Ricky Rubio

Central Notes: Bagley, Jones, Wright, Dragic, Bulls

The Pistons are prepared to make a three-year offer to restricted free agent Marvin Bagley III, James Edwards III of The Athletic reports. He fit a need for an athletic big man, which is why they traded for him just before the deadline. However, Bagley may seek a shorter deal and test the open market if his stock rises, so that he can get a bigger payday.

We have more from the Central Division:

  • It has been reported that the Cavaliers would entertain a reunion with free agent guard Ricky Rubio. However, there are other options on the table to provide backcourt depth, according to Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. The Cavs are also expected to show interest in several other unrestricted free agents, including Tyus Jones, Delon Wright, Raul Neto and Goran Dragic, says Fedor.
  • Which players should the Bulls retain and which ones should they shed? Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic takes a closer look at that topic in a player-by-player breakdown. Mayberry’s position on unrestricted free agent Zach LaVine? He’s one of the keepers.
  • DeMar DeRozan said he’s open to recruiting players to Chicago, but Bulls coach Billy Donovan said no matter what happens in the offseason, expectations need to be tempered, Jon Greenberg of The Athletic writes. “I think you have to be careful, and what I mean by that is, we got off to a really, really good start this year,” he said. “And it was really impressive to me with a new group that hadn’t had a lot of time together that they could jell and mesh the way they did. We’ll actually have to work harder going into this offseason and next year to even get back to this point.”

Central Notes: Caruso, Pistons Draft, Cavs Pick, Rubio

The Bulls’ already-depleted backcourt could be missing a key guard in Game 5 of their first-round series against Milwaukee. Alex Caruso is in concussion protocol and his status for Wednesday’s game is uncertain, Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports Chicago reports.

“It’s probably going to be a day-to-day thing with him,” coach Billy Donovan said. “He’s obviously going to have to go through a series of tests before he’s cleared. I don’t know how long that would take and how long it would take for his symptoms to go away… We’ll find out more on Tuesday.”

Caruso sustained an inadvertent shot to the face from Bucks guard Jevon Carter during the second quarter of Game 4 as Milwaukee took a 3-1 lead in the series. Ayo Dosunmu and Coby White would absorb Caruso’s minutes if he can’t go.

We have more from the Central Division:

  • What will the Pistons do if they land the No. 1 pick for the second consecutive year? James Edwards III of The Athletic predicts they would draft Gonzaga big man Chet Holmgren. Edwards lists Jabari Smith of Auburn and Paolo Banchero of Duke next on the team’s wish list. However, he doesn’t see Detroit drafting Purdue guard Jaden Ivey — No. 4 on ESPN’s Best Available list — higher than No. 7.
  • One of the consolations for the Cavaliers in their play-in tournament flameout is that it allowed them to retain their first-round pick. The next step is decide whether to use that pick or deal it away for an experienced rotation player, Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer writes. President of basketball operations Koby Altman is willing to bring in a rookie. “There’s nothing wrong with having another young player that you can develop,” he said. “I don’t want to say, ‘Let’s trade it again and get somebody else.’ I think there’s a nice niche here for a young prospect to really grow without a ton of expectation and grow into potentially a rotational player who can help down the road.”
  • In the same story, Fedor reports that at least one source believes a CavaliersRicky Rubio reunion is “highly likely.” Rubio, on the mend from a torn ACL in his left knee, will be a free agent this summer.  His expiring contract was traded to Indiana in February.

Cavaliers Notes: Rubio, Allen, Mobley, Sexton

The Cavaliers‘ last two opponents are a reminder that success can be fleeting in the NBA, writes Joe Vardon of The Athletic. Cleveland got a much-needed win in New York this afternoon to solidify its hold on seventh place, two days after getting blown out in Atlanta. The Knicks and Hawks have both fallen on hard times after surprising success last season, and the Cavs are hoping to avoid the same fate.

Cleveland has already experienced a prolonged slump after being tied for second in the East on February 10. Injuries to rotation players have been an issue, but the problems run much deeper, according to Vardon. The Cavaliers were regressing on defense before Jarrett Allen fractured a finger early in March, and coach J.B. Bickerstaff called out his team for complacency as it began to slide down the standings.

The team hasn’t really gotten over the loss of Ricky Rubio, who suffered a torn ACL in late December, Vardon adds. Cleveland’s defense was third in the league with Rubio, but it has since fallen to 12th.

“It was more his spirit, even, than it was just the stuff on the floor,” Bickerstaff said. “It’s hard to put into words. Like, he has a unique ability to raise the level of each individual that he’s playing with and impact them in a positive way. We missed the stuff that he did on the court, so I don’t want to minimize that. But like, to me, it was him as a human being and his personality that made us unique, the way we were, and as good as we were, to be honest with you.”

There’s more from Cleveland:

  • The Cavs are preparing for their first postseason since LeBron James left, and Kevin Love believes it will be a valuable experience for his young teammates, Vardon adds. “I think it’s not lost on us, and certainly not lost on me, how major and paramount an experience like this would be for this group, especially this young group in particular,” Love said. “Not going to next year saying ‘playoffs are the goal’ type of thing. Like, we want to see that this year and be able to make the next step.”
  • Allen and Evan Mobley remain sidelined, but there’s still hope that they might return before the regular season ends April 10, according to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. Both have been ruled out for Sunday’s contest with the Sixers, which will mark the 15th straight missed game for Allen and the fourth for Mobley, who sprained his left ankle Monday. “I don’t know when that game may be, but we’re hopeful that maybe one or two of the final games we’ll have both those guys back,” Bickerstaff said.
  • Collin Sexton, who had surgery in November for a torn meniscus in his left knee, went through a 15-minute workout before Friday’s game, Fedor states in a mailbag column. There’s no expectation that he’ll return for the playoffs, a source tells Fedor, but he continues to make progress.

Central Notes: Cunningham, Duarte, Rubio, Osman

Pistons Rookie of the Year candidate Cade Cunningham played just eight minutes on Friday but he wasn’t injured. Head coach Dwane Casey gave Cunningham a chance to rest in the second game of a back-to-back, as Keith Langlois of Pistons.com notes. Saddiq Bey and Isaiah Stewart also only made cameo appearances.

A handful of other rotation players missed the game due to rest or injuries.

“It gave us the opportunity to play the young guys and that’s what we wanted to do,” Casey said. “If we were competing for a playoff position, they could have definitely gone out and played. But we wanted to make sure we didn’t risk anything.”

We have more from the Central Division:

  • Pacers rookie guard Chris Duarte is unlikely to play the rest of the season, Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files tweets. Duarte has been dealing with a sore left toe since February and last played on March 15.
  • Don’t rule out a possible reunion between the Cavaliers and Ricky Rubio, according to Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Rubio was a key part in their success before he tore his ACL and his expiring contract was traded, Fedor points out. Cleveland targeted Rubio last offseason but a reunion may depend on whether he’ll accept a one-year, prove-it deal after his latest knee injury.
  • Cavaliers forward Cedi Osman received two DNPs, then got a chance to reclaim a rotation spot. He responded with 21 points, six rebounds and four assists in 27 minutes on Thursday, Fedor notes. “Cedi’s a good basketball player and we need him to be his best, so we can be our best,” coach J.B. Bickerstaff said.

Pacers Rumors: Turner, Sabonis, Ayton, Rubio, McCollum

After trading Caris LeVert to Cleveland, the Pacers continue to talk to teams about centers Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis, but are still seeking a substantial return, writes Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report. Indiana wants at least two first-round picks for Turner and an even more significant package for Sabonis, according to Fischer.

The Trail Blazers, Mavericks, Raptors, Knicks, Hornets, and Kings are among the teams to express interest in Turner, but they’ve all balked at the Pacers’ asking price so far, Fischer writes. As Fischer reported last week, Toronto has discussed a framework of Goran Dragic‘s expiring contract and a first-round pick for Turner, but it sounds like Indiana would want more assets than just a single first-rounder.

The Kings have engaged with the Pacers about both Turner and Sabonis, though it’s unclear how much progress was made in those talks, says Fischer. De’Aaron Fox was “at least mentioned in some capacity” in discussions between the two teams, according to Fischer, which echoes a January report.

Here’s more on the Pacers:

  • Some people around the NBA who have spoken to Bleacher Report have suggested the Suns may be one of the teams interest in Sabonis. While Phoenix isn’t expected to shake up their roster this week, some of Fischer’s sources believe an offseason deal that involves Sabonis and a Deandre Ayton sign-and-trade is a possibility.
  • Both Fischer and ESPN’s Brian Windhorst say that Ricky Rubio‘s expiring contract could be flipped before Thursday’s trade deadline, which Adrian Wojnarowski first reported on Monday. T.J. Warren and Jeremy Lamb, also on expiring contracts, look like trade candidates too, per Fischer.
  • Fischer reports that the Pacers are believed to be one of the teams with some interest in Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum.

Trade Rumors: Harden, Rubio, Grant, McCollum, Smart

James Harden isn’t going to wear a Sixers uniform this season. That’s what a Nets source told Jordan Schultz of Schultz Report (Twitter link). Brooklyn feels that dealing Harden at this point would damage its chances of winning a title, according to Schultz.

“James [Harden] isn’t going to Philly; I’ll tell you that with absolute certainty,” the unnamed source said. “They called and we didn’t listen. We want to win a championship and trading James does nothing but hurt that goal.”

We have more rumors from around the league:

  • The Pacers have a good chance of trading Ricky Rubio‘s expiring contract, which they just acquired from Cleveland, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said on NBA Today (video link). “The Pacers are probably going to be able to flip that Rubio contract and get back some more assets as they kind of reshape this roster,” Wojnarowski said.
  • In the same segment, Woj said the Pistons could wait until the offseason before moving Jerami Grant. “They don’t have anything right now,” he said regarding a satisfactory trade offer.
  • As some recent reports indicated, the Knicks and Pelicans are interested in CJ McCollum and have been “fairly aggressive” in pursuit of the Trail Blazers’ high-scoring guard. “McCollum has a lot of value around the league,” Wojnarowski said. “You know what you’re getting with him.”
  • Add the Hawks to the list of potential suitors for McCollum, Chris Kirchner of The Athletic reports, citing sources. Atlanta is also interested in the Celtics’ Marcus Smart, Kirschner adds. Both of the guards are signed to hefty long-term contracts.

Pacific Notes: James, Davis, Fox, Haliburton, Rubio, Green, Wiseman

Lakers VP of basketball operations Rob Pelinka has remained in regular communication with LeBron James and Anthony Davis to discuss potential trades, according to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin, but Pelinka has done that in the past. James is prepared to play out the season with the current roster.

“I don’t really like to play fantasy basketball, so this is the group that we have going into the deadline and we’ll be ready to take on all challenges that this season has given us,” James said. “If there’s an opportunity — I’ve said this every year – if there’s an opportunity for you to get better, then you explore those options. That’s always been (my stance).”

The Lakers don’t have a lot of flexibility with three max deals on their cap.

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • The Kings would still prefer to build around De’Aaron Fox and Tyrese Haliburton, sources told the Sacramento Bee’s Jason Anderson. Fox is in the first year of a five-year, $163MM max contract extension. This comes on the heels of a report that the Knicks are interested in Fox and that some people around the NBA believe Sacramento hasn’t given up on its pursuit of Ben Simmons.
  • Injured guard Ricky Rubio, who just had his expiring contract moved from Cleveland to Indiana, said in a recent Spanish media interview (hat tip to Hoops Hype) that he wouldn’t mind eventually playing with the Warriors. “It would be nice to play with (Stephen) Curry and Klay Thompson,” Rubio said.
  • While the Warriors might be in the market for frontcourt help, GM Bob Myers said the best solution would be to get Draymond Green and James Wiseman back in action, Anthony Slater of The Athletic tweets“We’re being told that both of those guys, Draymond and James, will be available and back to help up with some games to go,” he said. “I don’t know if it’ll be 20, 25, 15. But we think those two will help us more than anything we’re looking at on the market.”

Pacers Trade Caris LeVert To Cavaliers

FEBRUARY 7: The Cavaliers have officially acquired LeVert from the Pacers, the team announced today in a press release. The full terms of the deal are outlined below.

“We are very excited to add a dynamic young player of this caliber and experience,” Altman said in a statement. “Caris LeVert fits uniquely into our culture and his Ohio roots brings an immediate connection to our community. We look forward to seeing what type of impact he can make on this roster. We also want to send our best wishes to Ricky Rubio and his family. Ricky has been the consummate professional and his leadership both on and off the court was invaluable and we respect everything he brought to this franchise.”

FEBRUARY 6: The Cavaliers are acquiring Caris LeVert and Miami’s 2022 second-round pick from the Pacers in exchange for Ricky Rubio, Cleveland’s 2022 lottery-protected first-round pick, Houston’s 2022 second-round pick, and Utah’s 2027 second-round pick, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (all Twitter links).

LeVert is in Cleveland ahead of Sunday’s game between the Pacers and Cavs and was discussing the trade with Cleveland’s president of basketball operations, Koby Altman, per Joe Vardon of The Athletic (via Twitter). Pacers coach Rick Carlisle confirmed to reporters that the terms of the trade have been agreed to in principle, Vardon tweets.

LeVert, a native of Columbus, is excited to return home to Ohio and join the rising Cavaliers, Wojnarowski reports (via Twitter). LeVert will be eligible for an extension this summer. He’s making $17.5MM this season and $18.8MM in 2022/23.

Rubio, who unfortunately suffered a torn ACL in his left knee at the end of December and is out for the season, was involved for salary-matching purposes. He’s on an expiring $17.8MM contract and will become an unrestricted free agent this summer. The disabled player exception the Cavaliers received after Rubio’s injury, which is worth $8.9MM, will be voided upon completion of the trade, as ESPN’s Bobby Marks tweets.

Cleveland has been scouring the trade market for guard help after season-ending injuries to Rubio and Collin Sexton, who suffered a torn MCL in November which required surgery. The Cavs were later granted a disabled player exception for Sexton, which they still hold. It’s worth $3.17MM, half of Sexton’s salary this season. They previously made a minor trade to acquire Rajon Rondo from the Lakers, but were still in pursuit of a younger player who could play a bigger role.

The Cavs had been rumored to be interested in LeVert for weeks, but one recent report said they were resistant to Indiana’s high asking price. Obviously the Cavs value LeVert highly to give up their protected 2022 first-round pick and Houston’s second-rounder, which figures to be in the early 30s.

LeVert, 27, is averaging 18.7 PPG, 3.8 RPG, and 4.4 APG on .447/.323/.760 shooting through 39 games this season (31.1 MPG). His last outing in a Pacers uniform was a stellar one, putting up 42 points, five rebounds, and eight assists on 19-26 shooting in Indiana’s 122-115 loss to Chicago Friday.

For the Pacers, it’s a significant haul for a player with one additional year remaining on his contract. Although LeVert is a talented shot creator and scorer, he has his share of weaknesses. He’s more of a shoot-first, pass-second type of player and isn’t a great shooter. He’s also a subpar defender. Apparently the Cavaliers think they will be able to cover some of LeVert’s defensive limitations with their third-ranked defense, anchored by Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley.

It will be interesting to see if the Pacers continue to make deals ahead of the February 10 trade deadline. They are reportedly willing to listen to offers for several players, including Domantas Sabonis, Myles Turner, Justin Holiday, and Jeremy Lamb.

The Cavs currently hold a 32-21 record, fourth in the East, while the Pacers are 19-35, 13th in the East.

Cavs Willing To Deal This Year’s First-Rounder, Rubio’s Contract

The Cavaliers are willing to deal this year’s first-round pick and might also move Ricky Rubio‘s contract in order to acquire another guard or wing, Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.

Cleveland has been the league’s biggest surprise, piling up victories despite losing Collin Sexton and Rubio to season-ending injuries. The Cavaliers have won eight of their last nine games and are 11 games above .500.

This week, the Cavaliers were granted an $8.9MM Disabled Player Exception — half of Rubio’s salary — due to the torn ACL he suffered last month. That exception would be nullified if they traded Rubio before using it. Rubio will be an unrestricted free agent after the season.

Cleveland owns all of its first-round picks and has eight extra second-rounders at its disposal, including a pair this season, while only owing two second-rounders to other clubs. The team also has a $4.3MM trade exception at its disposal.

But as Fedor notes, the team is approximately $3MM below the luxury tax threshold and also doesn’t want to wreck the chemistry it has built. Coach J.B. Bickerstaff said those factors will come into play regarding any moves president of basketball operations Koby Altman might make.

“We’ve had a lot of conversations about that,” Bickerstaff said. “We know how fragile chemistry is and how quickly it can be bothered. This is a very important time for our team, an opportunity — if they’re there — to improve itself, but also an opportunity to not feel rushed to do something that could impact the chemistry we’ve built. Our front office has a heavy understanding of how important that is. They are aggressive to improve this team. They do a lot of homework and understand the type of people you’re going to bring in if you do decide to make a move. We do have something good brewing here with the group. Definitely don’t want to do something that negatively impacts it.”

Cavaliers Notes: DPE, Rubio, Love, Rebuild Over

The Cavaliers have been granted a disabled player exception worth $8.9MM – half of Ricky Rubio‘s salary – for the season-ending torn ACL that Rubio suffered last month, sources tell Kelsey Russo of The Athletic (via Twitter).

A disabled player exception can be granted when a team has a player go down with an injury deemed to be season-ending (with the player more likely than not to be sidelined through June 15). The cap exception doesn’t open up an extra roster spot, but it gives the club some additional spending flexibility, functioning almost as a cross between a traded player exception and a mid-level exception.

We go into more detail on who qualifies for disabled player exceptions and how exactly they work in our glossary entry on the subject. But essentially, a DPE gives a team the opportunity to add an injury replacement by either signing a player to a one-year contract, trading for a player in the final year of his contract, or placing a waiver claim on a player in the final year of his contract.

The Cavs are currently only $3.5MM below the luxury tax threshold and already have a full roster, so they might not end up using the DPE by the March 10 deadline. Still, it’s another asset for the team to potentially utilize.

Here’s more from Cleveland:

  • Kevin Love is relishing his reserve role, according to Tom Withers of The Associated Press. Love has been on a rocky path the past couple of years, transitioning from four straight NBA Finals appearances to a full rebuild. However, he’s enjoying the ride with the ascendant Cavs this season. “We may be the ultimate share-the-wealth team,” Love said. “That’s beautiful. We really pay it forward for the next guy. We trust the extra pass. We trust guys to make the right plays out there and understand that they have great intention in everything that they do and we do. That allows guys to play free.” Love is in contention for the Sixth Man of the Year award, averaging 14.2 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 2.1 assists on .439/.408/.873 shooting in just 21.6 minutes per contest (41 games).
  • Jason Lloyd of The Athletic declares that the team’s rebuild is officially over and the Cavs are a team to be feared throughout the league after beating the defending champion Bucks 115-99 on Wednesday night. He notes that Cleveland is fourth in the league in net rating at plus-5.1, typically a hallmark of a contending team. Last season, the Cavs held a minus-8.3 net rating, so it’s been a 13.4 point turnaround. Lloyd believes GM Koby Altman and head coach J.B. Bickerstaff deserve a lot of credit for the year-to-year transformation and should be in the running for Executive and Coach of the Year, respectively. Altman recently received a long-term contract extension and a promotion to president of basketball operations.
  • Along the same lines, Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com writes that the Cavaliers have the perfect blend of talent and chemistry, with a real shot at becoming the No. 1 seed in the East. “This is not the Cleveland we knew in the past years,” reigning Finals MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo said following Cleveland’s victory over Milwaukee Wednesday. “They’re a good team. They have a better record than us right now. It’s a team that we’ve got to be careful, we’ve got to scout better and make sure we respect them even more now. They’re a playoff team and they’re fighting for the title themselves.” The Cavs are currently in third place with a 30-19 record, one-and-a-half games back of the 31-17 Heat.