Tag:Geoff Petrie
Posted on: December 30, 2010 11:28 am
 

Post-Ups

After an appropriate cooling-off period surrounding Carmelo Anthony trade talks after the tragic death of his sister, teams are beginning to get a renewed sense of where the Nuggets are strategy-wise. And once again, multiple sources tell CBSSports.com that Denver officials are sending mixed signals and still appear undecided as to whether they're seeking veteran players who can help them now or some combination of cap relief, draft picks and young players. 

As a result of what one rival executive referred to as the Nuggets having "overplayed their hand" in negotiations with the Nets, frustrated New Jersey officials are in the process of "substantively" re-evaluating their pursuit of Anthony, a three-time All-Star who has refused to sign a three-year, $65 million extension with the Nuggets. 

No one is fully aware of Anthony's mindset after he's missed five games grieving the loss of his sister, Michelle, who died tragically at 38 last week. But with trade demands that another executive described as "too high and unrealistic," the Nuggets run the risk of alienating the team that from the beginning had the most assets to offer -- starting with Derrick Favors, multiple first-round picks and the expiring contract of Troy Murphy

The Nuggets' outward appearance of indecision could very well be a negotiating tactic, as a person with direct knowledge of Denver's strategy has told CBSSports.com that the team has decided it wants to get young and accumulate draft picks if and when they decide to trade Anthony -- not attempt to tread water with sub-par veteran replacements whose contracts would hinder the team's future flexibility. The other wild card, of course, is Anthony's reluctance to sign an extension with the Nets, which has been confirmed by a person with direct knowledge of his thinking. 

In view of their frustration, the Nets have not yet gotten to the point where they're ready to pull all their chips off the table. But it's clear that the Nets are "sick of the whole charade," according to one source and have "backed away," according to another. And with that, we move along to the rest of the final 2010 edition of Post-Ups: 

* Exploratory trade talks the Trail Blazers are involved in on multiple fronts hinge on what decision is made with regard to Brandon Roy's short- and long-term health. Team officials already have engaged in internal discussions about trading older players such as Marcus Camby, Andre Miller and Joel Przybilla. Such an avenue would seem to be more likely if it's decided that Roy will miss significantly more than the six games he just sat out due to a bone-on-bone condition in both knees. One scenario involved Miller going to the Bobcats, but those talks took place prior to Charlotte's recent coaching change. The Bobcats now are entering a new evaluation period under coach Paul Silas and have no current interest in straight salary-dump trades. "That's the furthest thing from the truth," one source said. "We want to do basketball deals if we can." 

* A person with knowledge of Camby's thinking confirmed a report that the 14-year veteran would indeed contemplate retirement if traded to a rebuilding team. Camby's overwhelming preference is to stay in Portland, and there is "no close second," the person said. But if a trade to a contending team in a city his family would be willing to relocate to were presented, Camby would be open to the idea. The Knicks, who from time to time have expressed interest in bringing Camby back to New York, are one team that would meet the 36-year-old's approval. 

* The Rockets have been engaged in trade discussions regarding Yao Ming and his expiring $17.7 million contract, but have been met with underwhelming offers thus far. One rival GM said that's because any team contemplating acquiring Yao would have to do so only for cap relief. "You have to do that with the assumption that he'll never play again," the executive said. The balance of Yao's contract for this season is insured due to his latest foot injury, and thus would provide current savings as well as future cap relief. 

* According to Kings GM Geoff Petrie, Tyreke Evans' injury prognosis may not be as bad as it seems. Petrie told CBSSports.com Wednesday that specialists have informed the team that if Evans elects to undergo a laser procedure to resolve plantar fasciitis in his left foot, he could be back as fast as 3-4 weeks -- not the 3-4 months that Evans told reporters after a one-point loss to the Clippers Monday night. In that game, Evans scored 32 points in 40 minutes. On Wednesday night, he hit a 50-foot game-winner to give the Kings a 100-98 victory over Memphis. "He seems to be managing it fairly well right at the moment," Petrie said. 

* The December holidays brought an intermission to labor talks, with no substantive negotiation expected until after the New Year. But in recent weeks, at least 10 teams have signed petitions approving decertification -- a tactic that would put the owners' right to lock out the players in legal question. National Basketball Players Association officials plan to continue meeting with teams in January and get further decertification petitions signed. If and when the owners notify players of a lockout at or near the expiration date of the current CBA on July 1, union officials will have the paperwork they need to dissolve the union and challenge the lockout as a violation of antitrust laws. But there are divergent views in the labor-law world on whether decertification is a legitimate tactic. In his most recent public appearance in Memphis earlier this month, commissioner David Stern described it as "a nuclear option. But I'm not sure whether it isn't the nuclear option that falls on the party that launches it."
Posted on: December 24, 2010 2:46 am
Edited on: December 24, 2010 6:54 am
 

Joe Maloof denies Petrie, Westphal in trouble

Kings owner Joe Maloof denied a report by CBSSports.com Friday that the team was considering firing GM Geoff Petrie and coach Paul Westphal after 21 losses in 23 games. 

“There’s nothing going on,” Maloof told CBSSports.com by phone. “Paul Westphal is the coach and Geoff is our general manager. That’s the way it is and that’s the way it’s going to stay.” 

When pressed, Maloof said definitively that Petrie and Westphal will be in their positions for the remainder of the 2010-11 season regardless of how many games the team loses. 

“Yes,” Maloof said. “We’re not making any moves. The answer is yes.” 

A person with direct knowledge of recent statements by a high-ranking member of the organization painted a different picture, telling CBSSports.com that frustration with the Kings’ 5-22 record had reached a breaking point. At one point after the Kings’ 84-79 home loss to the Bucks Thursday night, owner Gavin Maloof was overheard in the tunnel saying that the culture of the organization had to change. “It’s time to hit the reset button,” Gavin Maloof said, according to the source. 

Gavin Maloof did not return a phone call seeking comment early Friday. 

His brother, Joe, expressed confidence in Petrie and Westphal, citing the team’s past two first-round picks, Tyreke Evans and DeMarcus Cousins, who has been fined, kicked out of practice, and most recently, fined and benched by Westphal for making a choking sign during a loss to Golden State Tuesday night. 

“DeMarcus Cousins, he’s going to be a tremendous player,” Joe Maloof said. “He’s going to have his ups and downs just like any rookie does. I’m telling you the way I feel. He’s got extraordinary talent, and with he and Tyreke, we have a tremendous future. … I think going forward, we’re in a great, great position. We’re in a wonderful situation.” 

One of the people who earlier spoke to CBSSports.com, on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss company business, said there were concerns within the organization about whether Westphal was the right coach to calm Cousins’ combustible personality and groom him into a dependable star. 

Joe Maloof said, “We’re very, very happy with all of our young players and I see a bright future with DeMarcus.” 

The same person said Petrie has gone to bat for Westphal, urging the Maloofs to give him time with Cousins before making an assessment. He said the Maloofs were deeply concerned about Westphal – Petrie’s hire – because they view Cousins as “the hope of the franchise,” and they were beginning to fear that, “Paul isn’t the right guy to mature this guy.” 

“He’s not at war with his coach,” Joe Maloof said of Cousins. “That’s not true.” 

When confronted about whether the Maloofs were concerned that Petrie had urged them to exercise a guarantee in Westphal’s contract for 2011-12 -- given the turmoil with Cousins and the losing -- Joe Maloof said, “We’re glad we did it. We did it for a reason. And the reason is that we have a lot of confidence in Paul. He’s a true professional. He’s a class act. 

“We’ve got a very young team, an inexperienced team with no veteran leadership,” Joe Maloof said. “And that’s something that we’re going to look to acquire in the future. We know what our deficiencies are: our shooting and free throws. But we’re in every game to the wire. It’s been very frustrating we’ve lost these games. You have your peaks and your valleys, and right now we’re in a valley. So what? You can climb out of that valley, and we will. We have the assets. We have the resources. When you have the cap space, it’s a tremendous thing in the NBA. And it’s a tremendous thing going forward. Next year, we’ll have a lot of money going forward. We didn’t want to spend our money until we knew what the consequences would be with the collective bargaining agreement.” 

Sources said John Whisenant, a longtime friend of the Maloofs and the GM and coach who led the Sacramento Monarchs to the WNBA championship, was at the top of the Maloofs’ list of candidates to succeed Petrie as GM. Assistant coach Jim Eyen, a longtime assistant for former Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy, was the probable choice to take over as interim coach. But with Joe Maloof saying definitively early Friday that no in-season change would be made with either position, those plans are on hold. 

Petrie, understanding that his job security had taken a hit when he agreed to a severe pay cut this season, had been urging the Maloofs to let him groom his son, Mike, to replace him, according to sources who said the Maloofs recently rejected the idea. 

After enjoying a honeymoon period in his first season as Kings coach, guiding Evans to a rookie-of-the-year campaign that nonetheless resulted in another trip to the lottery, Westphal has had nothing but turmoil in his second year on the job. According to a person close to Westphal, his authority was hampered by Petrie’s selection of Cousins, a known character risk, with the fifth pick in the draft. True to his reputation, Cousins has caused problems from the beginning and very quickly began to affect Evans' attitude, the person close to Westphal said.

When asked when he wants to see progress with the current roster and executives in place, Joe Maloof said, “We want to see progress, but like I mentioned to you, our future’s very strong. … We look forward to having a lot of cap room in the future and to be able to make some moves then. 

"When we see a player that comes along that has an opportunity to help our franchise, we’ll do that,” he said. “Bt we’re not going to spend money just for the sake of spending money. That cap space is precious. It’s precious.”
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com