Los Angeles Clippers

Woj: Butler Trade To The Celtics Still Possible

A potential trade sending Jimmy Butler from the Bulls to the Celtics will loom over deadline week, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical (Twitter link).

In a video interview, Wojnarowski says the teams have discussed a deal involving Butler, but talks haven’t progressed very far. He adds that Chicago officials have to to fully commit to the rebuilding process before they would be willing to give up Butler.

Wojnarowski says the trade would involve one of the Nets’ first-rounders — but probably not both — that Boston owns in the next two drafts. If the Bulls get this year’s pick, Wojnarowski states they can find a replacement for Derrick Rose, who was traded to the Knicks last summer. Washington’s Markelle Fultz and UCLA’s Lonzo Ball are point guards mentioned as likely choices at the top of the draft.

Teaming Butler with Isaiah Thomas and Al Horford would give the Celtics enough firepower to challenge Cleveland for supremacy in the East, Wojnarowski states, not just this season but for years to come.

Other highlights from the interview:

  • The Clippers and Thunder are both potential landing spots for Nuggets forward Wilson Chandler. However, both teams are low on draft picks and may not have the assets that Denver would want in return.
  • The Thunder were trying to acquire Kings forward Rudy Gay before a season-ending Achilles injury.
  • The Wizards would like to add another wing player to their bench, with the LakersLou Williams and the NetsBojan Bogdanovic as possibilities. Wojnarowski says Washington is willing to part with a draft pick to get veteran help.
  • The Suns have been shopping P.J. Tucker, Tyson Chandler and Brandon Knight, hoping to get picks or young players in return.
  • Chandler is one of several centers on the market, along with the SixersJahlil Okafor, the MavericksAndrew Bogut, the BucksGreg Monroe and the NetsBrook Lopez. However, there is limited interest in back-to-the basket centers. Wojnarowski speculates that one or two of them may be traded this week, but cautions that there aren’t enough buyers for all of them to be moved.
  • Unless something changes, Carmelo Anthony will remain with the Knicks. New York management hasn’t presented him with any deals that would tempt him to waive his no-trade clause. Most of the teams that were interested in dealing for Anthony are now “looking in other directions,” but Wojnarowski thinks the Clippers might revisit their attempt to land Anthony this summer.

Trade Deadline Outlook: Pacific Division

In the days leading up to the February 23 trade deadline, Hoops Rumors will be taking a closer look at each of the NBA’s 30 teams, by division. We’ll be identifying each team as a buyer, seller, or something in between, and discussing which teams and players are most likely to be involved in deals this month. We’ve already covered the Atlantic, Northwest, and Southeast. Today, we’re examining the Pacific.


As the odds-on favorite to win the 2017 NBA championship, the Warriors (47-9) are undoubtedly buyers rather than sellers, but the team may not be overly active within the next few days. Adding another reliable guard or rim protector would provide the roster with a little additional depth as the playoffs approach, but Golden State doesn’t have any glaring holes that need to be filled, and the team isn’t brimming with expendable trade assets. With huge max deals for Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant looming, the Warriors may need to rely on young, inexpensive players like Patrick McCaw, Kevon Looney, and Damian Jones to assume regular rotation roles in future seasons, so it makes sense to hang onto them rather than to dangle them in search of a minor upgrade.

The Clippers (35-21) will likely look a little harder for an upgrade than the Warriors, but like Golden State, their trade assets are limited. A 2021 pick is the earliest first-rounder Los Angeles could move, and as the Carmelo Anthony rumors proved, adding an impact player would probably require giving up one or more rotation players out of a group that includes Austin Rivers, Jamal Crawford, and J.J. Redick. If the Clippers were willing to make Blake Griffin available and really reshape their roster, things could get interesting, but there’s no indication that’s on the table at all. If L.A. makes a move, it’s far more likely be a small one.

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Western Notes: Kings, Tolliver, Kanter, Trade Deadline

The Kings are in position to be players at the trade deadline, but first they must decide which direction they want to pursue, writes James Ham of CSNBayArea. Sacramento entered tonight just a game and a half out of a playoff spot, but a 24-32 record suggests a lot of improvement is still needed. The Kings can’t offer a draft pick before 2021, but they have several expiring contracts to deal, including Ty Lawson, Darren Collison and Omri Casspi. Kosta Koufos has been the subject of trade rumors, and Olympics star Bogdan Bogdanovic, currently playing in Turkey, could be a valuable trade chip.

There’s more tonight from the Western Conference:

  • Veteran forward Anthony Tolliver is hoping his stay in Sacramento won’t get cut short, relays Ailene Voisin of The Sacramento Bee. A rash of injuries has created more playing time for the 31-year-old, and he has responded by shooting a career-best 45% from the field and 40% from 3-point range. Tolliver signed a two-year, $16MM deal over the summer, but only $2MM of his $8MM salary for next season is guaranteed before June 1st. That might make him attractive on the trade market for a team looking to cut salary, or the Kings could decide to save money by not bringing him back next season.
  • Thunder backup center Enes Kanter had the cast removed from his fractured right forearm, according to Erik Horne of The Oklahoman. Kanter had surgery January 27th and is scheduled to be re-evaluated February 24th. His recovery time was originally projected at four to eight weeks. Kanter says he knows when he should be able to play again, but doesn’t want to release it publicly, fearing it might put pressure on him or the organization to hit the target date.
  • Bobby Marks of The Vertical examines trade possibilities for the Clippers, Grizzlies and Thunder as next week’s deadline approaches. All three teams have dealt with major injuries this season.

Trade Notes: Warriors, Gibson, Raptors, Okafor

The Warriors haven’t been involved in many trade rumors in recent weeks, which makes sense, since it’s hard to find many areas the team needs to improve. According to Anthony Slater of The San Jose Mercury News, general manager Bob Myers intends to keep an eye out for possible deals, but is happy to stand pat if nothing materializes.

“We don’t want to disrupt what we have,” the Warriors GM said. “Doesn’t mean we won’t answer the phone, doesn’t mean we won’t explore possibilities. But reality is, we like who we have and, even if we didn’t, our options are somewhat limited. Utah has our first (round pick) this year from the (Andre) Iguodala transaction back in 2013. So we’ll see what happens. If we end up not doing anything, that would be a fine outcome as well.”

Here are a few more trade-related notes and rumors from around the NBA:

  • Before the Raptors traded for Serge Ibaka on Tuesday, the team had been engaged in discussions with the Bulls about Taj Gibson. According to Vincent Goodwill of CSNChicago.com, Terrence Ross wasn’t believed to be a part of those talks, though the two sides were discussing a package that included a first-round pick. Having sent Ross and a first-rounder to Orlando, the Raps are now almost certainly out on Gibson, though the veteran power forward acknowledges there will likely be more chatter up until next Thursday.
  • Ryan Wolstat of The Toronto Sun wonders if the Raptors are considering a follow-up move after trading for Ibaka. As Wolstat points out, Toronto will have a crowded frontcourt when Patrick Patterson gets healthy, and Cory Joseph might be expendable if the club has confidence in its other point guard options behind Kyle Lowry.
  • Having been pulled from the Sixers‘ lineup for the last two games, Jahlil Okafor admits he thought there was a “good chance” he’d be traded to another team by now, as Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer details. However, he’s ready to focus on his return to the court tonight in Boston.
  • A handful of ESPN insiders, including Kevin Pelton and Amin Elhassen (Insider link), examine the Pacific division and make a few suggestions for what sort of deals the Clippers, Kings, Lakers, Suns, and Warriors should consider.

Knicks, Lakers Top Forbes’ NBA Franchise Valuations

The Knicks have been one of the NBA’s most dysfunctional teams this season. On the court, the team has gone just 23-33, with $72MM man Joakim Noah failing to make a significant impact, and Jeff Hornacek and Phil Jackson not always on the same page when it came to the use of the triangle. Off the court, things have been even worse, with Jackson criticizing star forward Carmelo Anthony, and owner James Dolan at odds with former Knicks star Charles Oakley.

On the west coast, the Lakers haven’t been much better, racking up a 19-38 record, good for the No. 14 seed in the West. The team hasn’t made as many off-court headlines, but the structure of the front office is currently up in the air, with new advisor Magic Johnson publicly declaring that he wants to be the one calling the shots on roster decisions.

Despite the problems in New York and Los Angeles, the Knicks and Lakers remain the NBA’s two most valuable franchises, according to a report from Kurt Badenhausen of Forbes. The Knicks and Lakers are the only teams valued at more than $3 billion by Forbes.

Team valuations are up around the league, with the Warriors leading the way among this year’s increases — according to Forbes, the Dubs are 37% more valuable that they were at this time in 2016. In total, 18 teams have a valuation exceeding $1 billion, which is up from 13 teams last year and just three teams in 2015. The average NBA franchise is now worth $1.36 billion, according to the report.

Here’s the full list of NBA franchise valuations, per Forbes:

  1. New York Knicks: $3.3 billion
  2. Los Angeles Lakers: $3 billion
  3. Golden State Warriors: $2.6 billion
  4. Chicago Bulls: $2.5 billion
  5. Boston Celtics: $2.2 billion
  6. Los Angeles Clippers; $2 billion
  7. Brooklyn Nets: $1.8 billion
  8. Houston Rockets: $1.65 billion
  9. Dallas Mavericks: $1.45 billion
  10. Miami Heat: $1.35 billion
  11. Cleveland Cavaliers: $1.2 billion
  12. San Antonio Spurs: $1.175 billion
  13. Toronto Raptors: $1.125 billion
  14. Phoenix Suns: $1.1 billion
  15. Sacramento Kings: $1.075 billion
  16. Portland Trail Blazers: $1.05 billion
  17. Oklahoma City Thunder: $1.025 billion
  18. Washington Wizards: $1 billion
  19. Orlando Magic: $920MM
  20. Utah Jazz: $910MM
  21. Detroit Pistons: $900MM
  22. Denver Nuggets: $890MM
  23. Atlanta Hawks: $885MM
  24. Indiana Pacers: $880MM
  25. Philadelphia 76ers: $800MM
  26. Memphis Grizzlies: $790MM
  27. Milwaukee Bucks: $785MM
  28. Charlotte Hornets: $780MM
  29. Minnesota Timberwolves: $770MM
  30. New Orleans Pelicans: $750MM

For comparison’s sake, Forbes’ 2016 valuations can be found right here.

Stein’s Latest: Ibaka, Gallinari, Lopez, Millsap

There’s a growing sense around the league that Serge Ibaka could be dealt before the trade deadline, Marc Stein of ESPN.com writes. Orlando traded for Ibaka during the offseason with the thought that he could be a long-term fixture with the team. However, the Magic now feel retaining the big man in free agency could be harder to accomplish than they initially expected.

A source told Stein that the belief around the league is that Orlando will take the best offer for Ibaka at the deadline. The Magic are fielding calls from several teams and Toronto and Miami are among the Eastern Conference teams to express interest in Ibaka this month, sources tell Stein.

Here’s more from Stein’s latest piece:

  • There is growing belief that the Nuggets are prepared to move Danilo Gallinari, as the team believes he will turn down the player option in his contract and become a free agent this offseason. Stein adds that Denver doesn’t plan on breaking the bank for the small forward and notes that the Raptors and Clippers are among the teams monitoring the situation.
  • The Nets continue to demand two first-round picks in exchange for Brook Lopez, Stein writes.
  • The Hawks remain adamant that Paul Millsap will not be traded. The team is willing to stick it out with Millsap this season even if it means losing him for nothing come summertime.

Los Angeles Rumors: Ingram, Williams, Griffin

Lakers coach Luke Walton believes rookie Brandon Ingram could morph into an all-around force like the Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bill Oram of the Orange County Register reports. “That’s what we want Brandon to be,” Walton told Oram and other reporters. “We don’t want him to be just a scorer or just a playmaker. We want him to be one of those guys that literally, by being on the court, ends up with blocks, steals, rebounds, points and assists. Just being all over the floor. That’s our vision for what he’s going to be.” Ingram, who recently moved into the starting lineup at small forward, has doubts that he’d thrive in the role as a point guard or point forward on a regular basis. “That’s something I dealt with in high school, but it’s of course not my natural position,” Ingram said.  “I think for me being in the starting lineup and me being in my natural position has been good for me.”

In other developments regarding the Lakers:

  • Guard Lou Williams leads the Lakers in scoring despite coming off the bench, but it’s Williams’ dedication to other aspects of his game that pleases Walton, as he told the assembled media. Williams is averaging 18.3 PPG and 3.1 APG and the latter stat holds significance to Walton. “When I took over this team, obviously Lou’s a great scorer,” Walton said. “He’s been a great scorer since he’s been in this league. Our biggest thing with him is we wanted him to playmake and we wanted  him to defend, because we knew what he’s capable of doing scoring the ball. We know that teams are going to try to take him out of that, whether it’s blitzing or double teaming or whatever it is. With him it’s always a fine line when we want him to come off those (screens) shooting and when  we want him to come off as a playmaker and let that double team facilitate the rest of the possession. He’s done a good job of embracing that.”
  • Clippers forward Blake Griffin has taken over the role as primary playmaker with Chris Paul sidelined by a left thumb injury, Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times writes. Griffin had five assists in a victory over the Knicks on Wednesday. “I don’t think it’s really about getting the ball more,” Griffin told Turner. “I think it’s just about trusting the offense. I’m figuring out different ways we can score while CP is still out, figuring out how to better serve the offense, whether that’s with the ball or without the ball.” In seven games since returning to the lineup after knee surgery, Griffin has averaged 24.7 PPG, 8.4RPG and 4.9 APG.
  • The Clippers need to make a bold move and should explore deals involving Griffin, Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer opines. The Clippers require another long-range shooter and a defensive stopper, according to O’Connor, and they should try to swap Griffin for a player that fills those needs.

NBA D-League Assignments/Recalls: 2/9/17

Here are Thursday’s D-League assignments and recalls from around the NBA:

  • Rookie big man Diamond Stone has been recalled by the Clippers, according to Rowan Kavner of Clippers.com (via Twitter). Stone averaged 19.7 PPG in three games during his latest stint with the Salt Lake City Stars, though he also received a pair of DNP-CDs. Since the Clips don’t have a D-League team of their own, Stone has played for other teams’ affiliates this season, including Golden State’s and Utah’s.
  • Chris McCullough continues to bounce back and forth between the NBA and D-League, having been reassigned to the Long Island Nets today, the team announced in a press release. Brooklyn’s D-League affiliate isn’t in action again until Saturday, so we’ll see how long McCullough’s assignments lasts this time around.
  • We missed this announcement on Wednesday, but the Pistons have sent Henry Ellenson and Michael Gbinije back to the Grand Rapids Drive. Stan Van Gundy expects the duo to remain on assignment through Friday’s game, per Keith Langlois of Pistons.com (Twitter link).

LeBron, Love, Lue Respond To Latest Trade Rumors

While teams and players often avoid directly responding to individual trade rumors and reports, members of the Cavaliers wasted no time in shooting down a Monday rumor involving Kevin Love. After The New York Daily News reported that LeBron James was pushing the Cavs to acquire Carmelo Anthony, even if it meant giving up Love, team and league sources told other outlets that it wasn’t true, and the Cavs publicly pushed back after their dramatic win over the Wizards.

“It’s trash,” James said of the report, per Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com. “And the guy who wrote it is trash too, for writing that, especially during the game like that. So it’s always about outside noise and that’s just outside noise for us. We got to focus on what needs to be done and that’s to continue to compete for a championship. And we got who we got. Our GM (David Griffin) will do a great job of figuring out if we need something else, but right now we’re in a good place.”

Cavs head coach Tyronn Lue suggested that Love should be flattered that other teams want him, but said the big man isn’t going anywhere, and the latest rumors are “not coming from our end.” As for Love, after perhaps his best game of the season, in which he racked up 39 points and 12 rebounds, he was happy to laugh off Monday’s report.

“What do they say?” Love said. “‘A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to put his pants on.’ So, it’s a lie. … It’s almost laughable. I’m on this team. I’m going to be on this team. And we want to win with the guys that we have.”

Love indicated last week that he expected to remain with the Cavs for “a long time,” and even though reports at the time suggested that he wasn’t entirely untouchable, a trade is viewed as highly unlikely. The Cavs reportedly have some interest in Anthony, but aren’t actively looking to trade for the Knicks forward, despite New York’s continued pursuit of Love.

While Monday’s story from the Daily News was roundly denied both privately and publicly by Cavs sources, it’s worth noting that Frank Isola wasn’t the only reporter with the scoop. Keith Smith of RealGM.com (Twitter link) also heard from league sources that LeBron has pushed Cleveland to acquire Anthony “at any cost” — Chris Paul has taken a similar approach with the Clippers, per Smith.

The Cavs’ strong and aggressive denial of the report suggests that Love almost certainly isn’t going anywhere, particularly in a deal for Anthony. But the fact that multiple reporters heard from reliable sources that LeBron might be pushing for such a trade means that info is coming from somewhere. It will be interesting to see what moves – if any – Griffin and the Cavs ultimately make in the coming weeks.

Clippers Need Anthony's Scoring; Backcourt Rotation In Flux

The Western Conference is an offensive arms race, writes Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times, and in order for the Clippers to keep up with teams like the Warriors and Rockets, they’ll need to trade for Carmelo Anthony.

Even when Clippers veteran Chris Paul returns from a thumb injury, the Clippers will have some work to do if they want a legitimate shot at making it to the NBA Finals, especially as the teams in contention around them continue to improve. Anthony’s ability to score the ball, Hernandez suggests, could shift L.A.’s fortune. What’s more, the presence of Anthony on the roster could influence pending free agents Paul and Blake Griffin to stay in town.

On Thursday, a report from Marc Berman of the New York Post discussed the idea of Anthony ultimately coming off the bench for the Clippers, as opposed to getting shipped off to Cleveland and replacing Kevin Love on the Cavaliers. There, and again in Hernandez’s column, the idea is floated that Anthony could be acquired without any of Griffin, Paul or DeAndre Jordan involved in an outgoing package.

It’s hard not to like the sound of an Austin Rivers and Jamal Crawford package if you’re a Clippers fan but there’s no indication that those pieces alone would be enough to convince the Knicks to pull the trigger.

  • The Clippers need to do a better job distributing backcourt minutes, writes Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times, citing inconsistent workloads as a possible concern for a team that’s already struggled with injuries. “Usually Austin or Raymond Felton has a big-minute night, and we try to reverse it the next night, especially when we go with three guards,” head coach Doc Rivers said. “When we play bigger, it’s easier, so that’s the other solution to it.”

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