NBA Rumors Round-Up

NBA Rumors: Curry Wanted to Join Knicks

Stephen Curry’s camp told the Warriors to “stay away” so he could join the Knicks, and more NBA rumors.

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Curry Really Wanted to Join Knicks

For [Donnie] Walsh, the most painful part of the episode is that leading into the draft, [Stephen] Curry wanted no part of the Warriors and, assuming he was not going to be drafted higher, pointed to the Knicks as his preferred landing site. Curry refused to so much as visit or work out for the Warriors.

In a telephone interview, Curry’s father, Dell, who played 16 N.B.A. seasons as a sweet-shooting guard, said: “The Warriors had some questionable characters on their team, the Knicks really needed a point guard, and we felt that Stephen would fit perfectly with a coach like Mike D’Antoni, playing that fast, up-and-down style. He loved the idea of playing at Madison Square Garden.”

“He’d get the ball in the backcourt, and boom, he was gone,” Walsh said by telephone from Indianapolis. “It wasn’t just his quickness; he saw everything. I’m sitting there thinking, ‘We’ve got D’Antoni coaching our team, and this kid would fit perfectly.’ ”

via Harvey Araton of The New York Times

This is an incredible article with in-depth reporting. It’s no secret that the New York Knicks wanted Stephen Curry leading up to the 2009 NBA Draft. They had the eighth pick and were desperately hoping that he fell to them.

What this article reveals is that Curry wanted just as badly to slip to the Knicks, to the point that he refused to meet or talk with anyone from the Golden State Warriors and had his agent Jeff Austin tell their executives, “Stephen wants to be in New York. Stay away from him.”

Stories like this rarely come out after a player has landed with a team, but this story features quotes from every party involved – the Knicks, the Warriors and the people who make up Curry’s camp.

It’s an excellent read and it shows how close Curry was to being in New York. The Knicks went on to select Jordan Hill with the No. 8 pick after just barely missing out on Curry.

This article also reveals that the Phoenix Suns nearly landed Curry, since they were in talks to trade Amar’e Stoudemire to the Warriors in exchange for the seventh overall pick and expiring contracts. Steve Kerr, who was the Suns’ general manager and is now Curry’s head coach, liked the idea of drafting Curry to be the Suns’ next star point guard after Steve Nash. Larry Riley, who works in Golden State’s front office, admits to Araton that the talks were serious.

Things would be very different in today’s NBA if even one of these moves went through. If you have some time, the entire piece is certainly worth a read.

King: Nets Aren’t Having Fire Sale

Nets general manager Billy King knows his team isn’t playing up to expectations, but he isn’t ready to pull the plug.

“My job is to listen to people and to make calls and to make calls back,” King said before the Nets’ 88-70 victory over the 76ers on Friday night at Barclays Center.

“Does that mean we’re having a fire sale? Absolutely not. I’m doing my job, as well as asking the players and the coaches to do their job. But my job is to work the phones, see what’s available.

“If things make sense you make trades. If they don’t, you don’t do it. But we’re not shopping or having a fire sale.”

via Tim Bontemps of the New York Post

Earlier this week, an ESPN reported indicated that the Brooklyn Nets were making it clear to teams that they were open to trading Deron Williams, Brook Lopez and Joe Johnson. Shortly after that report surfaced, Brooklyn sent Andrei Kirilenko (who had become disgruntled with his limited role) to the Philadelphia 76ers.

This led to some talk that the Nets were having a fire sale and trading off all of their best players. However, Billy King is shooting that down, telling the New York Post that while he’s disappointed in the team’s play, he’s not looking to blow up the roster. He did admit to working the phones, but said that is his job and not an indication that he’s planning to hit the reset button.

It’s worth noting that this could be King doing damage control and trying to keep Williams, Lopez and Johnson happy in case they don’t get traded. Executives have to lie in situations like this all the time. It remains to be seen if that’s what is occurring here or if King is honestly willing to stick with the roster as it’s currently assembled.

King did say that he feels that the Nets’ early struggles were due to the team jelling and Lopez playing his way back into shape from injury. Having a new head coach, Lionel Hollins, also took some adjusting to and could’ve contributed to the team’s slow start. He’s saying all the right things and suggesting that the Nets just needed time to right the ship. However, if things don’t get better soon, it definitely seems possible that he’ll consider all trade options.

The Nets are currently 10-2, which puts them in the Eastern Conference’s eighth seed.

Napier, Whiteside Sent to D-League

It will be Heat Lite for the foreseeable future for the Miami Heat, with rookie point guard Shabazz Napier and recently signed center Hassan Whiteside assigned Saturday to the team’s NBA Development League affiliate, the Sioux Falls Skyforce.

Both players will continue to count toward the Heat’s NBA-maximum 15-player limit, and therefore cannot be replaced on the roster.

via Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel

It’s not a surprise that Hassan Whiteside is being sent down to the D-League, since he was recently signed by the HEAT, had appeared in just three games for a total of nine minutes this season and had already played three games in the D-League this season (prior to joining Miami).

However, it is somewhat surprising to see Shabazz Napier sent to the Sioux Falls Skyforce, since he had emerged as a significant contributor for Miami recently. At 23 years old, Napier was viewed as one of the more NBA-ready first-round picks in the 2014 NBA Draft class.

As Winderman notes in his piece, Napier scored in double figures in six straight games from Nov. 16-25. He was playing 21.4 minutes per game, and seemed to perform well when given significant playing time.

Over the last few games Napier’s playing time had decreased, which may have been a hint of his demotion, but he still played 10 or more minutes in three of the four games since his minutes started dropping.

It remains to be seen how long Napier and Whiteside will be with the Skyforce.

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