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NBA AM: The Latest Trade Deadline Scuttle

The NBA trade deadline is today at 3 p.m. EST. Here are the latest rumblings from around the NBA.

Steve Kyler



The Latest Scuttle

The 2016 NBA trade deadline is at 3 p.m. EST today, so teams have to get their deals into the league office in advance of that deadline.

To sort of refresh the process, once the teams involved in a trade reach an agreement, a trade call is scheduled with the league office and the NBA’s legal department. The details of the trade are discussed with all parties and all of the legalities are checked against the NBA’s trade rules. Assuming everything checks out, the NBA makes the trade official. While all trades must be submitted by 3 p.m., it is fairly common that the trade call process can roll well past the deadline.

Last year, 38 players and player rights changed hands at the deadline, with the largest chunk of that number happening within 45 minutes of the deadline. So hang on to your hat, it looks like we are headed toward another crazy day.

Here is what we know this morning:

Moving Pau Gasol?

The Chicago Bulls have been kicking the tires on several scenarios, but the one picking up the most steam seems to be big man Pau Gasol heading to the Sacramento Kings for a package of players including Kostas Koufos and Ben McLemore. The Kings are also said to be willing to reduce some of the draft protections on the 2016 pick they owe to the Bulls in an effort to ensure the Bulls get the picks.

The hurdle there is the Kings also traded the right to swap picks with the Philadelphia 76ers. While it’s unlikely the Sixers would be willing to swap their pick, which should be more favorable, it’s still something to be negotiated in order to make the deal with the Bulls.

The belief is the Kings would have to part with a future draft asset or pick swap to get the 76ers to sign off on the change.

For Gasol, he holds a player option worth roughly $7.7 million and has made it clear he would be opting for free agency, but would like to remain in Chicago on a new deal.

The Bulls have been gauging the trade value of not only Gasol but also guard Tony Snell and forward Taj Gibson.

Holding Pattern With Frye

The Orlando Magic had completed the framework of a trade with the Los Angeles Clippers that would have sent forward Channing Frye to L.A. in exchange for guard Lance Stephenson, guard C.J. Wilcox and a second-round draft pick. The Clippers asked the Magic for more time on that deal as they looked at other options, which league sources believed was them trying to pry forward Ryan Anderson out of New Orleans.

The Magic had been talking with the Cleveland Cavaliers about an alternative Frye deal that would have sent Frye to Cleveland. The problem there is the Cavaliers wanted to send back big man Anderson Varejao, who is owed about $19 million in guaranteed money. This is a deal the Magic would not do.

The Cavaliers have two fairly large Traded Players Exception – one worth a little more than $2.8 million and another worth $10.52 million. The Cavs could absorb Frye into their $10.52 million exception, but that would add more than $35 million to the team’s luxury tax bill.

The Cavs have been trying to find a place to dump off Varejao, but league sources say the teams with cap space do not seem overly interested in that.

The Clippers deal is still on the table and the Magic are still exploring options outside of the Cavs and Clippers. This one looks like it could go down to the wire.

Frye practiced with the Magic yesterday and even addressed the media. As things stand today, the Magic are waiting on a trade partner to say yes.

Two other names to watch from Orlando today are forward Andrew Nicholson and guard Shabazz Napier. Both are believed to be available – with Nicholson’s camp pushing for a deal somewhere the big man can get more playing time. Over the last seven games, Nicholson has logged a combined 28 minutes and is headed toward free agency this summer.

As for Napier, he is under contract next season at a very reasonable $1.35 million and the Magic do like him quite a bit. It seems moving him would be more of a favor to Napier and his agent, so that one might come down to what are the Magic offered.

An interesting wrinkle to how the Magic pulled off their Tobias Harris trade has surfaced. Our own cap guru Eric Pincus revealed that prior to the Brandon Jennings/Ersan Ilyasova trade with the Detroit Pistons, the Magic renounced rights to free agents Willie Green and Jeremy Richardson, which dropped them below the salary cap and negated the Traded Player Exception the team received this summer for trading Moe Harkless.

By dropping below the cap prior to the trade, the Magic have the option to immediately re-trade either of the players they acquired in a package deal.

While Magic general manager Rob Hennigan spoke highly of both players after the trade and praised how well both would fit into the situation in Orlando, they do have the option to pack either of those guys into a deal to make a splashier move if it surfaces.

It is highly unusual for a team to renounce player rights prior to a trade unless there is the possibility of something bigger where those restrictions could be a factor.

This is likely a case of keeping your options open, but it’s an interesting wrinkle for the Magic.

No Home For Howard

The Houston Rockets and the representation for Dwight Howard have been looking for a new home for the Rockets big man. However, as the deadline approaches, there does not seem to be a lot there.

To be clear, the Rockets are more than willing to move Howard so this is not a case of reluctance on Houston’s part. The problem is that Howard has a unique set of issues that may make a deal before the deadline improbable.

The biggest is Howard’s $22.35 million salary. Unless a team with cap space (Portland, Philadelphia or Utah) is willing to use a big chunk of it on Howard, the Rockets have to take back at least $16.75 million in salary. The Rockets are unwilling to take back contracts that affect their cap space next summer so that’s a barrier that’s proving hard to cross.

The second part is that Howard will be an unrestricted free agent and likely walks to the best situation for him; that’s risky for any team, especially if you have to part with players or assets that matter.

The final part is Howard himself. This would be the third team in which Howard exits amid controversy. Combine that with a decline in his overall production, the fact that his now 30 years old and has battled injury not only to his surgically repaired back but also a troublesome knee, and you can see why some teams aren’t interested.

Any one of these issue could be workable, but when you combine them together Howard is an unfavorable trade target.

League sources say it’s still possible that Houston can give Howard away, but returning anything of real value for him seems to be dwindling away as the deadline gets closer.

Lawson To The Jazz

The Utah Jazz and Houston Rockets have been talking about a deal that would send point guard Ty Lawson to the Jazz for the balance of the season in a deal centered around point guard Trey Burke and what’s believed to be center Tibor Pleiss. The Jazz are about $7.6 million below the salary cap so they can absorb the difference into cap space.

The Jazz have been pondering this deal since before the All-Star break and have been trying to come to terms with Lawson’s off-court history. Lawson has a well-documented history with alcoholism and that’s been a huge barrier for the Jazz.

Sources close to the situation say there have been a number of Rockets’ approved conversations with Lawson’s agents in efforts to smooth over a potential deal.

Lawson once did a Reddit chat where he proclaimed that he’d never play in Utah, which is something his camp has tried to walk back from – pointing out that the situation for Lawson has changed and he’d welcome the chance to prove himself in Utah.

Lawson waived the guarantee on the final year of his contract to get traded out of Denver last summer, making him a low-risk move for the Jazz who have 30 games left on the season and are currently the eighth seed in the West.

This deal is not done yet and there are still more discussions expected today. However, the Jazz have told Burke that they would honor his request for a trade desire to be in a situation where he can start,  so it will be interesting to see how this shakes out.

If this deal were to fall through for whatever reason, it is believed the Rockets will waive Lawson, which would likely make him an unrestricted free agent.

Where Are The Thunder?

The Oklahoma City Thunder made an aggressive trade last year at the deadline and it’s expected they will again trigger something today.

As things stand today, the Thunder are $12.417 million over the luxury tax line and facing a tax bill of more than $22.29 million.

It’s believed that the Thunder have made both Steve Novak ($3.75 million) and guard D.J. Augustin ($3 million) available in trade and are looking for very little in return for either player. Shedding both players would reduce the Thunder’s tax bill by $13.62 million. It’s also believed the Thunder may be willing to include big man Mitch McGary or Josh Huestis in the deal in place of draft picks, which would further reduce their tax burden.

The Thunder have been fairly clever in creating multi-team deals, so it’s not out of the question they are involved in something at the deadline if only to reduce their tax bill.

For the very latest NBA Trade Deadline information, make sure to check out the 2016 NBA Trade Deadline Diary. All the deals, all the rumors and all the reactions are in one place.

The Deadline Podcast

In case you missed it, Alex Kennedy and I dropped the Trade Deadline Preview Podcast recently. We hit on all the major trade rumors and teams looking to make deals. Take a listen:

More Twitter: Make sure you are following all of our guys on Twitter to ensure you are getting the very latest from our team: @stevekylerNBA, @AlexKennedyNBA, @LangGreene, @EricPincus, @joelbrigham, @SusanBible @TommyBeer, @MokeHamilton , @jblancartenba, @eric_saar and @CodyTaylorNBA .


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NBA Saturday: Jabari Bird Experiences The NBA Whirlwind

Jabari Bird entered a hostile environment Friday night after being on his couch just three days before.

Dennis Chambers



When Gordon Hayward suffered a season-ending injury six minutes into the Boston Celtics’ season on Wednesday, he wasn’t the only player who saw his season changed in the blink of an eye.

“I was at home in California watching the game as a fan,” Jabari Bird said.

Bird was the 56th overall pick in last June’s NBA Draft. After playing his college ball at the University of California, the Celtics gave the 6-foot-6 swingman a shot to continue his career. After impressing throughout the preseason, Bird was signed to a two-way contract with Boston and returned home to the west coast.

That didn’t last long.

“After the game was over my phone was going off that I had to get on the quickest flight to Boston,” Bird said about opening night. “Got in 7:30 the next morning, suited up against Milwaukee, now I’m here in Philly.”

With the massive hole Hayward left in Boston’s roster due to his injury, the Celtics are going to have to turn to some unlikely performers throughout the season to pick up the slack. Bird didn’t light up the scoreboard or stuff his stat sheet, posting just three points and one rebound in 13 minutes of play. But down the stretch in a close game against the Philadelphia 76ers Friday night, Bird came up big on defense.

As the Celtics trailed the Sixers 61-53 with six minutes remaining in the third quarter, Bird subbed in for Jaylen Brown and was tasked with guarding J.J. Redick, who was in the midst of carrying Philadelphia with his lights out shooting.

After wiping away the Sixers lead and gaining an 86-84 advantage in the fourth quarter, the Celtics still had Bird sticking Redick. The Sixers’ shooting guard — and highest paid player — rose up for another three-point attempt which would’ve given Philadelphia a late lead and a momentum shift at home with a raucous crowd behind them. Only this time, Bird’s hand was in his face and the shot attempt didn’t find the back of the net.

In a big-time moment on the road, for a team facing a potential three-game losing streak to start the season, the unlikely rookie answered the call.

“Like I said before, he’s one of the best shooters in the NBA, really good perimeter scorer,” Bird said of Redick. “For the team to trust me with that responsibility, with us being down on the road needing to get a win, I was hyped up and ready to go. I was ready for the challenge.”

Placing such a responsibility like guarding Redick on a night where it seemed like the Sixers marksman couldn’t miss on a player who was sitting on his couch three nights ago seems like a bold strategy. Head coach Brad Stevens, however, knew what he was doing.

“All the way through preseason and training camp I felt like he was one of our better perimeter defenders,” Stevens said. “I think he has huge upside. His rebounding spoke for itself in preseason practices. His ability to guard off the ball, especially shooters coming off screens is just really good. He’s not afraid, and you knew he’d step up.”

Going from the couch to a red-eye flight from California to Boston, to the bench in Milwaukee, to the court in Philadelphia is nothing short of a whirlwind experience. With such a series of events, it’s hard to be coached into that moment. As a player, sometimes you have to just go out and play.

“I wasn’t prepared at all for tonight. Mentally I just had to lock into the game,” Bird said. “Coach just looked at me and said ‘Bird get Jaylen.’ ‘Alright.’ So that’s what I did.”

After signing Hayward to $127 million contract this summer, the Celtics were expecting the small forward to provide an elite scoring 1-2 scoring punch with Kyrie Irving. Obviously, at least for this season, Boston will need to move forward without that possibility. An opening night loss, followed by another defeat to Milwaukee the following night, had the Celtics 0-2 heading into Philadelphia and searching for answers a lot sooner than they may have anticipated just a week ago.

Bird’s journey during his first week in professional basketball represents how quickly things can change, and how the ripple effects of injuries and other moves have far outreaching waves.

“I was already packed, I was ready to go to the G-League,” Bird said. “We had training camp coming up. My bags were already packed, I was ready to get out the house. Then I got the call to go to Boston and I was like alright I’m ready to go, just gimmie a flight. And that’s what happened.”

All-star point guard, and Bird’s new teammate, Kyrie Irving doesn’t foresee the rookie leaving the clubhouse anytime soon. With the adversity the Boston Celtics have felt in the first week of the 2017-18 season, Bird’s addition and impact are a prime example of being ready when your number is called, and the culture this team is looking to create.

“Jabari is now probably gonna be on every trip with us,” Irving said. “Guys are gonna be called up and called upon to be ready to play. We just have to have that expectation that when we come into the game we’re gonna be able to play, and we trust one another and have each other’s backs.”

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Mavs Guard Devin Harris on Personal Leave from Team

Basketball Insiders



Guard Devin Harris will take an indefinite leave from the Dallas Mavericks after the tragic death of his brother, Bruce.

“I was with him yesterday and just encouraged him that when he’s ready to come on back,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “I don’t know when that will be. He can take as long as he needs.”

Source: Tim MacMahon of ESPN

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NBA PM: Patrick Beverley Set the Tone for Clippers in Season Opener

Patrick Beverley set the tone for the L.A. Clippers with his aggressive defense in their season opener.

Jesse Blancarte



“The LA Clippers are going to the Western Conference Finals. Guaranteed.”

That bold statement was made by Charles Barkley during TNT’s coverage of last night’s matchup between the Lakers and Clippers.

While Barkley may have had his hot take canon primed and in mid-season form, that should not overshadow the fact that the Los Angeles Clippers put together a strong showing in their first regular season game since the departure of Chris Paul.

Blake Griffin logged 29 points, 12 rebounds, three assists, two steals and knocked down three of his six three-point attempts. Griffin was aggressive and showed no hesitation on his jumper, which seemed to open up lanes for him to drive to the basket (where he is most effective). DeAndre Jordan was fantastic as well, contributing 14 points, 24 rebounds, one assist and one steal.

While the Clippers lost some significant contributors from last season, including J.J. Redick, Luc Mbah a Moute and Jamal Crawford, the team had some returning and new players show that they are capable of filling the void.

Milos Teodosic was just 2-9 from the field, but knocked down two three-pointers and looked comfortable and effective running the team’s offense. Danilo Gallinarni shot just 3-13 from the field but looked healthy and spry, displaying the kind of mobility that is necessary to play the small forward position. His ability to act as a secondary playmaker wasn’t on full display, but there were moments where it was apparent that he could be a big help in generating open looks for his teammates. Lou Williams also looked good in his Clippers debut, scoring in a variety of ways off the bench and contributing six assists as well. Wesley Johnson continues to look confident and aggressive, a continuation from his preseason performances, and is starting to knock down the open shots his teammates are creating for him (which has been a problem for him in the past).

While the Clippers looked solid in their opening act without Paul, it should be noted that the Lakers are a young team overall and their defense has been a major problem for the last few seasons. While the Lakers have added some promising young talent over the offseason, like most young teams, they are going to struggle to slow down veteran teams with potent offenses. It would be a mistake to think the Clippers can replicate this sort of offensive performance every night, especially against the better defensive teams in the league. However, perhaps the most promising part of the Clippers’ season debut was the fact that they seemed to feed off of and embrace the gritty demeanor and style of play that Patrick Beverley brings to the court each and every night.

Last night’s game was the NBA debut for rookie point guard Lonzo Ball, who many predict will develop into a star player. Unfortunately for Ball, his opening night matchup came against Beverley, who earned a spot on the 2017 All-Defensive First Team. Beverley repeatedly guarded Ball past half court, pushed him around and did everything he could to throw him off of his game. He held Ball to three points, nine rebounds and four assists in 29 minutes of action.

Beverley, like every NBA player, has heard the hype and noise surrounding Ball and his future in the league (most of it from his outspoken father, LaVar).

“I just had to set the tone,” Beverley said. “I told him after the game that due to all the riffraff his dad brings, that he’s going to get a lot of people coming at him. I let him know that after the game. What a better way to start than spending 94 feet guarding him tonight — welcome the young guy to the NBA.”

Beverley is one of the more aggressive defenders in the NBA and is known for trying to get under the skin of his opponents, so Lonzo may not face this level of intensity in every game. But based on Beverley’s comments, it’s clear that he expects other players around the league to defend Lonzo aggressively as well.

Snoop Dogg, the rapper and passionate Lakers fan, summed up the issue for Ball arguably better than anyone else has so far.

“His father put him in the lion’s den with pork chop drawers on,” said Snoop.

For his part, Lonzo complimented Beverley on his aggressive defense.

“[Beverley] plays hard. He knows his job. He does it very well,” said Ball. “He gets under people’s skin and plays defense and does what he can to help his team win.”

Beverley set the tone for the Clippers, who looked crisp and confident throughout the game. Griffin’s three-point shot looks like it could finally be a reliable part of his offensive arsenal. Jordan was very active on the glass, pulling down 24 rebounds (possibly inspired in part by his commitment to donate $100 per rebound this season to help the effort to rebuild his hometown of Houston after the damage inflicted by Hurricane Harvey). The rest of the supporting cast played with the sort of cohesion and confidence that takes at least a few weeks into the season to develop. Again, the Clippers’ performance could have stemmed primarily from the Lakers’ shaky defense, but it was encouraging to see the team play with such force and confidence in the absence of Paul.

The Western Conference is extremely talented and deep, so it’s unlikely that the Clippers will make it to the Western Conference Finals as Barkley predicted. However, challenging for a spot in the playoffs and perhaps even doing some damage once there seems to be in the realm of possibility. This is especially the case considering how much of an impact Beverley had Thursday night, both defensively and in setting the tone for the rest of his new teammates.

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