The writing is on the wall that we've seen the last of LaMarcus Aldridge in a Portland Trail Blazers uniform. Their trade of Nicolas Batum on Wednesday might not be the end of Portland's roster overhaul.
A Western Conference executive with knowledge of the Aldridge pursuit has told The Columbian that the free-agent has already informed the Blazers that he will not return to the Northwest.
via Erik Gundersen of the Columbian
Oklahoma City has traded Jeremy Lamb to Charlotte for Luke Ridnour and a 2016 second-round pick, league sources tell Yahoo Sports.
Source: Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports
Piggybacking on an earlier Yahoo Sports! Report, I just spoke with a league source who maintains the Sacramento Kings are interested in forward Mario Hezonja if he falls to the sixth pick.
If Hezonja is off the board, Sacramento has also been intrigued with the upside of center Willie Cauley-Stein, who is projected by some to land slightly out of the top 10.
This means the Kings will be in the market of entertaining various trade down scenarios in order to secure another asset and potentially land Cauley-Stein if still available.
- via Lang Greene, Basketball Insiders
The Memphis Grizzlies acquired forward Matt Barnes in a trade with the Charlotte Hornets on Thursday, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
The Grizzlies sent the non-guaranteed deal of Luke Ridnour to Charlotte. It is likely the Hornets will waive Ridnour before his contract is guaranteed for the 2015-16 season, sources said.
via Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports
ESPN's LaMarcus Aldridge latest: Batum trade only latest signal of Aldridge's likely departure and sources say Lakers are moving up his list
via Marc Stein of ESPN
The Los Angeles Lakers and Sacramento Kings exchanged possible frameworks of a trade centered on All-Star DeMarcus Cousins on Wednesday and discussions could intensify on Thursday, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
The Kings started to engage with teams and explore possible trade scenarios beyond the Lakers on Wednesday, league sources said. Sacramento management has publicly said it won't trade Cousins, but that stance has increasingly softened and the franchise is proceeding further on moving him, league sources said.
After Sacramento Kings coach George Karl pushed for Kings management to trade Cousins this spring, Cousins is unenthusiastic about returning to play for Karl and would be eager for a deal to the Lakers, league sources said.
via Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports
Today, Basketball Insiders got the chance to chat with the top draft prospects who were invited to the green room for the 2015 NBA Draft. Here are some news and notes from our interviews:
- Devin Booker liked watching Rip Hamilton growing up. Now, he is drawing comparisons to Klay Thompson. Booker said he studies a lot of film of Thompson and sees similarities to him with the way the Golden State Warriors use him in screens. He praised Thompson's strengths off the pick and roll and how he has developed into a two-way player.
- Jahlil Okafor met with and worked out for the Lakers twice. He said the organization has a reputation for its big men, which has resulted in championships. When it comes to Kobe Bryant, Okafor said, "He's all about winning and he'll do whatever it takes to win. That's something I definitely admire."
- Rondae Hollis-Jefferson expects to be drafted mid-first round. Landing in that area could mean going to a contending team, which he would welcome: "As far as going to a playoff team that's ready to play and can throw me out there and it won't be as big of a deal, I think that's a good fit too. But for me, anywhere I go is a good fit because I work hard."
- Growing up, Stanley Johnson wanted to play in every basketball game and camp possible. Now basketball is changing as it will become his job. As an example, he cannot participate in the upcoming Drew League. Johnson said he has quickly learned the NBA is a business and "everything has to be on time, on target."
- Justise Winslow thinks he will be drafted in the top 10. "A lot of the organizations I'm going to, they had a rough year last year," he said. "So for me to bring that winning mentality and winning presence to the locker room would be something that I could also bring on the court and be versatile and impact the game in a lot of different ways."
Clearly, last summer’s tactic of attempting to lure a big name free agent (or two) simply didn’t pan-out for the Los Angeles Lakers. In fact, if we’re being honest, the Lakers have endured a few summers of disappointing results due to myriad things. From the ‘Dikembe finger’ of former-commissioner David Stern, to an unprecedented amount of injuries to a significant percentage of the roster over the past few seasons, to the loss of their own free agents seeking greener pastures elsewhere, their front office is certainly due for a reversal of their recent misfortunes.
This summer, the Lakers are in the rare position of having multiple options and routes that could lead them back to a more successful and familiar path. While the debate about whether Jahlil Okafor or D'Angelo Russell would be the best choice with the No. 2 pick in Thursday’s draft rages on, it comes as no surprise that preliminary discussions between the Lakers and Kings regarding a DeMarcus Cousins deal have apparently taken place.
According to Marc Stein of ESPN, the Lakers have been actively pursuing trade scenarios for the 24-year-old former fifth-overall pick over the past few weeks, and have at least engaged in “exploratory dialogue” about a three-team deal that would also include the Orlando Magic. All of this comes amidst seemingly conflicting factions in Sacramento as a wide variety of sources report George Karl’s desire for the franchise to move Cousins while Kings’ ownership and VP of Basketball Operations Vlade Divac have united in making it clear they do not intend to move him.
Our Cody Taylor broke down the potential and realities of the hypothetical three-team deal, but even if that or a similar deal for established talent were not to materialize, the Lakers know the likely choice between Okafor and Russell still leaves them in a good position to continue this rebuilding effort.
What must feel nice to this front office and, quite frankly, this fan base alike is the fact the the Lakers finally appear to have some viable and even attainable options before them. For a front office that was accused of “not having a plan” by a former free agent, Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss certainly appear to have their fingers at the pulse of this year’s draft as well as the upcoming free agency process. It'll be interesting to see what they’ve got in store for this summer.
The Utah Jazz may have ended the 2014-15 season seven games out of the Western Conference playoff race (38-44), but fans of the team had to be encouraged by the 21-11 finish to the year and impressive development of their talented young core. Gordon Hayward appeared more comfortable in his leadership role under rookie head coach Quin Snyder, and Rudy Gobert continued to develop at a rate that should have him in the All-Defensive team discussion within the next couple seasons.
General manager Dennis Lindsey mentioned the team’s willingness to spend the bulk of their available cap space this summer if the right opportunity were to present itself, but did not specify which direction the team might be looking. With rumors about a potential mutual interest between the team and soon-to-be free agent Paul Millsap beginning to circulate, we now have a source confirming the organization not only intends to move up in tomorrow’s draft, but could be willing to package assets and players to do so if necessary.
“I think [the Jazz] might be able to even try to package some things together and move up and make a move in the upper half of the early picks and see if maybe they can get a special talent,” said David Locke, the radio voice of the Utah Jazz. “I don't know if they'll be able to do that. They have enough depth and enough talent on the roster that I am certain they are trying to couple those assets, those picks and those players to maybe move up and acquire one other unique talent.”
Locke went on to confirm this with Jordan Buscarini of KOAL 750 AM (the Jazz affiliate).
Locke didn’t go into which current assets such as the picks (12, 42, 54) or current players could be moved, but we are reminded of the rumors surrounding a potential move that would have involved power forward Derrick Favors just prior to last year’s draft. The team may have vehemently denied them last summer, but those dots aren’t exactly difficult to connect if the murmurings about Millsap ultimately come to fruition.
The Portland Trail Blazers are finalizing a deal to send forward Nic Batum to the Charlotte Hornets for Noah Vonleh and Gerald Henderson, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
The deal will be finalized on Wednesday night, league sources said.
via Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports