NEWS OF THE MORNING
Report: Cavs, Wolves have ‘handshake’ agreement on Love deal’ | Sarver feels Suns’ offer to Bledsoe is fair | LeBron sheds carbs, pounds for next season? | Don’t plan on a T-Mac comeback | Nets’ Lopez ‘fully cleared’
No. 1: Report: Cavs, Wolves have ‘handshake agreement’ on Love trade — Last we all heard on the Kevin Love/Minnesota Timberwolves/Cleveland Cavaliers trade saga was that team owner Glen Taylor said a trade of Love was likely to happen by the end of August. Today’s update doesn’t do anything to refute what Taylor said. ESPN.com’s Brian Windhorst, in an interview with ESPN Radio 98.7 FM in New York, said that the Wolves and Cavs basically have a handshake agreement on a trade (fast-forward to the 9:39 mark to hear the details). Here’s a transcript of what Windhorst said in the interview:
The deal is done but not done. The teams have agreed, but they can’t say they have agreed and they can’t agree, because we’re in this weird moratorium period because you can’t trade Andrew Wiggins until the 23rd of this month.
So, between now and then – which is, what, 19 days – could some of that happen? Could a team come in with a trade that maybe Minnesota doesn’t see? Yes, it could happen. So therefore it is not done.
But essentially, before the papers have been signed, there is this handshake agreement that Kevin Love to the Cavs, Andrew Wiggins to the Timberwolves, and I believe Thaddeus Young will end up in Minnesota either as part of a separate deal or as part of a three-way deal. Possibly, Anthony Bennett, who’s on the Cavs right now could get re-routed to Philadelphia in part of a deal for Thaddeus Young. There will be draft picks involved.
But essentially what you need to know if you’re an NBA fan, Kevin Love is going to be on the Cavs barring anything unforeseen, and and Andrew Wiggins, No. 1 overall pick, is going to be on Minnesota.
No. 2: Sarver: Suns gave Bledsoe a ‘fair offer’ — Phoenix Suns young star guard Eric Bledsoe is one of the last big names left on the free-agent market and while he reportedly got an offer from his incumbent team to return, he hasn’t done so yet. There’s been talk of his relationship with the team nearing an ‘irreparable’ state and Bledsoe feeling that the team is using his restricted free-agent status against him in negotiations. Team owner Robert Sarver, in an interview with Arizona Sports 98.7 FM last Friday, said he and the team have given Bledsoe a fair offer thus far:
Phoenix reportedly offered the combo guard a four-year, $48 million deal in the middle of July, while the four-year pro apparently was looking for a maximum offer of five years and $80 million.
Sarver was asked Friday if he thought Phoenix’s initial offer was fair.
“We think it’s a fair offer. I think you could argue, you know, I mean some would say it’s maybe a little high; some would say it’s low,” the owner said. “What’s fair is important to us, and also important to him — him and his agent. It’s not necessarily us to determine what he thinks is fair; it’s him to determine that.”
“We’re a professional organization, and he’s a professional player,” he said. “And he’s a high-character guy. And his agent (Rich Paul), whose main client LeBron (James), is the utmost competitor and professional.
“As an organization, we do our 100 percent best to get behind the player and support him as best as possible. And what professional players do, regardless of how their contract works out, when it’s time to play, they play as hard as they can — for themselves, their teammates and for the organization. So what takes place before a contract is signed usually doesn’t have a lot of bearing on what takes place after a contract is signed — when you have a high-character athlete and a high-quality organization.”
Sarver also refused to agree with the notion that Bledsoe’s agent is inexperienced and over his head.
In closing, the owner also tried to put the whole negotiations process into perspective.
“One thing fans have got to remember is: Players, their careers are very short,” he said. “And at any given moment, they could be a lot shorter. You don’t know. And so, they’re trying to maximize what they can make. They’re not like movie stars where they can go cut a box office hit when they’re 45 or 55 years old like John (Gambadoro) is. They want to maximize what they can make. And that’s OK.”
No. 3: LeBron sheds carbs, extra pounds in prep for 2014-15? — The buzz last night in NBA circles of the Internet was the image of a much thinner looking LeBron James that surfaced on his Instagram.
Cliff Pinkard of The Plain Dealer chimes in on LeBron’s new look, which may be attributed to him cutting out carbohydrates from his diet this offseason in an attempt to get ready for his return to the Cleveland Cavaliers:
James is listed at 6-8, 250 pounds on the Cavaliers’ roster (although many believe he was closer to 265). Throughout his career he’s been a mass of coiled steel, a unique physical specimen with unparalleled speed and agility.
But, as Sports Illustrated points out, he is getting older … he’ll turn 30 in December. SI says there were some “whispers” last season on whether James had slowed a bit.
Perhaps James took that to heart. Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com tweeted Monday that James has cut carbs from his diet and has dropped “significant” weight. In the photo he does appear much trimmer.
SI says stars such as Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan and Steve Nash also adjusted their diets in the past in order to prolong their careers.
That has to be the hope for James. Carrying fewer pounds could result in more speed and quickness and less stress on his knees. Some might wonder if it will result in the loss of some strength, however.
It appears Cavs fans shouldn’t worry about James showing up to training camp out of shape.
No. 4: McGrady enjoying retirement life — Former All-Star Tracy McGrady hasn’t logged a minute on an NBA court since getting some garbage time in Game 3 of the 2013 Finals as a member of the San Antonio Spurs. Since then, McGrady has retired from the NBA and, after a brief foray into the world of minor league baseball, is more or less done with pro sports of any kind. In a conversation with BasketballInsiders.com’s Alex Kennedy, McGrady talks about being retired, his career and more:
While he says that he could still play in the NBA or an overseas league, and admits that he sometimes wants to get back on the court, he’s no longer interested in putting in the necessary work to continue his career.
“I am [at peace with my decision to retire],” McGrady told Basketball Insiders. “I am. At times I get that itch, the urge to go back and play. I still can, I’m young enough to still play. My body feels good; I haven’t played in a couple of years so my body feels great. It’s just the mental part of [not] having that drive to get back in that type of shape and to put that type of time and focus into it.”
He loves that he’s able to spend more time with his family. McGrady says he completely understands why someone like Ray Allen is unsure about continuing his career, as the veteran sharpshooter weighs retirement to spend more time with his family versus playing the 2014-15 season with a contender.
“[Family] weighs a lot,” McGrady said. “Your kids get older, they get involved in more activities, and you want to be there to see them, whether its sports or school activities. You want to be there for those moments. You don’t want to miss out. You don’t get those back. I understand [what Ray Allen is going through]. … My kids help me reflect back [on my career]. My boys like to watch old video tapes of me. I [reflect] all the time.”
“Looking back on my career, to be one of the best players in the world, to lead the best players in the world in scoring two times out of the league, I worked extremely hard,” McGrady said. “You don’t get there just by having God given talent, you have to work your ass off. … It’s cliché but you just put the time in and put the work in. Always believe in you; always believe in your self-confidence and what you can do. Do the necessary things, take care of your body, get a good trainer and whatever you put in your body, make sure it’s good things. With that being said, just bust your ass on the basketball court and when you’re not playing games, away from the game, put that extra work in and perfect your craft.”
No. 5: Nets’ Lopez cleared to play — Last season, the Nets got just 17 games out of All-Star center Brook Lopez before a season-ending foot injury sidelined him. As Brooklyn gets ready to gear up for training camp in a few months, they’ll have some good news to look forward to. According to ESPNNewYork.com’s Mike Mazzeo, Lopez is has been ‘fully cleared’ from his various foot injuries:
Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez, who has been rehabbing after undergoing foot and ankle surgery, told reporters in Russia that he has been “fully cleared for play.”
“I was fully cleared for play and everything about a week and a half ago now,” said Lopez, who is visiting the country with his twin brother, Portland Trail Blazers center Robin Lopez. “… Now it’s time to get back in shape.”
Lopez, 26, suffered a season-ending right foot injury on Dec. 20 in Philadelphia. He underwent surgery to repair the fractured fifth metatarsal in his right foot on Jan. 4. He also underwent a second procedure, called a first metatarsal osteotomy, in which another bone was repositioned in his foot to unload and protect the injured area.
Then, on March 3, Lopez had surgery to repair a torn tendon and tighten lateral ligaments in his left ankle. He had been doing some shooting and workout drills prior to being fully cleared.
SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: Wizards star John Wall talks about his new line of shoes … The Hawks have reportedly hired Neven Spahija as their new assistant coach … Wolves big man Ronny Turiaf has spent his offseason doing an internship with an ad agency in Minneapolis … Kevin Durant could earn $30 million annually if he chooses to endorse Under Armour brand apparel next …