Kyle Korver

Sixers Remain Interested In Kyle Korver

Fresh off of a blockbuster deal that brought in Jimmy Butler, the Sixers are eyeing moves that will add shooting to a roster depleted of it.

Philadelphia remains “highly” interested in Kyle Korver, as Marc Stein writes in his weekly newsletter for The New York Times. Stein notes that it will be difficult for Philadelphia to acquire Korver now that Jerryd Bayless is no longer on the team. Bayless, who is on an expiring contract worth $8.6MM, was sent to Minnesota in the Butler deal.

Korver signed a three-year, $22MM contract with the Cavaliers during the summer of 2017. LeBron James has since left The Land, making him an awkward fit on a rebuilding squad.

Philadelphia still has options, as a package of Mike Muscala and Zhaire Smith would financially work for a Korver trade. With Muscala seeing meaningful minutes this year, it’s hard to see the Sixers including him or their promising 2018 first-rounder in a deal for the 37-year-old.

Swapping Markelle Fultz for Korver would also work financially, though the team’s front office appears to be taking a patient approach with the former No. 1 overall pick, which makes a Fultz trade unlikely at the moment.

Reactions To The Jimmy Butler Trade

Jimmy Butler never meshed with two young stars in Minnesota, but he’ll have to make a similar situation work with the Sixers, writes Mike Sielski of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Butler was abrasive with Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins, often questioning their toughness and their work ethic. Sielski believes the All-Star wing will have to take a different approach to be successful in Philadelphia.

The confrontations could be at least partially explained by Butler’s background, Sielski notes. He was picked 30th overall in 2011 and didn’t enter the league as a ready-made star like Towns and Wiggins or like the Sixers’ Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. Butler’s attitude may endear him to fans, but it could lead to clashes with teammates, particularly Simmons, who has been known to pass up open jumpers and avoid contact late in games to avoid going to the foul line, where he is a 57% career shooter.

Coach Brett Brown talked about the need to add toughness after his team was eliminated from the playoffs last year. Butler brings plenty of that, Sielski adds, but some of his Sixers teammates may find it hard to adapt to the new atmosphere.

There’s more to pass along in the wake of today’s blockbuster:

  • The trade makes the Sixers better right away and still leaves the flexibility to improve in the future, states David Murphy of The Philadelphia Inquirer, who adds that it won’t take much roster tinkering to be able to offer another maximum contract next summer. Philadelphia will have about $22MM in available cap room after accounting for Butler, Simmons and Embiid, along with Markelle FultzLandry Shamet, Zhaire Smith and Jonah Bolden. Fultz will make $9,745,200 next season, so trading him and another young player could free up the roughly $11MM the Sixers will need for a max deal.
  • Butler now has all the advantages he could ask for and needs to prove he can fit in, according to Ben Golliver of Sports Illustrated. The Sixers provide owners that are willing to spend, a forward-thinking and popular coach in Brown and proven talent already in place. Embiid and Simmons have the franchise set up for a long run as contenders, and Butler needs to settle into a role that doesn’t disrupt the chemistry that’s already in place.
  • The Sixers talked to the Cavaliers this summer about trading for Kyle Korver and still have interest in the 3-point specialist, according to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer. The Knicks’ Courtney Lee is another possibility as Philadelphia looks for shooters after sending Dario Saric and Robert Covington to Minnesota. O’Connor suggests that the team may also wait for buyouts as it did last year when it picked up Marco Belinelli and Ersan Ilyasova.
  • There was a big change in the Sixers’ odds to capture the NBA title after news of the trade was announced, according to Ed Barkowitz of The Philadelphia Inquirer. The team moved to a 16-1 shot to win it all at the Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas after starting the day at 30-1.

Cavs Rumors: Rozier, Korver, Smith, Rotation

The Cavaliers are among the teams with interest in Celtics point guard Terry Rozier, league sources tell Sam Amico of AmicoHoops.net. As we relayed earlier today, there are reportedly at least seven teams around the NBA monitoring Rozier, who is said to be unhappy with his playing time. It sounds like it’s safe to assume that Cleveland is one of those seven teams.

Of course, the Cavs used the No. 8 overall pick in the 2018 draft on Collin Sexton, a player they hope will be capable of developing into their point guard of the future. Sexton’s still very early in his developmental process though, and plenty of teams around the NBA use lineups that feature more than one point guard, so that doesn’t mean that Rozier couldn’t be a fit in Cleveland.

Here’s more on the Cavs:

  • During a recent appearance on The Jump (video link; hat tip to AmicoHoops.net), ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said that he expects trade interest to be much stronger for Kyle Korver than J.R. Smith, but cautions that Korver would be more attractive as a trade chip if he was on a true expiring contract, rather than having a partial guarantee for next season. Wojnarowski expects the Cavaliers to be able to move both players, but suggests they shouldn’t expect more than a second-round pick for either, and may have to take on some money.
  • The Cavaliers don’t seem to view Larry Nance Jr. as a potential four, and Channing Frye only works in certain matchups, according to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com, who suggests that the team may lean more heavily on smaller power forwards with Kevin Love and Sam Dekker sidelined. Cedi Osman, Korver, and Smith are among the candidates.
  • Cavaliers veterans are happy that the team agreed to renegotiate Larry Drew‘s contract, creating some certainty at the head coaching position for this season, writes Joe Vardon of The Athletic. “It’s just good to know they made a decision, for me,” Nance said. “It lets you go forward. I think some progress can be made.”

Eastern Notes: Korver, LaVine, Celtics, Kanter

The Sixers, Thunder or Lakers are the most likely landing spots for veteran sharpshooter Kyle Korver, Jordan Greer of the Sporting News opines. Korver is likely to get traded or bought out by a Cavaliers team that suddenly finds itself in a rebuilding mode. The combination of Korver and J.J. Redick could drive opposing defenses crazy in Philadelphia, while Oklahoma City desperately needs a 3-point shooter. LeBron James and Korver have good chemistry, as displayed by James’ 89 assists to Korver last season, Greer adds.

We have more from the Eastern Conference:

  • The Bulls matched the Kings’ four-year, $78MM offer sheet for Zach LaVine and thus far it’s looking like a wise decision. As Sam Smith of the Bulls’ website notes, LaVine is shooting a career high 46.8% and averaging 26.6 PPG. He’s second in the Eastern Conference in usage rate to Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo and his efficiency rating still is top 10 in the conference, Smith adds.
  • Interior scoring might be the Celtics’ biggest weakness, Marc D’Amico of Celtics.com points out. It entered Monday’s game at Denver ranked last in points in the paint with an average of just 35.3 per game. Coach Brad Stevens admits the lack of inside scoring is a carryover from the last two seasons. “Last year we were not very good either,” he said. “That’s been an issue for us for the last 18 months. Prior to that we were pretty good at it. So we’ve just got to keep hammering on it, see if we can get a little better.”
  • Knicks coach David Fizdale knows Enes Kanter isn’t happy coming off the bench but Fizdale believes he could be a candidate for Sixth Man of the Year, as he told Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog.com and other media members. Kanter, a free agent after the season, is playing behind rookie Mitchell Robinson. “I just want him to keep settling into that role right now,” Fizdale said. “Quite honestly, if we keep going this rout, he’s a guy that with the numbers he’s going to get … he’s going to have his hat in that Sixth Man of the Year Award.”

Cavaliers Notes: Sexton, Drew, Smith, Korver

The Cavaliers are in a state of chaos that stretches from the front office to their first-round draft pick, writes Joe Vardon of The Athletic. The four-time defending Eastern Conference champs dropped to 1-8 last night after their latest lopsided loss, a 32-point blowout in Charlotte, and there seems little chance of righting the ship without a major roster upheaval.

There’s a significant divide in the locker room between players who are holdovers from the LeBron James era and the younger talent that management sees as the team’s future, Vardon adds. The focal point is 19-year-old Collin Sexton, who was taken with the eighth pick in this year’s draft. Any time a veteran talks about someone not knowing their role or where to be on the court, it’s usually a reference to Sexton, Vardon states.

Sexton is shooting 41.3% from the field through his first nine games and has about an equal number of assists and turnovers. However, he still has the backing of owner Dan Gilbert, who wants Sexton to keep playing, according to Vardon. Also, Sexton knows he has a future with the organization, unlike many of his veteran critics.

There’s more out of Cleveland, all courtesy of Vardon:

  • A week after firing Tyronn Lue, the Cavs still doesn’t have an official interim head coach. Larry Drew is running the team, but retains his title of associate head coach while trying to negotiate an increase in his salary. The front office offered a modest raise after Lue was dismissed, but Drew is holding out for a contract extension for himself and his assistants. When management refused, Drew went public with his demands. The players support Drew, but they don’t view him as an official head coach because of the contract standoff.
  • Through nine games, J.R. Smith has been told twice that he was being taken out of the rotation, then was quickly reinstalled by both Lue and Drew. Earlier this week, GM Koby Altman offered Smith the chance to go on paid leave because he wouldn’t be playing, but he got 24 minutes last night and led the team with 14 points. “As far as I’m concerned, given what our circumstances are, J.R., he’s a member of our team, and if I need him I’m going to call on him,” Drew said.
  • When Altman re-signed Kyle Korver to a three-year deal last summer, it came with an understanding that Korver would be traded or bought out if James left in free agency. Korver asked to be dealt after James joined the Lakers, but the front office refused, saying it wanted to keep the veteran core together to compete for a playoff spot. The Cavs would want maximum value if they do move Korver, likely a first-round pick.

Cavs Rumors: Korver, Drew, J.R. Smith, Love

There was good news and bad news in Cleveland on Tuesday. The home crowd finally got to see the Cavaliers pick up their first victory of the season, as they blew out the Hawks by a 22-point margin. Plus, reports earlier in the day indicated that the city would host the 2022 NBA All-Star Game.

However, the team’s coaching situation remains extremely unsettled, with Larry Drew telling reporters before the game that there’s still no deal in place to make him the team’s interim head coach, let alone the permanent coach. Drew, who is seeking a raise and possibly a longer-term commitment, said that he’s “very disappointed” with the lack of progress in negotiations.

As we wait to see what happens with Drew and the Cavs, here are a few more items out of interest from out of Cleveland:

  • The Cavaliers have begun testing the trade market for Kyle Korver, according to Brian Windhorst and Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.com. Korver was mentioned in trade rumors over the summer, with reports suggesting that the Sixers discussed a potential deal for the veteran sharpshooter in July. It’s not clear if Philadelphia is still interested in Korver, but the Cavs are exploring their options.
  • The Cavs may become more active in looking to trade other veterans in the coming weeks, sources tell Windhorst and Wojnarowksi. Channing Frye, Rodney Hood, and David Nwaba aren’t trade-eligible until December 15 and Kevin Love can’t be traded until January 24, but anyone else on the roster could theoretically be dealt immediately.
  • J.R. Smith has been informed that he’ll be removed from the rotation and won’t receive guaranteed minutes, according to Windhorst and Wojnarowski. The ESPN duo reports that the veteran guard was “upset” by the news and considered taking some time away from the club, but has decided to stay with the Cavs for the time being. A Cavs front office official denied that report on Smith’s apparent discontent, per Joe Vardon of The Athletic.
    • Update: Smith has since tweeted that the Cavs gave him the option of taking time away, but he chose to stay.
  • Although Larry Drew suggested on Tuesday that the Cavs may decide to bring in an outside coach to replace him, GM Koby Altman has no interest in going that route, writes Vardon.
  • Kevin Love confirmed on Tuesday that his toe injury will keep him sidelined for at least the next couple weeks, as Tom Withers of The Associated Press relays. “I would like to get back obviously as soon as possible,” Love said. “I had high hopes for the season, I know it’s been off to a really rocky start, but the more I can be out there and help this team, the better. So I’m hoping to get out there as quickly as possible and hoping that it’s only two or three weeks.”

Larry Drew “Very Disappointed” In Negotiations With Cavs

9:47pm: The Cavaliers have not been aggressive in searching for another coach, sources tell Brian Windhorst and Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.com.

Drew, who is earning nearly $1MM this season, is one of the league’s highest-paid assistants. However, he’s looking for a raise on his salary in return for becoming the interim coach. The ESPN duo adds that it’s unclear how long Drew is willing to act as the coach without an agreement.

Windhorst and Wojnarowski also report that the Cavs again talking with teams about Kyle Korver trades, noting that the club could be more active in looking to deal other veterans in the coming weeks.

5:23pm: Larry Drew made it clear he was yet not the Cavaliers interim coach, telling the media earlier this week that he’s simply the “voice” of the team. He had hoped to reach an agreement with the Cavs to become the new floor leader. Prior to tonight’s game with Atlanta, there is still no deal in place and Drew is “very disappointed” in the lack of progress, Joe Varden of The Athletic tweets.

Drew added that he will “never quit” on the team and will “remain professional,” as Sam Amico of Amico Hoops relays via Twitter. Drew has been told the Cavaliers may bring another person in to be the head coach and he may be moved to his previous role.

“I’m fine with [the team bringing in another coach] … my contract is up in July. Maybe Larry Drew isn’t part of the future,” Drew said.

Drew has a career 143-169 record as a head coach. It was previously reported that there was a push within the organization to make Drew a long-term commitment.

Central Notes: Payne, Korver, Cavs, Pistons

In the wake of Kris Dunn‘s MCL injury, Mark Schanowski of NBC Sports Chicago suggested that it was time for the Bulls to spin the point guard roulette wheel again. While he acknowledged that Cameron Payne, Shaquille Harrison, Ryan Arcidiacono, and Tyler Ulis were all options, Schanowski argued that Chicago’s best option at the point might be Zach LaVine, who is most effective with the ball in his hands.

In the Bulls’ first win of the season on Wednesday night, LaVine did handle the ball most in crunch time, but before the game reached that point, it was Payne who enjoyed a breakout performance. As Mark Strotman of NBC Sports Chicago details, Payne followed up a poor first half by making seven 3-pointers in the second half, good for a career-best 21 points.

“It was a huge night for Cam, huge confidence booster,” Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg said. “You know, Cam works as hard as anybody on this team. It’s great to see that hard work pay off and it’s a confidence booster, something he can build on.”

Payne has been plagued by injuries and inconsistency since being acquired by the Bulls at the 2017 trade deadline, but Wednesday’s showing was a step in the right direction, and he should get more opportunities in the coming weeks, with Dunn expected to be sidelined at least another month or so. Payne will be eligible for restricted free agency at season’s end, so he’ll have a chance to improve his stock if he keeps playing well.

Here’s more from around the Central division:

  • Cavaliers sharpshooter Kyle Korver isn’t concerned if his playing time is cut back or if his role is unpredictable from game to game, writes Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. “I think we’re trying to figure a lot of things out across the board,” Korver said on Wednesday. “Trying to find lineups that work, trying to find a fun style of play. There’s a lot of new here and it hasn’t been that long yet. This is a great job for me, whether I’m playing or not, so I’m going to come every day and work hard.”
  • Korver’s comments came prior to the Cavaliers‘ fourth straight loss on Wednesday night, a game that didn’t impress fellow veterans Tristan Thompson and Kevin Love, as Joe Vardon of The Athletic relays. “We need everyone in this organization that gets paid by the Cleveland Cavaliers to make sure everyone is here to fight and no one has quit yet,” Thompson said after the Cavs were blown out at home by Brooklyn.
  • When an NBA team hires a new head coach, it has a ripple effect on that club’s G League affiliate. In an interesting piece for MLive.com, Peter J. Wallner takes a closer look at how the Grand Rapids Drive, led by coach Ryan Krueger, will work to implement new Pistons coach Dwane Casey‘s philosophy at the NBAGL level this season after growing accustomed to Stan Van Gundy‘s system and style.

Cavs Remain Committed To Winning Despite Rotation Changes

The Cavaliers remain committed to winning this season rather than tearing down the team and rebuilding, Joe Vardon of the Athletic reports. The front office doesn’t view Sunday’s blowout loss to the Hawks as a reflection of what to expect going forward with this squad.

Before the 22-point loss, the team owned a record of 0-2 and Kyle Korver, J.R. Smith, and Channing Frye, the team’s three oldest players, were told that they were not going to be in the rotation for the foreseeable future. Coach Tyronn Lue and GM Koby Altman sat with the trio on Saturday—a day before the loss—and explained that Cleveland was going to give its young players the opportunity to showcase their skills. Lue’s rotation was teetering between 11 and 12 players and it needed to be shortened. Frye was already not in the rotation, but Korver and Smith were both set to receive a demotion.

Today, after the 22-point loss, Lue began practice with both Korver and Smith among the team’s top 10 players. Both vets are expected to play on Wednesday against the Nets. Vardon notes that it’s possible Lue made this decision against the front office’s wishes.

The front office is committed to the team’s youth but also pledged to Kevin Love that the organization would not tank, something Love wanted to know before he signed his four-year extension. Love understands the need to develop players for the future, but sees a reason for playing the vets now.

“In our commitment to helping guys grow, the guys who know how to win have to play,” Love told Vardon, in supporting Lue’s latest decision. “I think having Kyle and Channing and J.R., those guys know how to win in this league, and having them will help bring the others along. So they need to play.”

Love feels that younger players may pick up bad habits as a result of not playing alongside veterans. He spoke about how he did just that playing on a young team in Minnesota.

“I had to step into playing so many minutes every single night, and my bad habits had accumulated. I got here and I had to shake a lot of those, learn what it is to sacrifice,” Love said. “In practice time and teaching points and film, all that stuff that goes on away from the games, that’s where I think those guys are gonna grow.”

Lue sees Cleveland’s defensive woes as a communication issue and he said the team’s players either have to “talk or they’ve got to come and sit down [on the bench],” as Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com relays.

“I think the biggest thing is communication,” Lue said. “When you’re switching you have to call the switches out so the man can’t get behind and get dunks and layups and easy shots.”

This is a situation that could fluctuate over the next several weeks. The team can only dress 13 players and on Sunday, David Nwaba was in street clothes while the team’s three oldest players sat on the bench in uniform. A front office executive tells Vardon that Nwaba is unlikely to be out of uniform going forward, so it’s unclear who will be in street clothes when the team plays on Wednesday.

Korver is considered a strong candidate to be moved at some point during the season, though the team has not explored trade opportunities for him since training camp. Vardon adds that if a market developed for Tristan Thompson, the Cavs would likely listen to offers. Cleveland’s payroll sits at approximately $115.7MM, roughly $14MM over the salary cap.

Cavaliers Notes: Smith, Dekker, Korver

The Cavaliers told J.R. Smith and his representatives over the summer that it might be difficult to find playing time for him, according to Joe Vardon of The Athletic. Rodney Hood is expected to start at shooting guard, with George Hill at the point. The Cavs want to give significant minutes to rookie Collin Sexton, and Jordan Clarkson excelled in a reserve role with the Lakers. That leaves Smith to compete with Kyle Korver and maybe David Nwaba for wing minutes.

Coach Tyronn Lue believes Smith can still contribute, but he’s now 33 and is coming off his two worst seasons. He lost 20 pounds during the offseason and can still help on defense, but Lue doesn’t like to use him and Korver together, which could mean one of them won’t get see many minutes.

There’s more this morning out of Cleveland, all courtesy of Vardon:

  • Smith has taken over LeBron James‘ role as vocal leader in the locker room. After Saturday’s scrimmage, he was lecturing younger players for not showing up at the training facility early enough before practice and not returning text messages from the training staff.
  • After being with three teams in four seasons, Sam Dekker may have found a home with the Cavs, Vardon writes in the same story. Cleveland picked up the 24-year-old from the Clippers this summer using a trade exception from the Kyrie Irving deal. Lue compares Dekker to Avery Bradley in how he moves without the ball and plans to use him as the primary back-up power forward. “I’m a Midwest guy, back in the Midwest,” Dekker said. “I’m just welcoming it, trying to stay in an open mind, keep learning, but really trying to be aggressive and show my true game and show who I am and I think that’s worked well so far for me.” 
  • Korver was used as a standstill shooter when James was running the offense, but this season he will resume the role he had with the Hawks, with multiple screens designed to set up open shots. Vardon notes that Cleveland has ranked third and second in made 3-pointers over the past two seasons, but won’t have James and Irving to break down defenses anymore. “They’re going to be different types of 3s,” Korver said. “Can we still be a good 3-point-shooting team? I think so. … We’re all going to be moving a lot more. It’s going to be harder to guard each of us.”