Morning shootaround — June 24


VIDEO: Are the Warriors looking to make a trade before Thusday’s draft?

NEWS OF THE MORNING

Report: 90 percent chance Ellis opts out | Divac, Karl address Cousins trade chatter | LeBron staying upbeat after Finals loss

No. 1: Report: 90 percent chance Ellis opts out; Mavs interested in trading him if he opts in — In the two seasons he’s spent in Dallas, Mavericks guard Monta Ellis has done some serious career rehab work. He played in 162 of a possible 164 games in that span, a plus for him after injuries curtailed his career in the past. He meshed nicely with star forward Dirk Nowitzki and was an integral part of two playoff teams in Dallas. Ellis can opt out this summer and pursue free agency, but what if he decides not to do that and stay with the Mavs?

Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News reports that it is 90 percent likely Ellis will opt out and try the free-agent waters:

If he had opted in for the final season of his three-year contract with the Mavericks, there’s a better-than-decent chance he would have been traded, perhaps before Thursday’s draft.

And so, according to a source, Ellis is going to opt out of the final year of his deal and become an unrestricted free agent July 1. The Mavericks are not expected to make a serious run at re-signing him.

Ellis had until Wednesday night to make a decision on his option, to either take the third year of his contract at $8.7 million, or turn that down and try his luck on the open market.

The decision apparently was made late Tuesday night after news broke that the Mavericks were considering trade options if Ellis were to take the final season of his original $25 million deal signed before the 2013-14 season.

Nothing is official until Ellis declares his intentions. But the source said it is 90 percent certain that Ellis will opt out.

Could he change his mind? Possibly. But that would reopen the chance of the Mavericks finding a trade partner and perhaps pairing Ellis with the No. 21 pick they have in Thursday’s draft to try to move up.

Earlier on Tuesday, it appeared the Mavericks were angling to trade Ellis and their draft pick.

Numerous teams have had interest in Ellis in the past.

The New York Knicks have had an affinity for Ellis. Other teams, such as Denver, Indiana, the LA Lakers and Sacramento, would seem to be logical fits for Ellis. Those teams all have higher draft picks than the Mavericks.

ESPN.com’s Tim MacMahon reports that the Mavs would definitely look to move Ellis should he opt in so as to free up salary cap space to chase LaMarcus Aldridge and DeAndre Jordan:

The Dallas Mavericks will explore trade scenarios for shooting guard Monta Ellis if he exercises his player option for next season, sources told ESPN.com.

If Ellis opts in, Dallas would attempt to trade him for a draft pick, a source said, allowing the Mavs to maximize their cap space entering free agency.

Dallas intends to pursue All-Star power forward LaMarcus Aldridge and third-team All-NBA center DeAndre Jordan in free agency, hoping to sign one of them to a max contract. If Ellis’ salary isn’t on the books, the Mavs likely will have enough cap space to re-sign center Tyson Chandler to pair with Aldridge or a shooting guard who is a better fit with small forward Chandler Parsons if Jordan comes to Dallas.

The 6-foot-3 Ellis, an undersized shooting guard who is one of the league’s most dynamic off-the-dribble threats, played a key role in the Mavs winning a total of 99 games and advancing to the playoffs in each of the past two seasons after Dallas’ one-year postseason absence.

But Dallas doesn’t intend to give Ellis the raise he’d want if he tests free agency, sources said. The Mavs, who plan to use Parsons as more of a point forward in the second season of his three-year, $46 million deal, want to have a bigger shooting guard who is a better defender and 3-point threat than Ellis. Potential fits in free agency include Danny Green and Wesley Matthews.

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No. 2: Karl responds to Cousins rumors; Divac says no deal imminent Whether or not the Sacramento Kings end up trading their All-Star center, DeMarcus Cousins, before the start of 2015-16 remains to be seen. Coach George Karl responded to the rumors yesterday during a kids golf clinic at the U.S. Senior Open at Del Paso Country Club, (the transcript is below) and Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee has more details on the relationship between Cousins and Karl:

Q: There’s so much flying around your team right now. Will you set the record straight where you and DeMarcus are at this point.

George Karl: I think its just a lot of crazy, crazy fibs and lies. It’s a situation where we won 29 games last year. For us as a basketball organization we want to get better. Cousins is our best player, we know that. We want him committed and dedicated to playing in Sacramento and leading us to the first playoffs in Sacramento in six, seven, eight, nine years.

Q: You are not interested in trading DeMarcus Cousins?

George Karl: My interest is commitment, trust and building a team that’s excited about being in Sacramento and excited and committed to being a good basketball team and representing the city of Sacramento.

Q: That includes, in your mind, Cousins staying here?

George Karl: If he comes committed, I’m 120 percent into making him the best basketball player he could ever be.

Q: Do you have some question about his commitment?

George Karl: Well no. In the 30 games I coached him we were all frustrated with losing. I was here for 30 games and so the frustration, I’m sure, was double that for Cuz and all the players here for the whole season.

Additionally, Ailene Voison of the Sacramento Bee caught up with vice president of basketball and franchise operations Vlade Divac and Karl, who both seem committed to keeping Cousins in town and happy:

Owner Vivek Ranadive and Divac, the vice president of basketball and franchise operations, continue to insist Cousins will not be traded. Distracted from his preparation for Thursday’s NBA draft, an irritated Divac responded to reports from ESPN and Yahoo early Tuesday by forcefully saying, “It is not happening. I don’t care what the agents or the media people are saying. I don’t know why we are wasting time talking about something that is not going to happen.”

For now, Cousins stays put. Ranadive is holding firm to the final three years of his contract. Divac is similarly intent on building around his gifted big man. In a meeting with Cousins’ agents a few weeks ago in Los Angeles, the Kings’ top basketball executive struck right at the heart of the matter: Karl is the coach, and he isn’t going anywhere.

While Cousins has complained he has not heard from his coach, in an ominous sign, Karl said he has sent an estimated 10 texts or phone calls since the season ended, none of which has initiated a response. In a brief conversation Tuesday, Karl sounded as exasperated as Divac.

“I want to get better,” Karl said. “I’ve had more conversations with my staff about ‘How we are going to coach him (Cousins), how we are going to motivate him, connect with him?’ than anything else.”

Asked about speculation he has been pressuring management to trade the All-Star center, Karl replied, “We won 29 games last year. Cuz is our best player. We know that, and we want him committed. My interest right now is commitment, trust and building a team that’s excited about being in Sacramento, excited and committed to being a good basketball team. Rudy (Gay) is just like Cuz. They’re our two best basketball players, and 99, 95 percent of this (trade) stuff is just a bunch of innuendo, gossip and somebody putting two and two together until it becomes six. But two and two comes out four, and they’re going to be on our basketball team.”


VIDEO: How likely are the Kings to trade DeMarcus Cousins?

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No. 3: LeBron staying upbeat, even after Finals loss The Cleveland Cavaliers are about a week removed from their loss in Game 6 of The Finals that clinched the title for the Golden State Warriors. LeBron James was otherworldly in the series, but his play wasn’t enough to get Cleveland a title and while that all still stings for him, he’s keeping a good perspective on the defeat. ESPN.com has more from James, who shared his post-Finals thoughts on Facebook:

LeBron James vowed improvement but said he has been buoyed by the Cleveland Cavaliers’ fans after a disappointing NBA Finals loss to the Golden State Warriors.

“It hurt to lose,” James wrote Tuesday in captioning a Facebook photo of children in his LeBron James Family Foundation at the Cedar Point amusement park. “I’ve been in a funk lately, but this… this is what motivates me to do what I do. How can I ever be down when I know my kids and my fans have my back?

“Being back home and back with my fans is everything that I dreamed of. Thank you for an incredible season. I’m not satisfied… I’m not happy with the way things turned out… I PROMISE to get better. #StriveForGreatness #ILoveTheseKids #GodBlessOurFans.”

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SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: Our Scott-Howard Cooper reports the Golden State Warriors are trying to trade up in the Draft … The Boston Celtics are reportedly going to keep pushing for a DeMarcus Cousins trade up through the Draft … Speaking of the Celtics, they reportedly dangled two of their first-round picks and Marcus Smart to the 76ers in hopes of moving up to No. 3 (Philly passed on the deal) … Are the Milwaukee Bucks shopping Michael Carter-Williams in hopes of moving up in the Draft? … Fantastic long read by Joe Posnanski on the impact Dell and Stephen Curry have had in Charlotte …The Sacramento Kings may be interested in trading for JaVale McGee

10 Comments

  1. MaNiK says:

    Did anyone else’s head hurt from reading the contradictions throughout the Cousins story? Can somebody just honestly speak their mind and stop walking on eggshells? If Cousins wants out, then he needs to be direct and adamant about it, because if nobody takes action on this it’s going to be yet another losing season for Sacramento. I constantly marvel at the amazing abilities of Cousins and I want to see him start winning.

  2. john gambina says:

    The Lakers should stay clear of Cousins. They do not know what they have in the Randle, Clarkson & Okalford combination..Cousins does the have numbers the talented and the skills but has head problems . The returning of Kobe and Swaggy-p and I hope they resigned Davis then. Lakers will have something to work with.

  3. Rhedz03 says:

    Cousins is a sleeping monster…he just needs a little bit more time…And karl could be the answer…Mcgee is big but karl could not make mcgee a true beast center..Because mcgee’s potential was not the same as cousins..I believe if cousins take things seriously then he can be the next big thing..the next shaq…Howard is nothing compare to cousins if only cousins realize his tru true true potential…With Gay on his side maybe a few tweeks on the roster and im sure Kings can contend.

    I really hope Karl and cousins can get along better.

    @Lebron: Cheer up, we will get them warrior next season…#OneBlood,OneSoul,OneTeam #Forthewin

  4. lakernation says:

    lakers will definitely get Cousins. plus, i hope they get rondo and d. wade.
    PG: Rondo

    • TL says:

      why not kevin love and L. Aldrige and marc gasol also? along with wade and kobe and cousins and rondo they could have a super team!!!!

      but lol they can’t all these max guys.

      they can’t have 3 max guys with wade+kobe+cousins and then another almost max guy with rondo

      • specialfriedrice says:

        lol kobe and his super teams…anyone remember the ’04 lakers and the biggest Flop in NBA history the 2013 lakers…but that was dwights fault…nothing to do with kobe…lol

  5. taekayo says:

    In hiring Karl, I guess Sacramento is finally getting serious again about winning. Though Karl is no Pop or Phil, and he has his shares of wins and losses, its still a fact that he can coach, and he’s one of the top coaches out there. Probably, like with Melo, Karl has issues with divas. But the limited talent he had with the Nuggets post-Melo, he made the best out of that team. If that team was in the East, they would be the Atlanta Hawks :). I believe in what Karl said that he can make Cousins the best player he could be, that’s why I’m hoping they could work things out. I understand the management leaning towards a hard to find player in Cousins than a coach (where the market is full of it). But the fact remains that Cousins has won nothing. If he is like LBJ that treats coaches like his b*tches, but would still carry his team in the EASTERN finals, then I would understand. But Cousins still has no idea how good he can be, and how good he can make his team. Karl can show him that. Anyway, he earns as much as any small country, so I just hope he quit acting like a baby and not waste his potential while he is still young. Listen to Karl, get better, be the best of what you can get out of your talents. Then maybe after 3 or 5 years, then he can say “I want a new coach, better team mates, or I will leave”. LOL.

    • Skrutz says:

      Calling it now – Cousins will be wasted potential. This long, and he has hardly progressed at all as an adult. Unless he has an epiphany of some kind, I think it’s more of the same.

      • taekayo says:

        He is still 24 though. His skills did improve the past years. But yeah, unless he decides to be an adult, all of his talents would just be negated by his attitude. I think ZBo should knock his wits out and show him how he can turn around things LOL.

  6. Doug E Fresh says:

    “is everything that I dreamed of” – so it was the plan from “the decision”