More than two dozen players became eligible to be traded today, and among them is Corey Brewer, about whom the Rockets and Suns reportedly had serious discussions as they entertained a swap that would also include Terrence Jones going to Phoenix for Markieff Morris. Still, Suns GM Ryan McDonough denied that any deal was prearranged or pending as he spoke Wednesday on the “Burns & Gambo” show on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM, as Kellan Olson of ArizonaSports.com transcribes. McDonough predicted lots of activity between now and the February 18th trade deadline and promised he’ll take an aggressive approach, though he said he can envision Morris remaining with Phoenix through the end of the season, adding that the Suns are “under no pressure to do anything immediately.” While we wait to see what happens on that front, there’s more on the Rockets and other Southwest Division teams:
- Improved defense, better 3-point shooting and the presence of Patrick Beverley in the starting lineup instead of Ty Lawson have sparked the Rockets to improved play, as Calvin Watkins of ESPN.com details, but GM Daryl Morey isn’t satisfied. “I’m worried given our goals,” Morey said, according to Watkins. “We still have a lot of improvement to do and we’re working towards that.”
- The performance Matt Barnes has put on for the Grizzlies lately makes it clear his controversial October encounter with Knicks coach Derek Fisher isn’t a distraction to the team and that he’s been one of the most valuable Grizzlies on the court, writes Ronald Tillery of The Commercial Appeal. The 35-year-old has maintained his high level of defensive play all season, and more recently he’s begun to regain his usual shooting touch, Tillery notes. Barnes delivered pithy comments to Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News, saying, “I don’t talk to snakes” when asked if he’ll speak to Fisher while the Knicks are in Memphis for Saturday’s game. Barnes sent threatening text messages to Fisher in the weeks preceding Barnes’ alleged physical attack on Fisher at the home of Barnes’ estranged wife, a source told Marc Berman of the New York Post.
- A pair of small trade exceptions expired for Southwest Division teams this week, vestiges of the three-team trade that sent Jeff Green to the Grizzlies. The Pelicans allowed their $507,336 Russ Smith trade exception to lapse, while the Grizzlies didn’t find a use for the $396,068 leftover scrap of the Quincy Pondexter trade exception. Memphis used most of that Pondexter exception, originally valued at $3,146,068, to take in Luke Ridnour, whom the Grizzlies promptly flipped for Barnes.
- Chris Herrington of The Commericial Appeal doesn’t think the Grizzlies will issue a second 10-day contract to Elliot Williams, whose existing 10-day deal expires at the end of Sunday (Twitter link).