Morning shootaround — May 7


VIDEO: Highlights from games played May 6

NEWS OF THE MORNING

Nets open to trading Williams, Johnson | Pelicans refute Dumars talk | Duncan’s choice will affect Ginobili’s future | Thibodeau miffed over lack of free throws for Rose

No. 1: Nets open to trading Williams, Johnson — Brooklyn Nets GM Billy King addressed the media yesterday in his end-of-season news conference and much of what he had to say wasn’t a surprise. Per King, the team wants to re-sign free agents Brook Lopez and Thaddeus Young and, overall, King was pleased with the team’s late playoff push and playoff run. The one piece of surprising news, however, was that the Nets seem open to trading their multi-million dollar backcourt of Deron Williams and Joe Johnson. Tim Bontemps of the New York Post has more:

Brook Lopez has been the subject of plenty of trade rumors the past few years. But after an impressive second half, the Nets have made it clear they view him as the franchise’s centerpiece moving forward.

Nets general manager Billy King reaffirmed that Wednesday, saying he’s committed to re-signing Lopez if he opts out of his contract as expected and becomes an unrestricted free agent in July.

“For us to get in the playoffs that stretch, [Lopez] was the guy who carried us. He was our best player,” King said during his end-of-season sitdown with reporters. “Without Brook Lopez, there’s no way we even get to where we go to this year.

“I’ll say it again: We want him back. I want him back, [coach] Lionel [Hollins] wants him back, ownership wants him back. We’ve all said it. There shouldn’t be any more doubts about it.”

But while the Nets seem committed to Lopez, they’re ready to move on from having the NBA’s most expensive backcourt. King says he’s open to trading Deron Williams or Joe Johnson this summer.

“We’re going to explore all options, as we have [previously],” King said. “Will there be a trade? There could be, but I’m not sure. But we’re going to look at every option to get better.”

When King put together the triumvirate of Williams, Johnson and Lopez three summers ago, the Nets thought they would be headed into Brooklyn with a team ready to compete for championships. That hasn’t happened, though, as the Nets have compiled a combined 10 playoff victories and advanced to the second round just once in the past three years.

Now the Nets appear headed for significant changes, and it will be a big surprise if all three high-priced former All-Stars are back next season. The plan instead seems to be building around Lopez while keeping Thaddeus Young, who also has a player option that he’s far more likely to exercise.

The Nets are in an incredible predicament, of their own making, after they sent three first-round picks (and the right to swap a fourth) to the Celtics for Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett in 2013. One of those first rounders is for 2016, meaning the Nets can’t tear down their roster this offseason.

So while the Nets certainly have an eye on the oodles of cap space they are projected to have when the salary cap spikes next summer – currently more than $50 million – they have to find a way to remain competitive next season without sacrificing the only kind of long-term flexibility they have.

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No. 2: Pelicans refute Dumars talk — The New Orleans Pelicans had a successful season and brief playoff run, losing to the Golden State Warriors in four games in the first round. As the team embarks on its offseason and tries to plan how to move into the upper crust of the Western Conference, could a change in the front office be afoot? Although reports circulated that the team had met with former Detroit Pistons president Joe Dumars, John Reid of The Times Picayune reports team officials say no move is imminent:

The New Orleans Pelicans have not discussed hiring former Detroit Pistons player and executive Joe Dumars, a team spokesman said Wednesday.

An NBA source said Pelicans front-office officlals, including vice president/basketball operations Mickey Loomis, met with Dumars at several Saints road games during the 2014 season. The meetings were held to gauge Dumars’ opinion of the Pelicans.

WDSU reported Wednesday the Pelicans appeared to be looking to hire Dumars to run the team’s basketball operations.

Current general manager Dell Demps‘ contract expires this summer and the team has an option for next season, which it has yet to exercise.

”With so many questions surrounding the end of the successful Pelicans season and now Joe Dumars in particular, no job offer or position has been discussed with Joe regarding the Pelicans,” Pelicans spokesman Greg Bensel said in a statement released by the team. ”He is very close to our organization and our ownership and he has our utmost respect.”

Bensel, however, didn’t address Demps’ status.

Demps has not been made available to media since the Pelicans were swept in four games by the Golden State Warriors.

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No. 3: Ginobili to wait a month before deciding next move — Manu Ginobili is among several key free agents on the San Antonio Spurs this summer and remains one of the most popular players in franchise history. On the heels of the Spurs’ first-round ousting, though, much remains up in the air about what direction the team will take going forward. In a column he penned for Argentina’s Canchellana newspaper, Ginobili says he’ll wait at least a month before deciding to come back … or retire … or anything else. The San Antonio Express-News translated the column:

“I know that a lot are paying attention to what is going to happen to my career. I am very grateful for all the words of recognition and love that have come my way. I’m not one that reads a lot. I’ve read the beautiful comments that makes a person feel very, very good. They tell you that you can still play another year; that you still play well but it’s not about that. It goes beyond if I can or not. It is how you feel or how much it costs you to pack your bags, to go to another city or to play five games in a week, or 85 games in 165 days.

“So we can say I’m in a moment of uncertainty. There are times when I review the season and say to myself, ‘How am I not going to play a little more?’ There are other times I don’t even want to see a basketball. I’m going to wait for this month and see how I feel. If I feel like an ex-NBA play or an ex-player, or not. If I feel like I miss it, or how my body feels. This is a singular moment. I’ve never been in this situation. I briefly thought about it in 2013, but the next week or 10 days after I knew I wanted to go through another challenge and knew that wasn’t the moment.

“Now, we are going to see. Maybe today passes and the same thing will happen or maybe we will have to wait more time. But in a patient fashion I am going to see what is to happen. You should not make quick decision. As of today I don’t feel there is a correct decision. Whatever will be, will be. One never knows if it’s good or not because it’s a unique situation because no one can tell you what to do. If I want to say I will keep going but I need to find out if I really have the desire to do this and go through this all over again, to put myself in this again.”

Ginobili has discussed his future with Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, who — not surprisingly — says he wants both him and Tim Duncan back next season. If Duncan does indeed return, Ginobili’s decision could be that much tougher.

“I don’t think San Antonio can feel the blow with one of us leaving. Now, if they were preparing themselves for a total reconstruction … that Pop would leave, that Tim would retire, that Tony (Parker) wouldn’t play any more, that would change the situation a lot. I understand it is time to change things on the team for the makeup of the group. But if Pop continues and Tim can continue, everything is different. I suppose we will have to talk a little bit with Tim, who appears to be on the same ledge as I am. We’ll see what happens.”

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No. 4: Thibodeau upset Rose not getting to free-throw line — In the playoffs, Derrick Rose has driven to the basket 73 times — good enough to rank third in that category in the NBA. Rose, however, has attempted just 19 free throws all postseason and has yet to shoot a free throw in the Eastern Conference semifinal series vs. the Cleveland Cavaliers. That last fact in particular has Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau miffed, writes Nick Fridell of ESPNChicago.com:

“I guess he’s got to go harder, I don’t know,” Thibodeau said after a long pause. “It looks like there’s a lot of contact to me. But obviously others don’t see it that way.”

According to ESPN Stats and Info, Rose has driven 18 times to the paint in this series; nine of those attempts have been in the restricted area.

He is 5-for-18 from the paint and 3-for-9 from the restricted area.

The former MVP didn’t want to discuss his lack of free-throw attempts.

“I can’t think about that,” Rose said. “I don’t even want to talk about that. But I’m playing, and if they’re not calling it, they’re just not calling it. I can’t be worried about (that).”

Rose’s lack of postseason production on just one day of rest continues to be a point of concern for the Bulls.

In games when Rose has had two or more days of rest in these playoffs, Rose is averaging 24.3 points, shooting 48.1 percent from the field, shooting 48.3 percent from beyond the arc and has a 2.5 assist to turnover ratio.

When Rose has just one day of rest, as was the case Wednesday, and will be the case throughout much of this series, Rose is averaging just 14 points a game, shooting 29.9 percent from the field, 27.3 percent from the beyond the arc and has a 1.4 assist to turnover ratio.

Rose wasn’t buying into the rest making that much of a difference despite what the numbers say.

“I can’t think about that,” Rose said. “That’s something that I think you all made up or something. But I can’t think about that at all. When I play, I try to go out there and play my hardest and that’s about it.”

Thibodeau didn’t seem too outwardly concerned about the trend, either.

“He’s still working his way back,” Thibodeau said. “And tonight we didn’t make shots — and I want him to trust the pass, he had 10 assists, but the defense and the rebounding was the problem early on. We missed some shots and we didn’t take care of the ball in the first quarter. You put that team in the open floor and they get some confidence going, LeBron has a big game, and they start making threes, so we put ourselves in a big hole.”


VIDEO: Derrick Rose talks after Chicago’s Game 2 loss to the Cavs

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SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: Digging deep into the stats from Game 2 of Bulls-Cavs and Game 2 of Rockets-Clippers … Ohio State quarterback Cardale Jones called Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah a “chump” on Twitter last night … The L.A. Clippers weren’t happy about how many free throws the Houston Rockets took in Game 2 … Iman Shumpert said he “heard a pop” when his left Game 2 with a hamstring injury … NBA players had a lot to say about Shaquille O’Neal‘s on-set fall … Milwaukee Bucks swingman Khris Middleton could command as much as $15 million on the free-agent market this summer … San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Ettore Messina is interested in becoming an NBA coachWill Barton would like to stay with the Denver Nuggets long term … Veteran Willie Green wants to stay with the Magic

ICYMI of the Night: Shaquille O’Neal took a mighty big spill on the Inside the NBA set last night …  


VIDEO: Shaquille O’Neal trips and falls big time on the Inside the NBA set

 

One Comment

  1. harriethehawk says:

    Kevin Love=Iman Shumpert and JR Smith.