Storyline: D'Angelo Russell to Timberwolves?

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There’s a hold-up: Minnesota isn’t offering enough draft compensation. As it stands, the Warriors have been offered Minnesota’s 2020 first-round pick and Brooklyn’s 2020 first-round pick, which would be sent via Atlanta as part of what is effectively a four-team trade with the Hawks and Rockets. But the Warriors want future firsts instead of picks in 2020—most importantly, they want an unprotected first-round pick in 2021, which will have a much stronger draft class than the one coming this June.

Trade conversations between the Warriors and Timberwolves have reached an impasse, according to league sources. Minnesota has long been interested in acquiring point guard D’Angelo Russell, and it recently offered Golden State a package for Russell that included shooting guard Andrew Wiggins. But to seriously consider dealing Russell to the Timberwolves, Golden State would need a compelling haul of draft picks, per league sources.

Minnesota has been unwilling to include its 2020 first-round pick, which, given that the Timberwolves own the NBA’s fifth-worst record at 15-33, will likely land in the top-10. To contemplate shipping Russell to Minnesota, the Warriors would need that pick included. And if the Timberwolves did add it to their package, Golden State still wouldn’t necessarily be sold on trading Russell before the deadline. Though Wiggins has eased concerns this season about his ability to play in a team concept, the Warriors aren’t convinced that he could be a key cog on a title contender. Golden State also isn’t high on the pool of prospects expected to be available early in June’s draft, and it worries that top-10 picks this year won’t have the trade value they normally bring.

The deal moves the Wolves $2M further away from the tax line, but they were $7.9M below that line already – it’s hard to construct a trade where that ends up mattering. Which is where we get to the more specific opportunity cost involving Russell. If anything, Minnesota reduced its flexibility in this regard. Teague’s $19M contract could be aggregated with others as a salary match, which potentially matters quite a bit if there happens to be a certain player who makes $27.5M that you want to acquire. However, Crabbe’s $18.5M cannot be aggregated. A deal of Teague and Covington for Russell and Kevon Looney, for instance, seemed highly plausible (with draft picks thrown in). That is no longer on the table; now the only other contract they could pair with Covington’s in such a trade is the much less desirable one of Gorgui Dieng.

Wolves to intensify D'Angelo Russell pursuit

New team president Gersson Rosas and the rest of his front office have been actively pursuing deals on a number of fronts to try to remake the roster to better fit their vision for the team moving forward, league sources told The Athletic. That includes intensifying their pursuit of Golden State Warriors guard D’Angelo Russell. Discussions have yielded no traction to this point, league sources said. So far, Golden State has been inclined to keep Russell.
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February 21, 2020 | 4:49 am EST Update
DeMarcus Cousins knows now that he shouldn’t have played for the Warriors in last year’s NBA Finals, but the center said Thursday that he doesn’t regret his decision to rush back from a torn left quadriceps. “I was terrible in the Finals. I was a one-legged bandit on the floor, but I wanted to be a part of it,” Cousins said on Showtime’s “All the Smoke” podcast with Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson. “In the Finals, you play hurt. If you can go, you can go. That’s when you lay your body on the line. I went out there and gave it what I had. The results were unfortunate. … I wasn’t supposed to be on the floor.”
Storyline: DeMarcus Cousins Injury
Although he averaged just 8.3 points and 4.7 rebounds in the championship series, Cousins said he doesn’t regret his decision. “I had no business on the floor. None, whatsoever,” he said. “… I just kept telling myself: ‘This is what I’ve played for my entire life: to be on this stage and have this opportunity. Whatever I’ve got to do to be a part of that, I’m going to do it.’ I don’t even know how I did it, honestly.”
Harris, who scored 12 points Thursday, will be a restricted free agent this summer, and due to make a raise on his team-friendly $7.6 million deal. The sweet-shooting wing played alongside Irving in Cleveland as a rookie, but he essentially grew up in Brooklyn. He blossomed into a starter and won the 3-point title last season. He’s hoping to re-sign with the Nets, with the lure of playing a full season alongside the likes of Irving and Durant on a contender a strong one. And if he has a disappointment from this season, it’s that both stars, along with LeVert and others, have been in and out of an injury-riddled Nets lineup.
Storyline: Joe Harris Free Agency
Every year during that stretch, Smart has been to the playoffs, and he played in the Eastern Conference Finals twice. But in his opinion, this Celtics team has the best shot at a title since he arrived. “(Other teams were) potential contenders, but not as much of a contender as this team is,” Smart told MassLive on Wednesday. “I’ve had some where we thought, ‘Maybe we can go.’ That run that we had with Isaiah Thomas, we thought we were a pretty good team, even the two years ago team where we made it to the Eastern Conference Finals, but this year is just a different feeling. We really got that sense of ‘We really, really, really, really have a chance this year,’ and it’s very evident to us. I think it’s starting to be evident to people around the league, and it’s evident to fans around the league.”
Isaiah Thomas: But the biggest memory for me was when Kobe and I sat down after every game of my series against the Chicago Bulls in 2017 and watched film together. I had my people send the film to him and he’d look it over. Then, we’d be on speaker phone and he’d be telling me everything that he saw, breaking the game down the way he would if he was in the series. I think that’s why he started doing that Detail show with ESPN because it was basically just like that, but it was just me and him. I was going through one of the toughest times in my life with the passing of my sister and he took the time out of his day to help me. We were on the phone for about an hour-and-a-half to two hours the day after every game, looking over the film and seeing how I’d adjust for the next playoff game. It was so surreal. It didn’t seem real that Kobe Bryant was really on the phone with me, helping through playoff situations. That was probably my biggest memory of Kobe, taking the time to really be there and help me. He saw what kind of path I was going on and he saw something special in me. For him to nickname me “Mighty IT” and help me so much and to have Player-Edition Kobe shoes, it was a dream come true. I’ve always dreamed of that and it actually came true.
“I think, just knowing him and his personality, he doesn’t pay attention to it — he’s focused on us every day, preparing us the best way he can and I really think that’s, honestly, his focus,” Randle said of the possibility that the Knicks replace Miller. “I know, for me, as a competitor and as a player, we deal with it in a different aspect of free agency and trade rumors and all that type of stuff and I don’t focus on it, man. Just focus on the task at hand and NBA is kind of one of those things — you just go with the flow and when something happens, you adjust to it. But he’s been amazing every day, just as far as his focus and what he’s doing.”
It’s permanent, as much as the Cavs’ head coaching job is permanent. Much like with John, it’s hard to find anyone who will say a bad word about J.B. He has an impeccable reputation around the league. His dad works for the Cavs. He’s been around the NBA for 15 years. He gets it. I wish him all the best, but he has an uphill battle with this organization.
Did you see that Drummond said he never wanted out if Beilein stayed? Jason Lloyd: I did. And I can appreciate and respect Andre defending himself. However, we stand by every word of our reporting and retract nothing. I’m not getting into a social media fight with a player. That serves no one well. I’d be happy to talk to him privately about our reporting when the opportunity presents itself.
Storyline: Andre Drummond Free Agency
NBA star Carmelo Anthony just listed his luxury Manhattan property overlooking New York City’s High Line park. The former New York Knicks player, 35 — who left the team to play for the Oklahoma City Thunder, briefly the Houston Rockets, and now, the Portland Trail Blazers — is asking for $12.85 million for the five-bedroom, four-bathroom condo located in the Chelsea neighborhood. Kevin Mallen and Michael Graves of Compass hold the listing.
I don’t think the NBA is concerned, but I believe the league and other owners had a lot of questions about the stability of ownership following Dan Gilbert’s stroke. Dan is on the mend and is scheduled to make a speaking appearance Friday in Detroit. That’s wonderful to hear. I’ve been extremely critical of his ownership style over the years, but I’m thrilled to know he’s doing better physically. But he still has a long, LONG way to go.
The 10-year veteran addressed the criminal charges that have since been dropped stemming from an audio recording in which Cousins’ ex-girlfriend alleges he threatened to shoot her in the head when it became apparent their child was not going to be present for Cousins’ wedding. “It’s an unfortunate situation. So, you know, I had a special moment in my life. I wanted all my family to be there. A little piece of happiness going through whatever I’m going through. Things didn’t work out the way I wanted it to for my day. I was little upset. So I said some things I shouldn’t have said but that person knew where it was coming from,” Cousins said on the podcast. “I mean, I’ve seen a lot of things, heard a lot of stuff — don’t get me wrong, I’m 100 percent against domestic violence. Like, 100 percent. I watched my mother go through that as a child. So when it comes to that, I’m the first advocate for that. But with that being said, I said the wrong thing. Heat of the moment. We’ve all done it. … We’ve all done it. … “My mama’s said way worse, you know what I’m saying? But when it comes to your kids, it’s a whole other situation and I’m pretty sure anybody with kids can speak on that. But it was still wrong.”
Storyline: Los Angeles Lakers Turmoil?
A youth org. claims LeBron James straight-up jacked their “More Than An Athlete” slogan for his Uninterrupted brand … and now they want more than $33 MIL to make things right! Game Plan — a Maryland based nonprofit, which guides young athletes to achieve professional success in an out of sports — claims they’ve been using the slogan “I Am More Than an Athlete” since 2016 and they obtained the trademark in 2018.
Ben Gordon: This was right after my last year in the league, and I was living in a brownstone up in Harlem. I had lost my career, my identity, and my family all pretty much simultaneously. I was manic-depressive. I wasn’t eating. I wasn’t sleeping. And when I say I wasn’t sleeping, it was like a whole different level of insomnia. Every night, I’d wake up at the same time, like clockwork. And that’s when the demons would come out. When you’re up all night and it’s quiet and it’s just you alone with your deepest thoughts — that’s when the darkness really starts to take over your whole psyche.
Ben Gordon: So the only thing left to do was to get out of purgatory. I was obsessed with killing myself. It’s all I researched, all I thought about. One night my panic attacks got so bad that all I could think about was escape. Man, I’m telling you….. you become like an animal. It’s instinctive. Escape, escape, escape, escape. I took one of those heavyweight jump ropes — the thick rubber ones — and I tied it around my neck. Got a chair. And I hung myself, for real.
Ben Gordon: It got so bad that they had me committed to a mental hospital, and the problem was that I didn’t even understand why it was happening. It was like in the movies. I’m in some white room, and I got doctors and nurses strapping me down on a bed. They got the scrubs on and the gloves on, and they’re sticking needles in my arms, and cutting my pants off at the waist. It was terrifying. I just remember begging them not to hurt me, and really believing that this was all happening for no reason. Really believing that this was all some misunderstanding, and they had the wrong person.
Storyline: Mental Health
Ben Gordon: And that’s when I started disassociating myself completely from Ben Gordon. I was convinced that I was a clone. That this body I’m in is not my real body. It can’t be. My spirit is trapped inside this clone body that’s bugging right now. I created a whole different name for this person. I had a different email address and phone number for him. I was emailing people telling them that I had a different name, like, “Yo — it’s really me. Don’t tell nobody!”
At first, I thought it was useless. What’s some older white lady gonna know about what I’m going through? How’s she going to tell me anything? She can’t tell me NOTHING! Well … she didn’t. She barely said a word as a matter of fact. But I got to sit in my chair and just talk my shit. And you know what? It felt pretty good. I ended up doing an extra six months of therapy, all on my own. Not because I had to. But just because I thought, “You know what? I’m actually fucking with this!”
February 20, 2020 | 9:03 pm EST Update
February 20, 2020 | 8:09 pm EST Update

Giannis likely to stay in Milwaukee?

There’s little doubt that Giannis Antetokounmpo, reigning and likely repeat MVP, has every reason to stick around in Milwaukee over the long term. The Bucks have a sparkling new downtown arena and a state-of-the-art practice facility, a long way from the state of play when Antetokounmpo arrived—back then, the Bucks were in the mostly moribund Bradley Center and practiced on the grounds of a Catholic Diocese headquarters in St. Francis, a few miles south of Milwaukee.
This rumor is part of a storyline: 7 more rumors
February 20, 2020 | 7:09 pm EST Update