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NBA Rumors Round-Up

Rumors: LeBron Addresses Comments to Wade

LeBron James addressed the controversy surrounding his comments to Dwyane Wade.

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Check out the biggest rumors of the day in our NBA Rumor Round-Up. For more rumors and news, check out Basketball Insiders’ headlines, which are constantly being updated.

LeBron addresses controversial comment to Wade

According to an apparently scrubbed version of the exchange that isolates the dialogue by reducing background noise, James seems to say, “Like I said, if we aren’t better this year, we’re gonna reunite again and do some bigger and better things, alright?” Wade responds affirmatively.

James commented on the speculation on Wednesday, saying it was about getting together off the court and not about leaving Cleveland or playing with Wade again.

“I’ve seen the clip, just like you’ve seen the clip,” James said. “I don’t know exactly what I said at the beginning, either. I know I said, ‘We’ll get back together and do some bigger and better things,’ but it had nothing to do about basketball. I mean, if I was going to tell him that, I’d tell him the night before. Come on, guys. I’m not stupid. I know I didn’t go to college but I’m not stupid. I wouldn’t say that on Christmas with a hundred cameras around. I would have told him the night before at his house. But, it’s just me so I get it; I get it. But it had nothing to do with leaving here and reuniting with him. It had everything to do with just talking about other things more than just basketball. Everybody gets so involved in basketball; our friendship — obviously you guys know — is bigger than basketball. So, you know, our last four years couldn’t be bigger and better even if we did get back together. But, whatever. It’s crazy.”

Via Real GM

James shouldn’t be surprised by now with how much he easily he can cause a ruckus on the internet. This isn’t the first time, and it very likely won’t be the last. As easy as it is to read too deeply into his comments, though, he does make a great point that if he were really talking about something so serious and definitively, he’d do it at a time when he didn’t know for a fact that Wade was mic’d up and that everything he was saying was being recorded.

James does have the option to become an unrestricted free agent this summer and earlier this week Chris Haynes of the Northeast Ohio Media Group reported that James wouldn’t hesitate to leave if he didn’t like the state of the franchise at the end of the season. That, combined with this easy to misinterpret footage, created a fire storm, but it’s just too early to make too much of it.

Now, if James is taking meetings with other teams this summer and truly exploring his options, then there should be reason for alarm in Cleveland. But, for now, the potential for James to stay long-term is still there, as long as this team can meet expectations.

LeBron’s knee has been troubling him all year

Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James missed his second straight game because of soreness in his left knee, sitting out his team’s 98-80 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday night. But he wants it known that he’ll be around for the Cavs for the long haul.

James was also scratched Tuesday because of the knee, which previously caused him to sit out a game Dec. 11 in Oklahoma City. He re-aggravated it on Christmas Day in Miami while jumping over a row of courtside seats while trying to track down an outlet pass from Kevin Love.

Even though James was not required to speak to the media because he was out of the lineup, he made himself available to answer a slew of questions in the locker room prior to the Bucks game about his health and the controversy surrounding his commitment to staying in Cleveland beyond this summer.

“It’s been hurting pretty much all year,” James said of his left knee. “I’ve been playing with it and it goes away and comes back. So, the one in Miami kind of re-aggravated it when I came out of the game in the third quarter.”

Via David McMenamin of ESPN.com

One of the most common themes among the most disappointing teams in NBA history has been bad luck with injuries, and certainly so far the Cavaliers have not had a lot go their way when it comes to guys staying at full health. Their top three players, LeBron James, Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving, have been out of the lineup sporadically throughout the year and starting center Anderson Varejao is out for the year with a ruptured Achilles.

All three of their top guys are projected to be All-Stars this season, really limiting their opportunities to get rest throughout the season without sitting out games as James and Love did in a blowout loss to the Milwaukee Bucks.

For a team that is lacking chemistry and still trying to find their way under a first-year NBA head coach in David Blatt, who is reportedly on a seat that is heating up by the loss, this is a trend that has to turn quickly, otherwise they will join field for most disappointing teams ever.

Nash visits Lakers for first time since career-ending diagnosis

Before the Los Angeles Lakers boarded their charter flight on Christmas Eve to play the Chicago Bulls the next day, they got a surprise visit at the airport from Steve Nash.
Nash has been away from the team since Oct. 23 when it was announced that he would be sidelined for the season with a back injury. At the time the Lakers said the door was open to
Nash staying with the team in some capacity, but he stayed away. That could change soon.

“I think so,” Lakers coach Byron Scott said when asked if he thought this was the first step toward Nash returning to the team in some capacity. “I think so.”

Via Arash Markazi of ESPN.com

Nash understandably needed some time to his own to cope with the fact that his Hall of Fame worthy career has come to an end. He came to the Lakers with such high expectations, but was never able to make much of an impact because of injuries. He gave it all he could, but simply couldn’t withstand the trauma that playing professional basketball puts on the body.

However, he drew the ire of some Laker fans after he posted pictures of himself playing golf. He calmed their anger with a public statement, but could be closer to earning their good graces again by serving in a mentor role with the team as they have made it clear they would like him to.

Nash is actually expected to be a lead recruiter for the Lakers even in his post-playing days. As a star player who came in and struggled, he was still treated with the upmost respect and professionalism by the franchise. Nash has grown to love life in Southern California and is expected to remain there in retirement.

Yannis Koutroupis is Basketball Insiders' Managing Site Editor and Senior Writer. He has been covering the NBA and NCAA for seven years.

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NBA Trade Rumors: Bradley Beal never requested a trade, remains committed to Wizards

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This NBA offseason has been a frustrating one for some die-hard fans, especially Washington Wizards‘ fans. On June 18, 2021, news broke concerning shooting guard Bradley Beal announcing his commitment to play for the USA Basketball Men’s National Team. A few weeks ago, it was reported by USA Basketball that Beal would not play in the Tokyo Olympics. And, this was because the 28-year-old three-time NBA All-Star had to enter the COVID-19 health and safety protocols. This was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the Missouri native.

In an interview published by CBS Sports on July 15, 2021, regarding the chance to play for USA Basketball, Beal told CBS’ Michael Kaskey-Blomain, “It’s an honor. It’s something that you take for granted. Not a lot of guys in the league get this opportunity. We all know that. We didn’t live up to what we wanted to a few years ago (in the 2019 FIBA World Cup), and so now we have an opportunity to get back what’s rightfully ours.”

In 2010, Beal won the FIBA-Under 17 World Cup MVP. Though, everyone can see his passion for basketball. Needless to say, it is an awful experience for any athlete to have to bow out of the Olympics. In addition to this unfortunate news, there is all kinds of speculation across the Internet concerning Beal’s future with the Wizards. From Boston.com, it was reported two days ago that Beal would welcome a trade if he was moved to the Boston Celtics. The report also included three other teams: Golden State Warriors, Miami Heat, and Philadelphia 76ers. This latest news information was originally reported by Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer. Last Saturday, Fischer stated, “Boston’s path to securing Beal would appear far more costly, as the Celtics’ offer almost certainly has to include Jaylen Brown and all of their future draft picks they are able to part with.”

Although the report could still be accurate, many fans are asking for more evidence to help support this claim. This is Beal’s team; he was drafted by Washington third overall in the 2012 NBA Draft. Would the Wizards be wiling to trade their star player for Jaylen Brown and potential future draft picks? This remains to be seen. Plus, everyone should keep in mind that although Beal was open to a trade, at least he never demanded an immediate trade. The latest news is likely just trade rumors and meaningless gossip.

Moreover, the 2020-21 Wizards finished 34-38 (.472), ranking third in the Southeast Division and eighth overall in the Eastern Conference. The team lost four games to one in the first round of the postseason against the 76ers. The Wizards have not appeared in the NBA Finals since the 1978-79 season, and they have not won the championship since the 1977-78 season, when they defeated the Seattle Supersonics in Game 7 105-99. Not to mention, the Wizards were called the Bullets back then.

After the season ended, the organization agreed to part ways with head coach Scott Brooks. Perhaps Coach Brooks leaving the team is leading Beal to ask more questions about his own future. According to one report by NBC’s Pro Basketball Talk, Beal was irked over the organization hiring Wes Unseld Jr. over Sam Cassell for the vacant head coach position. How much does this play into trade talks?

Well, we all know that Beal is a competitive player, so three consecutive losing seasons by Washington might not be cutting it for him. Then again, a great player should be willing to give a new coach a chance. Last season, in 60 games played, the six-foot-three guard averaged 31.3 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 4.4 assists per game. The 9-year NBA veteran also shot 48.5 percent from the field and 34.9 percent from beyond the arc. In the 2021 All-Star Game, in 31 minutes played, Beal scored 26 points.

On October 17, 2019, Beal signed a two-year, $72 million extension with Washington. He earned $28.7 million this past season, and he will earn $34.5 million in the upcoming 2021-22 season. Beal’s player option for the 2022-23 season is also $37.2 million. So, folks should keep in mind that Beal is still showing his loyalty to the Wizards. He is only considering a trade request before the draft. The key word here is “considering.” Having said this, not even LeBron James is safe from a trade in this league. Ok, maybe only James is safe.

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NBA Trade Rumors: Jazz considering trade offers for Bojan Bogdanovic, Joe Ingles, Royce O’Neale, and No. 30 pick of the 2021 NBA Draft

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Per one interesting announcement from Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer, the Utah Jazz are open to trading forward Bojan Bogdanovic, forward-guard Joe Ingles, small forward Royce O’Neale, and the No. 30 pick of the 2021 NBA Draft. Fischer stated, “The Utah Jazz are known to be one of the few teams actually searching to move playoff-tested talent. Retaining Mike Conley is an offseason priority, sources said, and the Jazz have held numerous discussions with teams around the league about offloading salary to create for Conley in free agency.” Point guard Mike Conley is set to become a free agent this offseason. Though, general manager Justin Zanik will aim to re-sign the 33-year-old guard in the coming weeks. Conley earned $34.5 million in the 2020-21 season.

“League personnel most often mention Joe Ingles as the Jazz wing to watch, and Bojan Bogdanovic and Royce O’Neale are also considered available for trade as Utah narrows its focus towards building a contender around Donovan Mitchel. The Jazz are also open to discuss trading their No. 30 pick, sources said.” In the 2020-21 season, in 72 games played, Bogdanovic averaged 17 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 1.9 assists per game. On May 1, 2021, in the team’s 106-102 victory over the Toronto Raptors, the six-foot-seven Croatian scored a season-high 34 points, shooting 12-for-22, and he finished his performance with four rebounds and four assists as well. On July 7, 2019, he signed a four-year, $73 million contract with the Jazz.

In 67 games played last season, Ingles averaged 12.1 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 4.7 assists per game. The six-foot-eight forward is set to earn $14 million in the 2021-22 season. Plus, among the mentioned players, Royce O’Neale has contributed the least. In 71 games played last season, he averaged seven points, 6.8 rebounds, and 2.5 assists. On January 19, 2020, the forward signed a four-year, $36 million extension with the team. He will earn $8.6 million next season. According to The Athletic, in the team’s seventh workout for draft prospects, they viewed Quentin Grimes, David Duke, Matt Mitchell, and a few other players. In the first round, if the team chooses not to draft any of the players they are holding workouts for, the organization will trade the No. 30 pick.

Just for a reminder, retrieved from Spotrac, the 2021-22 NBA luxury tax threshold is $136,606,000. Utah’s active roster cap is $133,284,695, the maximum cap is $112,414,000, and the current cap space is $72,990,215. Furthermore, center Rudy Gobert currently has the highest guaranteed contract on the team. On December 20, 2020, Gobert signed a five-year, $205 million extension with the organization. Gobert is set to earn $35.3 million in the coming season, whereas Donovan Mitchell will earn $28.1 million. Gobert and Mitchell combined consume 47.6 percent of the team’s salary cap. For the upcoming 2021-22 season, the Jazz have a guaranteed total of $129,719,453. Based on the team’s future outlook, the Jazz will have to make a trade or two in order to retain their star players. This should go without saying.

NBA Analysis Network reported a few days ago that a potential Jazz-Knicks trade target is Bojan Bogdanovic. Greg Patuto proposed the Knicks receiving Bogdanovic, while the Jazz would receive Kevin Knox II, and the Nos. 19 and No. 32 picks of the 2021 NBA Draft. Now, this could still happen at some point during this draft week, but then again, sports bettors and fans alike understand that these news reports could be just rumors. The most intelligent, unforthcoming general managers know not to leave bread crumb trails for the media, especially leading into the offseason. They will do everything necessary to protect their foolproof plans.

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NBA Rumors: Cousins’ Camp Doesn’t Want Karl Hired?

DeMarcus Cousins’ camp reportedly doesn’t want the Kings to hire George Karl and more NBA rumors here.

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Check out the biggest rumors of the day in our NBA Rumor Round-Up. For more rumors and news, check out Basketball Insiders’ headlines, which are constantly being updated.

Cousins’ Camp Doesn’t Want Karl Hired?

Karl’s personal past with a number of influential members in and around the Kings organization remains relevant as well, as he previously coached Kings advisor Chris Mullin and has history with the two agents who represent franchise centerpiece DeMarcus Cousins as well. Cousins’ day-to-day agent, Jarrin Akana, worked with Karl in Denver and was re-assigned from assistant coach to scout when Karl took over for coach Jeff Bzdelik in 2005. Dan Fegan, Cousins’ lead agent, represented Karl’s son, Coby, as a player for years before he was eventually replaced. That circle, by all accounts, has been against the notion of adding Karl.

To that end, D’Alessandro’s ability to change their minds is key here as well. While it appears D’Alessandro is endorsing Karl with or without the support of his team’s top player or his representatives, he would prefer to have agreement on that front if Ranadive ultimately approves the hiring. There is some concern within the organization, however, that hiring Karl could create substantive conflict going forward when it comes to Cousins.

via Sam Amick of USA TODAY Sports

On Saturday, reports surfaced that the Kings were seriously pursuing George Karl since they didn’t want to lose him to the Magic (who recently fired Jacque Vaughn). Even though the Magic have yet to contact Karl or his camp, the head coach’s interest in the Orlando job seemed to get Sacramento talking about a deal.

Now, however, it seems DeMarcus Cousins’ camp (and some minority owners, according to Amick) are trying to stop the Kings from hiring Karl due to past issues with the veteran head coach. It remains to be seen if Pete D’Alessandro will hire him anyway (and risk upsetting Cousins).

The Kings have dropped to 17-32 under Ty Corbin, and Cousins recently said he was more frustrated now than he’s ever been since joining the Kings.

In 2005, Karl took over the Denver Nuggets midseason and they went 32-8 after he got the job (which is the best record for a coach who has taken over a job midseason).

Karl has 25 years of head coaching experience and an NBA Finals appearance on his resume. He is 1131-756 in the regular season and 80-105 in the postseason.

Miami Hasn’t Told Johnson He’ll Be Signed

The Heat hasn’t told Tyler Johnson, who has impressed, if he will be signed for balance of the season when his second 10-day expires Monday.

via Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald

Miami needs to decide if they want to sign Tyler Johnson for the remainder of the season or let him go.

Erik Spoelstra has praised the young guard and recently described him as the “model of player development,” which suggests his head coach has been impressed and would like him to stick around.

Johnson has appeared in six games for Miami, averaging 7.5 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.3 steals in 18.8 minutes per game.

In his most recent game, he had 18 points (on 7-10 shooting from the field) and two steals in 25 minutes against the San Antonio Spurs. He also had a 13-point, nine-rebound, two-block and two-steal performance in 27 minutes against the Boston Celtics last week.

Johnson has already signed two 10-day contracts and his next deal would be for the rest of the season.

Bucks Sign Gutierrez to Another 10-Day

The Milwaukee Bucks have signed guard Jorge Gutierrez to a second 10-day contract, General Manager John Hammond announced today.

via Milwaukee Bucks press release

Jorge Gutierrez has appeared in four games for the Bucks and averaged 4.5 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 14.8 minutes per game.

He made one start for Milwaukee on Feb. 2 at Toronto, and on Feb. 6 at Houston, tied his career high for scoring with 13 points in the game.

Gutierrez signed his first 10-day contract on January 28. After this second 10-day deal expires, the Bucks will have to decide if they want to keep him for the remainder of the season or let him go.

 

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