Morning shootaround — July 24

NEWS OF THE MORNING

Report: Celts out of Love chase? | Gibson hoping he’s not traded | Reports: Allen leaning toward Cavs | Report: Mavs set to add Nelson, Aminu | Why shooting matters in the NBA

No. 1: Report: Celtics getting out of Love chase? — As it stands this morning, the race to land Minnesota Timberwolves All-Star Kevin Love seems to be a two-horse one between the leader (Cleveland Cavaliers) and a couple of others (Chicago Bulls, Golden State Warriors and, perhaps, Denver Nuggets). But what about the Boston Celtics? That team was thought to be a favorite to land Love — especially when he took a trip to Boston shortly after the season — but the Celtics’ name has appeared less and less in the Love chatter. According to A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com, Boston might be ready to move on from its Love pursuit:

There’s no waiving of the white flag just yet, but the Boston Celtics appear to be ready to move on from their pursuit of Minnesota star Kevin Love, league sources tell CSNNE.com.

“The more teams step up and show interest in Love, the further Boston falls in the pack,” a source said on Wednesday. “Danny [Ainge]’s a smart guy. He knows when to keep pushing for something and when to move on.”

That’s why the Celtics are reportedly among the clubs to express some interest in being a third team to help facilitate a trade involving Love to what one source said has become his “preferred” destination, Cleveland.

Throughout the Celtics’ offseason, they have made no secret about being open to using whatever resources they have (draft picks, trade exceptions, players) to add a high-impact player like Love who earlier this summer had expressed interest in Boston.

But as this summer continues to wind down, acquiring Love or a comparable, high-impact player become less likely with each passing day.

That’s because teams, for now at least, are far more consumed by acquiring proven talent as opposed to assets and players with potential (read: young talent).

Boston’s most tradable asset is Rajon Rondo, but the market for him is unclear because teams aren’t sold on the four-time all-star returning to the form he displayed prior to suffering a torn right ACL injury in 2013.

***

No. 2: Gibson hoping he’s not dealt by Bulls — Chicago Bulls power forward Taj Gibson has a lot of reasons to be excited about the 2014-15 season. With the team using the amnesty provision on Carlos Boozer, he’s got a good shot at being the team’s starter. There’s also the expected healthy return of former MVP Derrick Rose, the offseason additions of Nikola Mirotic, Pau Gasol and Doug McDermott to the roster as well as playing under coach Tom Thibodeau, who always gets the most out of the Bulls’ crew. Gibson has heard his name bandied about in the Kevin Love trade talks and as he tells the Chicago Tribune‘s K.C. Johnson, he’s doesn’t want to leave the Bulls now:

Each time Taj Gibson works out at the Berto Center, team officials tell him not to focus on trade rumors involving his name.

That said, they’re not stopping. And Wednesday brought another round as the Bulls continue talking with the Timberwolves about Kevin Love.

“It’s tough, but it’s part of the business,” Gibson said at his youth basketball camp in Deerfield. “I’ve been in the league for awhile and have been around some great veterans who taught me a lot about the game. The one thing they always say is be grateful that somebody wants you and that you’re in the NBA and just focus on your game.

“Without a doubt (I want to be here). I’m a nonchalant kind of guy. I let my game speak for myself. But this place has been home for me, a lot of good times. I’m looking forward to the future and playing here hopefully for a long time.”

Gibson said he talked to his agent on Tuesday and that nothing specific or imminent was relayed to him. Multiple outlets, including the Tribune, reported the Bulls inquired about Love after putting him on the back burner to chase Carmelo Anthony in free agency but that the Cavaliers are firmly in the lead.

The Tribune previously reported that Nikola Mirotic sought a commitment from the Bulls before completing his buyout from Real Madrid. And league sources indicated to the Tribune on Wednesday that reports of offers of Mirotic and first-round acquisition Doug McDermott for Love are “overstated.”

“It reminds me of the time we went to the (2011) Eastern Conference finals,” Gibson said. “We were real deep. We had at least 10 or 11 guys who could really go. I’m looking forward to it. Everybody on this team is mostly focused on winning championships.

“It’s scary at times if you think about the potential of the front line and our depth. (Mirotic) is going to be extremely good. Joakim (Noah), we won’t have to put so many minutes on him because every year late in the season he’s always banged up.”

Gibson praised the Gasol acquisition and said he would have no problem coming off the bench again.

“It’s a great addition,” Gibson said. “It gives us more depth. We have more size up front. One thing about our bigs is (coach Tom Thibodeau) can have so many different options. He can go small. He can go big. He can go quick. You have a lot of different lineups.”

***

No. 3: Reports: Allen leaning toward signing with Cavs — Roughly a week ago, new Cavs guard Mike Miller told ESPN radio that he’s been actively trying to recruit his former Heat teammate, Ray Allen, to join him (and LeBron James) in Cleveland. Apparently the efforts are working as Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe reports that Allen is leaning toward joining his ex-Miami teammates in Ohio:

Former Celtic and Heat standout Ray Allen is leaning towards returning for a 19th NBA season and joining former teammate LeBron James with the Cleveland Cavaliers, according to a league source.

Allen, who turned 39 Sunday, has been pondering retirement since the Heat lost in the NBA Finals to the San Antonio Spurs last month.

But James, along with ex-Heat swingman Mike Miller, who signed with the Cavaliers earlier this month, have been lobbying Allen to join them with the resurrected franchise.

Allen hardly looked as if he was ready to finish his career during the Miami playoff run. He averaged 9.3 points in 20 postseason games.

Allen played two seasons with the Heat after five successful seasons with the Celtics that included the 2008 NBA title and capturing the all-time 3-point mark.

ESPN.com also confirmed the report that Allen is leaning toward heading to Cleveland.

***

No. 4: Report: Mavs set to add Nelson, Aminu — ICYMI yesterday, the Dallas Mavericks voided the contract of one of their offseason additions, Rashard Lewis, when he failed his physical due to a lingering knee injury. While he won’t be with the Mavs anytime soon, Dallas did continue to bolster its roster with more less-heralded moves by reportedly closing in on deals with ex-Magic guard Jameer Nelson and ex-Pelicans forward Al-Farouq Aminu. Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News has more:

When it was determined that 6-10 Rashard Lewis could not pass his physical because of a problem with his right knee, the Mavericks voided the contract he signed last week. The severity of the injury was not known. But the Mavericks elected to void the deal, and Lewis will return to the marketplace as an unrestricted free agent when he recovers from the expected knee surgery.

It’s possible the Mavericks could sign him again during the season, but a source said at this time that appears unlikely.

Meanwhile, two sources said the Mavericks were preparing to welcome 6-foot Jameer Nelson to town on Thursday. He is expected to take a physical and if everything is in order, will sign with the Mavericks for their cap-room exception of $2.7 million.

They also reached an agreement on a two-year, $2.1 million contract with New Orleans free agent Al-Farouq Aminu, who has a nose for rebounding and defense but is limited offensively. He would be an option when it comes to guarding the toughest offensive matchups in the Western Conference such as Kevin Durant and Kobe Bryant.

***

No. 5: Why shooting matters in the NBA — The NBA game has changed over the last few seasons and the emergence — and importance — of 3-point shooting has led that transition in how the game is played. Our John Schuhmann takes a look at why shooting in general — whether it’s from 3-point range or just good jump shots — matter in today’s game and has seven teams who did a great job of addressing their deficiencies in that area in the offseason:

In today’s NBA, if you want to win, you have to be able to shoot. There are lots of factors that go into good offense and good defense, but the most important are how well you shoot and how well you defend shots.

Over the last two seasons, 3-point shooting has taken a big jump. From 2007-08 to 2011-12, the league took from 22.2 to 22.6 percent of its shots from 3-point range. Then in 2012-13, that number jumped to 24.3 percent. And last season, it jumped again to 25.9 percent.

The correlation between 3-point shooting and offensive efficiency is strong. And shooting a lot of threes is almost as important as shooting them well.

Ten of the top 15 offenses in the league were above average in terms of 3-point percentage and the percentage of their total shots that were threes. Four of the other five were in the top 10 in one or the other. And teams that didn’t shot threes well or often were generally bad offensive teams.

Threes aren’t everything, but three is greater than two. And if you have shooting threats on the perimeter, other guys have more space to operate inside. The teams near the bottom of the table above know that to win more games, they have to score more efficiently. And to do that, they need more shooting in their rotation.

***

SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: Interesting look at the Sacramento Kings’ recent run of moves, some of which have been very puzzling … Why is Eric Bledsoe one of the last big-names still left in the free-agent pond? … ICYMI, Pacers All-Star center Roy Hibbert looks like he’s working with Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on polishing his post moves … Cavs forward Anthony Bennett recently had his tonsils removed … Hornets guard Kemba Walker recruited Al Jefferson last summer, and helped recruit Lance Stephenson this summer … Is it time for the Blazers to just part ways with little-used Victor Claver?

 

54 Comments

  1. DukeBlueDevils says:

    Loveman dude read again what Curtez wrote. he didnt say MJ was able to do it alone. MJ for one didnt recruit stars to play with him. Anyhow what Curtez is saying is that MJ could’ve joined with Iverson at PHI, or joined Shaq and Kobe in LA if MJ wanted to bump up his rings total at the waning years of his career.

    before you criticize, try reading..and more importantly, try reading COMPREHENSION. it might get you farther in life if you understood what you read.

    • T gas TT ako says:

      correct,, lebron can never be jordan ,, and so the game before than now,, by the way im a lebron and jordan fan,,

  2. Ed says:

    Remember Miami Heat fans? Do those still exist? Oh they’re all Cleveland Cav fans now? weird.

  3. carson says:

    no ray allen to cleavdon

  4. ...MN says:

    LB whatever – Cavs could win. they are the vegas favorites to win. who knows what will happen but they have as good or better chance than anyone else. Vegas isn’t always right but they usually guess pretty well.

  5. Telusfrankley says:

    Hope that the Warriors don’t break up the Splash Bros. to get Love. As far as where Love will go I think he plays out his option and signs with the Lakers. The Timber Wolves may trade him anyway at a reduced rate to a contender some time this coming season. I have the feeling Loves really wants to take over the Lakers after Kobe’s last dance.

  6. Curtez says:

    O’ Lebron, you gained an ounce of respect back by going home. But trying to team up again with the best players in the league again… C’mon how do you expect any sort of respect when your career comes to a close. No matter how many championships you might end up winning. If you team up again they won’t mean much. Imagine if at the end of Jordan’s career he teamed up with Iversons 76ers or Scottie with the blazers or shaq and Kobe for rings. It doesn’t matter who you team up with it just won’t mean anything. Michael knew it and went and played for the love of the game instead. Isn’t the Cleveland “Heat” more loaded now anyway than Miami were last year with Irving, varejo and waiters plus another couple of number one picks. Who is he kidding?

  7. LBJKIN6JAMES says:

    As much as I like Jesus Shuttlesworth, I think it would be pretty much a waste of time if he came to Cleveland because he only has 1 year left, and realistically the Cavs will not win a championship their first year together. I think Michael Beasley should join the Cavs, he is VERY underrated and is young, Eric Spoelstra was really dumb for not playing him more.

  8. Kevin says:

    I hope the Bulls go with what they have. Taj is fantastic and they added enough offense during the offseason that they don’t need to make the Kevin Love move.

    Stick with the two-way power forward, Bulls.

  9. abc says:

    How can you be so naive and predict a champion at this point, if that was the case the only team you can predict is the defending champs…and that because all key players are still together, and I’m talking about 5 key players minimum

  10. James says:

    The Cavs will have to gut their team to get Love simply because their future first round picks are now worth cents on the dollar. I could see Wiggins, Tristan and at least one of Varejao or Waiters being shipped out in the deal.

  11. choco says:

    it doesnt matter whoever player the cavs get if they dont understand the true concept of teamwork, it will be useless, kyrie demands the ball to much and so is lebron. hopefully they will learn to share the ball and play in sync like the spurs.

  12. Unkle Daddy says:

    Ray Allen should do one of two things, either stay out until, February and rest his body or stay out this whole season and come back next year when Cleveland has a stronger squad that can make a deeper run.

  13. bjorn says:

    the Bulls are good now, I do not want Love, even a talented but player. I feel the dynamics only miss Luol Deng!!
    Hopefully this Lovegame is only a charade. I really do believe has to somewhereelse than even Cavs.
    Pls NBA do not mess up putting all the Stars in certain teams.
    Love is Unproven if you ask me. He should work with wolves to get a good team there! Peace

  14. Connor says:

    The Celtics are going to surprise people this year. They will make the playoffs and get to the second round with all the good young talent they have. The one thing lacking is a dominant center.

    • Nihal Goli says:

      Cavs starting lineup:
      1. Kyrie Irving
      2. Andrew Wiggins
      3. LeBron James
      4. Kevin Love
      5. Anderson Varejao

      Big 4 not 3

      • Seriously.... says:

        You do realise that the deal to get love would send Wiggins to Timberwolves right? And even if they waited till he tested free agency the only way to sign him would be to completely empty all big contracts on their bench. Then when the starters go to the bench and a bunch of Kwame Browns come onto the court they’ll lose the lead.

      • harrythehawk says:

        Wake up son. You were dreaming. OKC is #1.

    • Carlo says:

      Do you mean the D-League, I presume?

  15. Hal says:

    Nelson yes, Aminu NO!

  16. zonn says:

    mavs getting stronger

  17. joe schmoe says:

    yo dog i dont think this lebron guy know what he doing i think he shuld retire kobe4l and mj should come back real talk

  18. Fug says:

    Tid bit of information on who is recruiting Ray Allen

    After the NBA Finals this year, Ray Allen and his Family took a vacation with Lebron and his family. Ray and his wife and Rats mom are as close knit as it gets. Lebron is striving to this now after he got caught trying to cheat on his wife and was outed to the press with Lebron saying he and his wife had an open relationship (google it if you had not heard) and thus wifey said we are moving back to our 35,000 Sq ft mansion in Cleveland.

    So this Mike Miller recruiting tour do Ray Ray seems like a story only for the press. The most powerful man in sports is operating the strings of all the puppets. Lebron James is writing his 3rd book since joining the NBA. He doesn’t write chapters, he writes the whole damn book, and we read it cover to cover. Buy or Sell?

  19. James baker says:

    Championship: Mavs vs Cleveland
    West conference:
    1.Mavs
    2.Spurs
    3.Clippers
    4.thunder
    5.Warriors
    6.Pelicans(if healthy)
    7.Suns
    8.Grizzles

  20. Snow says:

    Ray Allen, the biggest bandwagoner in the NBA

    • Garry D. says:

      Bruh Ray Allen isn’t the biggest bandwagoner, they’re the ones recruiting the best three point shooter in history on their team.

    • Jimmy says:

      True but he has no where to go except retirement or Cavs cuz if he stays in Miami he won’t win. It’s not like he has 4 years ago Boston.

    • Charlie says:

      I agree

  21. cw says:

    I don’t know why teams are competing to gut their rosters and get Love. Just wait a year and fight this fight with money alone. That leaves Minnesota out in the cold but who cares? Minnesota is used to the cold by now….

    • Charlie says:

      I am not a Timberwolves fan, but I think if the Wolves want to ever be taken seriously they need to start doing things that show their players they want to win. Management has destroyed the Wolves time and time again due to bad trades and/or draft picks. Instead of trading Love how about giving him a reason to stay?

    • for the team says:

      the teams that are trying to get him now are the teams who wont have Cap room to sign him next year so is get him in a trade and have him sign an extention or watch him go to a next team unlike baseball cap room is a big factor when it comes to putting together a team

  22. boyscout says:

    I like all the Mavs signings but what is bugging me is why are you treating Matrix like a stepchild? Man he has been awesome for you. What gives? Do you not want him anymore? Is there a falling out? He is still a great player what’s up with that? You should at least give him proper respect for being a big part of why wou win……

    • nate says:

      Matrix wants more money and he want to start. In Dallas he will only get 2.7mil and he will come off the bench and he don’t like that

      • Charlie says:

        For 2.7 million I’ll sit on the bench and hand out towels to the guys coming off the court…and I’ll even smile

      • #dwade#flash says:

        @charlie lol ill be your back up, ill spit shine them shoes too

    • Sam Reyes says:

      If the matrix is smart, he will take the deal and come from the bench, parsons could need marion backup and he is good at defense, they woould be dangerous in ofense and defense.

      but marion needs to realize that he needs to help the team goal, not himself.

  23. Luke Duke says:

    It would be unwise for the Bulls to give up all that for Kevin Love. You’d essentially be trading your defense and a good deal of chemistry along with it… not worth it at all. Let’s roll the dice with the squad we’ve got, I like our chances.

    I’m no Cavalier fan, but I also think they should hang on to Wiggins… again, Love isn’t worth it. With Lebron – Kyrie – Wiggins you have a good chance this year, and the future still looks bright.

  24. IMO says:

    Kevin Love should just play his last year up there in Minnesota. After he win or loses… he can decided where he wants to go. I wouldn’t give up Wiggins for Love because LeBron needs another young athletic player to take the attention from him.

  25. TheKush says:

    I would NOT trade Taj Gibson if I were the Bulls. In this league there aren’t too many guys that can give you that much offensive production playing Tom Thibodeau grueling defense schemes. The bulls need Taj Gibson even if he’s coming off the bench. I’m still eager to see how an aged Pau Gasol will manage – the Memphis Pau Gasol would be a perfect fit for this team but this Pau Gasol I have to see it first.

    I want to see the Bulls get stronger on the guard positions – maybe a Jerryd Bayless or Jordan Crawford just in case Rose gets injured AGAIN!!! did anyone sign Shawn Marion yet? Bulls need some more scoring and creators out there and Marion is an excellent defender. Regardless of any story people want to make up I think Marion’s defense was a big reason why Miami lost to Dallas in the finals.

    Honestly I think the bulls would be a much better team if Tom Thibodeau had a good bench and subbed in guys the way Popovich does I’ve seen Bulls games and their starters look exhausted when they’re out there which contributes to injuries if the bulls have a deep bench and more guys get minutes I don’t see how they don’t go to the eastern conference finals this coming season

  26. joe says:

    If the wiggin love trade happens, cleveland will be guaranteed never to see wiggins again for a gurantee for love for just one year. It sounds like Carlos Boozer all over again.

    • truth says:

      WRONG, love has said he would sign an extension with cleveland. not saying its a great idea, but for a 30 yr old lebron itd be better for him to have a proving star/shooter/scorer/rebounder, than and un-proven wiggins, who could take 5 years to develop into a star..IF HE EVER DOES..and lebron at 35 is not gona be as good as he is now. its simple math..lebron isnt 26 anymore, he might still have 8 to 10 years, but he wants multiple championships and you can guarantee he wont get one every year especially in his later years. so the win now idea with getting love is a smart move..could be risky if wiggins turns into a superstar but he simply doesnt have the time to wait and see.

  27. Titus says:

    Cavs should keep wiggins and bennett and thei first round pick next yr. Kevin love is not worth it…good scorer and rebounder on a bad team….I really think each team vying for love services are willing to give up too much for him…he sa perenial loser, never made the playoffs, he’ll definetly go to the playoffs and may the championship with lebron but what will his contribution be because lebron has already done that

  28. spguide says:

    Good Luck for Amino on guarding Durant !!!
    I hope Kevin Love ends up in Boston, the East would be more even then, but its highly unlikely and in my opinion Rondo will leave the Celtcis soon, maybe next year already , it would be amazing to see him playing in Dallas with Ellis, Nowitzki, Parsons and Chandler.

  29. bclark says:

    Gibson needs to stay love is not worth it IMO. With Gibson starting we will have a stronger D in the Start an end of game He may not shoot like Boozer but still scores as well with less points allowed bring D-rose back and our offense will be set

  30. Hurricane H says:

    Lebron recruited Mike Miller and is working on Love…
    Miller is recruiting Ray Allen…
    Kemba Walker recruited Al Jefferson and Lance Stephenson…
    Derrick Rose isn’t recruiting anyone…

    Looks like GM’s will be a thing of the past soon? That is until owners wake up and realise winning championships starts with strong front office leadership, and not letting the inmates run the asylum.

    • Carlo says:

      Problem is, lots of teams are desperate for getting good players. Once they grab a top one, they give him the keys to make him happy.

  31. Lucas Nelson says:

    The Bulls have made a great offer for Love, probably too much. Still hoping the Cavs don’t deal Wiggins, that’s a huge mistake: http://straighthoops.com/whats_love_got_to_do_with_it.html

    • spguide says:

      I thought it was too much as well, Kevin Love is a great addition , but loosing Jimmy Butler and Taj Gibson means loosing two good players, one great “6th” man , and one heck of a defender for his age .But in the East, if D Rose is injury free and with Gasol , the Bulls will go far in the playoffs if not win the eastern conference.