Could Cleveland Cavaliers Trade For Nuggets’ JaVale McGee?

Will McGee still be wearing a Nuggets jersey at the end of this offseason? Mandatory Credit: Rocky Widner/ Getty
The Cleveland Cavaliers are interested in Timofey Mozgov, but it seems they’re barking up the wrong tree. They should be gunning for Javale McGee.
The Cavs have LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love. They’ve got a Big 3 — even though no one is calling them that. Cleveland’s Big 3 isn’t all that big, though. They are certainly talents, but Kevin Love is the tallest of their superstars at 6-foot-10. When LeBron was in Miami with Bosh (6-foot-11) and Dwyane Wade (6-foot-4), they had big problems protecting the rim. Likely anticipating the same problem, the Cavaliers are looking to stock their front court with big rim protectors.
Their first effort was reportedly offering a first-round pick to the Denver Nuggets for Mozgov, who replaced  McGee during injury.
ESPN.com‘s Kevin Pelton does’t see a Timofey Mosgov trade going down. He sees McGee as a much more likely trade pie…

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NBA Rumors: Potential Rajon Rondo Trade Makes Little Sense for Both Parties

The Rajon Rondo trade rumors are not going anywhere, folks, as illogical as they may be.

Now 28 years old, coming off a season in which he only appeared in 30 games and heading into a rebuilding season directed by second-year coach Brad Stevens, rumblings allege that the former Kentucky star would rather throw in the towel and move on than help in the rebuild.

According to ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan, via Jay King of MassLive.com, Rondo has told the team he wants out:

“When Frank Isola raised the topic of trading Rondo, MacMullan replied, ‘Oh, I hope so. Just get it done. And it will happen because he’s told them he wants out. And no one believes me, but that’s the truth.’”

Of course, Rondo and his agent, Bill Duffy, quickly threw a counterpunch, as noted by Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald:

“‘Neither Bill nor Rajon know where this has come from, but it didn’t come from them,’ Alyson Furch said in a text. ‘They want this on the record. Neither has spoken to anyone about this.’”

Regardless of all the he-said, she-said drama, the notion that Rondo is on the block has been around for all of two years and counting. It is a thought that will only intensify as the 2014 season progresses now that he is in the final year of his deal, per Spotrac.

For the Celtics, that expiring contract is a critical part of the future as the rebuild rages onward. By the time the trade deadline rolls around next season, franchises who want to obtain Rondo will not have the means to do so and help the rebuild in an adequate manner.

If the front office waits until next offseason, it can cash in by facilitating his next deal as part of a sign-and-trade agreement. Rondo has apparently made it quite clear that he intends to test the market for the first time.

“Though he is not looking to get out of Boston, Rajon Rondo was quick to kill talk of an extension when recently approached by Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge,” ESPN’s Chris Broussard reports (subscription required). “It didn‘t even get to the numbers stage. Rondo is looking forward to becoming an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his career in the summer of 2015.”

All of this completely neglects the notion that Rondo can return to form and re-up with Boston anyway. He was miserable on the defensive end of the court last season after his return, but one can surely presume it was more of a rust factor than his talent taking a nosedive off a cliff.

Which is something the Celtics should want to find out, rather than ship off a point guard who can be top five in the league.

For Rondo, a trade now makes very little sense. He would not get to test the market, and he has as little leverage as possible as he comes off a knee injury, not to mention the fact the Celtics just drafted Marcus Smart.

If the rumors have any shred of credibility, it implies that Rondo does not want to waste what may potentially be the remainder of his prime mired in a rebuilding effort. If that is even slightly the case, it means he would prefer to get dealt to a contender and ink an extension.

Question—where would that be, exactly? Cleveland (Kyrie Irving)? Oklahoma City (Russell Westbrook)? Los Angeles Clippers (Chris Paul)? San Antonio (Tony Parker)? Portland, Golden State or even Toronto?

It goes on, but the point is that even if Rondo wanted to ditch his home for the past eight seasons because of a bit of adversity, the grass is not exactly greener in other locales.

At least in Boston he gets to mentor and play with 2014 No. 6 overall pick in Smart. Jeff Green is still around after a career-best 16.9 points per game last season. In the paint, Jared Sullinger (13.3 points and 8.1 rebounds per game last year) and Kelly Olynyk (8.7 and 5.2) are quite young but present a core only in need of a mold before the Celtics can contend in the sloppy Eastern Conference (don’t forget about quality depth such as Evan Turner, Avery Bradley and Brandon Bass, either).

It might just turn out that Rondo finds his current situation much better than previously anticipated. As long as he holds up his end of the bargain in terms of health and on-court productivity, it will result in another major deal and a leadership role on a playoff squad.

Maybe a deal gets done. Perhaps Rondo is a member of the Celtics for the duration of his career. No matter how it pans out, the rumors as they stand now make no sense.

Point guard is not like the NFL’s quarterback position—there are a bevy of talented names in all corners of the league. Rondo has few desirable options on the trade market and a not-so-bad situation around him. The money will come regardless, should he stay on the court.

There is a reason all parties seem to vehemently deny such rumblings, not to mention why a trade seems to be the last thing on anyone’s mind. As it should be, the upcoming season is in the front seat, not fantasy deals that involve a potential top-five player at his position.

 

Stats via ESPN.

 

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Boston Celtics: Jeff Green 3 Team Trade

Boston Celtics: Jeff Green 3 Team Trade
By Mike Elworth: Owner and Publisher/Hoopstuff…
Boston Gets: Andrea Bargnani, 1st round pick (Indiana) and 2nd round pick (NY)
Indiana Gets: Jeff Green and Shane Larkin
NY Gets: Luis Scola, Chris Copeland and C.J. Watson
Yes, this is hypothetical, but you try having your job writing about the NBA with zero going on in the league; it’s ridiculously difficult, more so with a staff of 10 men. I apologize for that, but if you were thinking of emailing me calling me names just understand my pain. This is a 3 team trade, again hypothetical, but it would help each of these Eastern Conference teams. The Celtics are looking for assets to rebuild, the Pacers have to find a go-to perimeter scorer with Paul George injured and with Lance Stephenson in Charlotte and they lack a young talented point guard and the Knicks have to make the playoffs and to keep cap space and they get 3 excellent role players each free agents next offseason. I hate bragging, but …

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Jason Terry to Rockets: Latest Trade Details, Comments and Reaction

Jason Terry, a 15-year NBA veteran and former Sixth Man of the Year award winner, reportedly will be traded from the Sacramento Kings to the Houston Rockets. If the deal is finalized, it will be the fifth team for the “Jet” in the last four seasons.    

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports reported the deal on Sunday afternoon:

Though Terry didn’t post huge numbers for the Brooklyn Nets last season, he adds a veteran presence to any roster. The veteran guard tallied just 4.5 points, 1.1 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 16.3 minutes per game with the Nets in 35 games played during the 2013-14 season.

After the loss of Jeremy Lin to the Los Angeles Lakers, MoiseKapenda Bower of the Houston Chronicle offers his take on the deal:

With a cast of stars that includes both James Harden and Dwight Howard, adding an experienced player can only help the Rockets. Terry may not be as productive as he was in his prime, but he is still a quality backup who has a career 37.9 percent mark from three-point range.

Entering the twilight of his career, Terry spoke about wanting out of Sacramento earlier this offseason, per Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee:

I wouldn’t say it’s rebuilding, but a building process. DeMarcus Cousins a huge talent. Attitude, a little shaky. Rudy Gay, not a proven winner in this league but a tremendous talent and a guy you can build around.

They’re in transition right now. For me, at this point in my career, I want championships.

Though he didn’t get the buyout that Jones noted he reportedly wanted, Terry does head to a team with championship aspirations.

And in a loaded Western Conference that includes the San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder, among other deep squads, having experience is crucial. Equipped with 93 playoff games played, Terry adds a voice to the lineup that can be an asset when the postseason begins.

Terry turns 37 on Sept. 15 and will enter his 16th season if he suits up for the Rockets. If he does officially join the team, expect his role off the court to be more important than what he does on it.

 

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Rockets land Terry in trade with Kings

In return, the Kings get Alonzo Gee and another player with a non-guaranteed contract.

      
 

 

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Why Kevin Love Trade Was Blessing in Disguise for the Minnesota Timberwolves

The Minnesota Timberwolves have officially lost their three-time All-Star Kevin Love, but this trade may be a blessing in disguise

Last season, Love had a career year, scoring 26.1 points per game and ranking third in Player Efficiency Rating, according to Hollinger Stats, courtesy of ESPN.

Love might be a top-five scorer in the NBA, but he showed no defensive intensity and was unable to carry the Timberwolves to the playoffs during his six-year tenure.

Since Love was drafted in 2008, the Wolves’ win percentage is well below 50 percent.  Their best season was last year with only 40 wins. 

To be fair, the Timberwolves’ struggles were not entirely Love’s fault.  Not only was his supporting cast very mediocre, but his team was also in a very tough conference.  Last season, if the Wolves were in the Eastern Conference, they would have clinched the eighth seed.    

Recently, Timberwolves’ owner Glen Taylor had a few strong comments toward Love during an interview on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities radio.

“I think where maybe he got away with some stuff not playing defense on our team, I’m not sure that’s how it’s going to work in Cleveland,” Taylor said.

In March, Tyson Chandler of the Dallas Mavericks also publicly criticized Love’s defense:

Along with poor defense, Love has been known for demonstrating poor sportsmanship.  Many fans might remember when he was suspended two games in 2012 for stomping on Luis Scola’s head. 

Even his response to Chandler’s criticism was cringe-worthy:

However, the Chandler/Love exchange was later revealed to be a series of friendly jabs between the two players.  

When Love was on this team, the Timberwolves were riding the waves of mediocrity, but now they have a new identity.  

In return for Love, the Timberwolves received Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett, Thaddeus Young and a promising future.

Even without logging a single minute in an NBA game, Wiggins has become a household name.  His offense may need some work, but his explosiveness and defensive intensity will allow him to be an immediate impact. 

Bennett struggled in his rookie year due to injuries, but he bounced back with an impressive summer, averaging 13.3 points and 7.8 rebounds per game in the Las Vegas Summer League, per NBA.com.  Most importantly, Bennett reportedly lost weight during the offseason:

The Timberwolves also added experience to their roster by bringing in Young, a seven-year veteran.  He’s not an All-Star, but Young is a solid player coming off of a career year. The 26-year-old power forward averaged a personal-best 17.9 points per game while shooting slightly over 30 percent from three last season with the Philadelphia 76ers.  

The Timberwolves also have young talent in Zach LaVine, Shabazz Muhammad and Gorgui Dieng.  

Muhammad and Dieng saw limited time last season, but per 36 minutes, both players were very productive.

Player PPG TRB
Muhammad 17.8 6.6
Dieng 12.6 13.2

Many fans are especially excited about LaVine due to his elite athleticism.

He showcased his incredible leaping ability when he challenged Wiggins to a dunk contest via Twitter:

LaVine was drafted as a point guard, but due to his length and poor passing ability, he’s probably better suited as a 2-guard.  Last season at UCLA, he only averaged 1.8 assists per game.  

Not to mention, the Timberwolves already have several proven players, such as Nikola Pekovic, Corey Brewer and Ricky Rubio (all of whom are under 29 years old). 

This team will probably adopt a fast-paced offense that will allow their young athletic players to flourish. Last season the Washington Wizards and the Toronto Raptors used their youth to their advantage by running an uptempo offense, and both teams made it to the playoffs.

Of course, a fast-paced offense may not suit Pekovic or the aging Martin very well.  With potential young replacements, such as Dieng and Muhammad on the roster, the Wolves may want to trade away some of their older assets.

Steve Kyler from Basketball Insiders weighed in on the possibility of a Pekovic trade, saying, “I wouldn’t rule it out, because Gorgui Dieng looked really good this summer, but given what Pek is owed, there isn’t a scenario that seems likely.”  

The future of the Wolves may be exciting, but Love’s departure does hurt them in the present.  The loss of their biggest offensive contributor will inevitably cost them a few wins in the upcoming season.

Remember, Wiggins and LaVine are only 19 years old and still very raw.  The development of the Wolves’ prospects may be fun to watch, but it won’t translate into victories for at least a few years.  

If all of their young talent can reach their full potential, the Timberwolves could be very dangerous two to three years down the road.

 

All stats are courtesy of Basketball-Reference.com unless otherwise noted

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Report: Rajon Rondo Has Asked Boston Celtics To Trade Him

Rajon Rondo can become an unrestricted free agent after the 2014-15 NBA season, which means the Boston Celtics will need to decide soon whether to trade him or try to re-sign him and risk that he leaves next summer for nothing.
According to Jackie MacMullan of ESPN Boston, the Celtics’ only choice might be to trade the veteran point guard.
MacMullan said Rondo “has told (the Celtics) he wants out” during a behind-the-scenes video from ESPN program “Around the Horn.”  In addition to his desire to leave Boston, MacMullan also says in the video that Rondo would not sign long-term with the Sacramento Kings, who have been involved in a few rumors surrounding the All-Star guard.
At 28 years old, Rondo is in the prime of his career, and probably doesn’t want to go through a few more seasons of a rebuild, which is the situation Boston currently finds itself in. He already suffered through a rebuild early in his Celtics career.
Rondo missed about half of the 2013-14 season after recovering f…

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Is Dion Waiters’ Best Chance at Stardom Through a Trade?

So much of becoming an NBA star has to do with timing—not only when and where you’re playing, but whom you’re playing with, as well.

Would Michael Jordan have authored such a peerless career had he landed with the Portland Trail Blazers? What if the New York Knicks had stashed Larry Bird instead of the Boston Celtics?

Extreme examples though these might be, the question remains: How many would-be stars—by dint of circumstance rather than talent—were relegated to the dustbins of basketball history?

Suffice it to say it’s a logic spinning through the mind of Dion Waiters, the Cleveland Cavaliers’ mercurial third-year guard who in two short months has gone from possible second star in the making to fourth fiddle at best.

With LeBron James, Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving now set as the team’s unquestioned cornerstones, Cleveland faces a confounding dilemma with Waiters: Hope that he grows into a productive complementary piece, or trade him now—while his upside’s still high—in hopes of reeling in players more conducive to its win-now ethos.

To his credit, Waiters is approaching the Cavs’ impending pressure cooker with palpable aplomb, telling the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Mike Sielski, “When I get the opportunity to get the ball, I’ve got to destroy my opponent. The rest of the floor is going to be so wide open that, once I get by him, the rest of it should be easy.”

To be sure, confidence has never been a scarce commodity for the former No. 4 overall pick. Even if the bombast doesn’t exactly jive with the facts.

Case in point: Waiters’ recent remarks suggesting Love—with whom he’s regularly trained in Los Angeles during the offseason—appreciated the 6’4” guard’s passing skills.

“He likes my game,” Waiters said. “He thinks I’m underrated. One of the things about K-Love, he knows I pass the ball.”

This despite finishing 193rd in total passes a season ago, per Pro Basketball Talk’s Dan Feldman.

Few superstars achieve that status without boasting something of an outsized ego, and Waiters is—in this regard, anyway—no exception. Just how high his actual ceiling in terms of production is, however, remains an open question.

But let’s keep in mind that Waiters does boast a statistical resume not very far afield from one of his position’s living legends:

Enticing though the numbers are, it’s worth remembering Dwyane Wade authored his during his rookie season. Waiters, meanwhile, tallied his in his second year.

Just before the start of the 2013-14 season, Sports Illustrated’s Rob Mahoney dug into the question of whether or not Waiters had what it took to become the league’s next great shooting guard. And while the analysis itself is slightly outdated, the caveats it posits are ones that, with James and Love in the fray, stand to come frighteningly true:

Not only was Waiters gradually more effective around the basket as a result of diversifying his driving game, but he also took significantly fewer off-the-dribble three-point attempts as his rookie season progressed. His awareness of open teammates and rotating defenders is still fairly low, but for Waiters to pass up some of those quick, contested threes represents a sound development toward a rich evolution.

His grasp of the game will undoubtedly improve along similar lines, but what remains to be seen is if Waiters can truly compromise his style while retaining his conviction. It’s that give and take — between balance and audacity — that will define these early stages of his career, and could come to shape his NBA course.

Suffice it to say, Waiters isn’t going to be logging increases in shots or points any time soon—at least not with these Cavs. What he most likely will do, though, is become much more efficient at both ends of the floor.

That would certainly be a coup for Cleveland, which, despite its sudden status as bona fide Finals favorites, still needs steady production from the fringes.

At the same time, there are bound to be plenty of suitors who see in Waiters’ upside reason enough to roll the dice on a trade—particularly given the league’s glaring dearth of All-Star-caliber shooting guards.

The issue from Cleveland’s perspective is one of financial flexibility: With $68 million already committed and possibly more veteran signings on the way (Ray Allen in particular has been mentioned as a viable candidate, per Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports), the Cavs simply can’t afford to take back more than the $4 million Waiters stands to earn this season.

That significantly limits the range of return assets Cleveland could fetch.

While certainly unlikely, the Cavs could simply decline Waiters’ $5.2 million option for the 2014-15 season—especially if Waiters somehow proves himself a poor fit in head coach David Blatt’s rotation.

At that point, Waiters could sign with whomever he pleased. Whether or not that outcome would be better for his growth and development, however, is debatable at best.

At 22 years old, Waiters is nothing if not a work in progress, a sentiment LeBron himself acknowledged in his announcement letter for Sports Illustrated, citing the former Syracuse product by name as one whose game James intended to “elevate” in the months and years to come.

With so many teams beholden to unproven rebuilding plans, cutting Waiters adrift by no means guarantees he’ll land with a franchise committed to nurturing his potential.

Cleveland, on the other hand, offers something nearly impossible to quantify: the experience of playing with and learning from two of the best basketball players—and one of the most renowned, well-respected coaches—anywhere in the world.

Paths to NBA stardom can take any one of a thousand forms, from the immediate impact of a LeBron James to the patience-laden career of Chauncey Billups and just about everything in between.

Being Cleveland’s fourth option might feel to Waiters like yet another gale sent to prevent his ship from sailing. Really, he should be taking the opposite perspective: When you have three ships this powerful in your armada, the rising tide is sure to lift you higher than you ever thought possible.   

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Minnesota Timberwolves: Glen Taylor’s trade comments not needed

Earlier this week, ESPN reported that Minnesota Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor made some statements about the Kevin Love trade, commenting on Love’s defense, claiming that Love will get the blame if the Cleveland Cavaliers struggle and bringing up Love’s injury history.
Kevin Love
I understand the frustration that Taylor must feel now that Love has officially left the Minnesota Timberwolves for the Cleveland Cavaliers, a team that with LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and now Love, is in a strong position to make it to the NBA Finals, while the Timberwolves are rebuilding yet again. However, the Timberwolves got a great haul for Love, by getting Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett and Thaddeus Young.
These are three players with a lot of potential that the Timberwolves would not have gotten if Love had left through free agency, and getting an established player in Young, and two former first overall players in Bennett and Wiggins is a lot better haul than most NBA teams have gotten for a superstar player who has de

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Boston Celtics: 5 Teams That Should Trade For Jeff Green

It’s hard not to look at snapshots of Jeff Green‘s career and not come away impressed. The talent and physical tools are there: he’s 6’9″, long armed, and smoothly athletic. Early in his career, the optimism seemed justified–alongside precocious youngsters Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, Green dropped 20 or more points in 24 games in his […]
Boston Celtics: 5 Teams That Should Trade For Jeff Green – Hoops Habit – Hoops Habit – Analysis, Opinion and Stats All About The NBA

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