Archive for May 16th, 2014

Here’s ESPN New York reporting on the Knicks:

Knicks may trade Raymond Felton this summer

New York Knicks president Phil Jackson recently told point guard Raymond Felton that he will look to trade him in the offseason, a league source said.

Felton has two years remaining on a four-year, $15 million contract with a player option in the final season, so it may be difficult to find suitors for him.

But Jackson told Felton in a conversation the two had during exit interviews last month that he would explore trade possibilities involving the 29-year-old.

“He was pretty honest with him,” the source said. The conversation was first reported by SNY.tv.

Miami Heat arena agreement reached

Here’s the Miami Herald with some Heat arena news:

The Miami Heat would receive $42 million in subsidies to play at the AmericanAirlines Arena for an extra five years and end a profit-sharing arrangement in favor of $23 million in payments to Miami-Dade’s parks department, under a deal reached by Mayor Carlos Gimenez and owner Micky Arison.

Miami-Dade would retain its ability to profit from the arena’s naming-rights agreement once the current deal with American Airlines expires in 2020, though the arrangement includes a provision to resolve disputes over how much of that sponsorship windfall would go to the county and how much would stay with the team, Gimenez said Friday.

While Arison was seeking a 10-year extension through 2040, Gimenez said the proposed deal only secures the team through 2035 out of fear the higher subsidies would cut into hotel taxes needed to pay off massive payments due from the 2009 Miami Marlins deal. Under the proposed agreement, Miami-Dade’s current $6.4 million subsidy to the Heat would increase by $2 million a year between 2031 and 2035.

Here’s CSN Washington on the difficult scenario where a player enjoys the team he just played for, and had a big role, and enjoyed success, yet may wind up moving on because that’s things often work:

Future of Trevor Ariza and Wizards is unclear

Whether or not Trevor Ariza comes back to the Wizards won’t be decided by one factor. Everyone knows that he loves the West coast, that he wants to win now and that his families mean everything to him. Yes, both.

“My family is definitely the most important thing to me before basketball, everything. That plays a big factor into a log of things,” Ariza said Friday after he packed up his locker and prepared to leave Verizon Center following the Wizards’ playoff elimination to the Indiana Pacers the previous night. “But when you build something with people that’s hard to let go, too. What we built in this locker room this season, this is a beautiful thing to me. I really enjoyed playing with those guys. I love those dudes like they’re my brothers.”

Ariza, who made $7.7 million, will be an unrestricted free agent and will have options.

Here’s Michigan Live reporting on the Pistons and new head coach Stan Van Gundy:

Stan Van Gundy has interesting Pistons roster to work with

Stan Van Gundy said he didn’t want to get into publicly evaluating his Detroit Pistons players before they even had a chance to work together, but the glib new president of basketball operations and head coach couldn’t help himself when asked specifically about two of the more polarizing Pistons, Josh Smith and Brandon Jennings.

Van Gundy endorsed Smith, with the caveat that he has to be in the right role, which was an open question during the veteran forward’s first year with the Pistons.

Same with Jennings — as long as his shot selection improves.

“The questions are his decision-making ability — not so much that he’s a high-turnover guy, but it’s his shooting percentage you get concerned about,” Van Gundy said at his introductory press conference Thursday. “One of the things I like to do with guys in terms of shooting percentage is ask them why. Why 37 percent? I want to hear the answer on that. But I know he’s a very, very talented guy.”

Serge Ibaka injured, out for rest of playoffs

Oklahoma City Thunder forward Serge Ibaka underwent an MRI today that confirmed he suffered a left calf injury during the third quarter of last night’s contest against the Los Angeles Clippers, the team announced. Ibaka is expected to miss the remainder of the 2014 postseason.

This is a huge blow to OKC. Ibaka provides toughness, defense, and on offense he is able to stretch the floor thanks to solid range on his jumpshot. The San Antonio Spurs, who will face the Thunder in the 2014 Western Conference Finals with Game 1 Monday night, caught a break here. Though they still face a very tough opponent who certainly can still win.

Ibaka is averaging 12.2 points on 69-of-112 (.616) shooting from the field, 7.3 rebounds and 2.23 blocks in 13 postseason games.  During the 2013-14 regular season, Ibaka notched career-highs with 15.1 points and 8.8 rebounds, while leading the league in total blocks for the fourth consecutive season with 219 blocked shots.

“We are obviously disappointed for Serge, as he is a tremendous competitor, and we know how badly he wants to be on the court with his teammates,” said Thunder Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti. “At this point it is important that our team directs its concentration and energy towards preparation and execution for our upcoming series.  As with all teams, our group has confronted different challenges. It is our collective experience that we will call on to ensure that we play to our capabilities.”

Here’s the Seattle Post-Intelligencer blog reporting:

Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer told the Wall Street Journal Thursday that he would be open to making another play for an NBA franchise, even if it means not bringing a team to Seattle.

Ballmer spoke with the Journal prior to giving the commencement address at the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business on Friday.

He wouldn’t commit after reporter Shira Ovide’s asked if he was interested in bidding for the Los Angeles Clippers. NBA commissioner Adam Silver banned longtime Clips owner Donald Sterling for life on April 30 following the release of audio tapes in which Sterling is heard making racist remarks. Ballmer and Silver were spotted together on Sunday when the Clippers hosted the Oklahoma City Thunder in the NBA Playoffs.

Here’s ESPN Los Angeles reporting on Clippers point guard Chris Paul:

Chris Paul shaken up by playoff elimination

Chris Paul was able to look around the room this time.

The blank stare that had come over his face after his nightmarish final seconds in Game 5 had been replaced by the angry glare that comes with an early vacation he has become all too familiar with in his nine seasons in the NBA.

As Paul faces a long offseason with more questions than he cares to answer about the team to which he has committed at least the next three years of his career, he will enter his 10th season in the league having never made it past the second round of the playoffs after the Los Angeles Clippers were eliminated by the Oklahoma City Thunder 104-98 in Thursday’s Game 6 of the Western Conference semifinals.

Paul took the loss particularly hard. He blamed himself for the team’s collapse in Game 5 after two crucial turnovers and a foul helped give the Thunder an improbable comeback victory. He also put the blame on his shoulders for the Clippers’ inability to hold a 16-point first-half lead in an elimination game at home.

He tried his best to hold back tears as he said goodbye to his teammates for the last time this season in the locker room. Paul has been around long enough to know he can’t take playing on teams this talented, and for a coach like Doc Rivers, for granted. This was his best shot at winning a title, or at least getting to his first conference final, and it ended at the same stop it had in the past.

The Boston Celtics are rebuilding. But should that process include point guard Rajon Rondo? Or would it be smarter for the team to trade him as well? Here’s the Boston Herald with a report:

While the Celtics are here at the NBA draft combine primarily to identify people they might like to add to their team, it’s fair to assume they’ll also be examining which present players will stay and go.

We’ve been told that Washington isn’t presently interested in Jeff Green at his numbers ($9.2 million next year and a player option for the same in 2015-16), and that a number of teams are waiting to see where the Celts land in the lottery before entering into different deal discussions.

But what we’ve been hearing for a while and in more concerted tones here is that Rajon Rondo may be more available now than ever before. Danny Ainge yesterday dismissed a report that the Knicks had turned down a deal for the All-Star point guard as “maybe the most ludicrous thing I’ve ever heard.”

The Celts’ president of basketball operations, as well, dismissed talk of Rondo’s obtainability.

“That’s all speculation,” Ainge said. “Those aren’t facts. People don’t know that, so it’s just people speculating on Rondo’s free agency next summer. That’s all that you’re hearing. You’re not hearing any facts from anybody. Those conversations haven’t even been discussed, so that’s just speculation.”

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The New York Knicks need a new head coach. And it still isn’t going to be Phil Jackson, who remains on the lookout for the perfect guy for the job. It was widely reported that Steve Kerr was thought to be that man, but he recently agreed to coach the Golden State Warriors. As for the Knicks, here’s the New York Post reporting:

The Knicks coaching search is expanding beyond geometry. Phil Jackson, according to an NBA source, is OK hiring a head coach who doesn’t specialize in the triangle.

According to the source, that means Mark Jackson is on Jackson’s tentative list that once included just one name. But now Steve Kerr is headed to Golden State and Jackson is headed on a more expansive search.

The Knicks believe Jackson’s “credibility’’ around the league will enable him to have the “flexibility” to hire an experienced coach willing to adapt to the principles of his triangle offense — or at least a facsimile.

According to a source, Jackson was to meet with Knicks general manager Steve Mills on Thursday night at Chicago’s pre-draft combine to go over some candidates. Jackson stayed away from the gym where players worked out, presumably to avoid media.

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