Morning shootaround — July 16


VIDEO: Daily Zap for games played July 14

NEWS OF THE MORNING

Report: Hornets, Stephenson reach deal | Reports: Wolves, Warriors renew Love trade talks | Parsons clarifies comments about Houston | ‘The Greek Freak’ at point guard? | Silver: Clips sale may not happen soon

No. 1: Report: Stephenson headed to Hornets — The Charlotte Hornets opened free agency by taking a big swing at landing restricted free-agent swingman Gordon Hayward of the Jazz, but Utah matched the Hornets’ offer sheet last weekend. Swing No. 2 appears to be a success for the Hornets this time, though, as they have agreed to terms on a three-year deal with Indiana Pacers standout (and unrestricted free agent) Lance Stephenson, as first reported by Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer. This marks a big loss for the Pacers — who had the best record in the East last season — but there had been talk that contract negotiations between Stephenson and Indiana had broken down of late. Bonnell has more on the move for Charlotte:

Following an all-night negotiating session, the Charlotte Hornets have come to an agreement to sign Indiana Pacers shooting guard Lance Stephenson, the Observer has learned.

Under terms of the agreement, Stephenson will make $9 million in 2014-15 and $9 million in 2015-16. Stephenson will get a slight raise in 2016-17 if the Hornets pick up the team option.

Stephenson fills an obvious need, as the Hornets were weak offensively at the shooting guard and small forward positions. The 6-foot-5 Stephenson had a breakthrough season statistically, averaging 13.8 points, 7.2 rebounds and 4.7 assists. He also shot 49 percent from the field and 35 percent from 3-point range.

However, he has a quirky personality that seems to have limited his market when he became an unrestricted free agent July 1.

The Pacers had offered Stephenson $44 million over five seasons, and reportedly did not come off that number. Stephenson thought he was worth considerably more.

But the question becomes how Stephenson’s quirkiness might play out once he signs a lucrative contract extension. He famously blew in opponent LeBron James’ ear in the playoffs. He was fined for flopping this season and was charged with 14 technical fouls, fourth-most in the NBA.

It is not the Hornets’ habit to take frequent risks on high-maintenance players. Trading for Stephen Jackson worked out for two seasons before they traded him on to the Milwaukee Bucks. Now they have drafted P.J. Hairston, a player who lost his NCAA eligibility over improper benefits and who recently was cited for punching a teenager during a pickup game at a Durham YMCA.

Hornets owner Michael Jordan has said one of his team’s greatest strengths last season was the character of the players on the roster. Did that embolden the front office to pursue Stepehenson? Is Stephenson now a threat to that chemistry?

Certainly the Hornets faced competitive pressure in the Eastern Conference. The Cleveland Cavaliers improved dramatically with the addition of James, so that’s a non-playoff team in the East that now looks like a post-season lock. While the Heat lost James, they weakened the Hornets with the signing of Josh McRoberts.

It’s possible the Hornets would have struggled just to make the playoffs this season without upgrading the roster with a move like Stephenson.

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No. 2: Reports: Wolves, Warriors re-open trade talks; Thompson likely out of any deal — The list of teams interested in trading for Minnesota Timberwolves superstar Kevin Love is believed to be small and short, with names such as the Celtics, Cavaliers and Warriors believed to be in the mix. As many front-office types are out in Las Vegas for Summer League, the trade talks surrounding Love and the Warriors have picked up steam as The Associated Press and ESPN.com’s Marc Stein report:

First, here’s the AP’s take on what’s happening with Love:

Timberwolves president and coach Flip Saunders was seen talking to Warriors general manager Bob Myers at the arena on Sunday as the teams look to bridge the gap that caused discussions to stall. The Warriors have been reluctant to include shooting guard Klay Thompson in any package, which has been considered a deal-breaker for the Timberwolves.

There were no signs that the Warriors were ready to change their position on Thompson. New Warriors coach Steve Kerr is keen on pairing Thompson with Steph Curry in the backcourt that has become known as the “Splash Brothers,” even as he acknowledged earlier in the summer that he would like to add a power forward with shooting range.

So far, the Wolves and Warriors have discussed swapping Love and veteran shooting guard Kevin Martin for David Lee, Harrison Barnes and a future draft pick. That hasn’t been enough for Saunders, who has been adamant that that 24-year-old Thompson be the main piece to come back.

The Wolves also have talked to the Cleveland Cavaliers, who have LeBron James coming back home to play next season. A three-player core of James, Love and Kyrie Irving would immediately make the Cavaliers a favorite in the wide-open Eastern Conference, but Cavaliers GM David Griffin has refused to part with No. 1 overall pick Andrew Wiggins to land Love.

The Timberwolves have demanded Wiggins be a part of the deal, which has put those discussions at a standstill.

Saunders has said he’d have no issues keeping Love, making a couple of moves to improve a roster that finished 10th in the West last season and trying to make a playoff run to convince the face of the franchise he should stay in Minnesota.

And here’s Stein’s report, which says that Thompson absolutely will not be a part of any Warriors-land-Love swap:

The Timberwolves and Warriors have continued to discuss a Kevin Love trade, but the teams remain unable to agree on the framework of a deal, with Golden State still unwilling to include Klay Thompson, according to sources close to the process.

Sources told ESPN.com that Wolves owner Glen Taylor and Warriors counterpart Joe Lacob have maintained a level of dialogue on a potential trade of Love to Golden State, which sources insist would have been clinched by now had the Warriors — at the behest of new coach Steve Kerr — relented on their refusal to part with Thompson.

Golden State, however, knows it now has serious competition for Love, with the rejuvenated Cleveland Cavaliers known to be interested in trading for the All-Star power forward.

Minnesota could elect to wait to see if offers improve for Love as the pool of available free agents continues to dwindle, but an increasing number of rival executives expect the Timberwolves to trade him before next season starts, given how well known it is around the league that he intends to become a free agent in July 2015.

The Wolves risk losing Love without compensation if they don’t deal him before the league’s annual trade deadline in February.

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No. 3: Parsons clarifies comments about Rockets — We reported in the Shootaround yesterday how new Dallas Mavericks forward Chandler Parsons felt “offended” by how the Houston Rockets — his former team — treated him in free agency. With his new deal with the Mavs freshly signed and locked in yesterday, though, Parsons sought to clear up how his words may have been taken during a conference call with reporters:

Chandler Parsons sought to clarify Tuesday his comments of a day earlier in which he said the Houston Rockets had offended him, stopping short of an apology while expressing gratitude toward the team that brought him to the NBA in the 2011 draft.

Parsons said the opportunity the Rockets gave him by making him a restricted free agent when they declined a $965,000 option for next season was “crazy when you look at it that way.”

“That’s why I’m so grateful for them,” Parsons told reporters on a conference call. “They really did me a solid by letting me out a year early, and I’m assuming that the plan was to do this and not let me hit the unrestricted market next year, so they could lock me in.”

Parsons said he was surprised when the Rockets then declined to match the Mavericks’ three-year, $46 million offer sheet but that he had “no hard feelings at all.”

“I thought that was the plan going forward but they were going to,” Parsons said. “(The structure of the contract) really put pressure on them and didn’t give them any flexibility for their future if they did match it. They decided what they felt was best for their future. They told me to go and get my best individual contract. And we both did what we felt was best for ourselves.”

“I didn’t mean to sound ungrateful or disrespectful in any way,” Parsons said of his comments to Yahoo! Sports. “I just simply meant that I was offended that they didn’t view me as a core piece of their team going forward and they didn’t view me as a third star that could win championships there. That was what I meant by offended.

“I hope I didn’t hurt anybody’s feelings and I hope there’s no hard feelings there, because I had a great time in Houston. I created a lot of memories there and have nothing but love and respect for the organization, the coaching staff and my teammates. But it’s just offensive when they’re publicly saying they don’t have a third star and they’re going after a third star when I was right there in front of them.”

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No. 4: Kidd may let Antetokounmpo play some point guard next season — If you were to make a list of things to be excited about last season for the Milwaukee Bucks, you wouldn’t need a big sheet of paper to do so. But perhaps foremost on that list would be Giannis Antetokounmpo‘s development and the all-around skills he flashed in his rookie season. With new coach Jason Kidd at the helm this season, he might let Antetokounmpo take on some minutes at point guard in 2014-15, as he told our own Scott Howard-Cooper:

The Bucks and their new coach are not hiding it. They are not disguising the long look of Antetokounmpo initiating the offense as some test drive in the safety of summer league, not downplaying the Greek Freak with the ball in his hands,  some in the first game and a lot in the second, Monday night in Thomas & Mack Center against the Jazz, as Kidd experimenting to learn more about his players.

Milwaukee is serious about this for the regular season, maybe even as the starter at the point. Antetokounmpo is serious about this.

At the very least, even if the idea goes bad in 2014-15 and the Bucks stick with Brandon Knight and Nate Wolters as conventional decisions, it just became a long-term subplot in Milwaukee. Antetokounmpo, having measured at 6-9 and 190 pounds last September and 6-10 ½ and 217 pounds at the end of the season, growing into a starting point guard, possibly and maybe even likely 6-11 by then. That doesn’t even get into imagining the day of the 7-foot point guard.

“We’ve seen it in practice, and so when you see a player’s comfort level with the ball no matter what size, we want to see it in game action and we slowly have started letting him have the ball and running the offense,” said Kidd, bound for the Hall of Fame as a point guard.

“With the group we have right now, with B-Knight and Giannis, we have additional playmakers and when we have that on the floor, it makes the game easy. We’ll see how the roster shakes out, but we’re not afraid to play him at the point, as you see.”

Antetokounmpo at point guard and Knight at shooting guard would be a strain because neither have great range, but would work because Knight could defend the point guards and Antetokounmpo the bigger opponent in the backcourt. Then it could be Parker, Ersan Ilyasova and Larry Sanders in the front court.

“Whatever coach wants me to do,” Antetokounmpo said. “If he tells me to do that, I’m going to do that. If he tells me to be on the wing and to be aggressive on the wing, I’ll be aggressive there.”

***

No. 5: Silver opens up on Sterling, replay options, possible midseason tournament — Earlier last month, word came out that the Clippers had been sold to businessman and billionaire Steve Ballmer, thus taking control of the team out of hands of Donald Sterling and his family. But since then, court dates and legal proceedings have slowed up any sale of the team. As our Steve Aschburner reports from yesterday’s NBA Board of Governors meeting, the sale of the team might not happen before 2014-15 tips off — at least that’s the word from NBA commissioner Adam Silver:

It’s possible Donald Sterling still will own the Los Angeles Clippers next month. It’s even possible, NBA commissioner Adam Silver acknowledged after the league’s Board of Governors meeting here Tuesday, that the publicly disgraced Sterling and his estranged wife Shelly still might own the team when the league opens training camps in October for the 2014-15 season.As troubling as that might be in terms of public perception, given Sterling’s racially bigoted comments back in April, and as incendiary as that could become as an issue with the NBA’s players, Silver said the methodical pace of the probate trial in Los Angeles between the Sterlings could further delay the Clippers sale to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.

“No, I cannot say it with certainty, and I cannot say it with certainty because it’s in the hands of the probate court,” Silver said.

“I can say with certainty, we are doing everything in our power to move Donald out as an owner in the NBA. If the probate ruling doesn’t go in our favor, we’ll recommence our procedures under termination.”

And based on Sterling’s broken relationship with the league and his plan to sue the NBA for $1 billion, another courtroom decision could thwart or delay any forced transfer beyond the tentative Sept. 15 deadline.

“It’s possible that some court would step in and stop us,” Silver said during the news conference. “I think it’s highly, highly unlikely because we are absolutely acting within our rights. And I think what’s transpired in probate court so far has made it even clearer that we’re acting not only within our rights but doing what is right and appropriate in this situation.”

Silver touched on a variety of topics that flowed from Tuesday’s four-hour meetings and other league sessions going on in Las Vegas this week:

  • The competition committee met for 10 hours Sunday and Monday, discussing the draft lottery, the playoff system, conference and division structure and details of the centralized replay system to be used starting in 2014-15. Silver said a trial run would start in September using WNBA games.
  • The popularity of the summer league in Las Vegas – with attendance up 25 percent, Silver said – has the league open to ideas for a greater role in the nation’s gambling capital. One possibility, mentioned without details as a brainstorm from the competition committee: A midseason tournament of some sort.
  • Negotiations of the NBA’s national TV contracts continue, with Silver expessing confidence that relationships with the current partners would be maintained, perhaps with some additions.


VIDEO: Watch the entire NBA Board of Governors news conference

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SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: After Carlos Boozer was waived via the amnesty provision yesterday, there are only seven amnesty-eligible players in the NBA now … Journeyman forward Anthony Tolliver has reached a deal with the Phoenix Suns … The Wizards added to their frontcourt after reportedly agreeing to a three-year deal with Kris Humphries … Speaking of the Wizards, veteran forward Al Harrington intends to play next season … Ex-Thunder forward Ryan Gomes held a workout for NBA and European teams in Las Vegas … Grizzlies guard Nick Calathes had his contract guaranteed, ensuring his Memphis return next season … Mavs forward (and free agent) Shawn Marion isn’t sweating where he’ll sign nextCaron Butler signed with the Pistons because of the ‘challenge’ it presents … Portland’s youngsters have looked mighty impressive at the Las Vegas Summer League

ICYMI of The Night: Here’s a lesson, kids … don’t stop to tie your shoe when the ball is about to be inbounded. Or else, you might see someone do to you what Will Barton did to the Hawks yesterday …


VIDEO: Will Barton sneaks in, steals the inbounds pass and makes the no-look layup

40 Comments

  1. pepito candela says:

    Spurs will be the next NBA champion, Lebron is traitor per 2nd time

  2. YouGuysAreLost says:

    lol at this. article says that STEPHENSON is going to the CHARLOTTE HORNETS. lmfao. did the CHARLOTTE Bobcats and New Orleans HORNETS have a recent merger? @@ crazy

  3. Ben says:

    Love should go to the Knicks in exchange for a. Stom and bariani

  4. Frank says:

    The Warriors need to go on and sign Boozer and keep everybody else! Don’t NEED Love, luxury option. And Barnes got a Hemi and Lee is your grand dad’s truck that still runs smooth! We’ll be fine; find Boozer’s agent so we can west coast him before the Lakers do! They are in big trouble (pun intended)!

  5. b says:

    getting nothing is better than taking d. lee’s contract

  6. Titus says:

    Kevin Love=very good player

    However not worth the headache, for Golden State or Cleveland,….Timberwolves are trying to “deebo” as much as they can from any team who is interested in him. Truth is if they dont get rid of him now, the less theyll get later because K Love has no intentions on being with them long term so they must be reasonable or else get zilch….the way management has handled this situation shows why they are in such bad shape they as a franchise.. The rest of the league should just hold steady and let the Twolves shoot themselves in the foot again!

  7. harrythehawk says:

    Kris Humphries following Paul Pierce to the Wizards? I guess it’s a good thing. They must think so to, they signed him for 3 years, that’s pretty interesting. Go Wizards. Looking good!

  8. NorCal Warrior says:

    As a die hard Warrior fan. Forget LOVE for goodness sakes. Okay, he is good no doubt but don’t even think about disrupting our team especially if it means giving up Klay. Plus, come on, Lee and Barnes. Let’s keep what we got. We have a new coach after the team was upset to see Mark go. It’s going to be a good year for the Warriors!!

  9. b says:

    love to hornets for mkg and vonleh?

  10. andy_truth says:

    parsons offended that he was not considered as a third star that could bring championships? give me a break. He was seriously underpaid but he is no star, I would never give him more than 6-7 million per year. Ariza and Papanikolau can do the same job better and for less.

    Good move from Houston not to commit, at least now they have the cap space to make a championship team somehow. They should get a decent backup PG and a PF. Kevin Love or Millsap sort of guy to play alongside Howard, stretch the floor and shoot 3s. Also they need a cheap center like Koufos, Mozgov to replace Asik and to play when Howard is in foul trouble.

    Its hard to build a championship team when players dont know their worth. Look at Stphenson, Waiters is gonna demand more than he deserves. Players like Parker, Duncan and Ginobili getting less money than Parsons is absurd. Mavs are locked up now they wont win again in a long time.

  11. Mike Jones says:

    Kevin Love is an OVERRATED stat stuffer on a bad team. He’s NEVER been to the playoffs and is injury prone. With LBJ & Kyrie Irving both averaging over 20ppg why do the Cavs need a defensively challenged Love? The Bulls won titles with Jordan, Pippen and Horace Grant/Dennis Rodman (big men that rebounded and played defense. The Cavs should go after Greg Monroe or Paul Milsap……just my opinion. Kevin Love isn’t the GREAT player people try to make him out to be……he’s NEVER finish .500 in any season….enough said.

    • Jean Luke says:

      @MJones – Wow! You should be a GM for a team in the NBA.

      • ...MN says:

        Agreed would be stupid stupid move to give up Wiggins for Love who is not all that great and will be free agent in one year, I can’t believe even their is serious discussion of that.

  12. edubbz says:

    Its like Micheal Jordan has felt the competition as an owner and now will compete as a owner as he did as a player. If that be the case then watch out for the Hornets.

    • charless702 says:

      Ahh yes because Jordan has been putting together amazing teams and drafting great players during his time as an owner or as the Director of Basketball Operations. Where have you been over the last 10 years?

  13. TD says:

    Clev should just stay as is! Ken Love will sign at end of season . Under no circumstance should Clev give up Wiggins. Maybe Bennet and (1) draft pick. Let us remember it is Minn in need not Clev.

    • charless702 says:

      Let us remember that Cleveland is in desperate need of another Superstar or two. Anyone who knows basketball knows that Cleveland isn’t the clear cut favorite to win the East. They just better hope they get one of the top 4 seeds in the East. Nothing would be worse than Lebron getting bounced in the first round in his first year back in Cleveland. If that happens he’ll probably opt out and crawl back to another contender.

  14. Scisca says:

    No! Just not Stephenson! He’s such an idiot… My God, why did my Hornets do that? :(

  15. hilljr says:

    Why is Cleveland Killing themselves for KLove…..they could have Milsap just as easily and he can shoot it(though not like Love) but hes a good rebounder and a MUCH MUCH better position defender. If they string that Move then they would basically be one Rim protector away from being hands down best in the East. IMO.

    • DenH says:

      well considering millsap is under contract with the hawks and is viewed as one of their long term building blocks i think it will be hard to get him out of atlanta without surrendering bennett and waiters or wiggins and a pick

  16. Mienk says:

    Patterson is a good signing for the Raptors

  17. jerseynumber33 says:

    Flip is not stupid! No Wiggins, No Love. No Klay, No Love. These rumors of players not are not of equal value are flat out dumb. Kevin Love is a top 10 player for sure. Some of these names that are being mentioned aren’t in the top 100.

  18. hahaha Rockets didn’t get any free agents in the summer and losing Lin, Asik and Parsons make them a terrible team…they better fire McHale quick lol

  19. lenny says:

    Keep in mind the losers in free agency was the Pacers and the Rockets.

  20. nikola says:

    PG-Walker,SG-Stephenson,SF-Hayward,PF-Kidd-Gilchrist,C-Jefferson

  21. Love says:

    |If you have James and Irving and you can get Love, but have to give up Wiggins for it: I would take that deal any minute… Instant favorite… With Wiggins you dont know what you will get. Plus I think with two ball handlers as James and Irving they ar better of with a shooter/defender at 2 then with another ball handler…

    • ko0kiE says:

      well… or you don’t do it and wait a year until he’s free agent. you should not give up no. 1 picks and stuff like that for a player that wants to leave anyway..

      • Romo says:

        Nothing guarantees he will sign with cavs next year, he will have so many options so they should take a chance and trade for him now.

    • aces says:

      Wiggins is not a ball handler. He’s a slasher and defender. He has a chance if making all defense team this year. The chance to be the pippen to lebron is intriguing and worth giving it a shot. Plus, his potential is too great to ignore. If cleveland wants to get out of this funk, you keep wiggins who will learn from bron. Then when bron retires, wiggins will be in his prime and can continue success in cleveland. The fact lebron came is a blessing in disguise for Wiggins and Bennett because the pressure is off them abd can really play their game. I wouldn’t trade wiggins for love straight up but wolves actually think they can get wiggins and other pieces for love? Cleveland better be smart about it or watch bron walk out again in 2 years.

      Ps, hopefully he comes to philky

    • Eddy Griff says:

      Unfortunately I wouldnt give up the number 1 pick before he has even played an actual NBA game (summer league not included). What if he is a superstar? then you would have just given up the “lebron or KD of his generation) for Kevin Love. A guy who gets inflated stats on a bad team. Just like Nick Young used to lead the wizards in scoring because the team was bad. Statistically someone has to lead in each different stat. And also love is constantly injured.

  22. dj says:

    Yes! Lance going to Charlotte is great news. I feel like now we can have a complete team with him at SG. I was in shock when I saw MJ offered Hayward a max deal, I thought the team was going to screw it self. But this is great news this team has a good future now.

    PG-Walker SG-Stephenson SF-Henderson/MKG PF-Vonleh C-Jefferson

    That’s a solid lineup if you ask me. Definitely makes up for losing McRoberts.

  23. underdog says:

    Stephenson to Hornets is a big move.. in a competitive Central Division, it looks like the Pacers will be the odd team out in the 3-team competition between Bulls, Cavs, and Pacers.. The Hornets is on the rise but unfortunately the SouthEast division looks competitive (Wizards, Heat, Hornets…) so they may still be a 7th seed.. my predictions will be..

    1. Bulls (Central Winner)
    2. Cavaliers
    3. Heat (South East Winner)
    4. Raptors (Atlantic Winner)
    5. Pacers
    6. Wizards
    7. Hornets
    8. Pistons

    I’m high on SVG, his teams were always top 10 in both offensive and defensive efficency. I expect he can do wonders with his Detroit lineup.

    • Naptown RP says:

      LMMAAAOOOOOOOOO^^^^^ #FantasyLand…Pacers will be better off without his distraction. ..Bird will make a trade to make up for losing him. .and will get the#1 seed again next year

  24. yorfi says:

    clevenland que entregue dion waiter y antoni benner por kevin amor listo ese es el cambio

  25. Mia to Cle says:

    I hope love goes to Cleveland and trade him for Bennett..

  26. wooderson says:

    screw the wolves if they want thompson then it has to be a straight swap with maybe and draft pick and klay