Morning Shootaround — June 25


VIDEO: Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel discusses LeBron James’ opt out

NEWS OF THE MORNING

Are Clips willing to deal Griffin to get James? | Boeheim thinks Anthony would thrive in Chicago | Cavs still torn on who to take No. 1 | Report: Kings, Pistons talk J-Smoove swap | Report: Pelicans looking to move into first round

No. 1: Report: Clips interested in Anthony, James, but won’t trade Griffinor would they?LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony, both of whom are on the free-agent market after their recent decisions to opt out of their contracts, are both close on a personal level with L.A. Clippers point guard Chris Paul. James and Paul have been close friends for years, while Anthony and Paul are also tight (anyone remember Paul famously toasting a future with Anthony during ‘Melo’s wedding?). The Clips are interested — like every other team in the league — in trying to nab Anthony and/or James this summer, but they won’t move Blake Griffin to make either transaction happen. Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com has more:

The Los Angeles Clippers have strong interest in pursuing LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony if they can clear the requisite salary cap space to make a maximum-level offer to the superstars, who have both elected to become free agents starting July 1.

One player they have no interest in moving, however, is forward Blake Griffin. While the Clippers would need to move significant players and money to make a run at either James or Anthony, sources told ESPN that Clippers president and coach Doc Rivers has told Griffin on numerous occasions that he considers him “untouchable” in any trade.

The Clippers have $76 million committed in salaries for next season. That figure will decrease to $71.7 million after Darren Collison, Glen Davis and Danny Granger opt out of their contracts for next season, meaning the Clippers likely would have to trade some combination of prized young center DeAndre Jordan (one year, $11.4 million), Jared Dudley (three years, $12.1 million), Matt Barnes (three years, $10.1 million), Jamal Crawford (three years, $16.3 million) or J.J. Redick (four years, $27.7 million) to facilitate a deal.

The Clippers’ discussions about making a run at James or Anthony have been internal thus far; however, sources said the team has engaged in trade discussions this spring with the Orlando Magic regarding shooting guard Arron Afflalo.

Paul is one of James’ best friends and the two have talked about playing with each other since they were in high school, when they met on the AAU and prep all-star circuits. Paul is godfather to James’ son Bryce and they were in each other’s weddings.

The Clippers have a similar interest in Anthony, who is close with both Paul and Griffin, but it would be too difficult to clear enough salary cap space to pursue both James and Anthony in tandem.

While Shelburne makes it pretty clear the Clips won’t deal Griffin for James or Anthony, that may or may not be the truth in L.A. Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times echoes that the Clips are indeed interested in LeBron and that they’d be willing to move Griffin to make a deal for him happen.

Here’s more from Turner:

Doc Rivers, the Clippers’ president of basketball operations and coach, and his staff are doing their due diligence to make the team better and would consider moving All-Star power forward Blake Griffin along with others in a sign-and-trade deal to get James, according to the officials.

The Clippers could consider sending Griffin and Jared Dudley or Griffin and Matt Barnes to Miami to get James.

The Clippers wouldn’t mind trading DeAndre Jordan, Jamal Crawford and either Barnes or Dudley to the Heat for James, but the team knows that would most likely be hard to do.

One official said James really liked Rivers and was good friends with Clippers point guard Chris Paul.

Another official said James’ wife, Savannah, really loved Los Angeles, and that her preference would be for her husband to play for the Clippers rather than the Lakers if he decided to leave.

“The Miami Heat does not think he’s leaving,” one official said. “Miami thinks it’s a ploy by James to make the team better.”

The Clippers also haven’t ruled out making a run at Carmelo Anthony, who opted out of his contract with the New York Knicks and will become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, the officials said.

Another NBA official said that Steve Ballmer, who has agreed to pay $2 billion to buy the Clippers from Donald and Shelly Sterling in a deal that isn’t official yet, would be willing to “pay the luxury tax” if he was able to acquire James or Anthony.


VIDEO: Sekou Smith talks on GameTime about which team might land LeBron James

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No. 2: Boeheim thinks ‘Melo would thrive in Chicago — The common notion with Carmelo Anthony‘s future, it seems, is that the best place for him to have both individual success and a shot at a championship run would come with the Chicago Bulls. It seems Anthony’s college coach, Jim Boeheim of Syracuse, shares that notion. Boeheim spoke with the New York Post‘s Marc Berman about Anthony in the Windy City and how he would fare under coach Tom Thibodeau:

Jim Boeheim is not advocating Carmelo Anthony leave the Knicks for the Bulls. But if it did happen, the Syracuse coaching legend believes Anthony and Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau would be a very good match.

Boeheim and Thibodeau were together last summer in Las Vegas during Team USA’s training camp as assistant coaches for Mike Krzyzewski. Even then, Thibodeau picked Boeheim’s brain on Anthony. They remain in touch as Team USA gears up for the World Championships this summer.

Despite being over the salary cap, the Bulls are considered the favorites if Anthony decides to leave the Knicks.

“I’ve talked to Tom about Melo, his name has come up,’’ Boeheim told The Post. “I think Tom is very excited about the possibility of getting Carmelo. He likes him. He likes how he plays. He feels he’s coachable. I think Tom Thibodeau is one of the better coaches in the NBA. Carmelo would be happy playing for him. It would be a good fit — the coach-player relationship.’’

Boeheim has spoken to Anthony about his free agency, but not recently. He believes Anthony’s priority is having the best chance to win a title and hopes that place is New York.

“I talked to some of his guys, spent time with him in the past about it,’’ Boeheim said. “Everybody has to understand with LeBron opting out [Tuesday], these guys are business guys. They have to look for the best situation for them. That’s all they’re doing. There’s so much put on winning championships. Every player has to try to find the best situation for them. Problem is, it’s not that easy to do.’’

Because there’s no clear title contender with cap space, Boeheim feels Anthony has a very tough call to make.

“With the Knicks, how long does it take?’’ Boeheim said. “Melo has three, four prime years left. If something didn’t happen this year, next year for some reason they don’t get a couple of quality guys, now what do you do? It’s tough figuring out what to do. It’s not easy for him.’’

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No. 3: Report: Cavs torn about who to take No. 1 overall — A look at the latest Consensus Mock Draft from our own Drew Packham proves what ESPN.com’s Chad Ford and Jeff Goodman are reporting — Cleveland has no idea whom it will take with the No. 1 overall pick in Thursday night’s Draft. Add to the mix that the Utah Jazz, Orlando Magic and Philadelphia 76ers are all trying to move up to No. 1 overall and the Cavs have their hands full right now:

Just two days before the NBA draft, the Cleveland Cavaliers are split on whether to take Jabari Parker or Andrew Wiggins with the top overall pick, multiple sources told ESPN.com.

“They are torn,” one source close to the situation told ESPN.com. “They met for three hours, and all they talked about was those two guys.”

Added another industry source: “They haven’t come to a decision yet.”

The Philadelphia 76ers, Orlando Magic and Utah Jazz have all offered their high lottery picks plus a veteran to move up to No. 1.

Of the offers they’ve received, a source says the Cavs aren’t enamored by either the Sixers’ offer (Thaddeus Young and the No. 3 pick) nor the Jazz’s offer (Derrick Favors and the No. 5 pick). However, the Cavs do have some interest in the Magic’s offer of Arron Afflalo, the No. 4 pick and the No. 12 pick.

The Cavs have strong interest in luring James back to Cleveland this summer and know they need to add more pieces to make the team more attractive. Afflalo is a veteran guard who both defends and shoots the three and would be a nice addition to the Cavs’ backcourt.

If the Cavs keep the pick, they also may have to factor in who would be most likely to lure James.

For the past few days, the Cavaliers, according to sources, have been leaning toward selecting Parker.

However, Parker’s workout on Friday in Cleveland was a disappointment, according to multiple sources.

Meanwhile, the athletic 6-8 Wiggins went to Cleveland on Wednesday and shot the ball extremely well — which is considered one of his primary weaknesses. Wiggins also showed off his elite athletic abilities and generally wowed ownership during the workout.


VIDEO: NBA TV’s experts break down Jabari Parker’s NBA outlook

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No. 4: Kings, Pistons reportedly talking swap for Josh Smith — Josh Smith’s first season in Detroit was a decided dud. He saw his scoring average, shooting percentage and 3-point shooting percentage all take major dips as the Pistons struggled to a 29-win season. The Sacramento Kings are looking for a proven defensive stopper on the wings and as ESPN.com’s Marc Stein reports, have interest in landing Smith:

Stan Van Gundy’s first trade as the new president and coach of the Detroit Pistons might prove to be a whopper.

Sources close to the situation told ESPN.com on Tuesday that the Pistons have engaged the Sacramento Kings in trade discussions this week that would potentially land Josh Smith in the same Sacramento frontcourt as DeMarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay.

Sources say that Smith being swapped in exchange for the combination of Sacramento’s Jason Thompson and Derrick Williams is one trade construction that the teams have discussed. Although one source insisted Tuesday that no deal is imminent, another source told ESPN.com that the teams have continued to exchange proposals, with Williams potentially being replaced by another Kings player such as Jason Terry or Carl Landry.

Sources say that the Kings, though, have been giving the swap serious consideration, largely because the deal would not cost them any players in their long-term plans and would also add a versatile and athletic defender to a roster that badly needs one, answering coach Mike Malone’s call for more help on that end.

Another potential bonus is Smith’s close relationship with Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo, whom Sacramento has reportedly been targeting in trade talks for some time.


VIDEO: Relive Josh Smith’s best plays last season with the Pistons

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No. 5: Report: Pelicans trying to land pick in 2014 Draft — During last year’s Draft, the New Orleans Pelicans pulled off a trade that netted them then-Sixers All-Star guard Jrue Holiday for their first-round pick (Nerlens Noel) and a first-round pick in this year’s draft. As it stands today, the Pelicans have no picks come Thursday night, but they are working to rectify that situation. John Reid of The Times Picayune reports that getting into the first round, contrary to internet reports, won’t come at the expense of trading Holiday again:

According to Pelicans coach Monty Williams, they have actively pursued options to get back in the NBA draft after surrendering their first-round pick to the Philadelphia 76ers that was part of last year’s draft night trade.

”If there’s an opportunity to get in the draft, we’re going to look at it,” Williams said. ”The one thing we don’t want to do is be aggressive and put ourselves in a position to where we’re hamstrung for awhile and can’t make moves for the future.”

According to league sources, the Pelicans are still having conversations with several teams about trying to trade into the first round to select a center or small forward, their two greatest need areas.

One internet report speculated over the weekend the Pelicans have had conversations with the Sacramento Kings to secure their eighth overall pick in the first round in exchange for starting point guard Jrue Holiday.

But a league source confirmed Tuesday afternoon that Holiday has not been included in any trade discussions by the Pelicans to secure a draft pick.

If the Pelicans look to make a deal to get back in the draft, it likely would be with one of the seven teams holding multiple picks in the first round. Those teams are the Utah Jazz, Charlotte Hornets, Chicago Bulls, Orlando Magic, Phoenix Suns, Oklahoma City Thunder and the Philadelphia 76ers.


VIDEO: Anthony Davis talks with Pelicans.com about his busy offseason

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SOME RANDOM NEWS: The Sixers might still be interested in taking Joel Embiid with the No. 3 overall pickBrian Scalabrine might soon join Doc Rivers‘ coaching staff in Clipperland … The Celtics are reportedly interested in trading up in the Draft … The Knicks may be trying to acquire a first-round pick so they can draft Patric Young … That Ben Franklin logo won’t be on the court in Philly next season, but it will be on t-shirts … Serge Ibaka‘s troublesome calf is on the mend and he should be available to play for Spain in the FIBA World Cup … For the record, Steve Nash says he has no interest in ever being an NBA coach … Expect a pretty patient, smart offseason from the Blazers

28 Comments

  1. Kirby Record says:

    I dont think trading Griffin for James is going to improve the Clippers enough to get them past the other top West teams. Sure James is much more versatile but another power forward type is not what they mean. The impact of James would be huge if he player with both Paul and Griffin–forget Anthony, he just trades offensive fire power for weak defense.

  2. imissthethunder says:

    I think J Smoove will fit quite perfectly w/ Sacramento. Cause if the rumors are true Rondo may be heading there too. If that’s not a boost to that team, I don’t know what is!

  3. ninjabonsai says:

    i think Lebron and Melo are planning to play together. perhaps they’ll both sign with the Knicks. Phil Jackson has done a lot of winning in his career. i think he’ll build a Knicks team that can win, one way or another. Lebron should take his talents to broadway

  4. ninjabonsai says:

    i think Lebron and Melo are planning to play together. perhaps they’ll both sign with the Knicks. Phil Jackson has done a lot of winning in his career. i think he’ll build a Knicks team that can win, one way or another. Lebron should take his talents to broadway

  5. john says:

    lebron stays, melo lands in houston, j smoove will be a king period. those are all done deals!

  6. Domestic Joker says:

    Lebron for KLove

  7. REINER CUA says:

    Lebron should go bac k to Cleveland. Cleveland with Lebron and Manziel!

  8. jr says:

    Lebron will come home..

  9. jumppong says:

    i just hope lebron will leave the heat so that the fans of miami heat who got a tattoo of lebron will cry like a baby

  10. Bro says:

    I believe LeBron to Clippers is very real. A guy paying $2 Billion for a team is going to want a return on his investment. LeBron provides that without moving anybody. The Nets had almost a $175 million payroll for a “new” team to play in their new arena. Paul, Jordan, Griffin and LeBron would be a nasty collection of talent, just not sure the chemistry would be championship level

    • Knowledge says:

      How could LeBron and Griffin be on the team together? You didn’t read very much into this article did you?

  11. jim says:

    Parson and Harden for James.

  12. Honestly, I don’t think that the Clips will land Melo or LBJ. Both players are not the anwer for them to win a championship.

    Melo should go to the Bulls and LBJ should stay in Miami.

  13. Lebron to sixers people make it happen ! with new picks theyll be a championship team

  14. Clips says:

    I don’t get it. If the Clips’ owner is willing to pay, and Lebron is a free agent, why would anyone even consider trading Griffin? There’s no need for it.

    • Anon says:

      Obviously you don’t understand the rules of the salary cap. The cap is instilled to give each franchise an “equal budget” to put in a simple sense. This prevents large market teams from buying up all the superstars and attempts to keep teams in the league balanced. Sign-and-trades are generally the only method for championship contending teams seeking to add a player with a lucrative contract that are already over the salary cap.

      • Clips says:

        Thanks for the response. Yeah I understand that part, but as I said, if the Clips’ new owner is willing to pay the tax, wouldn’t you keep your star and add Lebron?

        I could understand trading other players, but not Paul or Griffin, because you’d want the big 3 of Griffin, Paul and James.

  15. macky says:

    james to charlotte bobcats the greatest player will unite and if you will see the line up if king james joined the team it will be a complete package, i mean you have the center (al jeff) guard (walker) plus james it will be an interesting team to beat next season…….

  16. El Stone says:

    With the whole Sterling thing still going on, is “Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com” really ignorant enough to think LeBron would consider the Clippers?

    And to not even mention that as a possible hurdle? Seriously shoddy journalism.

  17. unknown says:

    I’m sorry but if the jazz offered derrick favors and their 5th pick to the cavs, why wouldn’t they take it?
    I thought the jazz offered Kanter and their fifth. Needless to say, if the cavs are torn, the jazz gave them the best offer for first pick

  18. WHYY??? says:

    Are the Kings stupid? It’s like they don’t care about playoffs. Having stars that can’t play together won’t do any good. Gay, Cousins and Smith??? I mean, even if Isaiah Thomas stays, their chances are slim in a competitive west. You need consistency, and Josh Smith isn’t consistent. Get rid of Gay, and it’ll make a little more sense. But there’s no way Gay and Smith would work.

  19. Kobe-James-Melo-Love-Nash says:

    James and Melo will go to LA.. LAKERS!!! For sure..

  20. oppyu says:

    Kings: We want Josh Smith.
    Pistons: Really? OMG YES! What do you want with him, cash considerations? Draft picks? We will give you all the draft picks!

  21. Con says:

    This is like TMZ practically. Do you really think Lebron is going anywhere?

  22. Jess says:

    Lebron for Griffin.. Make it happen.. Clips need to keep DeAndre for rebounds and blocks.. Trade dudley for Afflalo.. and Lebron gets a team with an up’an’coming center, a good PG, a good coach, AND a good bench.

    Either that or

    Go to the Bulls… Good defensive team.. Good coach… Only thing i see them lacking is bench

    Other teams that would be good are pacers and nets(if pierce and garnett leave.. kick em out lol)