Morning Shootaround — July 31


VIDEO: Take a slow-motion look at Day 2 of Team USA’s practice

NEWS OF THE MORNING

Report: Love talks narrowed to Cavs | George: Pacers should have won title | Rose draws rave reviews in Vegas | Scott could have coached Lakers earlier

No. 1: Report: Wolves working solely with Cavs on Love deal – The Denver Nuggets. The Boston Celtics. The Golden State Warriors. The Cleveland Cavaliers. At various points this offseason, those four teams — and perhaps others — have been involved in talks to acquire Minnesota Timberwolves All-Star forward Kevin Love. That list has apparently been narrowed to just Cleveland as a seemingly inevitable pairing of Love with LeBron James and Kyrie Irving grows closer. ESPN.com’s Marc Stein and Brian Windhorst, who first reported this bit of news, have more:

The Minnesota Timberwolves were engaged in serious Kevin Love trade talks with no teams other than the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday, adding to the growing belief around the NBA that Love teaming up with LeBron James is inevitable, according to sources briefed on the situation.

After ESPN.com reported last week that the Cavaliers remain the front-runners to acquire Love in a trade co-headlined by No. 1 overall draft pick Andrew Wiggins, sources this week have described the Cavs as the only team in contention for Love. Sources say the Chicago Bulls have become increasingly pessimistic about their chances of trumping Cleveland’s offer, while the Golden State Warriors remained unwilling to bend on their longstanding refusal to surrender Klay Thompson in a deal for Love.

Wiggins is not eligible to be dealt until Aug. 23 after signing his rookie contract last week, but numerous league insiders — some of whom are gathered in Las Vegas for this week’s Team USA training camp — have begun to describe a Love-to-Cleveland trade as a “when” transaction as opposed to an “if.”

The expectation remains that the Wolves will emerge from this saga with no less than Wiggins, 2013 No. 1 overall pick Anthony Bennett and a future first-round pick from the Cavs in exchange for Love before August is out.

ESPN.com reported last week that the Bulls had re-emerged as a serious suitor for Love, despite the fact they had a few more trade assets to offer Minnesota before last month’s NBA draft. But sources said this week that Chicago essentially has conceded to the Cavs, knowing it can’t furnish a player with both Wiggins’ superstar potential and his favorable rookie-scale contract.

The Wolves also signed veteran guard Mo Williams this week, making fellow vet J.J. Barea — who sources say Minnesota is determined to offload as part of a Love deal — more available. It’s believed the Wolves hope to convince Cleveland to take Barea as part of a Love trade or find a third team to absorb Barea’s expiring contract.

The Warriors conceivably could still give Cleveland something to worry about if they suddenly put Thompson on the table while the Cavs are waiting for Wiggins to become trade eligible, but sources say Taylor prefers a package headlined by Wiggins to a Thompson-led haul for Love.

***

No. 2: George: Pacers should have won title — The Indiana Pacers were the class of the Eastern Conference for roughly the first half of last season, rolling up a 40-11 mark behind All-Star Paul George. But as most of us remember, Indiana fell apart as the season wore on and its hopes of winning the title ended when the Pacers lost to Miami in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals. Months after that loss, George opened up to Yahoo! Sports’ Marc J. Spears and says he felt Indiana would have won the title if it had just stayed the course it started. He also opened up about super sub Lance Stephenson leaving Indiana for Charlotte this summer, too:

“If we had the same mentality that we had to start the year off, we would have won the championship,” George told Yahoo Sports. “We were playing the best ball of all of our careers and Pacers history in general. For us to not finish the year where we started is tough.”

The Pacers looked like NBA title contenders after starting the season 40-11. They struggled down the stretch and their poor play carried into the postseason. They needed the full seven games to beat the Atlanta Hawks in the first round and six games to beat the Washington Wizards in the second round. They ended up losing to the Miami Heat in the East finals.

Along the way, the Pacers didn’t lack for dysfunction. All-Star center Roy Hibbert oddly struggled mightily and was even benched in the playoffs and Lance Stephenson and Evan Turner got in a fight in practice. During the East finals, Stephenson made headlines for blowing in LeBron James‘ ear.

George thinks Indiana’s biggest problem was adapting to the bull’s-eye on them.

“Before, we were just jumping on teams and they were laying down. And then toward the end of the season, they [were ready],” George said. “When you play Miami, you’re going to get up for them. That’s how teams were playing against us. They were ready. They were amped for us. They didn’t win a game in two to three games, but against us they didn’t miss a shot.”

George believes Stephenson, who was miffed about not being named an All-Star last season, was attracted to a star role in Charlotte.

“He did that because he wants to come into his own,” George said. “That’s not to say he couldn’t do that in Indiana. But I think the fresh start gives him the ability to lead a team and take what he got from us to Charlotte. He is a player that wants to be an All-Star, wants to be a superstar in this league. So I think he made that move based on that.”

George plans on helping compensate for Stephenson’s loss by being much more aggressive offensively like Kobe Bryant and Tracy McGrady were in their primes.

“Coming into next season I need to be in the 25-30-point mark,” said George, who averaged 21.7 points last season. “I got to get back to that old Kobe, T-Mac, 25-shots-a-night kind of guy.”


VIDEO: Relive the Pacers’ top 10 plays from last season

***

No. 3: Bulls’ Rose drawing plenty of praise in Las Vegas — Team USA’s training camp out in Las Vegas is all about figuring out who will be on the official roster for the FIBA World Cup. But one of the biggest subplots within that is how Chicago Bulls star Derrick Rose has looked in each practice after he played in just 10 games last season. Rose has been nothing short of impressive and his teammates and coaches in Vegas can’t help but talk about him. ESPN.com’s Nick Fridell reports that Team USA assistant John Calipari and teammate Paul George each had compliments for Rose:

Rose’s college coach at Memphis, John Calipari, said Wednesday that his former player told him he was on a “mission” to get back to the top of the basketball world.

“Injuries, no one wants to go through that, but they do one of two things,” Calipari told ESPNChicago.com. “They make you stronger or they break you down, and it’s pretty obvious what it’s done to him. … I said (to him), ‘You look great. Your explosiveness is even maybe beyond where it was, which is scary.’ And I said, ‘You’re doing great.’

“He said: ‘I’m on a mission.’ “

Rose’s progression has been the talk of Team USA’s camp with players and coaches raving about how well he has performed after being out for so long.

“He looks better,” Indiana Pacers All-Star Paul George said. “He looks like he’s coming off the MVP year. He’s really been aggressive. He’s been flying across the court. We’ve seen him last year in the regular season; it still looked like he was holding back a little bit. It doesn’t look like that here.”

In George’s mind, the difference in Rose’s game is simple.

“I think he’s just healthy,” George said. “His body is feeling good. His legs is feeling good, and he’s healthy in camp.”

In addition to what Team USA officials have to say, the GM of the Bulls, Gar Forman, was equally complimentary of Rose. Bulls.com’s Sam Smith has more:

Forman was in Las Vegas along with fellow Bulls executive John Paxson to watch Derrick Rose’s return to high level competition in the USA Basketball training camp to select the 12-player team for the basketball World Cup in Spain starting in late August. Rose is expected to make the team. And while Forman said the Bulls encouraged Rose to participate and are hoping he plays in Spain, they also have been pleased with his performance with their own look toward the Bulls season.

“I think he has been terrific,” Forman said of Rose. “He looks strong. He looks confident. He looks explosive. He has been in a real good rhythm. He is playmaking for himself and others. It’s been really, really encouraging. Defensively, it has been incredible to watch him get after guys. Even this morning (in the scrimmages), he had four or five big time athletic plays, blocked shots, steals in the open court. He’s been really, really good.

“I think it’s a real positive that he gets an opportunity to do this and do it against the level of competition that he’s doing it against,” said Forman. “It’s great that he gets to play against this level of competition. And it’s just good to see him playing with so much confidence and just playing, reacting and playing. He has been playing five-on-five now for a couple of months. But to do it in this setting that is very structured and the level of competition that he’s doing it against is a real plus. I think it will be a plus for him going into camp in October and obviously a plus for our team.

“I don’t see him forcing anything,” Forman said in regard to any changes in Rose’s play. “I see him letting the game come to him. And then when he has opportunities to make plays, he makes them. He’s playing with what appears to me great confidence. And he’s getting others involved. I haven’t seen him back down to contact in any way. He has made plays in the key and at the rim on both ends of the floor. I haven’t seen any difference. When I say he’s playing with confidence, he is playing with a real nice pace to his game. Obviously, he is so athletic that he’s going to make explosive plays. But I don’t see him rushing in anything that he’s doing.”


VIDEO: Derrick Rose talks with reporters after Day 2 of Team USA practice

***

No. 4: Johnson says Buss wanted Scott to replace Jackson — Remember back after the 2010-11 season when then-L.A. Lakers coach Phil Jackson retired? The thought at the time was that his then-assistant, Brian Shaw, would be next in line in Lakerland. As it turned out, the Lakers eventually hired Mike Brown, who coached the lockout-shortened 2011-12 season and six games of 2012-13 before being fired and replaced by Mike D’Antoni. Just two days ago the Lakers officially announced the hiring of Byron Scott as coach, who, according to Lakers legend Magic Johnson, was nearly L.A.’s coach back in 2011-12. Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times has more:

Magic Johnson was on hand on Monday when the Lakers welcomed his former teammate, Byron Scott, as the Lakers’ next head coach.

Had Scott not taken the Cleveland Cavaliers job in 2010, he might have been hired by then-owner Jerry Buss after Phil Jackson retired after the 2010-11 season.

“Dr. Buss was going to make Byron the coach when Phil didn’t know what he was going to do” in 2010, said Johnson.  “Byron took the Cleveland job, and he took it too early.  I called and said: ‘B., you took the job too early.  Dr. Buss wanted you to be the coach.”

Meanwhile, Johnson also said he tried to convince Carmelo Anthony to leave the New York Knicks in an hourlong phone conversation.  Ultimately the high-scoring forward chose to re-sign in New York.

Johnson noted that he spoke at length with Pau Gasol, who chose to leave for the Chicago Bulls instead of staying with the Lakers.

“We had a great conversation but I think the way he was treated last season, kind of hurt him,” said Johnson.  “Here’s a guy 18 [points] and 10 [rebounds], shooting over 50% and you want to bench him?  You want to mess with this guy?  He could never get over that.”

***

SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: Is longtime NBA referee Dick Bavetta pondering retirement? … Rockets guard James Harden and Mavericks forward Chandler Parsons say they’ve patched things up between them … Thunder star and reigning MVP Kevin Durant recently told Pelicans star Anthony Davis he’s ‘next in line’ for the MVP … New Warriors coach Steve Kerr has picked the brains of both ex-NFL coach Bill Parcells and current Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll … Mavs coach Rick Carlisle views their signing of Al-Farouq Aminu as a replacement for Shawn MarionMichael Beasley worked out for the Lakers, but there is a chance he could be back with the Heat, too … Ex-Thunder, Bobcats. Clippers and Sixers big man Byron Mullens is headed to China on a two-year deal … Ex-Montana star Will Cherry has reportedly signed a two-year deal with the Toronto Raptors … Speaking of the Raptors, their games could start at 7:30 this season instead of their usual 7 p.m. start time … Looks like a big year is on the horizon for Nuggets big man JaVale McGee

55 Comments

  1. I am actually glad to read this webpage posts which consists of
    tons of valuable facts, thanks for providing these data.

  2. sirsparhawk says:

    I think its safe to say that Love is going to Cavs. Love is far more valuable than Wiggins currently. Who knows, for all we know in 6 years wiggins can be averaging 28 13 and 5. Atm tho we go with those proven and young at the same time, aka Love. People forget he is still young and not even in his Prime. Who better to teach him defense than Leflop?

  3. M1978 says:

    The Bulls are wrong as they allowed Rose to play in the olympic team. There is a big chance that he will get injured again and miss more games. Unless he changes his style he will get injured over and over again.

  4. TheAnswer says:

    We don’t need a report. All we need is THE ANSWER: so here it is: July 1, 2014

    Got one wrong and trust me Love will be with the Lakers when he becomes a free agent!!
    Updated July 31, 2014

    Lebron – Cleveland
    Bosh – Houston/Wrong because he was over paid (Who could blame him)
    Wade – Miami
    Melo – New York
    Gasol – Chicago
    Parsons – Mavs
    Love – Lakers
    The rest will all fall into place then.

    Mark my words as this is what’s going to happening. Everybody is going to take a home coming. I am a Chicago Fan and it always goes against Chicago for having MJ on are team. Nobody wants to play in his shadow. They will sign Gasol because they have no one else to sign and will hope for a come back from rose

  5. noodle man says:

    Pacer fans can look forward to Paul George bricking up 25 shots a night next year, LOL!

  6. Omar says:

    I guess I’m the only person on earth that has actually seen Bennett play that dude is AWFUL!!! Minnesota is basically giving Kevin Love away to Cleveland! They need to be talking to Golden state they have so much more to offer

  7. Mike says:

    Say all you want but I’d prefer TYREKE EVANS!

  8. i have a feeling the bulls will win it this year

  9. LeggoHeat says:

    Oh yyeah he’s back! Gonna make his doubters eat their words, leggo D.Rose!

  10. mykelti reese says:

    even if the pacers would have beat the heat in conference finals they would have gotten swept by the spurs

  11. Executve K says:

    Executives are stupid… Love for Wiggins, Bennett, and a first rounder…. Thad young for Kevin Martin, Berea and 2 second round picks, a prospect or any combo of picks and prospect….I know its not really a fair trade for Philly… Philly receives Dion Waiters and a First rounder for Kevin Martin and 2 seconds… Cleveland doesnt need first rounders. It’ll take too long for them to develop for the money. Second rounders are cheap and dont cost that much. Recap with me. CLEVELAND gets two veterans, ditch a ball hog guard for a shooter and clear up the space you have to give waiters at the 2 and only the two. Miller and Martin can both play 2 and 3 and play heavy minutes when Lebron isnt there. They need shooters not scorers. MINNESOTA Ditches Salary at a potential run at a RFA or stands pat with a veteran to help at the PF who can still spread the floor a little. They also get two Canadians who probably wont mind it there and Wiggins the potential super star payer. Lets face it they arent going anywhere this season but could turn a couple first rounders around to acquire another veteran. Because they’re not far off. PHILLY gets what it wants, a first rounder, a young two guard who can score and create for himself and a back up veteran to help with MCW. The salaries are the only thing i dont have access to, to actually see if it would work… but a couple minor pieces and it could still work.

  12. El Stone says:

    The Spurs would have roasted the Pacers.

  13. Zacula says:

    Pacers did win a title in 2014… the most pathetic team title that is! The team needs yoga and meditation to build inner confidence because they have none.

  14. harrythehawk says:

    When I think of the Minnesota Timberwolves I think of Ricky Rubio. And he is a bum. I think Wiggins and Bennett will breathe life into the zombiewolves. Maybe when I hear all that howling, it will be for something instead of nothing.

  15. CLEO VISION says:

    PLAYERS CAN SAY WHATEVER,PLAYERS CAN BE AT THERE HEALTHIEST,BUT AT THE END OF THE SEASON THE TITLE COMING BACK TO THE QUIET KILLERS SAN ANTONIO SPURS.BACK TO BACK!

  16. JStyle says:

    #It’s ridiculous to say that the Indiana Pacers should have WON the tile when the Miami Heat clearly won it. It’s equally ridiculous to even suggest that the Miami Heat should’ve LOST the title. It’s amazing to how SUBTILY you media-types totally disrespect the Miami Heat’s body of work and historical marks they’ve set since their inception to the NBA.

    • lepiv7 says:

      So, are you saying that the Heat clearly won the title? Or that they didn’t lose it? … Talk about ridiculous …

    • Carlo says:

      What title? What are you talking about? Which “historical marks”?

      Wade won his title in 2006 mainly ’cause of his strength and the Mavs shooting their feet.

      Then, Miami hired the strongest player on Earth and HE won a couple titles (one of whom thanks to the Spurs giving it away) while Miami BUSTED this year by giving LBJ no support (he already understood that beforehand and was ready to go away).
      Now he’s gone. Bye bye titles.

      Miami’s never been a decent team, even when they won titles.

  17. as talented as T-Mac was, he never won anything. Kobe’s won alongside efficient big men.

  18. Dolemite says:

    Indiana was not going to win the championship. They’re offence was absolutely atrocious. How on earth would they have outscored the Spurs? In the West, they would have been a 5-8 seed.

    • TD says:

      They need a pg period!!!

    • Derp says:

      Reading comprehension. At the beginning of the season the Pacers could ball with any elite team and they did too.

      • kekekeke says:

        So what? the season is 82 games long, Indiana played well until the allstar break, thats not good enough. well it was good enough to win the east, but still, they stunk it up in the playoffs, and didnt stand a chance against miami.

  19. Ed says:

    I think its a mistake to keep Dion Waiters around.

  20. helose says:

    Love is a young immediat mvp player impact, Wiggins is hype and potential. i don’t see wiggins as talented a love, i don’t see him getting close from love’s monstruous numbers, now or ever. maybe i’m wrong
    wiggins is lucky to be in the trade talk as an “equivalent” for Love because the crazy hype went a little down after the summer league if you see what i mean.
    and Wiggins is a good rookie i have no problem with that.

  21. Titus says:

    Cleveland team is deep, but I think they are giving up way too much for Kevin Love..Lebron will be the only defensive stopper they have (not good). Wiggins should stay a cavelier for that purpose alone…

    Andrew Wiggins
    Anthony Bennett
    (The foreign center)
    Zach Lavine
    Kelvin Martin or Cory Brewer

    And trade Rubio….Timberwolves are on to something!!…..look out!

  22. PistonsFan93 says:

    “We should’ve won the title this year”… Aw, but y’all didn’t. Shoulda, woulda, coulda. I don’t care what Paul George says. If you’re a team that fires out of the gate in the first half of the season, ad then struggle the last half, you are not ready for the finals my friend. Even if they had beat Miami, the Pacers are too sorry beat anyone. Who sits up here and becomes the #1 Seed out of the East and loses their first HOME game against the darn Atlanta Hawks. And same with Washington. NO. A championship team would have disposed the bottom feeder eight seeds squads. Indiana struggled to even beat them. So no, Indiana and Paul George. You are not ready and probrably never will be. They won’t have to worry about Miami this coming season. But watch out for Cleveland obviously. And Chicago. Maybe Washington. Maybe Charlotte. I don’t know. And Mr. George ain’t even in the same league as getting his 25-30 points compared to Kobe and T Mac. Enough Said.

    • Big says:

      They’ll be ready before the pistons will be lol.

    • SB says:

      Well, your pistons didn’t even make the playoffs. Also, the pacers would have won if they hadn’t traded Danny Granger because he was with them only in the first half of the season. He was an impact player, not a stat padder like Evan Turner. It had nothing to do with Paul George. It maybe was because of Roy Hibbert going downhill or Lance being mad about not making the all-star team, but Indiana will be just as good next season.

  23. Kyrie Irving says:

    On the 1. point I just want to say the Cavs have an awesome chance to win it all with Irving Love & Lebron.
    It’s gonna hurt them not having Wiggings though… Lebron can’t guard the opposing teams best player every right… Too much fatigue

    • dd def says:

      and love can’t guard their worst player hahaha

      • skrutz says:

        People seem to forget that! Love is great, but I think that Wiggins defence and potential outweigh what he’d bring (nevermind that he could be signed next year, anyways). Two very different teams if they trade/dont trade.

        I vote to keep the talented youngin’s! Don’t they always say defence first?

  24. Erlo says:

    D. Rose is a perennial disappointment. Even in his “MVP year” he should have maybe been 5th on the list but the league didn’t want to give Dwight or Lebron the MVP for some reason. Scrub through and through.

    • Andy says:

      Even if he was fifth in line for mvp how does that make him a scrub? Fifth best player in the most talented league in the world is pretty amazing.

    • TD says:

      Well I tell u what, D Rose is a beast!!
      Sleep in him if u want too but find me a pg in the east that want a healthy D rose back!!! “No body!!!” He makes the Bulls a better team!!

    • skrutz says:

      I don’t agree completely, but somewhat. I never quite got the hype – he’s amazing, but I don’t know about MVP. And he’s been so damn brittle, that who knows what he’ll come back as, or how long he’ll last?

      Definitely make the Bulls (or any team) better, if he’s back though.

  25. Name says:

    2014-2015 prediction: Derrick Rose cuts himself shaving in December and decides to sit out the rest of the season to regain his confidence.

  26. TTKIN says:

    Paul George might want to learn to shoot better if he’s going to be taking 20-25 shots a night. I remember a stretch last yr where for like 10 games he shot a combined 35% or something horrible like that.

  27. Average Joe says:

    I think Flip’s smoke and mirrors campaign just backfired on him and he has no choice but to deal with the Cavs (Love’s preferred destination anyway). I hope the Cavs don’t trade away Wiggins as they now have the upper hand in the negotiations. I’d like Wiggins to get a chance to be coached by Blatt and add to his offensive repertoire and learn under James and Love.

  28. g.dillon says:

    Since Kevin Love of the Wolves and Tristan Thompson of the Cavaliers both play the same position, I do not understand why the Cavaliers don’t substitute Thompson for Andrew Wiggins in the proposed trade package. What will they do with Tristan Thompson once they acquire Kevin Love?

  29. zen says:

    paul george is overrated lance s is a better all around player ..an replacing lance with cj miles an stuckey is just straight dumbin

    • SB says:

      No, Paul George is much better than lance. I do agree with bad replacements, but I think cj miles and stuckey were underrated last year though.

  30. sally says:

    Lance will fizzle, if he wants to be an all star and a super star (fat chance) he has no better place than Indiana to start. That right there tells you how immature he is and his decisions leave a little to be desired. He won’t make it far anyway because he’s not going to give up his antics, I don’t care how mature he gets. You can take the player out of the ghetto but you can’t take the ghetto out of the player.

    • Derp says:

      Jordan worked his magic. Lance made a terrible decision. We’ll see how he likes playing for a less talented team.

      • jc says:

        I think going to the Hornets was a great move for Lance. The Pacers play a lot of half court offense and Lance’s style would fit a lot better with a run and gun team, which the Hornets will most likely be doing this season. Not to mention on the Pacers there weren’t a lot of good off ball players, whereas the only other player on the Hornets that constantly needs the ball is Al Jefferson, who Lance fits well with. The only argument against him going to Charlotte is that they are further away from a championship than the Pacers, but with that 4 year contract he signed, they have plenty of time to get it done.

  31. T gas TT ako says:

    ROSE is healthy!!! LOOKOUT here comes the RAGING BULLS!!!!

  32. Shaka says:

    Paul George and his teammates need to get over it. The projected team goal was for them to get !st place in east conference, it was not to win the title. They met the goal they set. Bunch of dummies.

    • SB says:

      Really? That was their regular season goal. It was so that their chances of making the finals were easier. Dummy

      • skrutz says:

        Well, obviously EVERYONES goal is to win it all. But he’s right, their stated goal all year was #1 seed, and they did it. Then they quit!

  33. Romeo Aguirre says:

    PG can be a great player like Kobe and Tmac I think they need Lance but since I’m from NC it’s great that we got him

    • TD says:

      pG is a stat stuffer that’s it!! Just like Tmac! It doesn’t matter, if west & #55 don’t play big…..

      It doesn’t matter what PG does!!
      That’s y they got whipped up on by the Heats last year