Posted on: June 22, 2011 11:35 pm
The latest trade buzz surrounding Thursday night's NBA draft, from conversations with executives, agents and others in the know:
* The Warriors have fielded numerous calls about Monta Ellis, and seem to be cautiously open to discussing the star guard's desire for a change of scenery. Such efforts have become increasingly difficult since the hiring of Mark Jackson as coach. Jackson wants to coach Ellis, and has become well aware that he has emerged as owner Joe Lacob's favorite player on the team.
* A recent conversation between the Warriors and Lakers centered around Lamar Odom and Shannon Brown going to Golden State for Ellis, but those talks went nowhere, sources said. The Bulls would become involved if they were willing to part with Joakim Noah, and Chicago executives have consistently balked at including him in trade talks for the past year -- mostly due to the base-year compensation factor in the five-year, $60 million extension he signed last year.
* Executives also have heard Ellis mentioned in conversations with Memphis for Rudy Gay, but acquiring Gay would be extraordinarily problematic for any team given the uncertainty about what new economic and cap system the league and players eventually will adopt. With four years and $68 million left on his contract, Gay "isn't going anywhere," one executive said.
* One of the few trades that makes sense as teams weigh the effects of taking on money in a shrinking-cap world is a deal that has been dormant for weeks: Ellis to Philadelphia for Andre Iguodala. Both players have three years left, and although Iguodala is owed $44 million compared to Ellis' $33 million, those are the only deals most teams will be willing to make between now and June 30 -- those in which they don't have to take on additional years of salary.
* The Timberwolves have peddled the No. 2 pick far and wide and have been unable to land an offer that tempts them. Discussions with the Lakers centered around Odom, but that wouldn't be good business to trade young, cheap labor for a 31-year-old making $8.9 million next season -- even though he has only $2.4 million guaranteed in 2012-13.
* Speaking of the Wolves, team officials continued to say Wednesday night that coach Kurt Rambis hasn't been fired yet, but the more things like that are stated, the more obvious it becomes that Rambis is gone. The search for a replacement will begin soon after the draft.
* Spurs officials continue to do what they're paid to do -- find out what their players are worth on the trade market. That's all the Tony Parker speculation is, several rival execs believe. "You know and I know they're not trading Tony Parker," one GM said. "You can't get anything close to equal value for him."
Posted on: December 27, 2010 7:11 pm
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. – There was no direct evidence of the butt-kicking in practice that Kobe Bryant had promised. Head-butting, yes. But butt-kicking?
“Not sure,” said Ron Artest, wearing the only tangible proof of what Phil Jackson called a “feisty” practice Monday in the form of a swollen cut under his right eye.
Artest’s battle scar didn’t result from any contact with Bryant, who had promised after the Lakers’ listless loss to Miami on Christmas Day that distracted, unfocused, and unprepared teammates would be held accountable on the practice court. Artest’s wound, according to a source, resulted from a collision with Shannon Brown’s head during the 5-on-5 portion of practice, which was won by the second unit, an amused Jackson said.
“Kind of fun and interesting,” Jackson said of the reserves’ victory.
So the Lakers’ starters have now lost three games in a row – blowouts at home against Milwaukee and Miami, and now this. The impact of any tongue-lashings or motivational tactics from Bryant will be put to an immediate test Tuesday night in San Antonio, where the Spurs (26-4) are experiencing no such strife and enjoying the best record in the league – five games better than the two-time defending champion Lakers.
“They’re doing something special this year and we have to understand what it is,” Jackson said.
Bryant didn’t speak with reporters Monday; he was off the practice floor by the time media were allowed into the gym. But the simple fact that he practiced at all – he typically rests his 31-year-old body to save fuel for the championship run – should have sent a clear message.
And apparently it did. The message was received, loud and clear, by Artest, who bristled at the notion that Bryant was pointing the finger at him during his postgame rant Saturday. The money quote from Bryant, “The game has to be the most important thing,” caused curious minds – including mine – to wonder if Artest’s championship ring raffle was deemed by Bryant to be an unnecessary distraction.
After the game, Artest apologized to Lakers fans on Twitter, writing, “Every loss my fault.” On Monday, he shot down the notion that he was distracted Saturday and several times alluded to how “unfortunate” it was that Jackson kept him on the bench for most of the fourth quarter.
“I didn’t get a chance to even let it be a distraction because I only played 20 minutes,” Artest said.
With every teammate except Lamar Odom off the practice court, Artest said, “I’m the last one to leave the gym every day,” and urged one reporter to “pay attention to the surroundings.”
"I work extremely hard on defense,” Artest said. “I’m the last one to leave every day. The game is extremely important.”
Later, I asked Artest if his Twitter apology meant that he was responding to the notion of being singled out by Bryant.
“If we keep losing, you’ve got to point to yourself first,” Artest said, aiming his thumb at the middle of his chest. “Always point the finger right there before you point the finger anywhere else. I point the finger at myself all the time. Even before I came here last year, I would point the finger at myself. I said, ‘If we lose, it’s on me.’ Before you point, you’ve got to look in the mirror first and say, ‘What could I have done?’”
When asked about Bryant’s soliloquy about misplaced priorities on the team, Jackson said, “I can’t put my finger on it, but there’s been some distractions. … But we think that these guys are veterans and should be able to handle that.”
When asked what distractions Bryant and Jackson may have been referring to, Artest said, “There were a lot of distractions, from my ring raffle to the green shoes. Nike came with the green shoes and adidas. There were a bunch of things going on.”
It doesn’t get easier. Not only are the Spurs obviously a threat, but they’re beginning to put distance between themselves and the Lakers that will be challenging to close by the end of the regular season, when all-important home-court advantage will be determined. Clearly, before they get caught up in catching the Spurs, the Lakers have to get their own house in order first.
Posted on: July 29, 2010 3:36 pm
Edited on: July 29, 2010 5:02 pm
The Knicks have extended an offer to Shannon Brown and are waiting to hear whether the Lakers' free-agent guard will take it or wait for L.A. to make room to re-sign him by trading Sasha Vujacic, two people with knowledge of the situation told CBSSports.com Thursday.
Brown, 24, played all 82 games for the champion Lakers last season and is weighing whether to join Ray Felton in the Knicks' revamped backcourt or give the Lakers time to clear the room needed to re-sign him. The Lakers, as usual, are well into the luxury tax. So moving Vujacic's $5.4 million salary for next season would ease the tax hit associated with keeping Brown.
Brown's electrifying transition game would be a huge asset in coach Mike D'Antoni's up-tempo system, and Brown would have a good chance of winning a starting job after starting only seven games for the Lakers last season.
Meanwhile, the Knicks continue to explore trade possibilities and remain interested in Blazers swingman Rudy Fernandez, who is actively being shopped. In their pursuit of a deal for Fernandez, or perhaps Chris Paul if and when the Hornets begin fielding serious trade inquiries, the Knicks have a few more assets to offer than commonly realized. According to two people familiar with how the David Lee sign-and-trade arrangement was structured, the Knicks do not have to wait the standard 60 days before combining Ronny Turiaf, Anthony Randolph or Kelenna Azubuike with other players in a trade. The Knicks were still under the salary cap when Lee was signed and traded, exempting them from the 60-day waiting period, which applies only to players acquired with a trade exception by teams that are over the cap.
Posted on: June 9, 2010 7:25 pm
BOSTON -- Lakers guard Shannon Brown would be happy for his college coach, Tom Izzo, if he made the jump to the NBA as coach of the Cavaliers. But Brown's enthusiasm, offered in the locker room after Game 3 of the NBA Finals, didn't come without a warning.
"He’s gonna have to, in my opinion, adjust some of his coaching tactics and techniques," said Brown, one of numerous NBA players who played for Izzo in East Lansing. "But I definitely think he could be successful at this level. The legacy that he has and could possibly leave at Michigan State is something that not too many people could do. If he stays, I'm happy for him. If he goes, I’m happy for him. He definitely has the options in his hands."
Izzo is mulling an offer from the Cavs that is anticipated to be in the $6 million-a-year range. Despite a flurry of speculation Wednesday that Izzo had accepted or verbally committed, sources told CBSSports.com that wasn't the case. Izzo is said to be doing his due diligence -- read, trying to figure out if he'd be coaching LeBron James or a rebuilding team -- and the negotiation is ongoing, according to a person involved in it.
Izzo, who has led the Spartans to six Final Fours and one national title, is known for his intense, fiery demeanor and for being extremely hard on his players. That's fine for a college coach, but won't work in the NBA. One factor that could work in Izzo's favor is that he's been at Michigan State so long, his name and accomplishments mean something to a cross section of NBA players who would respect what he's done at the college level.
"I’d just tell him it’s a whole different thing from college to the NBA," said Brown, who played for Izzo from 2003-06. "It’s a whole different business. You've got to be ready for anything."
Lakers coach Phil Jackson, who soon will enter into a contract negotiation for next season having already acknowledged that he'll be asked to take a pay cut from his current $12 million salary, was asked before Game 3 Tuesday night for his thoughts on a college coaching hauling in half that much per year.
"Good for him," Jackson said. "Way to go."
But Jackson warned that coaching in the NBA is an "arduous task."
"It's not an easy job, and you know, when it's 200 some days, depending on how far you go into the playoffs, it's pretty arduous as far as dealing with stars of all ranges coming to the NBA," he said. "And from that, it has to go on for 82 games. It's a long march, and that gets difficult. The game itself, 82 games is a big difference from 30 or whatever you coach in college."
Nobody has coached more NBA superstars than Jackson, and Brown said communication will be the key for Izzo.
"It would be tough for him," Brown said. "He likes guys that are like him. He likes fiery guys. He probably couldn't talk to them the way he does sometimes, but I think if he made the adjustment he would be great."
Posted on: February 7, 2009 8:08 pm
CLEVELAND -- Must be nice to be the Lakers, who are no less of a championship contender after Saturday's cap-clearing trade that sent Vladimir Radmanovic's albatross of a contract to Charlotte for Adam Morrison and Shannon Brown.
The straight math from the deal: It impacts the Lakers' rotational plans very little for the rest of this season, but impacts their financial picture quite significantly going forward. They save $1.2 million next season, which is actually $2.4 million because they're a tax-paying team. If they're unimpressed with Morrison, the disappointing former No. 3 overall pick, and don't extend him a qualifying offer in 2010, the trade trims $6.9 million from their 2010-11 cap.
It's not enough to make Cleveland fans nervous that Phil Jackson and Mitch Kupchak are clearing cap space for a run at LeBron James in 17 months, but it's a start.
In the Orange County Register's Lakers blog, Kevin Ding says Kupchak doesn't expect to make any more deals before the Feb. 19 trade deadline, meaning no big man to replace the injured Andrew Bynum.