NEWS OF THE MORNING
No. 1: Report: Love willing to opt in if traded to Warriors — As was reported by Yahoo! Sports’ Marc J. Spears and Adrian Wojnarowski (and also reported by ESPN.com’s Chris Broussard), Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James has reached out Minnesota Timberwolves star forward Kevin Love to let Love know he’d like him to join the Cavs. Doing so would likely require the Cavs parting with No. 1 overall pick Andrew Wiggins, as Broussard, Wojnarowski and Bob Finnan of The News Herald & The Morning Journal all point out. Another team believed to be in the Love mix, the Golden State Warriors, may still have a shot at him, too. According to Yannis Koutroupis of BasketballInsiders.com, Love is willing to opt into his deal for 2015-16 if he’s dealt to Golden State:
According to a source with knowledge of the situation, the Golden State Warriors are increasing their efforts to land Minnesota Timberwolves All-Star forward Kevin Love.
Love has recently been linked to trade talks with the Cleveland Cavaliers. LeBron James has even reached out and voiced his desire to play with him according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. The Cavaliers are willing to let go of the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft Andrew Wiggins, but the Warriors are now willing to let go of Klay Thompson as well.
The Warriors have been trying to acquire Love without letting go of Thompson, but have come off of that stance because Love is willing to exercise his option for the 2015-16 season and put off becoming a free agent next summer according to a source.
David Lee and Harrison Barnes are expected to be a part of the deal as well. No trade is imminent, but the Warriors are willing to do whatever it takes to land Love now – even if that means letting go of a franchise favorite in Thompson.
This news, though, contradicts the reports of Wojnarowski and Broussard to an extent. Both reporters say Love would like to play alongside James and would even consider a long-term deal with Cleveland if such a trade were to materialize. In short, these trade talks remain as unclear as ever.
No. 2: Report: Bledsoe rejects Suns’ $48 million offer — Before free agency began in Phoenix, the reliable Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic reported that the Suns wanted to keep its three key free agents: Channing Frye, P.J. Tucker and Eric Bledsoe. So far they’re 1-for-3 on that bid (Frye is in Orlando now), but hope remained Phoenix and Bledsoe could come to an agreement quickly. That might not be the case as Bledsoe recently turned down the team’s four-year, $48 million offer, writes Chris Broussard of ESPN.com:
The future of one of the most talented free agents left on the market remains cloudy, as Eric Bledsoe and the Phoenix Suns remain far apart in contract talks, according to sources close to the situation.
The Suns have offered Bledsoe a four-year, $48 million contract, but the point guard wants a maximum five-year, $80 million deal, league sources said.
The thought that the Suns will match any offer Bledsoe receives from a competing club has deterred teams from aggressively pursuing the 24-year-old point guard. Phoenix has thus far refused to discuss potential sign-and-trade opportunities.
The Milwaukee Bucks have been mentioned as a team with interest in Bledsoe, and Sacramento and Houston, which recently traded away Jeremy Lin, could be in the market for a point guard.
No. 3: Miller trying to recruit Allen to Cavs? — The Cleveland Cavaliers have a strong Miami Heat connection of sorts now, what with ex-Heat sharpshooters Mike Miller and James Jones agreeing to deals that will put them alongside superstar LeBron James again. Can Cleveland make it three-for-three in the hopes of landing ex-Heat shooters by adding Ray Allen to the mix? Miller spoke with ESPN Radio yesterday and said he is trying to do what he can to get Allen aboard:
Mike Miller told ESPN Radio on Thursday that he’s trying to recruit Ray Allen to sign with the Cavaliers, pointing to the veteran as the kind of player that will help LeBron James and his new team in key spots in the playoffs.
Miller, who agreed to join his good friend James and sign with the Cavs earlier this week, responded “of course,” when asked on “The Herd” if he was pitching the Cavs to Allen.
“We got James Jones, now we’re moving Miami to northeast Ohio,” Miller said, referring to Cleveland’s addition of the former Miami Heat forward on Wednesday.
Allen, who will turn 39 on July 20, played 73 games for the Heat in the regular season and all 20 postseason games last season. He averaged 9.3 points per game on 41 percent shooting in the playoffs. Allen has yet to make a decision about continuing his career, though he has talked with multiple teams to investigate his options, sources have told ESPN.com’s Brian Windhorst.
Miller, who is a career 41 percent 3-point shooter, was offered a three-year deal worth $12 million by the Denver Nuggets, but instead opted for a two-year deal worth $5.5 million with the Cavaliers in which the veteran shooter has a player option following next season, a source told ESPN.com’s Jeff Goodman.
Miller said he had to put “some thought into it” before making the decision to sign with the Cavs.
“Obviously it’s always tough passing up money, but at the end of the day, being able to team up with LeBron again and getting the chance to win a championship again was too much to pass up,” he said.
No. 4: Report: Pistons willing to move Smith … for right price — Talk began to surface yesterday that pre-Draft trade talks between the Detroit Pistons and Sacramento Kings centering on forward Josh Smith were renewed. The teams are in fact talking about a deal that would send Smith to California, but for the Kings to pull it off, they may need to rethink their offer. Vincent Goodwill of The Detroit News has more on what the Pistons are seeking in deals for Smith:
The Sacramento Kings are continuing their pursuit of Pistons power forward Josh Smith, sources told The Detroit News on Thursday.
This is the second time in recent weeks the Kings have approached Pistons officials about Smith, 28, who was signed by Detroit last summer for four years and $54 million.
The sources requested anonymity due to the ongoing nature of the negotiations.
When the Pistons and Kings engaged in talks a few weeks ago, negotiations centered around trading Smith for Jason Thompson and possibly Derrick Williams or Jason Terry. But according to sources, Pistons president Stan Van Gundy balked at dealing Smith for what essentially came down to spare parts.
The Kings are looking for a third team to help facilitate a deal, from a talent standpoint or a money standpoint.
If the Pistons decide to move Smith, it means they’ve decided the bulk of Smith’s problems didn’t just stem from moving over to small forward, a position he hadn’t played since the early years of his career when he was a younger, lighter and quicker player.
It means they’ve decided that Van Gundy doesn’t see a way to better utilize Smith’s defensive gifts, which was one of the apparent advantages the Pistons entered last season with, before virtually everyone struggled to defend their position.
With their recent signings, the Pistons have around $51 million in committed salary for next season, not factoring in restricted free agent Greg Monroe, whose return is far from a done deal.
The Pistons aren’t averse to trading Smith, but it’s clear Van Gundy won’t just give Smith away, especially with Monroe’s status up in the air. If it’s just a salary dump the Pistons are looking for — not likely — Sacramento’s previous deal could appeal to them.
But the Kings will have to try harder to acquire Smith, even if the Pistons want to move him for better-fitting players.
Smith can be had, just not for a bargain-basement price.
SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: Big man Glen Davis and the Clippers reportedly have a one-year agreement in place … Veteran NBA reporter Bob Ryan won’t be presiding over the Josh Smith fanclub anytime soon … Former BYU star and ex-Kings and Bulls guard Jimmer Fredette reportedly has a deal with the Pelicans … Knicks boss Phil Jackson recently updated his autobiography with new passages on his role in recruiting Dwight Howard and more … Coach Dwane Casey and the Raptors want to deepen the camaraderie they built last season … Did the Lakers come out as winners with their recent signing of Carlos Boozer? … One poll says LeBron James is now the most popular male athlete in the U.S. … What are the Jazz doing with all those youngsters on the team? GM Dennis Lindsey explains it all … The Bulls might be interested in Aaron Brooks to take on their traditional scorer-off-the-bench role
ICYMI of The Night: Timberwolves rookie Zach LaVine showed the folks in Las Vegas why he might just be the best dunker in this year’s Draft class …