘ plan for a new arena in Inglewood is being opposed by people who fear it will cost them their businesses, writes Nathan Fenno of The Los Angeles Times.

Kyler’s Latest: Irving, Suns, Wolves, Melo, Rockets

As we enter the dog days of the NBA offseason, two All-Star trade candidates remain on the block — the Cavaliers and Knicks continue to explore trades involving Kyrie Irving and Carmelo Anthony, respectively. Nothing appears imminent on either front, but Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders checks in on both situations to see where they stand, so let’s dive in and round up the highlights from Kyler…

  • The Cavaliers aren’t operating with a sense of urgency to find an Irving deal. One source from a team interested in Irving tells Kyler that Cleveland doesn’t seem to be operating with a deadline when it comes to getting something done. The source described the Cavs as still being in “fact-finding mode” at this point.
  • The Suns and Timberwolves are viewed as two strong candidates for Irving, but they’ve been reluctant to include Josh Jackson and Andrew Wiggins, respectively, and are unlikely to win out unless they relent on that stance. While Phoenix doesn’t want to move Jackson or Devin Booker, there’s a sense that anyone else on the roster could be had, says Kyler. That may not be enough for the Cavaliers, however.
  • The “prevailing thought in NBA circles” is that the long-rumored Anthony deal between the Knicks and Rockets isn’t going to happen unless Houston finds a way to improve its offer. As Kyler details, the idea of the Knicks accepting a package made up entirely of players they don’t view as long-term pieces isn’t “appealing or agreeable” to the team’s front office.
  • The Knicks seem as if they’re willing to bring Anthony to training camp if he doesn’t expand his list of preferred landing spots or if the Rockets don’t improve their offer, according to Kyler, who describes the Carmelo situation as “more like a standoff” than the Cavaliers‘ situation with Irving.

At Least Six Teams Have Made Kyrie Trade Offers

10:37am: The Heat have made no offer to the Cavs for Irving, according to Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press (Twitter link). Wojnarowski is as reliable as NBA reporters come, so this may simply be a question of semantics — perhaps the Heat conveyed to Cleveland what they’d be willing to give up for Kyrie without officially putting an offer on the table. Either way, Miami looks like a long shot.

8:37am: The Spurs, Clippers, Heat, Knicks, Suns, and Timberwolves are among the teams that have made trade offers to the Cavaliers for Kyrie Irving, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

According to Wojnarowski, about 20 teams have inquired with the Cavs about Irving, but far fewer have made legit proposals — some clubs are just monitoring the proceedings, while others don’t have the assets necessary to make a deal happen.

As Wojnarowski explains, there’s a discrepancy between the sort of package the Cavaliers are seeking and what Irving’s potential suitors are currently willing to offer. New GM Koby Altman is looking at the package Denver received in 2011 for Carmelo Anthony as a point of reference. The Nuggets acquired young players, win-now veterans, and draft picks in that swap. However, Cleveland’s potential trade partners prefer a “scaled-down” version of that structure, with fewer players and picks, like what the Bulls received for Jimmy Butler.

Here’s more from Woj:

  • According to Wojnarowski, the Cavaliers haven’t ruled out the possibility of bringing Irving to training camp, or even extending the process beyond December 15, when most free agent signees become trade-eligible. However, other clubs are skeptical that the Cavs will let the Irving saga continue well into the fall.
  • Teams around the league view the Suns and Celtics as the teams best equipped to make a deal for Irving. However, Phoenix hasn’t been willing to include Josh Jackson, and it’s not clear how aggressive Boston would be with its assets.
  • The Heat are open to parting with Goran Dragic and Justise Winslow in an offer for Irving, sources tell Wojnarowski. Still, Miami would likely have to make an “overwhelming” offer to get something done, given the history between the two franchises, Woj adds.
  • The Pacers had Irving as the No. 1 target on their trade board when they were shopping Paul George, and would have done a one-for-one deal, but the Cavaliers declined that option multiple times, sources tell Woj. The ESPN scribe also notes that a separate deal for George – involving Kevin Love instead of Irving – fell apart when the Cavs insisted on including lottery protection on a first-round pick they’d send to the Pacers. Indiana wanted the pick unprotected.
  • Team executives around the NBA are doing a ton of homework on Irving, and have been encouraged by what they’ve found — there’s a consensus that Irving has a history of late nights and partying, but it never affected his play and he has curbed those tendencies into his mid-20s, says Wojnarowski.
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