Thursday, July 18, 2013
First Cup: Thursday
By Nick Borges
- Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com: The camp for Portland Trail Blazers All-Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge arranged a meeting with general manger Neil Olshey in a Las Vegas hotel lobby on Sunday to suggest several trade scenarios, a league source informed CSNNW.com. According to the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity due to the sensitive nature of the situation, the meeting was described as being productive with both sides focused on doing what's best for both parties. Aldridge, 27, has two years and roughly $30 million remaining on his current contract and I'm told Olshey is in no rush to facilitate a deal at the urging of a player's camp, especially if the organization isn't getting equal value in return. Trading Aldridge for a collection of draft picks will not be an option.
- Michael Hunt of the Journal Sentinel: It's important to understand that both sides created this mess by overplaying their hands. Jennings refused to talk with the Bucks about an extension last October because he was certain another team would blow them out of the water in restricted free agency. After not entertaining a market-value contract from the Bucks of somewhere in the $8-million-a-year range, he is being virtually ignored by the market following his unsatisfactory performances in the second half of the season and the playoffs. Jennings overestimated his worth as well as the need for point guards in the restricted market. The Bucks erred first by saying they would match any offer for Jennings, thus limiting Jennings' options. Next, if they were that sold on Teague, they should have made a stronger offer that Atlanta could have refused, if also to avoid the situation they now have on their hands. But what's done is done, both by Jennings and the Bucks. If forced to live together for one more season, they could make it work. More than that, they'll have to make it work.
- Chip Scoggins of the Star Tribune: One minute remained on the game clock and his team held a comfortable lead, so Royce White thought he’d treat the crowd to a showboat move. Alone on a fast break, White tossed the ball off the backboard and leapt to throw down a thunderous, one-handed dunk. Except his timing was a smidgen off, so he had to settle for a layup, drawing a mixture of laughs and wisecracks and a wry smile from White. It was 10 p.m. with about 200 people in attendance at a suburban Twin Cities gym. Facing a bunch of college players in the Howard Pulley Summer League, White was the main attraction and, at 6-8 and 260 pounds, he wasn’t hard to spot. He looked like Shrek on a basketball court with his imposing presence. He scored 24 points but could have finished with 80, if he wanted. He zipped one bounce pass from half-court through traffic to a cutting teammate for a layup. He made a deep three-pointer, played point guard and posted up whenever he felt like shooting a layup. Amid the oohs and aahs, I kept thinking to myself, hopefully this isn’t as good as it gets. White belongs in the NBA. He’s too skilled and too powerful to see his talent go to waste. But his future as a professional basketball player remains murky as he attempts to forge a career while remaining steadfast in his conviction that his mental health issues take precedence over everything.
- Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle: In an expected strategy shift from last season’s emphasis on young prospects, the Rockets are interested in veterans Marcus Camby and Mike Miller, a person with knowledge of the team’s thinking said Wednesday. The 6-11 Camby, who finished the 2011-12 season with the Rockets and had hoped to finish his career in his adopted hometown, reached a buyout agreement with the Raptors on Wednesday. Camby, 39, went from the Rockets to the Knicks last summer in a sign-and-trade deal when the Rockets chose to rebuild around young players. He was sent to Toronto in the New York trade for Andrea Bargnani with two seasons and $7.5 million left on his contract. The 6-8 Miller, who helped the Heat to consecutive NBA titles, was waived by Miami under the amnesty provision. He will be paid $12.8 million over the next two seasons by the Heat. Because the Rockets are over the salary cap, they could not put in a waiver claim, but if Miller clears waivers, they will seek to add him to their retooled roster. The Rockets are expected to offer veteran minimum contracts to both players. The Rockets do have their “room” exception, worth $2.652 million in the first season, but plan to keep that available should it be needed during the season.
- John Smallwood of the Philadelphia Daily News: The Pelicans had a news conference for Holiday, whom they acquired in a draft-night trade from the Sixers, last Thursday. Here in South Philadelphia, today marks a month since the Sixers picked up University of Kentucky freshman center Nerlens Noel, the sixth overall pick in the draft, for Holiday. But while we all know Noel is actually a Sixer, it might as well still be a murky rumor, considering how little effort the organization has thus far shown in promoting what happened. Noel could be the Sixers' most important draft-day acquisition since they selected Allen Iverson No. 1 overall in 1996, but he has yet to be formally introduced by the Sixers. But if hints coming from the Sixers are accurate, that could change early next week, when they will hold a news conference to present Noel to Philly. By then, president/general manager Sam Hinkie will be back from Nevada, where he is scouting players in the Las Vegas Summer League. Heck, the Sixers might even have a head coach by then and make it a joint presser. Still, this is merely the latest indication that the new Sixers' management does not yet have a solid grasp on the important role that publicity and the dissemination of information - just throw some bones, not any master trade secrets - can play in trying to restore the relevancy of this franchise.
- Dwain Price of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram: It took some time and some patience, but the Dallas Mavericks finally got their center. Before Wednesday’s summer league game against the Los Angeles Clippers, owner Mark Cuban said his team had come to terms with free-agent center Samuel Dalembert on a multi-year contract. The 6-foot-11, 250-pound Dalembert helps salvage a summer in which the Mavs lost out on Dwight Howard, and also made overtures to Andrew Bynum. “It’s not ‘signed’ signed,” Cuban said of the contract with Dalembert. “But it’s agreed upon.” Cuban said adding Dalembert does not affect the Mavs’ hot pursuit of another center — Greg Oden. … Mark Cuban confirmed that free-agent point guard Devin Harris isn’t leaving the Mavs. Two weeks ago the Mavs and Harris had verbally agreed on a three-year, $9 million contract. But the Mavs discovered Harris needed toe surgery, so the two parties got together to work out a restructured contract to keep Harris after he returns from surgery. … Brandan Wright will sign a new contract with the Mavs probably by this weekend, Mark Cuban said. … Wright will likely receive a contract starting at around $4 million per year.
- Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun: Raptors fans will love this. Canadian hoops phenom Andrew Wiggins, expected to be selected first overall in the draft next summer, revealed Tuesday that, given his druthers, he'd like to play at home. After winning the Gatorade High School Athlete of the Year Award Tuesday, Wiggins told esnewsreporting.com he wants to win a national championship at Kansas, would love to play Kobe Bryant one-on-one and considers Michael Jordan the greatest ever, before talk turned to his preferred NBA home. "I would like to say the Raptors, I want to play for them," said Wiggins, who has been spotted many times sporting a Raptors cap. The team would need quite a bit of lottery luck in order to make Wiggins' wish come true, but there's always free agency down the line.
- Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon-Journal: The Cavaliers are 2-1 through the preliminary round of games and are seeded seventh entering the playoff format. They will face the San Antonio Spurs today at 4 p.m. Waiters is struggling with his shot through three games, but the focus right now is on defense. The Cavs’ perimeter defenders were among the worst in the league last season. Some of that can be attributed to youth, but not all of it. “I just locked in on one guy, that was my mindset,” Waiters said. “That was the biggest thing was falling asleep on the defensive end.” For that, Brown has set the alarm clock this week in the desert. The Cavs were a bad defensive team last season, allowing opponents to shoot a league-worst .476. That is expected to change with Brown back. “You can have a great defensive team if your guys give effort, if they communicate, if they trust that help will be there,” Brown said. “If you do all those things and you have some physical toughness and mental toughness, you can be a great defensive team.”
- Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News: Within the next couple of days, D'Antoni will add Kurt Rambis and Johnny Davis to his coaching staff, according to a league source familiar with the process. Rambis spent 10 seasons as Phil Jackson's lead assistant coach, had head-coaching stints with both the Lakers (1999) and Minnesota Timberwolves (2009-2011) and won four championships in his nine-year playing career with the Lakers during the Showtime Era. Davis has had several assistant and head-coaching stints over the years with the Philadelphia 76ers (1996-97), Magic (2003-05) and Memphis Grizzlies (2009). D'Antoni recently hired Larry Lewis and Mark Madsen to serve as his two player development coaches. Lewis spent the past two seasons as an assistant with the D-Fenders, the Lakers' Development League affiliate. Madsen was named the D-Fenders' head coach in May. D'Antoni's brother, Dan, remains the lone member of his original coaching staff last season.
- Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer: The NBA’s rubber stamp will hit the Charlotte Bobcats’ request for a name change to the Hornets at a Board of Governor’s meeting Thursday at the Wynn resort in Las Vegas. The Bobcats technically need approval from a majority of the league’s other 29 teams to take on the name of Charlotte’s original NBA team. But it’s clear there won’t be resistance, after the New Orleans franchise gave up that nickname to be called the Pelicans. Incoming NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said twice during visits to Charlotte that he is for this name change if Bobcats owner Michael Jordan wants it. And outgoing Commissioner David Stern advocated a name change, according to a source familiar with Stern’s thinking. The Bobcats will celebrate the anticipated name change at an uptown event coinciding with Alive after Five at the EpiCentre.