VIDEO: Inside Access — 2016 All-Star Game
NEWS OF THE MORNING
No. 1: Clippers say they’re not dealing Griffin — Just yesterday, ESPN’s Chris Broussard reported that the Los Angeles Clippers offered up star forward Blake Griffin as the centerpiece in a trade with the Denver that the Nuggets ultimately turned down. Griffin’s name will continue to be bandied about as a potential trade target as Thursday’s dealing deadline looms, but as Dan Woike of the Orange County Register reports, the Clippers’ front office says Griffin is not being made available in deals:
High-level members of the organization say they remain adamant about not dealing Griffin, the best young player the franchise has ever had, despite another round of rumors suggesting they called Denver about Kenneth Faried, Danillo Gallinari, Will Barton and Nikola Jokic.
“One hundred percent not true,” according to one executive involved in any trade discussions. Clippers coach Doc Rivers has also been vocal, saying the team isn’t trading Griffin.
Still, a combination of factors continues to dump kerosene on the speculation.
For one, the Clippers have been extremely good with Griffin out of the lineup, first with a partially torn tendon in his left quad and currently with a broken right hand. The team has gone 18-5 since Dec. 26, becoming one of the most efficient teams on both sides of the court since.
Secondly, Griffin’s off-court issue, the broken hand, has teams smelling blood in the water, hoping to score one of the NBA’s top young stars for less than market value.
Also, attaching Griffin’s name to a trade proposal could increase the perceived value of the other players in the deal.
Lastly, why would the Clippers move Griffin if there was even a sliver of hope the team could use him to land Durant, free agency’s top prize (and there is some hope)? Regardless of how interested the Oklahoma City forward is in joining the Clippers, the team would need to create cap room to sign him, which could be accomplished by moving Griffin in a sign-and-trade.
A more realistic approach for the Clippers at the trade deadline would be using Lance Stephenson to somehow upgrade their roster.
The Clippers would love to land a two-way player on the wing and could use a backup big man and short-term help at point guard.
VIDEO: The Starters discuss Blake Griffin’s injury and his future in L.A.
The Cavaliers have been adamant for weeks that Kevin Love is going nowhere, but the chatter about potential Love deals won’t go away until the deadline passes Thursday at 3 p.m. ET, since even Cavs GM David Griffin has acknowledged that “there’s no such thing as untouchables.”
But league sources say that the Cavs have made it clear to interested teams — starting, of course, with the Love-hungry Boston Celtics — that they’d covet a star in return if or when they do reach the point of letting Love go … and not a package of draft picks and role players like the Celtics are offering.
Despite his past and recent shoulder woes, Love holds extensive value not only because of his history of production but also because he still has three guaranteed seasons left on his current contract. But some rival executives increasingly believe that given the Cavs’ expectations in such a trade and the complexity of moving a star in midseason, it’s more likely that Cleveland seriously considers Love pitches in June or July, after it sees how the postseason plays out as well as what new coach Tyronn Lue gets out of the former All-Star in the playoffs.
Sources say that the Cavs, though, have been more and more active in recent days in pursuing upgrades to their bench, with center Timofey Mozgov and swingman Iman Shumpert — both in the midst of down seasons after their midseason arrivals in 2014-15 — said to be available. Players who interest Cleveland, sources say, include dream target Kyle Korver (who would naturally be very difficult to pry from Atlanta) and Kings reserves Ben McLemore and Kosta Koufos.
No. 3: Report: Bosh may have blood clotting in his calf — Miami Heat forward Chris Bosh pulled out of participating in the 2016 NBA All-Star Game due to what was called a calf injury (he was replaced on the roster by Atlanta’s Al Horford). Troubling news emerged last night regarding Bosh’s injury, though, as Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald was the first to report about Bosh’s calf injury, which has team officials worried is being caused by a blood clot. Bosh, if you forgot, missed the final 30 games of 2014-15 as he dealt with blood clots in his lungs. Here’s more from Jackson on Bosh’s injury and what may be next for him:
The Miami Heat was concerned Monday about another potentially serious health situation involving Chris Bosh, multiple sources said.
The initial belief is that Bosh has blood clotting in his calf, according to a league source and a Yahoo! report.
Bosh missed Sunday’s All-Star Game with a strained calf and returned to Miami for additional tests. A person in touch with the Heat’s front office said a worrisome problem surfaced Monday, beyond merely a strained calf. Another source said his life was not at risk.
Asked directly if Bosh had been diagnosed with a blood clot in his calf, agent Henry Thomas responded by text: “Too soon for all of that. … Too soon to report that.”
Yahoo’s new NBA site, The Vertical, reported early this morning that Bosh is expected to meet with doctors on Thursday “to determine the seriousness of blood clotting in his left calf and whether the use of blood thinners could allow him to return this season.”
Heat officials did not comment.
Bosh said last summer that he was told there was “a fairly low risk” of another blood clot.
“The recurring risk comes from a hereditary gene,” he said last September. “Fortunately, I don’t have that. That was one of the dangers I faced earlier, was, ‘Am I going to be able to play the game?’ Because if this test comes back that it’s a recurring thing, it’s going to be a problem.
“Anyone, if they don’t take the precautions, it can be a recurring thing, yes. But I’m a lot smarter now. I know about the precautions.”
Bosh said last September that he would take preventative measures, such as getting up to walk during flights, stretching his legs, wearing compression socks and taking Aspirin.
Bosh did not miss any games with the calf injury but decided Friday to skip the All-Star festivities.
He said Saturday that he was “pretty optimistic” that his calf strain wasn’t related to blood clots, but that he intended to see a physician Monday.
“As an athlete, we try to keep going with some things, treating it,” Bosh said Saturday. “But it just lingered. And I didn’t feel it was wise to continue to push it, especially with this elongated week that we have off. I just wanted to make sure I was taking the necessary precautions and being a good professional.”
Bosh is tied for 26th in scoring (19.1 points per game) and tied for 35th in rebounding (7.4). An 11-time All-Star, he is in his sixth season with the Heat. He signed a five-year, $118 million deal in July 2014.
No. 4: Report: Knicks still in pursuit of Teague — About a month or so ago, the New York Knicks tried to open up trade dialogue with the Atlanta Hawks about their star point guard, Jeff Teague. The long and the short of it was that essentially went nowhere and Teague remains with the Hawks. While the Knicks’ roster and assets haven’t changed since that first discussion, they continue to covet Teague, writes Ian Bagley of ESPN.com:
Members of the New York Knicks’ front office ran into a fundamental problem when they reached out to the Atlanta Hawks to gauge the club’s interest in trading Jeff Teague last month.
“They just didn’t have the pieces to make it happen,” one league source familiar with the dynamic said.
That won’t stop the Knicks from trying. New York still hopes to pry Teague from Atlanta at some point before Thursday’s trade deadline, according to a report by ESPN’s Marc Stein and Brian Windhorst.
The club has made veteran point guard Jose Calderon and young forward Kyle O’Quinn available, according to the report by Stein and Windhorst, who write that the Knicks are talking up Calderon’s leadership qualities to opposing teams and are offering the 25-year-old O’Quinn in some packages to “sweeten proposals.”
Executives around the league believe the Knicks’ assets, or lack thereof, might prevent them from making a trade for Teague or another elite guard.
In addition to talking to Atlanta about Teague and monitoring Jennings’ situation, the Knicks recently reached out to the Hawks about guard Dennis Schroder. They were unable to make traction on a deal, per league sources.
Phil Jackson‘s club might need to get a third team — such as the Boston Celtics, with their large stock of draft picks — involved if it hopes to obtain an elite player.
The Knicks are unlikely to include their own draft pick in any deal. The next first-rounder they can offer in a trade is their pick in 2018.
SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: The Toronto Raptors are trying to swing a trade for a power forward such as Phoenix’s Markieff Morris, Brooklyn’s Thaddeus Young, Denver’s Kenneth Faried or New Orleans’ Ryan Anderson … The Utah Jazz have had trade discussions with multiple teams with Trey Burke as the focal point of deals … Don’t be surprised if the Los Angeles Lakers are quiet at the trade deadline … The Sacramento Kings will reportedly be both coach and GM shopping this summer … The New York Knicks are making power forward Kyle O’Quinn available in trades … Former Atlanta Hawks and Dallas Mavericks tough guy Ivan Johnson got kicked out of another foreign league … How to build a 74-8 team for the Minnesota Timberwolves …