Storyline: Eric Gordon Trade?

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Mark Berman: Eric Gordon on ESPN reporting the #Rockets are trying to trade him to get a first-round pick: “I’ve been thru all this before. It’s all business. I don’t really worry about it at all. (Says he’s not disappointed or bothered by the report) “I’m not at all..”

After Butler plays 39 minutes in a loss to the Clippers that dropped the Wolves to 0-3 on the trip, the Wolves have conversations with the Heat about a possible trade. But the Heat inform the Wolves that Richardson is no longer on the table after his stellar start to the season, and the Wolves move on. Minnesota begins to engage seriously with Philadelphia, New Orleans and Houston. New Orleans’ package is headlined by Nikola Mirotic and an unprotected first-round draft pick and the Rockets’ proposal has Eric Gordon, Nene and two first-round picks, sources said. The 76ers come with their proposal around Robert Covington and Dario Saric, leaving the Timberwolves to deliberate.

Overlooked in all of this is that players have lives outside of the 48 minutes they spend on the court. A transaction that seems simple on the surface actually involves several layers of complexity. And in today’s social media-crazed society, players can only block out so much. “All I can do is go out there and play,” Gordon said. “The only tough thing is some of your friends always come to you with, ‘Do you think you’re gonna be traded?’ That’s the only annoying thing. At the end of the day I’m just a basketball player and I have to control what I can control.”
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November 17, 2019 | 5:06 pm UTC Update
Suns center Aron Baynes has emerged as a cornerstone piece for Phoenix early this season, supplying defense, leadership and, yes, shot-making. Phoenix acquired Baynes on draft night, and in the weeks to come contenders such as the Lakers hoped Baynes would reach a buyout with the Suns to hit the open market, sources said. Suns general manager James Jones and new head coach Monty Williams wanted Baynes — and are now receiving the rewards for the offseason move. Through 11 games, Baynes is averaging 15 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 46.8 percent 3-point shooting (two 3s made per game). Baynes will enter free agency next July, and as one team executive said, “He is positioning himself for well over $10 million per year.”
“I think everybody can think what they want but I feel bad for KP,” said Hernangomez, the Knicks’ second-round pick in 2015. “He’s my brother. We spent too many nights in this amazing arena. I understand what people [do]. The people always treated me good when I was here and appreciated. But I was sad when I saw that.” “Like KP’s comments after the game, they know what they know,” the amiable Spanish center added. “KP knows what happened. People just see what they see in public. But fans can do whatever they want, but I just feel sad because he did a lot for the community, the city and this team.”
Playoff-bound teams rest players at the risk of losing games or even home-court advantage… as do lowly ones like Memphis, which rested 20-year-old rookie Ja Morant for a weekend home loss. I’ve got an idea! Play fewer games! Oh, right, that would mean less revenue and lower salaries. That’s one thing that unites owners and players: No one wants that.
Storyline: Load Management
November 17, 2019 | 12:49 pm UTC Update
DeRozan was still upset by the call after the game, stating Hood hit him in the face prior to any possible push off. “As soon as we say something out on the court, we get a tech,” DeRozan said. “We’re held responsible for things we say about the refs, but when refs cost us the game, I don’t know what we get. An apology later on after it’s reviewed?”
After the departures of James and Irving, Love became the face of the franchise when he signed a four-year, $120-million contract extension last year. Cleveland, however, is a rebuilding team and there has been talk Love could be dealt to a team looking to make a championship push. “I know there’s talk about me possibly being the missing piece somewhere,” Love said. “There’s been constant chatter since I signed that I could be traded. It’s one of those things where I’m going to keep doing right by the team, by Cleveland and by the organization. If my number is called, so be it, but I’m going to stay true to my commitment and let the chips fall where they may.”
Lillard and McCollum both reached out to Carmelo Anthony after he agreed to sign with the Trail Blazers. Anthony has not played since Nov. 8, 2018, with the Houston Rockets, but he spent the past summer working out with McCollum and others. “He looks like he’s changed his body a little bit,” McCollum said. “Started lifting more on his legs, his lower half. He was dunking this summer. He doesn’t usually dunk, so that’s how I knew he was feeling good. I don’t know if it was because of the work or because he’s been off or a combination, but he looked like he had new life, more bounce in his step.”
Storyline: Carmelo Anthony Free Agency
The Knicks wound up with Elfrid Payton, whose been out since the season’s fourth game versus Chicago after signing a two-year, $15 million pact. Rozier thought at one point he’d wind up a Knick. “It was probably one of my first options,’’ Rozier said. “I probably was going to make it happen. Other things happened and I ended up going to Charlotte. It was the interest they showed in me, that was big. The organization believed in me, why not.’’
“I talked to Ray Allen during the summer,” Beal said. “He was in Milwaukee and Seattle and those years were rugged you know, they weren’t always great but he was one of the best players and he was always making sure those teams were in the playoffs or making some type of noise. “He was like, ‘Ultimately it’s your decision. The only person that can make Brad happy is Brad, and you have to what’s best for you,'” Beal said.
It wasn’t until Allen’s age-32 season with the Celtics where Allen finally won a championship. It’s not the career path many superstars are interested in nowadays, but Beal seems ready to make the most of the hand he’s been dealt in Washington. “It was kind of a no-brainer, just duke it out and make it work,” Beal said. “My leadership has to grow, it’s kind of growing every day, but I feel like I have a natural knack for it. “You can’t think about, ‘Is the grass greener on the other side? Are we not going to be as good here?’ You can’t necessarily think in those terms because you can always play ‘Devil’s Advocate’ on the other side, so for me, it’s just sticking to your guns.”
Without mentioning any specifics to his Miami situation, Waiters acknowledged his frustration about the way the early season unfolded. He had lost a starting spot and minutes to rookies Tyler Herro and Kendrick Nunn. The team suspended him for its opener for “conduct detrimental to the team” after he took to social media to criticize the way the Heat used him. He is coming off a serious ankle injury and believes, he said, that he is ready and able to help his team win. “I’m a competitor. Any time you work hard and you envision something a certain way and it’s not going as you planned and you see it, you know, you go back to the drawing board and you figure it out. That’s what it’s about – figuring it out,” he said. “So continue to work, always stay confident. Just having the right people in your corner make things a lot easier. (It’s) being a competitor and wanting to play and me being healthy. Because you set goals. It’s taking a little longer but I still got those same goals, that same ambition. It’s not the end of my story.”
Storyline: Dion Waiters Suspension
The Nets still put six scorers in double-figures, led by Spencer Dinwiddie (team-high 24 points) and Joe Harris (22 points), both of whom shrugged off foul trouble to make key plays. “I’m not Kyrie: He’s going to continue to lead this team and do a great job,” Dinwiddie said. “The only focus really was winning. So I just tried to gauge what needed to be done to win the game. I’m not going to be Kyrie. Kyrie might win MVP this year.”
Love will not return to Los Angeles until Jan 13, when the Cavaliers will take on James and the Lakers, but he is keeping close tabs on his old teammate in his old city. “They’re meshing in a real good way, and Kyle Kuzma is figuring out his role now too,” Love said. “Once he gets up to speed and other guys get up to speed, they’re really going to be rolling and they’re already clicking as it is with LeBron and [Anthony Davis]. Dwight [Howard] has really played well too. They’re a fun team to watch. Any team with LeBron is going to be a fun team to watch, but he’s leading them and he has been super efficient. There are nights where he’s going to have 30, 15 and 15 and then there’s nights where he’s going to play at his own pace and not put up those numbers, but he’s just so efficient. It doesn’t look like he’s lost a step as he gets older in this league. He continues to get smarter and find ways to make everything work.”
In his second game as a Clipper, George scored 37 points, the most in NBA history in fewer than 21 minutes, to help the Clippers demolish the Hawks 150-101. The 49-point rout was the largest margin of victory in Clippers’ franchise history. “I got [a] new shoulder,” George said after the game. “I can’t say nothing else to that: I got new shoulders. And they haven’t been this healthy in a long time.”
Since returning to play Thursday at New Orleans, George has scored a total of 70 points in 44 minutes, making 10 of 17 shots in each of his first two games and drilling a total of nine of 16 3-pointers. He has converted a perfect 21-of-21 from the free throw line, absorbing his share of hits to his body and surgically repaired shoulders. “It could have been my first 50,” George said of what might’ve happened had he played longer and not been coming back from shoulder surgeries. “That’s just how I felt, but … I’m a confident player. It wasn’t more so a confidence [thing] by me saying I’m back. It’s just a statement. I’m just happy to be back to this game.”
Harden unloaded Saturday night, scoring 49 points on a whopping 41 shots from the field to lead the short-handed Rockets to their seventh straight victory, 125-105 over the Minnesota Timberwolves. With Russell Westbrook resting and several key contributors injured, the Rockets needed Harden to shoulder an even bigger scoring load than usual. The 41 attempts are the most in his career, and the most in the NBA this season, surpassing the 37 Golden State’s D’Angelo Russell took in an overtime loss Nov. 8 in the same building in Minnesota. “It was a collective effort,” Harden said. “We’ve got six, seven guys out. So it could have been an easy game, where we just chalked it up and got ready for next game. We wanted to come here and win this game, and we showed it.”
There was a time when Love might have allowed trade talks and the stress that comes with the rumors to get the better of him. That was before he opened up last year about his battles with mental illness and his first panic attack, on Nov. 5, 2017, during a game against the Atlanta Hawks. “I think I just came to a point in my life where so many things had led up to that moment and some people were talking about what I was dealing with and I didn’t want anyone to tell my story but me,” Love said. “I had been dealing with anxiety and depression and I felt I needed to speak my truth and allow myself to be vulnerable to the masses. I didn’t know how it was going to be received and how it was going to be moving forward. I just knew that I was done suffering silently and maybe I could help that one kid out there who was in need.”
Storyline: Mental Health
November 17, 2019 | 2:04 am UTC Update
Portland Trail Blazers President of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey had tried to get Carmelo Anthony in trades with the New York Knicks, tried to get him as a free agent post-Oklahoma City. Now, they were together on a call Thursday morning. Time had passed, circumstances had changed. “You need us,” sources said Olshey told Anthony. “And we need you.”
Storyline: Carmelo Anthony Free Agency
After six straight trips to the Western Conference playoffs — including two conference semifinals runs and a West finals a season ago — Olshey knew this: The Blazers needed a player capable of commanding the respect of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum. They needed a presence to roust the spirit of an unnerved locker room. The Blazers wouldn’t find that in the NBA’s G-League, nor with a journeyman veteran out of a job.
November 17, 2019 | 1:47 am UTC Update