Tag:trade rumors
Posted on: January 2, 2012 12:02 pm
 

Kings say they will not trade DeMarcus Cousins

By Matt Moore

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: December 28, 2011 12:13 pm
Edited on: December 29, 2011 1:53 am
 

Report: Magic don't want to rebuild after Howard



By Matt Moore


There is a fairly established path to rebuilding. When a team is forced to start over, the way back to contention is to trade the biggest star along with a salary dump for as many young players and draft picks as possible. Then you rebuild through the draft using the picks you acquired and your own picks, which are high on account of you being terrible. This is a fairly proven formula, with the Blazers having had success before injuries wrecked them, and the Thunder currently a Finals contender with that model.

Which is why today's report from ESPN.com should be concerning for Magic's fans and is confusing for the rest of us. From ESPN:
Sources familiar with Orlando's thinking say that a picture of what the Magic will ultimately expect in return for their anchor has indeed begun to emerge, telling ESPN.com this week that Orlando would not hold out for youth and draft picks as the league-owned New Orleans Hornets were ordered to do in the Chris Paul sweepstakes. The Magic, sources say, would instead prefer to bring back multiple established veterans who can keep the team competitive.

Reason being: Orlando has moved into a new arena last season and has a 85-year-old owner in Rich De Vos. Sources say De Vos has little interest in starting over/rebuilding, as evidenced by the recent decisions to trade for Glen "Big Baby" Davis and re-sign Jason Richardson even though Howard's future is so murky.
via What will Magic want for Dwight? - TrueHoop Blog - ESPN. So the Magic are looking at that well-established path back to contention... and wanting to do the exact opposite. The problem is that the Magic would not and cannot get anything back that is comparable to Howard, so they'd be looking at either an aging star, or someone overpaid. Which means problems for the Magic in a few years when those contracts get larger and the talent isn't there. It seems like a cash grab for tickets in order to make casual fans go to games instead of really building towards a championship which perennial season ticket holders and long-term fans would want.

There are several repercussions if this report is accurate.

1. It puts the Lakers squarely in the lead for Howard. If you want established All-Star-level players, the Lakers have them. A package of Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum, which the Lakers insist they will not send for Howard, would fit this bill exactly. Even if they won't trade those two for Howard directly, the best scenario might be to bring Houston back into talks similar to what they were working on in the vetoed Chris Paul trade. That could net the Lakers a suitable replacement for Gasol in terms of firepower, provide Orlando with an All-Star power forward (Gasol) and the Rockets a franchise center of the future. Either way, if it's stars the Magic wants, the Lakers have them.

2. It severely damages the Nets' approach. Already missing their best trade chip in Brook Lopez due to a broken bone in the foot, the Nets have reportedly been dangling as many as five first-round picks for Howard. If the Magic want legitimate players, the Nets don't have any outside of Deron Williams. Their next best chip, Kris Humphries, cannot be traded until March due to his contract. If the Magic are serious about continuing to contend for the playoffs, the Nets can kiss their chances at Howard goodbye. In related news, the Nets were wiped off the map by the Hawks last night.

3. Speaking of the Hawks, ESPN says the Hawks have made offers regarding a possible trade of Joe Johnson and Josh Smith for Howard. This would be a genius move by Atlanta, even if Howard doesn't re-commit to signing there. You make one playoff run, clear Joe Johnson's cap-killing contract, and if Howard decides to leave, you've got cap space to rebuild with behind Jeff Teague and Al Horford. The immediate question mark is if the Magic would be willing to take on Joe Johnson's contract. Remember, if the Hawks want All-Stars, they have to take on big contracts, and Johnson's a multiple-time All-Star, even if his notoriety isn't on part with that accomplishment. Also keep in mind that Otis Smith traded for Gilbert Arenas and Hedo Turkoglu last season. Big bad contracts do not scare the man. Still, the Haws are clearly on the outside of this race.

The Magic should be following the same pattern New Orleans did with the trade it actually pulled off. There's a reason the league vetoed the Chris Paul trade offer form the Lakers, and it wasn't because they all of a sudden hate their most popular team. It's because adding big contracts for lesser stars only compounds your situation and sticks you in NBA purgatory: late playoff seeds leading to first-round exits and no traction. That hurts every facet, competitiveness, ticket sales, enthusiasm, morale eventually. But if this is what the Magic want, they're in a position to wait until the trade deadline to get as much as they can. They don't want to start over, they just want to stay in the conversation.
Posted on: December 19, 2011 9:46 am
Edited on: December 19, 2011 9:59 am
 

Kobe Bryant denies interest in trade

By Matt Moore

Since the Lakers' season has started about as disastrously as you can without a major injury, there had started to be rumors. That's what happens with a high-profile team full of high-profile players in a dramatic environment. There were actually suggestions last week that Kobe Bryant could potentially pursue a trade with the lack of significant roster upgrades. In an interview with Yahoo Sports, Bryant made quick work of that nonsense. 
Q: Do you see yourself retiring with the Lakers? There’s been speculation you might want a change.

Bryant: “I don’t know where that comes from. I don’t have any feeling about [leaving] whatsoever.”

Q: So you definitely want to stay a Laker?

Bryant: “Of course. No question. Why not? I’ve been here for 16 years. I’m going to up and leave now?”

Q: Do you want to be one of those rare stars that played in only one place during a long NBA career?

Bryant: “Oh yeah. That would be special. It’s rare to see that nowadays. It’s almost nearly impossible.”
via Kobe Bryant Q&A: Laker for life? - NBA - Yahoo! Sports.

Bryant won't be going anywhere anytime soon. He's not going to be the star he is anywhere else, and his legacy is best reflected by retiring a Laker. What is possible? The Lakers eventually moving or ditching him. 

Sounds insane, doesn't it? But the Lakers have never put sentimentality ahead of what's best for the team. Their relationship with former players is a minefield of tense situations. Jerry West has a troubled relationship with the organization, for crying out loud, and he's the NBA logo. Shaquille O'Neal, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar,  the list of players whose tenure has ended badly or gone on to sour is long and Lamar Odom recently joined the list. The franchise puts itself before the players, which has its advantages given some of the poor decisions made by franchises out of loyalty at times, but it also has impacts on things like legacy. 

The Lakers have already made it clear where Bryant stands in the organization. In the interview, Bryant mentions how the franchise simply doesn't consult with its players when making personnel decisions, be they hiring Mike Brown as head coach or trading Lamar Odom. Players play, coaches coach, management manages. But at least Lakers fans can rest assured that as long as Bryant is able to hit a jump shot, he'll have a home and isn't looking to upgrade any time soon.  

With Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum, along with Metta World Peace and Matt Barnes, the Lakers are still a formidable team in the West. They failed to upgrade at point guard and lost their sixth man in Lamar Odom. But there's more than enough talent on this team to make a run at the title. And it's hard to believer Lakers management doesn't have one more trick stored in its bag to upgrade. The Lakers' run is far from over.
Posted on: December 14, 2011 7:53 pm
Edited on: December 15, 2011 1:41 pm
 

Grade The Trade: Clippers get their man, CP3

By Matt Moore

You only get a shot at Chris Paul once. That's it. This opportunity will not come again, and honestly, a chance at a player of his caliber only comes along once every generation. But the trade -- as reported by Ken Berger of CBSSports.com -- that the Clippers pulled sending Eric Gordon, Al-Farouq Aminu, Chris Kaman, and a first-round pick to New Orleans for the best pure point guard in the league isn't about that. It's about what fits best with the future of the franchise. And the future of the franchise is Blake Griffin.

Sure, you want shooters for the kickout, someone to take the pressure off Griffin. But you can get those. Shooters abound. What don't abound are top level point guards who understand the pick-and-roll as well as any guard in the league. That's CP3. That's Chris Paul. Griffin will benefit more from Paul than he will from Gordon, and that was the kicker in this deal. While the haul for the Hornets is not only acceptable, but worlds better than the platter proposed in the original rejected trade, the gain for the Clippers is too great. They're in a position to win now, win in the future, win for the next decade.

CP3 traded to the Clippers

You have to keep Blake Griffin at all costs. The risk is too great that the team won't develop with Griffin, will stall out, and then watch as he departs, potentially to their neighbor at Staples. But this? This is a realignment. The Clippers have a shot, albeit a slim one, at changing the status quo that the Clippers are losers and the Lakers are winners. The Lakers didn't get Chris Paul. The Clippers did.

There's talk that Chris Paul may leave in two years (it's widely expected that part of the agreement involves Paul opting in for the 2012-2013 season and becoming a free agent in the summer of 2013 vs. next summer). That the Clippers could be left with nothing.

But you take that risk. You gamble that CP3-Billups (that move looks a lot better)-Caron Butler-Griffin-DeAndre Jordan is enough to compete, with an extra year to build around them, now as a top free agent position. You risk all of that because if you can't win enough with that group to convince Paul and Griffin to stay together, nothing will. No more aiming for the playoffs, for aiming for respectability, for trying to just be decent.

The Clippers have shot for the moon. The worst case scenario is the most exciting two years in the history of the Los Angeles Clippers. Greatness isn't made by being conservative; fortune favors the bold.

The Clippers made the bold move, and now they have Chris Paul.

Look up, there go the Clips.

Grade: A+



Posted on: December 13, 2011 10:25 am
 

Chris Paul wants it all



By Matt Moore 

Chris Paul seems like a genuinely good human being. 

I don't know this for a fact. I'm going off of conversations I've had with others, off of interviews, and efforts, off of quiet things like charitable elements he's contributed to without fanfare or flashbulbs. So many athletes would have bailed on New Orleans after Katrina, and instead Paul embraced her, took on the role of being an icon for a city in need of heroes, took on the weight of being a savior. He's known as a quality person and locker room leader, and is a professional in every sense. You need look no further than the fact he's shown up to Hornets practice every day during this debacle as proof of that.

It's easy to take the route of saying Paul is selfish. That he's only looking out for himself and doesn't care about the city or the team or its fans. But that's a myopic view of a complex situation. Unfortunately, just as bad is the overly simplistic view that Chris Paul is a victim, that he has been unfairly put in a terrible situation by the evil league of evil that is the NBA, or the incompetent collection of malcontent owners, depending on your interpretation. There's this concept that Paul's role in this is completely natural, normal, that he cannot be blamed for the situation he's enduring. After all, he didn't want the NBA to own the league.

From SBNation.com: 
NBA owners have varying goals. Winning is typically high on the list. There's no question that Demps and Weber want the Hornets to win, now and later. Sperling could very well feel empathetic with the franchise, as well. But the men who Stern answers to could care less if the Hornets win now or later: it's all about setting the franchise for a sale in excess of $300 million (which sounds ridiculous when you say it out loud, given the prices tagged to the Charlotte Bobcats, Philadelphia 76ers and nearly the Atlanta Hawks).

Given the purpose of the Hornets right now according to its owners, can you blame Chris Paul for wanting to be elsewhere?
via Chris Paul And The Morality Of Choosing Your Team - SBNation.com by Tom Ziller.

Stop. Right there. Just stop.

This started last year. Well before the sale. There were rumblings for a few years, but it kicked into high gear in July. Of 2010
When Paul was quoted a few weeks ago as saying he'd be open to a trade if the Hornets aren't committed to building a championship team, it was only a small hint as to the size of the chasm that exists between the franchise and its cornerstone player. Paul, in fact, has put into motion an aggressive exit strategy that will accelerate in the coming weeks, and his clear intention is to be traded before the start of the 2010-11 season, a person with direct knowledge of his plans told CBSSports.com Wednesday.

"He wants out," said the person, who has been briefed on Paul's strategy but spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss it publicly. "He wants to play with another superstar. He wants to follow LeBron's model of teaming up with other great players."
via With Paul wanting out, new Hornets brass facing crisis - NBA - CBSSports.com Basketball News, Scores, Stats, Schedule and Standings.

This has absolutely nothing to do with the ownership situation, beyond creating a greater roadblock to the team's ability to snag a superstar to play next to Paul. The problem with that thinking, however, is that the Hornets never were going to land a star. You're not seeing superstar team-ups in Milwaukee or Charlotte or Indiana. Paul's desire for the bright lights can be traced back to last summer, to starting trade demands and toasting to joining Melo and Amar'e in New York. This is what he and his representation has wanted, so let's not go acting like this is some sort of brand new development. 

Now, from there, Ziller argues that the max salary structure is what creates this, essentially, that the NBA's own system is what provides this situation. The extra year being provided teams in order to keep players isn't enough to keep them home. And he's absolutely right.

My problem comes in with this idea that Paul has a "right" to demand a trade. That he shouldn't be criticized for wanting out. Using the current context ignores that he lit this fire nearly 18 months ago. And it ignores one subtle problem. This is all on him.

Paul can have free agency. There's nothing to stop him, nor should there be. Trying to hog-tie players to franchises is nonsense. They have a right to work wherever they want, same as you or I, provided they can garner the necessary offer. If someone's willing to pay me to write in Seattle, there's no law or leverage restricting me from doing so... unless I have a contract that says I write in Houston, or Kansas City, or Denver. That contract exists as a legal bond between me and my employer in a given city, just like Paul's is a bond between he and the Hornets.  But when that contract expires, Paul has every right to pursue his options. That's not what he's doing. He wants his cake and to eat it, too. 

Paul can make the max money allowed under the system. He can not exercise his opt-in for the 2012-2013 season, re-sign with the Hornets, and make the extra money allowed by signing a five-year deal vs. a four-year deal. There is nothing standing in his way from pursuing either option. Play where you want, or play for more money. He's not being restricted by tyranny. This is not tyranny. It's a collectively bargained professional sports structure. If Paul wants to bail on New Orleans after his contract is up, no one should criticize him. He gave that city all he could through a very difficult situation, with not great support on the floor, has bled for that team. He's paid his dues. And if he wants to return for the extra money, he's more than entitled to it. Say he'll sign the contract this summer right now, and all this, the distractions, the circus, the stress, it all goes away.

And, to be clear, it's within his power to request a trade. If a player is unhappy with a situation, he should be able to voice that. He's got the right to express himself, at least through his representation. (Side note: NBA, can we please get away with the fines for players voicing trade demands in public? Because at this point, it's just insulting to everyone. The fans, the teams, the players, the media.) No one should argue players should abdicate their own interests, even if that includes requesting a trade and blowing up a team's season.  Teams will look to dump a player once he's past his prime, the fans will boo him if his performance suffers. It's a two-way street and loyalty is patently fickle, even if some young fans will always cheer the guy whose name is on the back of their jersey. 

However, what should not be tolerated, is the idea that Paul should be pitied for this. That the league is punishing Chris Paul unfairly. Had Paul's representatives kept quiet, had Paul himself not instructed them to demand a trade, again, 18 months ago, we wouldn't be here today. Paul has every right to put himself in this position. But that decision comes with the media circus. It comes with the risk that ownership will mishandle the process, especially when it's the NBA running that process. And it comes with the criticism. 

Paul can be the hero, lifted up by all and admired for his stances. Or he can be the star, chasing the shine of a ring under the brightest lights. He can't have both.

If this current economic model has created this situation, if this is "just the way it is," then there's a flip side to it. The current fan environment has created the consequence that Paul will have to deal with the stress his decision puts on himself and his teammates, on the city and its fans.

Paul actually can have his cake and eat it, too. But you have to deal with the stomach ache that comes along with it.  
Posted on: December 13, 2011 9:51 am
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Posted on: December 12, 2011 4:00 am
Edited on: December 12, 2011 2:22 pm
 

Clippers-Hornets Chris Paul deal is 'dead'



By Matt Moore
 

2:25 p.m.: Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reports that the deal has "died" according to a source. The consensus among reports is that the league demanded too much. At this point it's unclear what exactly they're looking for since any combination on the table was good enough to justify the trade. The nonsense continues. 

1:52 p.m.:
Now, just like that, according to multiple outlets, the deal is pretty much off. Apparently the NBA's asking price is just far too steep for the Clippers.

10:10 a.m.:
And the confusion continues. Yahoo now reports Gordon is not included in the deal, as the L.A. Times reported last night. No word on Bledsoe. 

Update 9:00 a.m.
: ESPN is reporting that A.  Eric Gordon is included in the package and B. Eric Bledsoe is not, which may cause the league to reject. Neither of these statements make sense, so something must get clarified in the next few hours. We'll keep you updated. 

The Los Angeles Times reports that the L.A. Clippers are "close" to a deal for Chris Paul, just days after talks with the Lakers fell apart and less than a week after the league rejected an offer from the Lakers agreed to in a three-way with New Orleans and Houston. 
The Clippers and the New Orleans Hornets were working vigorously Sunday night to consummate a blockbuster deal that would send All-Star point guard Chris Paul to Los Angeles to play for the Lakers' cross-town rivals, said two people with knowledge of the situation who were not authorized to speak on the matter.

The deal hasn't been completed, but both sides were in the closing stages of the negotiations.

The Clippers would send the Hornets center Chris Kaman, backup second-year guard Eric Bledsoe, second-year forward Al-Farouq Aminu and the No. 1 draft pick they got from the Minnesota Timberwolves that is unprotected in the 2012 draft, considered to be one of the best in recent years.

Clippers owner Donald Sterling and the NBA have to sign off on the deal.
via Clippers are close to deal for Chris Paul with Hornets - latimes.com.

SI.com notes that Clippers point guard Eric Bledsoe told associates that he was headed to New Orleans

A huge element here is that Eric Gordon is not included in the deal as constructed, which leads to two questions: 

A. Is that enough for the league not to block the trade?

B. How good would that team be?

In reverse, you'd be looking at the best pure point guard in the league teamed with the most devastating pick and roll power forward in the conference and a near-All-Star perimeter scorer. In, short, it's terrifying how instantly good that team gets, with DeAndre Jordan (should the Clippers match the $44 million offer sheet from Golden State) and Caron Butler (even criminally overpaid). The Clippers would shake off their reputation for once.

But is it enough? The absence of Gordon might be a deal breaker. He's a young star. Great. Excellent. Near All-Star. But not an All-Star, and not worth CP3. His absence isn't justified by his talent, but his talent might necessitate his involvement.

The deal would have huge ramifications across the league, particularly for teams like Boston and Los Angeles, both vying for the All-Star point guard. The Hornets would get the kind of package they actually need, versus the veteran platter of above-average-but-not-great, aging players they were picking up in the Lakers-Rockets tree-way. Al Farouq-Amnu is a hyper-athletic freak with polish, Bledsoe showed great flashes last year, and Kaman would serve as an excellent expiring contract at the deadline. The picks they would pick up would be in one of the best draft classes in the past decade, and they could very well end up with two top-five picks in a stellar class. A combination of Anthony Davis and Bradley Beal or Harrison Barnes, for example, could put New Orleans on the path to recovery very quickly. 

In short, both teams would win here, even if the package doesn't "seem" better.  

The only question now is if they can cross the finish line and shock the world. The Clippers are on the verge of changing the culture of the NBA with three little characters: CP3.
Posted on: December 9, 2011 10:29 am
Edited on: December 9, 2011 12:14 pm
 

Report: Teams to appeal Chris Paul trade

By Matt Moore  

Chris Paul (Getty)ESPN reports that the teams involved in the Chris Paul trade to the Lakers which was blocked on Thursday night by the league will appeal the decision to the league. 

If this is orchestrated by the league in the  face of overwhelming outrage from players, the media, and fans (though those in small markets are certainly divided on the issue), it would represent an acceptable way out.

The league can't reverse its own decision without sacrificing massive credibility (which they damaged in the first place with the veto/block), and it would allow the trade to go through after some element of adjustment (say, an additional pick from the Lakers sent to New Orleans). Despite the outrage from several owners, the precedent set by the block stands as something completely outrageous (for more on that, check out Ken Berger's scathing column).

Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reports that past procedure for disputed trades involves an arbitrator, a process which could take some time, which the league doesn't have, especially with players threatening not to attend camp Friday. 

Paul is also considering further legal action against the league independently. It's an extremely messy situation in which the league seems to have underestimated the player and public reaction to, and something they need to resolve as quickly and quietly as possible.

According to the L.A. Times, the Lakers can't appeal to NBA office about Chris Paul trade block because the league considers the deal to have been nixed by the Hornets, not the NBA.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com