June 20

Kyle Lowry Passionately Rebuked A Report Claiming He Has ‘No Interest’ In Returning To Toronto

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Kyle Lowry was a decent-to-pretty good point guard for the first six years of his NBA career. Then, in 2012, the former Grizzlies and Rockets guard joined the Toronto Raptors. After a solid first year north of the border, Lowry turned into one of the better point guards in the NBA, making the All-Star game three times and earning a spot on the third-team All-NBA squad in 2016.

But after five years with the Raptors, the 31-year-old Lowry seems to be ready to leave for greener pastures. Bruce Arthur of The Toronto Star reports that it’s hard to imagine a scenario where Lowry returns to the team, as he reportedly doesn’t want to return unless he’s given a max contract.

Even if the organization did manage to make a deal for a big-time player, Kyle Lowry is a free agent, and multiple league sources say the all-star point guard has been grumbling about dissatisfaction with the Raptors for months. As of mid-May other teams were being told Lowry had “zero interest” in returning to Toronto, even if the Raptors offered a maximum five-year deal. Which since the club had no intention of offering a five-year deal probably made Lowry’s declaration easier to make.


Arthur also broke down the potential destinations for Lowry and why it’s hard to see the perceived leaders coming to fruition — Chris Paul could return to the Los Angeles Clippers, the San Antonio Spurs reportedly aren’t especially interested in Lowry, and Philadelphia’s decision to trade up for Markelle Fultz takes Lowry off the table. (For the record, Arthur reports that there was never anything significant to the Lowry-to-Philly rumblings.)

As for what Lowry thinks of this report, well, he’s not exactly a fan.

Lowry is one of the hardest guys in the free agency market to project — he’s great and one of the best point guards in the league, but he’s also 31 and has a checkered injury history. The market for him may not be as robust as it is for other stars, but whatever team eventually gets the All-Star guard probably won’t be disappointed.

(Via The Toronto Star)

June 19

Celtics Reportedly Trade Number One Pick to Sixers

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More reports from David Aldridge and The Vertical shortly followed that the framework of a deal had been agreed to. According to The Vertical, the Sixers will receive the first overall pick in 2017, and the C’s will get the third pick in 2017 and a first round pick in 2018. That first rounder in ’18 is via the Lakers, guaranteeing Boston at least two lottery picks in next year’s draft–they still own the Nets’ pick.

The Instagram picture of Fultz was posted after he quickly traveled to Sixers’ practice facility in Camden, New Jersey for a face-to-face meeting with their top brass. They wanted medical clearance on the 19-year-old point guard before agreeing to the deal, according to Aldridge.

Fultz averaged 23.9 points per game at the University of Washington in one season. He just signed a deal with Nike, which will pair him in Philly with Ben Simmons, another top Nike youngin’.

h/t David Aldridge and The Vertical 

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June 19

The Pacers Still Have A Pretty Steep Asking Price In A Potential Paul George Trade

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The Pacers were told by Paul George on Sunday that their star player will be leaving next summer in free agency, likely for the Lakers, putting pressure on Indiana to try and move him prior to the deadline next February. Indiana isn’t wasting any time trying to figure out what the market is like for George, as there are multiple reports that the Pacers have reached out to teams about potential trades.

The most interesting reported trade conversation is between the Pacers and Cavs about possibly sending George to Cleveland as the Cavs look to add firepower to compete with the Warriors after losing the NBA Finals in five games to Golden State. The Cavs are reportedly interested, as any team would be in George, but what makes Cleveland a more legitimate trade partner is that they are supposedly interested even if George won’t commit past next season.

The real issue for the Cavaliers is what the Pacers will want in return. The Cavs don’t have any upcoming draft picks available to trade until 2021, because this year’s pick and 2019’s pick are already dealt (Portland and Atlanta, respectively). So, immediate assets aren’t a possibility, and there isn’t much on the Cleveland roster in terms of youth or star power outside of LeBron James, Kevin Love, and Kyrie Irving. Love is the most attainable of those three, as his name has been at least floated in trade rumors before, but none seem especially likely.

The question is, what do the Pacers want in return for George? According to NBA.com’s David Aldridge, the answer is still a fairly good bit.

For a player that might bolt after a season, that’s a pretty steep price. The biggest question is what counts as a starter for Indiana. Technically, J.R. Smith is a starter for Cleveland, but I doubt that’s what they mean. These are likely very preliminary trade talks, but trade talks nonetheless, so it’s interesting to hear that this is the starting line for a George trade. This also opens up the possibility of a third team joining the fray, such as the Suns, who may be able to bring more picks into the mix if they could land a player of worth.


If you’re looking at those parameters, the Celtics, with their stockpile of first round picks (with various protections) could make a push for George without giving up too much in return from their current roster and not give up any of their best future pick assets. The Celtics are expected to make more moves soon after dealing the No. 1 overall pick to the Sixers and adding another future first.

The problem for the Pacers is every team in the league knows they have to move George by the deadline, so every other team would be best suited to wait until Indiana is desperate and then try to pounce and get George for pennies on the dollar. Indiana is smart to get out in front of this and try and start a dialogue now, in an effort to boost George’s value by having multiple conversations, but whether that works and they can get a legitimate offer is yet to be determined. According to ESPN’s Zach Lowe, the Pacers are pressing teams in order to make it work.

We’re less than a full week into the offseason and it’s already getting wild. The draft figures to offer more drama on Thursday night and this summer will feature plenty of surprises in trades and free agency, and, somehow, Paul George could be the first big domino to fall this summer and he’s not even a free agent for another year.

June 18

Boston’s Haul In Their No. 1 Pick Trade Is Worse Than Originally Thought, And Celtics Fans Aren’t Happy

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Word came out on Friday evening that the Philadelphia 76ers and Boston Celtics were looking to make a deal centered around the No. 1 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. Fast forward 24 hours and the deal was announced — Philly would get the No. 1 pick and select Markelle Fultz, Boston would get some collection of picks.

At first, it sounded like the Celtics would get a trio of picks in return: Philadelphia’s 2017 pick (No. 3 overall), Los Angeles’ 2018 first-round pick, and Sacramento’s 2019 first-round pick. Philly was going to reportedly put protections on the latter two — both of which were acquired in trades — but the move seemed pretty even.

And then, more details about the deal came out and Boston’s haul didn’t seem as great, as it went from two picks after this year to one. Then, Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical swooped in and explained the deal a little more, and suddenly, the Celtics looked like they might have gotten fleeced.

https://twitter.com/WojVerticalNBA/status/876279848355942400

As for what those protections are, Derek Bodner provided some more context that’s sure to make Sixers fans happy.

So basically, Philadelphia has some insurance in the event this turns into the No. 1 pick, letting them pursue someone like Real Madrid guard/forward Luka Doncic. Plus, next year’s draft is projected to be heavy on big men at the top, so the Sixers wouldn’t have to worry about how someone like Mo Bamba or DeAndre Ayton would fit in their already crowded frontcourt.

On the other side of the coin, Boston could conceivably have two top-5 picks between this and the Brooklyn Nets’ pick that they got in the Kevin Garnett/Paul Pierce trade. But considering that these picks are very likely to be used in some type of trade, this may end up not being Boston’s problem.

This still feels like a trade that the Sixers “won,” if you can pick winners and losers in a trade like this. While Boston likely isn’t done wheeling and dealing, they still gave up the best guard prospect in several years for arguably not too much. As you can imagine, Celtics fans aren’t exactly thrilled.

It’s important to remember that Boston could make this all work out, especially if they can turn these picks and young assets into a superstar or two. But compared to when this deal was first announced, this does not looks especially great for the Celtics.

June 17

Sixers, Celtics in ‘Serious Talks’ on Trade Involving No. 1 Pick

Hosted by: http://www.slamonline.com/nba/sixers-celtics-in-serious-talks-on-trade-involving-no-1-pick/

The Celtics reportedly would receive several future first-round picks—and Philly’s No. 3 overall pick in 2017.

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical, the talks are advanced enough that projected top pick Markelle Fultz could meet with the Sixers on Saturday.

RELATED:
Markelle Fultz Reportedly Signs with Nike

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June 17

The Celtics Could Be Making A Big Play For Jimmy Butler

Hosted by: http://uproxx.com/dimemag/jimmy-butler-trade-rumors-markelle-fultz-boston-celtics-nba-draft/

The 2017 NBA Draft isn’t quite here, but things are already quite busy with regard to the No. 1 pick. On Friday afternoon, reports began to swirl that the top pick, currently held by the Boston Celtics, could be on the move and that the Philadelphia 76ers were the primary suitor as they aimed to land Washington point guard Markelle Fultz.

While that discussion provided plenty of fodder on its own, there is a subplot developing that could make things even more intriguing. In short, the Celtics could be searching for a way to trade for Chicago Bulls All-Star swingman Jimmy Butler.

It has been an open secret for some time that Boston has interest in both Butler and Indiana’s Paul George but, at the 2017 trade deadline, the Celtics did not put together the “Godfather offer” needed to acquire either All-Star. While it would make sense that the Celtics could be poking around on Butler yet again, it would make more sense if a third team was involved and that is another situation where the Sixers could come in.

At this point, details are few with regard to a deal involving Butler, the Sixers and the Celtics. In fact, there are far more specifics when it comes to a two-team endeavor between the Sixers and Celtics given the presence of Philadelphia’s war chest of assets that also includes the No. 3 overall pick in this year’s draft. Still, the inclusion of Philadelphia big man Jahlil Okafor in this buzz makes a great deal of sense given the way the Sixers have explored his trade market in the past, and that could lend further credence.

Nothing seems too crazy to include at this point, and depending on how you value Markelle Fultz, it is conceivable that the Celtics have the top asset included in the entire discussion. Jimmy Butler is an established All-NBA talent, though, and the Celtics could conceivably make the biggest single impact on the NBA landscape this summer by acquiring him. Let the fireworks continue.

June 16

Draymond on Warriors’ Superteam: ‘Can Somebody Give Bob [Myers] Some F—–g Credit?’

Hosted by: http://www.slamonline.com/nba/draymond-green-warriors-superteam-can-somebody-give-bob-myers-credit/

On LeBron‘s claim that he never played on a superteam, Draymond responded, “You started the superteam bro!

Green added that “some fucking credit” belongs to Warriors general manager Bob Myers for creating the ‘superteam’ in Golden State. Via New Life:

“Can somebody give (Warriors GM) Bob [Myers] some fucking credit?

 

“Everyone talking about superteam this, superteam that.

 

“I never played on a superteam.” You started the superteam bro!

RELATED:
LeBron James Responds to Draymond Green’s ‘Quickie’ Shirt

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June 16

Paul George Expects To Stay In Indiana Next Season And Still Hopes To Win A Title With The Pacers

Hosted by: http://uproxx.com/dimemag/paul-george-indiana-pacers-nba-championship-free-agency/

The Indiana Pacers need to figure out exactly what they’re doing with Paul George. He is unquestionably the team’s best player, but George has the option to enter free agency at the end of the 2017-18 season. Additionally, George is from Los Angeles, reportedly wants to join the Lakers, and could bring the franchise a much-needed dose of star power.

With the way the rumor mill has circulated, it seems like there is reason to believe George is going to leave Indiana, either by his own accord or because the team tries to get assets in exchange for him via a trade. But for George, all this talk is premature, because he’s still focused on winning games with the Pacers.

If that wasn’t a firm enough statement about his future, George expanded on this subject.

George went as far as to express that his ultimate goal is to bring Indiana its first NBA championship ever.

George is a great player who suits up for a team in a smaller market, and there’s really no path for him right now to win a ring in Indiana barring a bunch of unforeseen things happening. That’s why all of these rumors about him leaving and going somewhere else – whether it be Los Angeles or elsewhere – make some amount of sense.

Of course, all we really have now is George’s word, so I suppose we have to trust him. Still, a lot can change between now and next summer, so we’ll all just have to wait and see what happens.

(Via The Score)

June 15

Jerry West Leaves Warriors to Join the Clippers

Hosted by: http://www.slamonline.com/nba/jerry-west-leaves-warriors-to-join-the-clippers/

The Logo had been a special consultant for the NBA champion Golden State Warriors for the past six years.

West, 79, is expected to have a similar role with the Clippers to the one he had with the Dubs.

Per SI:

Known as the architect of two Laker championship teams as a general manager (Showtime in the decade of the 80s and the Kobe-Shaq threepeaters at the beginning of the century), West was not in a decision-making capacity with the Warriors.

 

But he was a respected voice on personnel matters as Golden State turned from a laughingstock to a model franchise.

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June 15

Lonzo Ball Will Reportedly Hold A Second Lakers Pre-Draft Workout On Friday

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The Lakers have had most every major NBA Draft prospect come through the doors of their practice facility over the past two weeks. Lonzo Ball was the first and most notable, as he has long been the presumptive No. 2 overall pick, but the Lakers have ensured they do their due diligence on the matter by bringing in Josh Jackson and De’Aaron Fox as well.

Projected top overall pick Markelle Fultz will also join the Lakers for a workout on Thursday, in what will be his only non-Celtics pre-draft workout.


The Lakers will be prepared for all scenarios and there is plenty of smoke that they could go in a direction other than Lonzo Ball, but the UCLA star remains the favorite to go second on June 22. There were reports after Ball’s first workout that he didn’t blow the Lakers away and that some were even concerned about his conditioning, so on Friday, Ball will look to lock up his status as the No. 2 with a second workout for the Lakers’ brass at an undisclosed location outside of the Lakers practice facility.

According to Shams Charania of The Vertical, the Lakers will watch Ball go through his full offseason training regimen and then meet with Ball and company afterwards. That’s a good indicator that Ball is still very much on the Lakers’ mind to be their first round selection, and if he can perform better in his own environment, he might be able to seal the deal. Other prospects that have worked out for the Lakers have said that much of the focus on the Lakers’ side has been on testing their weaknesses, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that prospects have yet to blow them away.

Now, Ball will have a chance to show them what he does in his own workout with the things he is most comfortable with. If he can’t blow them away with that opportunity, then there might be a bit of a problem.