Morning shootaround — Jan. 9


VIDEO: Highlights from games played Jan. 8

NEWS OF THE MORNING

Deng says he doesn’t want trade | LeBron headed to Miami to heal up | Blazers’ Batum shows support for countrymen | Report: Hinkie reneged on waiving Kirilenko

No. 1:  Deng says he hasn’t requested trade from Heat — As was reported in this space yesterday, the Memphis Grizzlies are interested in swinging a trade for Luol Deng of the Miami Heat. The Sun-Sentinel has confirmed that the Grizz are indeed interested in Deng, but Deng says he doesn’t want a trade from the team. Ira Winderman has more:

While the Memphis Grizzlies have expressed interest in Miami Heat forward Luol Deng, it apparently is not a two-way street.

The Sun Sentinel has confirmed an ESPN report that the Grizzlies have expressed interest in Deng, reaching out to the Heat. That, however, apparently is where the discussion ended.

Asked if anything was going on with his team personnel-wise, coach Erik Spoelstra said after Thursday morning’s shootaround at the Moda Center, “no.”

While Spoelstra huddled with Deng prior to the game against the Portland Trail Blazers, it merely was to discuss strategy.

“I would never go to a GM or anybody and ask if it’s true or not,” he said. “I think, if anything, they would come to me. It’s not something that I’m worried about. I’m not a rookie.

“People will always have ideas and rumors, whether they’re true or not, it’s not something that’s in my hands or anything. I’ve just got to continue to do what I need to do.”

According to the ESPN report late Wednesday, the Grizzlies, in hopes of bolstering their perimeter rotation, expressed interest in Deng and Boston Celtics forward Jeff Green.

Unlike Green, who does not necessarily fit into the Celtics’ youth movement, Deng to this point has not been linked to the trade market.

Deng said Thursday that he took the report as business as usual in the NBA.

Deng said Thursday he has not requested a trade.

“I’ve had no issues,” he said. “My whole thing I’ve been saying this year is we’ve been trying to get it right, fit everybody in. It’s never that I’m unhappy or anything. Just because they’re trade rumors, I’m not the one asking for trades.”

***

No. 2: LeBron went to Miami to help heal up aching back, knee — Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James has missed the team’s last six games while he heals up from lingering injuries in his left knee and back. As temperatures have dipped into the single digits of late in Cleveland, though, James has spent some of that time in his old haunt, Miami, to help him get back on track. ESPN.com’s Brian Windhorst has more on LeBron’s injury treatment :

LeBron James’ rehab process to deal with back and knee strains has focused on getting him into the best places to heal. That included a stay in Miami to take advantage of warmer weather this week, sources told ESPN.com.

Cleveland Cavaliers doctors advised James not to attend games over the past week because “continuous sitting” on the bench would be bad for his back, coach David Blatt said.

For this reason, James was excused from team activities and did not attend road trips in Charlotte and Philadelphia and a home game against the Dallas Mavericks.

James spent part of that time doing rehab at the Cavs’ practice facility but also spent time this week in Miami. Spending time in the warmer weather was deemed healthy for James’ back. James said he was having rehab sessions three to four times a day during the past week.

He said the weather is part of the reason he is going on the Cavs’ western road trip that begins Friday in Golden State even though he could be out another week.

“It helps that we’re going to some warmer cities, so my body could use that as well,” James said Wednesday upon returning to the team after being away. “It’s difficult for sure, not being with the guys, and me being a team guy, and a camaraderie guy, it was difficult for sure.”

***

No. 3: Blazers’ Batum shows support for countrymen — Portland Trail Blazers forward Nicolas Batum, who hails from France, couldn’t help but pay attention to the recent shootings in his homeland earlier this week that killed a dozen people. He donned a ‘Je Suis Charlie’ t-shirt during the team’s warm-ups before last night’s home game against the Miami Heat and after the Blazers’ victory, he talked about his choice to wear the t-shirt. Mike Richman of The Oregonian has more:

Portland Trail Blazers forward Nicolas Batum wore a T-shirt bearing the words “Je Suis Charlie” during warm-ups before Thursday night’s game against the Miami Heat.

The message, which translates to “I Am Charlie,” pays tribute to the 12 victims who were killed by three gunmen at Charlie Hebdo, a satirical newspaper in France, on Wednesday.

“I woke up this morning and it was the first thing I saw,” Batum told Trail Blazers reporter Casey Holdahl at practice on  Wednesday. “That’s sad, twelve people killed like this. I have no words to explain what happened. I read that this morning, people came in and shot police. It’s sad for those people who tried to do their jobs.”

Batum grew up in Lisieux, France and spends time each off season back in his home country. He said he had the shirt made custom printed on Thursday morning.

After Batum warmed up in the T-shirt, he gave it to Blazers center Robin Lopez, who is out with a fractured hand, so Lopez could wear the shirt on the bench during the game against Miami.


VIDEO: Nicolas Batum sports a ‘Je Suis Charlie’ shirt during warm-ups

***

No. 4: Report: Hinkie reneged on word to release Kirilenko — Roughly a month ago (Dec. 11, to be specific), the Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers completed a trade that sent veteran Andrei Kirilenko to Philly. With the Sixers in rebuild mode, the thinking in some circles was that the team would Kirilenko so that he would, perhaps, have an opportunity to sign with another team. Bob Ford of the Philadelphia Inquirer digs in on AK-47 and finds that, according to two sources, Sixers GM Sam Hinkie may have gone back on his word to part with Kirilenko after the trade:

According to two sources with inside knowledge of the negotiations, the Sixers had agreed to release veteran forward Andrei Kirilenko after the trade was consummated, but did not follow through on that handshake deal. Kirilenko, who played only seven games with the Nets this season, remains on the Sixers roster but has refused to join the team despite a request to do so.

“He might have an IQ of 150, but [Hinkie] doesn’t seem to realize you have to deal with these people over and over,” one league source said.

Could Hinkie have misinterpreted or misunderstood the alleged agreement with the Nets, who wanted to satisfy the desire of Kirilenko – a favorite of Russian team owner Mikhail Prokhorov – to become a free agent?

“No,” said another source. “I think he started thinking he can just hold onto him and use him at the trade deadline in a package to get something.”

Nets general manager Billy King and Hinkie both declined to comment on the record for this story, but a Sixers team source disputed the allegation.

“We made the trade to get the draft pick and in hopes [Kirilenko] might play for us,” the Sixers source said. “[Releasing him] was not a condition of the trade, but I have no idea what was said to him on the other end.”

According to two sources, the Nets told the Sixers that Kirilenko would not report and wished to become a free agent. Brooklyn had other trade options that would have worked out just as well or better if Kirilenko had been willing to play. Those sources insist the Sixers agreed to release Kirilenko but did not.

“That’s 100 percent accurate,” one source said. “[The Nets] clearly believed there was a handshake deal.”

If the Sixers truly viewed Kirilenko as a possible player for them, as their team source indicated, it is hard to understand why they agreed to waive physicals as a condition of the trade when acquiring a player who had been unable to stay on the court because of injury.

For the most part, the general managers of the NBA form an old-boys club. Twenty-three of the 30 general managers in the league played and/or coached the game at the college and/or professional level. Sam Hinkie is not in the club, but he has to operate in that world.

Right now, because Hinkie’s short-term goals don’t conflict with those of most other teams, the Sixers are a useful depository for bad or unwanted contracts. Often, the deals involve the acquisition of future second-round draft picks, of which Hinkie now has a pocketful.

“With Sam, it’s all about assets,” another league source said. “He wants small things to add up to big things. He does things his way.”

***

SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: The Portland Trail Blazers have given GM Neil Olshey a contract extension … For the record, there’s no hard feelings between Phoenix Suns coach Jeff Hornacek and forward Marcus Morris … In order to make room for Kenyon Martin, the Milwaukee Bucks may end up trading Nate Wolters … Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert is hoping he can remain a starter … After completing all of their recent trades, the Cleveland Cavaliers’ luxury-tax bill is on the rise … More sad news regarding former Seattle Sonics lottery pick Robert Swift … The Charlotte Hornets continue to be a problem for the Toronto Raptors … Houston Rockets coach Kevin McHale and new forward Josh Smith are still getting comfortable with each other

ICYMI(s) OF THE NIGHT: James Johnson puts Jason Maxiell on a poster …  


VIDEO: James Johnson bangs one home over Jason Maxiell

6 Comments

  1. Jess says:

    Everything about lebron is news and issue..

  2. harriethehawk says:

    Who cares?

  3. Marcus says:

    Lebron James has no respect for the Cavs, check him out closely, still trying figure out what he is up to!

  4. dustydreamnz says:

    Nate Wolters would be a good pick up for a team, I can see why the Bucks want to trade him though as they have good depth at PG.

  5. chris says:

    Why should Lebron not rehab in Miami. The sun is out and our temperature is in the 80’s. He likes Miami and Miami likes him so whats the issue?