Morning Shootaround — Feb. 1


VIDEO: The Daily Zap for games played Jan. 31

NEWS OF THE MORNING

Conley goes down in Grizzlies win | Pacers to sign Bynum | Bulls getting calls about Gibson | Irving taking responsibility?

No. 1: Conley goes down in Grizzlies win — The Memphis Grizzlies have won 10 of their last 11 games and have the league’s best defense since Marc Gasol’s return. But they lost starting point guard Mike Conley to a sprained ankle in Friday’s win in Minnesota. They should be OK without him against the Bucks on Saturday, but they visit Oklahoma City on Monday and have a huge game against eighth-place Dallas on Wednesday. Ronald Tillery of the Memphis Commercial Appeal has the story from Minneapolis:

Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley sat in the trainer’s room rather than at a station alongside his teammates in the visitor’s locker room.

He wore a walking boot Friday night after the Grizzlies’ 94-90 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves in the Target Center. Conley, who also had crutches near his side, hobbled home after the Griz polished off a sweep of their three-game road trip that included wins at Sacramento and Portland.

However, a trek that got Memphis to within a half-game of Dallas for the eighth seed in the Western Conference playoff standings hardly ended on a happy note.

Conley didn’t look or sound as if playing Saturday night against the Milwaukee Bucks in FedExForum would be an option. He might need several games off given the severity of his sprained ankle.

“I turned it pretty good,” Conley said. “It’s tough for me to put weight on it now. (Saturday) is looking real iffy. We still have a lot of games ahead of us. We obviously want to finish out these last several games before the all-star break with some momentum. We’ll see how long this will take.”

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No. 2: Pacers to sign Bynum — It’s been over three weeks since the Chicago Bulls waived Andrew Bynum. And it looks like he finally has a new home. ESPN‘s Brian Windhorst tweeted Friday night that the Indiana Pacers plan on signing Bynum, though a deal is not yet in place. The Indianapolis Star‘s Candace Buckner first reported that Bynum and his agent were in town to talk to the Pacers:

Free agent center Andrew Bynum and his agent are in Indianapolis.

Bynum has been a free agent since being released by the Chicago Bulls on Jan. 7 after a trade from the Cleveland Cavaliers. According to earlier reports, the Indiana Pacers were one of several teams to reach out to Bynum.

Bynum’s agent David Lee told The Indianapolis Star that he and Bynum were in town. According to Lee, Bynum and the Pacers have not reached a contractual agreement.

“(Bynum) has not signed as yet,” Lee said on Friday night.

Bynum, the 7-foot mercurial center, played in only 24 games this season, averaging 8.4 points on 41.9 percent shooting for the Cavaliers. Bynum missed all of the 2012-13 season with knee problems and last March underwent surgery on both knees. Besides his health, Bynum’s commitment has also been called into question.

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No. 3: Bulls getting calls about Gibson — The trade deadline is less than three weeks away and chatter is starting to pick up. The Chicago Bulls already made a major move (sending Luol Deng to Cleveland), but would need to make another one if their ultimate goal is to add another star (like Carmelo Anthony) this summer. Shedding Taj Gibson‘s salary (and waiving Carlos Boozer via the amnesty clause in July) would give them the cap space for a max free agent. And other teams would certainly be interested in Gibson’s services. Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times reports that the Bulls have received calls about Gibson and what they do with him will be a clear sign of the direction they’re looking to go:

And while Hinrich and Mike Dunleavy have been churning in the trade rumor mill for more than a month, Taj Gibson’s name is the one that is picking up, and could determine how serious the Bulls are in clearing space for a max contract to land the likes of a Carmelo Anthony or LeBron James.

According to a source, the Lakers, Wizards and Bobcats have each inquired about Gibson, but they were preliminary talks in which the Bulls did not like the return.

If they do move Gibson, however, it will definitely signify how determined the Bulls are to give Derrick Rose a second superstar to play along with.

With Carlos Boozer and his 2014-15 $16.8 million contract likely amnestied this summer, moving Gibson is all but a necessity if the Bulls want to stay under the luxury tax and add a max deal. Gibson will make $8 million next season, $8.5 in the 2015-16 season, and $8.95 in his final year of the deal.

While Anthony told the Sun-Times this week that he hasn’t put any thought into joining the Bulls, there are basketball executives who think differently, as ESPN reported on Thursday.

But to land Anthony or James, it will cost the Bulls Gibson, and is a growing possibility in the next three weeks.

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No. 4: Irving taking responsibility? — There’s been talk this week about Kyrie Irving being unhappy in Cleveland, with coach Mike Brown and with the roster the Cavs have built around the 2011 No. 1 pick. But of course, Irving’s unwillingness to play defense and lack of leadership are two of the reasons the Cavs are 16-30 right now. So it was good to hear him seemingly accept some responsibility for his team’s struggles on Friday, as Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal writes:

Kyrie Irving conceded this season has been more difficult than he imagined, he’s upset so much attention has been placed on his contract and he admitted he doesn’t always have all the answers to what is plaguing the Cavaliers this season.

“I needed this. It was more or less a wake-up call,” Irving told the Beacon Journal following practice Friday. “I got away with so much my first two years. It wasn’t a breeze, but everything came easy. This is the first year where every single night it’s going to be a challenge. That’s one of the things I’m getting used to and I’ve accepted.”

Irving came under fire throughout the week, particularly after a Beacon Journal story last Sunday questioning the progress he’s made this season, followed by an ESPN report Thursday that Irving wants out of Cleveland.

“Everybody has all these rumors and stories they’re coming out with and it’s all based on me,” Irving said. “It’s not really about me. It’s about the team and what we’re going through as a team together. Obviously, some things will be put on me and I take responsibility for that, but all that extra stuff that comes with it. … It’s the business. I understand that. But that’s one of the things I wish I could change. It’s definitely not about me, it’s about my teammates and what we can accomplish.”

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SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: Nate Robinson had ACL surgery on Friday, which means that the Nuggets need to figure out what they’re doing with Andre MillerKyle Korver has declined the NBA’s invitation to the Foot Locker Three-Point Contest … Wesley Matthews would go, thoughRajon Rondo likes the idea of being a free agentKemba Walker suffered a setback in his return from a sprained ankle … and Lance Stephenson says he’s “mad” about not being selected as an All-Star.

ICYMI of The Night: Terrence Ross looks ready to defend his dunk title:


VIDEO: Play of the Day: Terrence Ross takes flight and posterizes Kenneth Faried.

16 Comments

  1. kobeballhog says:

    Pacers taking bynum so no one else gets him specially the miami. Take all the players you want heck get rondo taj stock it all up. Pacers still a wannabe team. They couldnt even win against the mighty okc. They may be the east strongest but no match for any west contenders. East a weak division. With wannabes leading the way.

  2. dustydreamnz says:

    I thought LBJ didn’t like the Bulls?
    This is Bynum’s last chance you would think.
    John Wall is the best PG in the East in my opinion.

  3. Leo says:

    Negative We don’t want LeBron let him go back to Cleveland or stay where he is in Miami. As for Taj I like him and we need to hold onto him you win with guys like him and Noah.

  4. B Radd says:

    Carmelo to the Bulls is not a good fit, Carmelo to Boston!!! Now we’re talking. If the Bulls can pursuade LeBron then the NBA will be iron out and exciting to watch.

  5. phil says:

    warriors need to trade klay thompson and a draft pick for carmelo anthony

  6. some dude says:

    they really dont need bynum… i would take hibbert over him an day.. He will be a cancer in the locker room.. bad move, might as well give me the contract if ur just gonna throw away millions..

  7. Thelistener says:

    As a Bulls.. I can honestly say I would NEVER want Lebron James on my team. Gibson is ready to completely break out Jst as soon as Thibs gives him the max mins of a star PF. He under a good contract for a few yrs… Excellent defense, shot blocking & rebounding.. & improving on offense! KEEP TAJ GIBSON!!! Any trade should be for an improved SG & should involve K Hinrich, M. Dunleavy “Possibly J. Butler (or picks) to get Carmelo! Carmelo is the superstar who fits our team! Nobody likes to take charge as the scorer besides Rose, & Thas the only thing we lack. Melo would feed off of Rose attacking, Melo would create open shots off of Double teams, & Noah & Taj clean up. DYNASTY

  8. lol says:

    what a waste of money, why would they sign Bynum omg, the Pacers are gunna regred this decision unless they do a sign and trade who knows.

  9. okc2014 says:

    Why is the expectation that a youngster like Kyrie Irving is to be a leader of his team? The problem with the Cleveland Cavaliers is that they need multiple veteran leadership. Like a Lebron James I guess. Someone close to me has always said “I’m not impressed w/ Kyrie Irving”. Now I’m starting to understand. If he does end up with another team, he will be better suited with an already established team, where he can focus on contributing and learning how to work like a teammate should. Best wishes Kyrie, you can do it!

  10. stony says:

    Could it be that the Pacers are trying to use their more flexible cap position to keep Bynum out of Miami?

  11. Someone who used to be me says:

    As for Bynum he could be a good pick up – if he behaves himself!!!

    • allaroundballer says:

      Bynum to spurs? Splitter never be a big time player, could use him on any regular game but not playoff. I want to challenge pop to comes out his comfort zone, making this “distraction” to be a key piece

  12. Someone who used to be me says:

    It could be the case that the more noise Kyrie Irving makes about not wanting to leave Cleveland the more he’s trying to hide actually wanting to leave.

  13. Jason says:

    Heat fan are tight lol

  14. kevin says:

    hope the pacers know what they are doing..if they can get bynum to wanna compete i have high hopes but if he decides to just be a distraction….my fav team might miss the finals again :(

  15. sholmes87 says:

    I will give Kyrie credit: He knows what to say- most of the time. The problem stems from his not backing up what he says. Now, he may want to stay in Cleveland, but his performance on the court belies his commitment to the team. It’s not just him, but if he’s the team leader, he has to set an example. A GOOD example. Frankly, I’ll believe it when I see it.