Tag:trade rumors
Posted on: January 20, 2012 10:10 am
Edited on: January 20, 2012 11:16 am

Report: Bryant lets Howard know whose team it is

Kobe Bryant is talking to Dwight Howard, but is he moving Howard away from the Lakers? (Getty Images)
By Matt Moore

There are various rules and regulations that prohibit NBA teams and players from talking to one another in regards to recruiting for a trade. But when that player has been given permission to talk to other teams, that all goes out the window. Such is the case with Dwight Howard and Kobe Bryant, who have apparently become like teenage girls gabbing on the phone with Howard weighing where he wants to be traded to, if at all. Unfortuntely for Lakers fans, it doesn't sound like Bryant's doing a great job as a pitch man.  From the Los Angeles Times
Kobe Bryant has had at least one in-depth phone conversation with Howard recently, even discussing how Howard might fit in with the Lakers' scheme.

One person with knowledge of the conversation said Howard came away feeling as if he wouldn't be the Lakers' top option, for obvious reasons. It's Bryant's team.
via Lakers-Magic center swap might be on back burner - latimes.com.

It's slightly bizarre that two stars on different teams playing Friday night have been chatting casually about their prospective dynamic should one of them join the other. But that's the new NBA. 

Bryant scaring off Howard is pretty much the most Kobe thing ever. Yes, the Lakers are 10-5, but they've also looked very beatable this season, more like a "good team that isn't winning a title" than a true contender, never more so than against the Heat (without Dwyane Wade) Thursday night. And yet Bryant has to make sure Howard knows the pecking order. It's his team, and no Defensive Player of the Year, MVP candidate,  most dominant center in the league is going to come in and take touches away from him. Bryant feels he's earned the right to determine his order in the pecking order, what with the rings and the Hall of Fame eventually and everything. 

But this isn't how you bring a talent like Howard in. That's not how his makeup is geared. You have to try and get him excited. But if Bryant is good with his guys, this is a great effort to sabotage a trade, which the Times says is on the back burner, with both teams not having talked for weeks. 

At least if Howard does push for and agree to a trade to the Lakers, he'll know for sure what he's getting into. It won't be Dwight's team. It will be Bryant's.
Posted on: January 19, 2012 11:31 am
Edited on: January 19, 2012 1:17 pm

Ainge says he's open to trading the Big 3

 Danny Ainge says he'll consider "blowing up" the Big 3 of Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, and Paul Pierce (Getty Images)

By Matt Moore

In comments which should surprise absolutely no one, Danny Ainge told the Boston Globe Thursday that he's prepared to blow up the Big 3 of Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, and Paul Pierce if they could find a deal which will help them transition into the next era of contention through younger players. The Celtics, who have yet to defeat a team over .500 and who snapped a five-game losing streak with a win over Toronto Wednesday night, have looked well past their prime. The team continues to insist it's a matter of conditioning and not necessarily age. But Ainge's comments clearly indicate that he's not willing to hold out until the Celtics' door has been slammed completely shut. From the Boston Globe:
Ainge said he would consider trades if they would net younger talent. He has maintained he does not want the franchise to go through a 10-year span of insignificance as it did following the departures of the previous Big Three of Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, and Robert Parish, who remained with the team past their primes.

"First of all it’s a different era," Ainge told the Globe. "I sat with Red (Auerbach) during a Christmas party (in the 1990s). Red was talking to Larry, Kevin, and myself and there was a lot of trade discussion at the time and Red actually shared some of the trade discussions. And I told Red what are you doing? Why are you waiting?

"He had a chance to trade Larry (to Indiana) for Chuck Person and Herb Williams and (Steve) Stipanovich and he had a chance to trade Kevin (to Dallas) for Detlef Schrempf and Sam Perkins. I was like are you kidding? I mean I feel that way now. If I were presented with those kind of deals for our aging veterans, it’s a done deal to continue the success."
via Ainge would consider Big Three trade - Boston.com

If you want to take anything of real note from these comments, it's that Ainge no longer has confidence and faith that this core can contend for a championship. That doesn't mean he's ruled it out, but it means that he's not completely comfortable with the core formed four years ago that sought multiple titles to the most storied franchise in the league (with apologies to the mighty Lakers), and to date have only brought one. That's one more than most players or franchises have ever obtained, but that's not the standard in Boston.

Paul Pierce seems to have very little lift or stamina, as evidenced by a pair of ugly missed layup attempts against the Raptors Wednesday night when Pierce was blocked by the rim. Pierce finished with eight points but did have seven assists vs. the Raptors. Meanwhile, Kevin Garnett has very little lift and is struggling for the first time in the are he has for so long dominated, defense. Ray Allen is still knocking down threes but even he of the ridiculous conditioning has shown the effects of age. It's hard to see this team improving on last year's progress which ended in a quick five games against the Miami Heat

Ainge is faced with tearing down the most successful team of his tenure, and trading multiple Hall of Famers who teams know have eroding abilities and who will likely not have the same motivation outside the warm, family environment of the Boston green, for young players and picks with which to build a new nucleus around Rajon Rondo with. Jeff Green was projected to be a part of that foundation, but his heart condition has left his career up in the air for the foreseeable future, and the Celtics have no other young assets. 

But that's not the only reason Ainge may not be able to get a deal done. The odds are strong the Celtics will go on a tear this season. They'll start playing better, get into better condition, start showing flashes of the old intensity on both sides of the ball. A few significant wins against top teams will create the urge for Aine to stay his hand. The problem is that defeating teams which may not honestly take them very seriously at this point in the regular season is drastically different from the playoffs, and after the brutal intensity of this compacted regular season, the Celtics simply may not have enough left in what is already a depleted tank to make a push once they get to the playoffs, having burned so much fuel just to reach the planet Postseason. 

It's an interesting question to ponder, if the Big 3 are broken up: did they fail? On the one hand, they validated all three of their Hall of Fame entry tickets with a championship, and in the age of free agency, one ring is rarer than ever. But this team had lofty expectations of a dynasty, and instead may walk away with just the one. How can you win a championship with a core, and make another Finals trip, and be considered a failure? The answer to that question lies with the legacy of the name of the front of their uniforms, and though history will judge them individually as giants among mortals, if this is the Big 3's last year together their legacy will be significantly less in stature than what we assumed it would be when confetti rained on them in 2008. 

(HT: SLAM Online)

Posted on: January 17, 2012 11:05 pm

Report: Teams inquiring about Paul Pierce?

By Matt Moore

The Celtics are in a free fall. They're not concerned, but maybe they should be. They have four wins against the following teams: Washingtong, Detroit, and New Jersey, teams which are a combined 7-33. Their eight losses encapsulate dominant playoff teams, solid middle-seed playoff teams, a struggling Dallas team, and the New Orleans Hornets. In short, the captain's saying not to panic, but he's also putting all his silverware in a bag. 

And the vultures are circling. Yahoo reports that teams have begun calling to inquire about the captain, the franchise, Paul Pierce:  
As Kevin Garnett and Allen become free agents this summer, money will peel away from the salary cap. Between then and now, the bigger question promises to be: Does ownership and general manager Danny Ainge go for the complete rebuild and trade Pierce before the March 15 deadline? Several contending teams have inquired about Pierce’s availability. As one Eastern Conference official said, there are “lots of calls asking if [Boston] will blow it up.”
via Celtics headed for rebuild, maybe sooner than later - NBA - Yahoo! Sports.

Trade Paul Pierce? Paul Pierce? The Paul Pierce? The Captain? The man that's been with the franchise since he was drafted, the icon of the team since the turn of the century? It seems incomprehensible. But of the players the Celtics have left, Pierce may have the best overall value. He has two more years left instead of the expiring contracts for the other members of the Big 3, but his game is also less effected by age. 

But what teams would be interested in Pierce? You're clearly looking for contenders, both because of his age and because you need a team he'll want to play for. These are hypothetical, but surveying the list of possible teams leaves few real possibilities. The Bulls have Luol Deng. The Heat have LeBron James. The Sixers wouldn't want to move anyone they have for Pierce who couldn't get them to the next level. The Pacers have Danny Granger. The Hawks don't need more salary. The Clippers have Caron Butler. The Spurs will get Manu Ginobili back. The Lakers... no. Don't even think about it. Too weird.

So it's unlikely Pierce goes anywhere. The Celtics can either amnesty Pierce this summer or just live with him on the books. They're clearing enough space to pull in a marquee free agent. They have room to rebuild. And you can't trade Pierce. You just don't do that.

Do you? 
Posted on: January 11, 2012 10:27 pm

Scott says Varejao 'not going anywhere'

By Matt Moore

The Cleveland Cavaliers have a tremendous future. Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson both look good, they have some good supporting pieces, and with another poor year in terms of wins but not team quality, they'll have a great pick in a fantastic draft. Everything's looking up for the future. 

So why then is the team so hellbent on keeping and playing its veterans?

Anderson Varejao is having a a nice rebound season. He missed most of 2011 with injury, and has been back to the sort of gritty play that gets him mentioned as a Defensive Player of the Year candidate every season.  But for a team rebuilding trying to find a new foundation? He could be a tremendous trade chip for teams needing a viable center. He comes with a hefty price tag, being owed over $17 million between this year and next, before his contract becomes non-gauranteed in 2013-2014. 

But the Cavaliers? They're not selling. From the Akron Beacon-Journal:
“It would have to be an unbelievable person to get back,” Scott said when asked if the Cavs could part with Varejao. “I look at him as one of the guys you look at and say ‘He’s not going anywhere.’ I just feel that strongly about him and what he means to this team.”
via Cavs’ Scott on Varejao: ‘He’s not going anywhere’ - Cavs - Ohio.

The same problem with this line of thinking is what's wrong with the minutes Antawn Jamison is getting for the Cavaliers. It's great to try and win games, if you think you have a legitimate shot this season. But the Cavaliers know they don't. They need to be focused on the future, and that means making room for Tristan Thompson and cashing in on Varejao when his value is high. 

Varejao can make a huge impact for a contender should they choose to acquire him and send Cleveland picks and/or young players. He has more value to those teams than he does to the Cavs, as good as he is. There's certainly value to letting Irving and Thompson play with good players. And Jamison's experience does have value even if his schooting has gone completely. But  Cleveland should be ready to move towards the future. And it's unlikely that Varejao will be in a position to be a part of that. 
Posted on: January 4, 2012 9:38 am

Report: Celtics have called about Cousins

By Matt Moore

The Boston Celtics have been involved in a half-dozen trade rumors since the lockout ended. It's assumed that they're pursuing one of the 2012 top free agents, but it's also apparent that they're just looking towards the future after the Big 3 to build a core going forward.

Meanwhile, the Kings continue to clash with temperamental power forward DeMarcus Cousins, even as Cousins rejoined the team off the bench Tuesday night in a loss to Memphis. The Kings continue to insist they will not trade the fiery big man, but having openly said he's demanded a trade, they're going to get offers.

You see where this is going. From the Boston Herald:
The Celtics, like most teams, have called Sacramento to gauge what it would take to trade for DeMarcus Cousins. The young, disgruntled Kings center has been suspended from the team for his disagreements with coach Paul Westphal.“It’s highly unlikely,” a league source said of the Celtics’ chances of landing Cousins. “I’m not sure that any team is going to get him. The thing is that everyone knows he’s a wreck. They’re not going to get what he’s worth.”
via Celtics plays it safe, sit hamstrung Jermaine O’Neal - BostonHerald.com.

The Celtics make a ton of sense as a trade partner. They have expiring contracts of veterans who could help the young players on the Kings go forward while keeping the team's financial flexibility. But they lack any significant asset to lure the Kings into even talking about moving Cousins, which they're resisting anyway. The Celtics wouldn't want to part with Rajon Rondo without getting a player like Tyreke Evans back alongside Cousins, and that's too much for the Kings to surrender, despite their struggles this year.

But for the moment, enjoy the concept of Kevin Garnett sharing a locker room with DeMarcus Cousins. The word, I believe, is kaboom.
Posted on: January 2, 2012 6:11 pm
Edited on: January 2, 2012 10:20 pm

Cousins to rejoin Kings as trade offers pop up

By Matt Moore

Update (9:45 p.m.): Cousins issued a statement via his agent and SI.com has the details. "I want to address my missing the New Orleans game Sunday. I have not demanded or requested a trade. I don't agree with the actions taken but will give my sincere effort to put it behind me and compete the best I can for my team."

In other words, this isn't over. Not by a long shot. 


As the fallout from the Kings sending DeMarcus Cousins home following what Paul Westphal publicly described as a trade demand continues, teams are circling even as the Kings continue to say they are not trading the volatile young big man. 

SI.com reports that the Nets have expressed interest, and the Washinton Post says the Wizards have called to inquire about pairing Cousins with his Kentucky teammate John Wall in Washington. Both teams believe the Kings are following through on their refusal to trade him.  

In the same vein, Yahoo Sports reports that Cousins is going to joing the team on its road trip, effectively ending his suspension-that-isn't-a-suspension, or his grounding, or whatever.

If the Kings aren't going to trade him, and they were going to let him back on the team, then why announce to the world his situation? Westphal actually took a measured approach Sunday, saying that the reason was because one way or another the media would be asking about it. Still, it seems like throwing Cousins under the bus for very little gain. Expect the Kings to continue to receive offers, albeit low ones, to try and get the talented powder keg.
Posted on: January 2, 2012 12:07 pm
Edited on: January 2, 2012 2:50 pm

Kings say they will not trade DeMarcus Cousins

By Matt Moore

UPDATE: According to SI.com, the Cousins will re-join the Kings on their upcoming road trip to Memphis and Denver.

Despite the explosive situation between DeMarcus Cousins and head coach Paul Westphal, Kings ownership says it will not trade the temperamental but talented young power forward, ownership told the Sacramento Bee.
"We leave that stuff (the benching) to the basketball people," Kings co-owner Joe Maloof said before tipoff, "but we're not trading him."
via Ailene Voisin: Situation is 'tip of the iceberg,' coach says, so where is the rest? - Sacramento Sports - Kings, 49ers, Raiders, High School Sports | Sacramento Bee.

The Kings not trading Cousins is the proper path. There's absolutely no way to get adequate value after releasing a statement of the nature of Westphal's. They have a player they don't feel they can control, and with Cousins' talent, they can't simply dump him off, especially with the struggles of the team thus far this season.

As for Westphal, he spoke to reporters prior to the Kings' game against the Hornets. Kings blog Cowbell Kingdom has video, and the comments are pretty interesting.

Something that stands out here, is this quote from Westphal (transcribed by Cowbell Kingdom):
“Well, it’s interesting that he told me before he told his agent, but he told me twice. So it’s silly to have the agent deny it just because he didn’t get a call before DeMarcus talked to me that’s the easiest one of all to answer.”
Westphal is explicitly claiming that the trade request was legitimate and that Cousins simply hasn't informed his agent, rather than his agent's interpretation, which is that Cousins was saying, in effect, "If that's the situation, then trade me" which is different from a trade demand. We're talking semantics here, but they're important on all sides. 

It's also notable that Westphal says that to solve the situation, Cousins needs to do some soul searching. There's explicitly no claim of responsbility for the situation on Westphal's part. Which, if the situation is as bad as Westphal claims it is, isn't necessarily a fault. But it sets the table for how this situation is developing, which is that the coach feels this is all on the back of Cousins and not a two-way communication issue.

Tom Ziller at SBNation.com notes that the fact that the Kings did not suspend Cousins, instead just "sending him home," speaks to how the organization is being run. A suspension escalates the situation as it restricts his pay and can be appealed by the NBPA.

After this many incidents, however, at some point the Kings are going to have to face the situation head-on. Either Cousins is a part of the team's long-term future, or Westphal is. Because its hard to see either Cousins or Westphal changing their path at this point. It's not resolving itself, and even if Cousins is lacking in maturity, painting him into a corner this way isn't going to do anything to foster an environment of growth. Cousins may be too much of a problem to keep, but he's too talented to let go.

The Kings, for the moment, are stuck.

Here's reaction to the situation from Kings players after the game, courtesy of Cowbell Kingdom. There's a wide range of comments here, with the Kings players showing the kind of professionalism that Cousins needs to learn, even if Westphal is handling the situation badly (which is certainly up for interpretation). Yahoo Sports reports that Kings players have been irritated with Cousins' behavior for some time, with one source calling him "a bully."

Posted on: January 2, 2012 12:05 pm
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