NBA trade rumors: Cavs operating as if Kyrie Irving trade is ‘almost inevitable’

The relationship between the Cavaliers and Kyrie Irving is deteriorating quickly.

After news emerged late Friday that Irving had asked for a trade, Cleveland turned into chaos central. LeBron James was blindsided by Irving’s request, but both he and Kevin Love appeared unconcerned on social media. NBA fans (and maybe front-office types) rushed to the ESPN Trade Machine and sent Irving all over the league in hypothetical deals. Oh, and there was that bit about Irving reportedly believing James leaked the news about the trade request in the first place. Yikes.

Suffice it to say, things aren’t going well for the Cavs, and it’s looking like the state of the franchise won’t be getting better any time soon. The Cavs are operating as though an Irving trade is almost inevitable, according to ESPN’s Zach Lowe, who cites several sources in reporting that there is little chance of the Cavs salvaging their relationship with Irving.

It’s important to note these situations are fluid, as feelings and emotions can always change. No one knows that better than James, who chose to return to Cleveland in 2014 after he was excoriated by Cavs owner Dan Gilbert and thousands of fans for The Decision in 2010. A trade demand does not equal an actual trade. Remember, even the great Kobe Bryant once demanded a trade from the Lakers in 2007, and he ended up staying for nearly another decade and winning two more titles before he retired.

At this point, though, the Cavs are on the trade train. Lowe reports Cleveland wants a big return in any Irving deal, most importantly a blue-chip young player. ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, who initially broke the news of Irving’s request, doesn’t see Irving wearing a Cavs uniform much longer.

Well, in that case… back to the Trade Machine!

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James Harden’s Rockets jersey reportedly retired at Houston strip club

James Harden has reportedly had his Rockets jersey retired at a Houston institution.

No, I’m not talking about the rafters of the Toyota Center. According to a recent post from the Joe Budden Podcast, Harden had his jersey retired at a Houston strip club, where he apparently has become a regular customer.

Wiggins, who said in July he’s worth nothing less than a max contract, was the first-overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft by the Cavs but was promptly traded to the Wolves in the Kevin Love deal as LeBron James returned to Cleveland.

Wolves head coach and president of basketball operations Tom Thibodeau said recently the team is looking to lock up Wiggins, who averaged a career-high 23.6 points this past season along with four rebounds and 2.3 assists.

With Jimmy Butler, Karl-Anthony Towns, Jeff Teague and Wiggins, the Wolves are in position to make the playoffs for the first time since 2004 and are better off letting another team over-pay for Irving’s services moving forward.

Oh yeah, and the Cavaliers, since letting David Griffin walk four days before the NBA Draft because, uh… still don’t have a general manager. It’s a series of missteps which has caused both James and Irving to scratch their heads, if not kick their feet, in frustration.

But if this is purely a basketball — and not a business of basketball — decision by Irving, he must’ve fallen and bumped his head on something hard.

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Cavs owner Dan Gilbert apologizes for controversial Detroit ad

Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert is apologizing after a graphic on a downtown Detroit building created a social media firestorm.

He covers a lot of ground. He is long and athletic, but he has good self-awareness, so he can get to an empty spot before the next guy and be there in time for a block or a rebound. He has that kind of natural intelligence about playing in space. A lot of young guys don’t have that.

I think Miami knew what it was getting with him, and that is a player who needs to add one or two things to make him serviceable offensively. He has a long and inconsistent release on his jumper, and he has to be able to fix that, or else you can ignore him on that end.

His footwork. He got a lot of attention for the dunks, but he is in position for those dunks because of what he does with his feet. He always has a solid base, and he does not waste a step. He runs the floor, he gets to offensive rebounds and he is very good in the paint. That’s all footwork.

You have to wonder about where he fits defensively. He is probably going to guard 4s, but he did not show that he’s ready for that. He’ll make a lot of mistakes, the question is, how does he learn from them?

Stats don’t encompass careers, but consider these numbers. LeBron is better than Kobe (regular season and playoffs) in the categories of… points per game, assists per game, steals per game, blocks per game, field-goal percentage, effective field-goal percentage, true shooting percentage, box plus/minus, value over replacement player and player efficiency rating.

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Blake Griffin has no hard feelings toward Chris Paul as he takes over as Clippers’ leader

With Chris Paul out of the picture and a five-year, $172 million contract now signed, the Clippers are officially Blake Griffin’s team. Griffin, at least publicly, is ready to move forward without CP3.

He said Wednesday he has no hard feelings toward Paul for orchestrating an offseason trade to the Rockets. The two played together for six seasons, at least when one or both weren’t sidelined by injuries.

I really care about the bus drivers, Barkley said after Durant’s decision. On every team, there’s a bus driver. Most of those guys are just bus riders.

Towns still stops himself when he thinks about the position he’s been put in, he said. It was only in 2014 that he gave an emotional, memorable speech upon winning the Gatorade Athlete of the Year award.

In it, a teary Towns thanked his parents, and said his most memorable day was when his father told him they were taking all their savings and putting in a basketball court in the yard for him. We didn’t have enough money for a real hoop, Towns told his father. But you made sure that you built one, by hand, so I could practice.

He’s come a long way.

I went up there with a lot of emotion, Towns recalled. I just was thinking about all that I had gone through to get there, and it was truly special. Three and a half years later, and I am still thinking about it. I felt so young when I won it, but now I feel so old like it was decades ago.

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Charles Oakley, age 53, will play in Big3 event this weekend

Charles Oakley had his day in court last week. Now we’ll see how he fares on the court.

The 53-year-old big man will make his playing debut in the Big3 Sunday in Los Angeles, taking the court at Staples Center alongside Killer3s teammates Stephen Jackson and Reggie Evans. Oakley had been serving as the team’s coach, but Chauncey Billups will take over those duties Sunday.

Oakley’s debut will come a little over a week after he agreed to a deal that saw him accept a one-year ban from Madison Square Garden in the wake of a Feb. 8 arrest there during a Knicks game. Criminal charges filed against Oakley in connection with the incident will be dismissed and excised from his record if there are no further incidents for six months.

Oakley last played in the NBA in 2003-04 for the Rockets, appearing in seven games.

This does not preclude the Cavs from a championship run next year, though. They still have James, and they are still the favorites in the East. They were far more competitive in the last three games of this year’s finals series than the first two, giving some indication that they can play with the Warriors. Golden State is just a strained hamstring or twisted ankle away from being vulnerable to Cleveland in a seven-game series.

But there has been harm done to the relationship between James and his team this month. There are plenty of players who go into their summers, disappear for a tropical vacation, return to begin offseason training and prepare to rejoin their teams without taking meaningful looks at the machinations of their organizations.

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Derrick Rose signing with Cavaliers on one-year deal

Unlike Kyrie Irving, Derrick Rose is committed to the Cavaliers for next season.

With rumors swirling on future status of Irving, Rose has committed to sign with the Cavaliers and completed his physical exam Monday, his agent confirmed Monday. The news was first reported by The Vertical.

Jeff Green, Jose Calderon, Kyle Korver, Cedi Osman, and now the 2011 NBA MVP have agreed to join the Eastern Conference champions this offseason after near-misses for Jimmy Butler and Paul George in the trade market.

Rose, 28, averaged 18 points, 4.4 assists and 3.8 rebounds in 64 games with the Knicks last season before undergoing season-ending knee surgery in April. While he still has scoring ability, his health and playing style have made it difficult to find a match this offseason.

Rose will join the Cavaliers on a one-year, $2.1 million minimum deal, according to ESPN, a near-perfect contract for the cash-strapped Cavs.

As long as Doc Rivers surrounds with him the right players, Griffin should have all the room he needs to continue making these high-level reads:

Even something basic like running a dribble hand-off with Griffin can force the defense to make tough decisions. Either Griffin will open up a driving lane by drawing his defender away from the basket out of respect for his midrange jump shot…

The threat of Griffin’s passing will only become greater when he plays center next season. Gallinari is perhaps best suited to play power forward at this stage of his career, and the Clippers can pair them with some combination of Beverley, Williams, Teodosic, Dekker and Austin Rivers in the backcourt. Griffin’s defensive limitations at center will hurt them on that end of the floor, but those lineups should have enough firepower offensively to compete against most teams. It helps that Beverley is comfortable playing without the ball in his hands, having made a career out of being a 3-and-D point guard next to James Harden.

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LeBron James’ subtweet leaves internet assuming swipe at Kyrie Irving

The interwebs stood at attention Monday night after LeBron James dropped what looked suspiciously like a subtweet. The natural assumption was that King James was tweaking Kyrie Irving.

In quoting the hook from Drake’s song Portland, perhaps King James was just offering Irving some advice before they break up: Don’t let the betas feed off your alpha-ness. On the other hand, perhaps LeBron was saying he’s done with letting betas like Irving get the credit for helping him win rings.

It’s the same rings argument Jordan used back in 2013 when he said five beats one every time I look at it. (Jordan changed his tune later that year, saying James had passed Bryant after the Black Mamba was forced to recover from a brutal Achilles injury.) You can’t simply take out championships from a basketball discussion, but by most objective measures, James has firmly passed Bryant.

James also eclipses Bryant as a 3-point shooter in the regular season (34.2 percent vs. 32.9 percent) and owns a nearly identical percentage in the playoffs (33.0 vs. 33.1). Bryant has James beat on championships, scoring titles and All-Star, All-Defensive and All-NBA appearances, but James owns three more MVP awards and one more NBA Finals MVP award. It’s not all that crazy to think James will add to his resume and pass Bryant in some of those other categories, too.

But really, this isn’t an argument about LeBron vs. Kobe. By that logic, Robert Horry is actually better than Jordan, Bryant and James, right? No, this is about James vs. Jordan.

You could bring out the same numbers to easily prove Jordan stands tall over Bryant. It’s an apples to apples comparison. Jordan is a better, more efficient version of Bryant. That’s not said to detract from Bryant’s incredible accomplishments, but it’s true. There have been entire video compilations showing how Bryant took Jordan’s moves and used them to climb up the all-time scoring list.

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They won the shot battle again 33-28 and kept the Penguins’ lethal power play off the board in three chances.

When Jake Guentzel scored this 13th goal of the playoffs and fourth in three games just 2:43 into the first period, the Predators were on their way to a near-insurmountable 3-0 series deficit. It silenced the crowd, but that didn’t last long.

A struggling Pekka Rinne, 0-7-2 all time against the Penguins with a .778 save percentage in two Final games so far, had the boisterous crowd in his corner and came through with a number of big saves to get to the first intermission.

Roman Josi tied the game 5:51 into the second period and Frederick Gaudreau scored 42 seconds later to send the arena into a frenzy.

Finally, having outshot and outplayed the Penguins in Games 1 and 2 with little to show for it, the Predators’ labor bore fruit.

They won the shot battle again 33-28 and kept the Penguins’ lethal power play off the board in three chances.

In doing so, the Preds improved to 8-1 at home this postseason and, with Game 4 back here Monday, the party isn’t ending in Nashville anytime soon.

Hockey and Nashville right now is like Max Yasgur’s farm: it’s a mass gathering of humanity, though instead of enjoying three days of music, they’re enjoying many days of hockey and music. The only difference is that there is not as much nudity here.

Weber is always ready with a quip, and truth be told he does repeat some of them quite often. However, if the Predators do win the Stanley Cup this month, Weber’s call of the final seconds will come straight from the heart, not from a glib script.

I want to be totally honest with it, explained the 66-year-old Weber. I’ve heard too many scripted calls and it just seems to lack the genuineness that everybody truly wants.

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Oscar Robertson hopes Russell Westbrook breaks triple-double record

Russell Westbrook is fast approaching some impressive history, and the person he’s ready to pass is on his side.

Oscar Robertson’s record of 41 triple-doubles in one NBA regular season is hopelessly looking on as Westbrook’s total continues to climb. Heading into Friday’s game against the Spurs, Westbrook needed just four Cheap Jerseys America triple-doubles, with eight games left, to surpass Robertson.

Some might think Robertson would be quietly hoping Westbrook catches a case of poor shooting down the stretch to preserve his record set during the 1961-62 season. That, however, is not the case.

“I hope he does it. I always thought he was a great basketball player,” Robertson said Friday of Westbrook, via ESPN.com. “I was talking to some basketball people the other night, and I said, ‘I don’t think any of these guards can beat him on a one-on-one game.’ I think he’s been tremendous for the team, his fans and also for television.”

So yes, Monday night might have been a preview of that upcoming first-round series a month from now. The Jazz had plenty to prove. Not only had they lost nine in a row to the Clippers at home, they’d also lost both previous games to the Clippers this season, by 13 and 16 points.

A day after being inactive against the Celtics, Bulls forward Nikola Mirotic came off the bench to score 24 points and snare 11 rebounds in Chicago’s 115-111 victory over the Hornets. His performance helped Cheap Jerseys Borntrade the Bulls snap a five-game skid.

LeBron James will never be a Clipper, report says

Late night radio may not be appointment radio, but believe it or not news does break after 12 a.m. And that’s exactly what happened on the Freddie and Fitz show ESPN Saturday morning.

Mike Wise has been doing this whole basketball reporting thing for a long time. He was an award-winning columnist for the Washington Post, covered the New York Knicks during the 90s for the New York Times, and is currently a senior writer for The Undefeated over at ESPN.

Incoming rookie Jordan Bell, who was drafted by the Bulls before being bought by Golden State, is already feeling comfortable with his new team. Gazettes Sports was with Bell during his NBA Draft party Thursday night, and filmed several moments of his celebration. But something they may have missed was Bell yelling, F– Bron Bron at a colleague.

The phrase is obviously a reference to LeBron James, but you may not know it’s connected to a song. Last year, rapper Mac Bari made a viral hit with the track, appropriately titled F– Bron Bron, which is just basically a two and a half minute dis track toward the Cleveland All-Star.

Bell smiled when he said the phrase, and it appeared to be more of an inside joke between friends sort of thing. But he clearly looks ready to join the Warriors in their quest to conquer the NBA, which will likely end in a showdown against James and the Cavs.

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