Wednesday, February 20, 2013
First Cup: Wednesday
By Nick Borges
- John Reid of The Times-Picayune: ESPN's Chris Broussard tweeted Tuesday night that the Hornets have made Eric Gordon available for a trade, but that it’s not likely to happen because teams are concerned about his health going forward. Hornets officials had no comment regarding trade rumors Tuesday night, but Gordon said for the second consecutive day that he’s not concerned about the trade deadline. However, he acknowledged that anything is possible. "I don’t really get caught up to it,’’ Gordon said Tuesday night. "But you just never know your situation. That’s part of the process but at the end of the day, you can’t worry about that as a player. If it happens, it happens. I’m definitely not worried about it.’’ Sources confirm the Hornets would be interested in any trade deal with the Golden State Warriors that would include second-year shooting guard Klay Thompson. But sources indicate the Warriors are reluctant to part ways with Thompson, whom they feel is a young emerging star.
- Bob Finnnan of The News-Herald: The burning question is whether Cavaliers center Marreese Speights will still be with the team. The 6-foot-10, 255-pound Speights came to the Cavs on Jan. 22 along with guards Wayne Ellington and Josh Selby and a first-round pick in exchange for forward Jon Leuer. Speights has fit in well with the Cavs (16-37) as their backup center. He has a player's option on his 2013-14 contract and is expected to become a free agent. That's why the Cavs might entertain thoughts of trading him. … "It's out of my control," Speights said. "It's up to the front office. Whatever they do on Thursday, we'll see what happens." The 25-year-old Speights said he wouldn't mind staying with the Cavs. … Speights is earning $4.2 million this season. If he decides to stay with the Cavs, he'll be owed $4.5 million next season. He might seek a multiyear deal. "We will evaluate our option at the end of the season," agent Andy Miller said on Tuesday.
- Jeff Schultz of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: If Ferry trades Smith – and the odds appear tilted in that direction – it’s because he is still dealing with the damage done to this organization by previous regimes, which led to extended mediocrity. The Hawks are 29-22. They have a legitimate chance to finish among the top four in the deteriorating Eastern Conference. But this is how a new general manager must view things: What are the chances this team wins more than one playoff round? What are the chances it upsets Miami? If the answers to those questions are near zero, the focus needs to be on the future. Ferry wouldn’t come out and say that Tuesday. This close to the trade deadline, a general manager isn't going to reveal much. But when I asked where he believed the Hawks are at the deadline, he responded, "We’re in a unique situation with the current roster being competitive, but also having good cap flexibility going forward. Like most teams, we’re evaluating ourselves and looking at the opportunities that come to us, especially this time of year. If there’s an opportunity that makes sense for us and for the long-term interest of the Hawks, we’ll look at it closely.” Confused? Focus on this string of words: “… the long-term interest of the Hawks.”
- Mike Monroe of the San Antonio Express-News: Spurs forward DeJuan Blair has seen his name in nearly every speculative trade story that has hit the Internet since All-Star weekend, but his approach to Thursday’s trade deadline is educated indifference. “I’m not really worried about any of that,” said the four-year forward from Pittsburgh. “I’m just worried about right now and today. All the rest of that is BS.” Blair’s name has been linked to numerous trades in the last few weeks, and he understands comments he made last summer about expecting to be traded before training camp are partially to blame. Blair’s trade value likely is diminished by the fact he will be a free agent this summer, when teams interested in him could get him without giving up a player.
- Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News: Donnie Nelson has burned up enough cellphone minutes to char-fry anybody’s monthly bill. The Mavericks’ president is as plugged in as anybody regarding what’s going on and who is likely to be involved in deal-making before the deadline. “There’s certainly chatter,” Nelson said Tuesday. “And there will be some things that get done. But there are a lot of teams that are hesitant to do anything that they feel is nothing more than a marginal upgrade.” Lump the Mavericks into that grouping, by the way. They can make plenty of deals. The offers are there. But they have to take back salary for next season to make any of them happen. And that’s where most of their conversations end. … The bottom line is that it would be foolish for the Mavericks to make any deal that cements their mediocrity. Deals that add money to their 2013-14 payroll are enough to paralyze their options for the summer. So for now, they stand pat. At least until the next time the phone rings.
- Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic: Much of the Suns’ trade talk seems to have simmered down as the Thursday 1 p.m. deadline nears, but there is one more possibility. ESPN.com reported New York’s interest in Jermaine O’Neal and Toronto’s interest in Sebastian Telfair while another source said there was All-Star break talk of Oklahoma City exploring Marcin Gortat and P.J. Tucker for Kendrick Perkins, Jeremy Lamb and a first-round pick. Perkins is the type of center to fit the new defensively geared culture, although he is limited offensively for a team wanting to post up its big men. Lamb probably would have been the Suns’ draft pick in June had Houston not made a trade to move up two spots and take him in front of Phoenix. The Suns do have $6.4 million of cap room to take on salary in a deal, but it is more likely that the Suns stand pat to protect their two first-round draft picks and salary-cap space, which leaves room to sign a maximum-level free agent.
- Mike Sorensen of the Deseret News: Paul Millsap’s name has come up in trade rumors for years, and the Jazz forward says he’s used to it by now, saying he takes it as a compliment that he’s a wanted player. One of the latest rumors has him going to the L.A. Clippers for point guard Eric Bledsoe and others. That trade would potentially affect Mo Williams, the team’s current starting point guard, who has been sitting out with an injured thumb for more than a month. “I’m a free agent after this year, so obviously they’ve got some options,’’ Williams said. “Hopefully they understand my value and hopefully this is a place they want me to be for years to come. I know I do. We’ll cross that bridge when we get there.’’
- Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald: As Danny Ainge downplayed the possibility the Celtics will be involved in a transaction before tomorrow’s NBA trade deadline, general managers and personnel people around the league are saying quite the opposite. They’ll be stunned if the Celts don’t make a deal of some sort. “They’re too active,” said one. “They’ve been putting a lot of different things out there, and you’d have to think at least one of them is going to come through.” If the Celtics do pull off a trade, it’s likely something beyond what’s already in the public domain, and many of those talks were dead on arrival. … Overall, Ainge added that his trade options are narrowing. “It’s probably cooling down,” he said. “I’ve got answers from a lot of people that things aren’t going to happen, unless somebody springs something on you at the last minute. But that doesn’t happen a lot.”
- Bob Cooney of the Philadelphia Daily News: General manager Tony DiLeo has said numerous times that he is not willing to mortgage the future of the organization to get a player who will have only a short stay here. The problem is that besides Jrue Holiday and Thaddeus Young, both signed to long-term contracts, who else is in the future plans? A report by ESPN's Chris Broussard said that swingman Evan Turner, who is averaging career highs in points (13.8), rebounds (6.6), assists (4.4) and minutes (36.2), is on the trading block, though an NBA source told the Daily News nothing is going on with Turner. Turner is in his third year after being taken with the second overall pick in June 2010.
- Doug Smith of the Toronto Star: Most of the attention concerning the Raptors and trade possibilities surrounds Andrea Bargnani after Colangelo hinted on the night of the Gay transaction that he would be open to moving the enigmatic big man, who has been back for less than two weeks after suffering an elbow ligament tear. While league sources insist there is nothing serious going on with Bargnani, things can come up quickly and Casey knows the deadline can weigh on a player’s mind. “I’m kind of going slow about that,” he said of discussing the issue with the team. “I said it a few weeks ago: ‘You guys don’t pay any attention to it. You just go play basketball.’ The best players in the game have been traded . . . Oscar (Robertson), Kareem (Abdul-Jabbar). If somebody’s putting your name out there, it’s a compliment.”
- Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News: The Warriors are already above the luxury-tax line by a few hundred thousand dollars, which squeezes the options. Though Lacob suggests they could go higher over the line for the right deal, it's likelier that the Warriors would try to go under the tax line by Thursday by trading Jeremy Tyler or Charles Jenkins for a future second-round pick. But Lacob made it clear that giving away useful players to drop under the line is not mandatory. "Sure, in a perfect world we would like to be under the tax now," Lacob said. "But it is not an imperative ... "We have a nice mix of younger veterans and youth. We now have size and great shooting and depth. We have an excellent coaching staff and a very good locker room with guys that care, want to win and genuinely like each other ... "Bottom line: this is not about money or tax limits or whatever; this is about the ONLY thing that matters to our fans, our players and to our ownership group ... WINNING."
- Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times: Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak reiterated Tuesday that he will not trade Dwight Howard. The NBA trade deadline is Thursday. Given the Lakers' struggles this season (25-29), Howard's name is popular on the rumor mill. "It's unlikely that there will be an upgrade in the talent of this team. I just don't see how that's realistic," Kupchak said. "We'll continue to be on the phones and make calls, take calls and listen, but don't anticipate anything dramatic taking place in the next two days." So is he still not trading Howard? "That would be correct," said Kupchak.
- Shandel Richardson of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel: Last year Heat coach Erik Spoelstra had no problem discussing what he termed the team's "maintenance program." This year, it's a bit different. Spoelstra said he had no plans to rest players the second half of the season because it's too early to even think about it. The decision to sit players at various times last year was an effort to give them breaks during the lockout-shortened season. "I'm not even going to get into that," Spoelstra said after Tuesday's practice. "That bugs the heck out of me. We're not going to start talking about maintenance right now. That's a this-generation-of-media obsession of when do you start sitting guys. We have 32 games left. That's absurd." The Heat last year rested guard Dwyane Wade on several occasions to preserve his health for the playoffs. Spoelstra said the chances of it happening again are highly unlikely, and certainly not at this point in the season.
- Benjamin Hochman of The Denver Post: They questioned it. Folks in the front office. Folks across the Front Range. Should Denver trade Danilo Gallinari? It was in late November, and the sharpshooter wasn't even shooting 40 percent. The Nuggets received calls about the 24-year-old forward, but the front office decided to wait. Let Gallo grow. Let Gallo find gall. Well, the trade deadline is Thursday, and Gallinari is likely to stay. He spearheaded Denver's 97-90 home win Tuesday against Boston, scoring 26 points while making 4-of-9 3-point attempts. In efforts to make up for teammate Andre Iguodala, who scored one point, Gallinari stuffed the stat sheet with a Dre-like night, tallying five rebounds and five assists, along with a plus-20, best of the night.
- Sarah Kogod of The Washington Post: During the second quarter of last night’s Wizards game at Verizon Center, the word on Twitter was that Raptors broadcaster Matt Devlin was taking some shots at Wale, after he witnessed some chatter between the Raptors’ Rudy Gay and a courtside Wale during the game. “So, Wale is inspiring, and I’m sure somebody on Twitter can tell me exactly if they’ve ever heard of Wale,” Devlin said on the Toronto broadcast. “He’s not Drake, that’s for sure.” Burn. The Drake dis made its way to Wale at the speed of light, and the D.C.-based rapper responded on Twitter. … I caught up with Devlin after the game, and he said any “yelling” was a product of the loud arena, and that any beef was Twitter’s fault. “You know what, we were making fun of ourselves. Making fun, because we’re not hip,” he told me. “Obviously people on Twitter and social media, it kind of took on a life of its own. So he came up, we started talking and there was nothing to it.” As for any beef between Wale and Gay, Wale insists there isn’t any. … So there you have it. No one is admitting to any beef, and Wale’s cool with not being Drake. I didn’t reach out to Drake for comment, because I’ve already written 400 words on this nonsense and I don’t care what Drake has to say anyway.