Shootaround (April 29) -- Orlando Magic intend to pursue Cleveland Cavaliers GM David Griffin
Plus, All-Star Jimmy Butler wants to stay with the Chicago Bulls and wants the team to keep Rajon Rondo
Magic to pursue Cavs’ Griffin | Butler wants to stay, keep Rondo | Memphis free agents want to stick around | Durant rested, ready | Lakers attraction tugs at George
No. 1: Magic will pursue Cavs’ Griffin — If the goal is to one day knock off the Cavaliers from their ruling perch in the Eastern Conference, a good first step would be to poach one of the key figures in putting them there. So the foundering Magic plan to offer the position of team president as soon as the playoffs are over, according to Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com:
The Magic can engage David Griffin in contract talks at the end of the Cavs’ season, sources said.
Griffin’s contract with Cleveland is up after the season, and he and the team have not held meaningful discussions on an extension.
Griffin joined the Cavs in 2010 as assistant general manager and was promoted to GM in 2014. After James re-signed with the Cavs, Griffin engaged in a series of moves to construct a championship team, executing trades for Kevin Love, J.R. Smith, Iman Shumpert, Channing Frye and Kyle Korver.
In 2016, Griffin spearheaded the decision to fire coach David Blatt with the team in first place at midseason and replace him with Tyronn Lue. The controversial move paid off when the Cavs rallied to win the NBA Finals after falling behind 3-1 to the Golden State Warriors.
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No. 2: Butler wants to stay, keep Rondo — After a tumultuous season ended with four straight losses and playoff elimination at the hands of the Celtics, star forward Jimmy Butler told Nick Freidell of ESPN that he definitely wants to return to and keep Rajon Rondo with him in Chicago:
“Of course,” Butler said. “He’s been huge for us this year, man.” Molding these young guys into the type of player that they need to be on this basketball floor, in that film room, around everybody. And obviously, the way he plays the game, getting everybody involved, yeah I love playing with him. Him and D-Wade, all these other guys. But I don’t know what the future holds for anybody. So I’ll sit back and wait on that time to come.”
Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg echoed similar sentiments regarding Rondo.
“He was great. The highs and lows that we had this season, he found a way to continue to battle through that and play his best basketball when it mattered most. I love Rondo. I love coaching him. I love everything about the kid. He was so good to have out there on the floor. And when we put him back in the starting lineup with Niko [Mirotic], with Jimmy, we got a lot accomplished. We played an exciting style of basketball. A fun style of basketball to watch, a fun style of basketball to coach. And Rajon was responsible for a lot of that.”
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No. 3: Grizzlies free agents want to stay — It was the fourth time in their history that they’ve been eliminated from the playoffs by the Spurs. But there is no indication that the Grizzlies are tired of banging their heads against that wall. To a man, potential free told Geoff Calkins of the Memphis Commercial-Appeal that they wanted to re-sign with the team and continue the fight:
Start with Tony Allen, the Grindfather. His four-year contract is up. “I can’t see myself anywhere else,” said Allen. “This is where my heart is.” Next is Zach Randolph, the best player in Grizzlies history. His two-year $20 million contract extension has run out.
“This is home for me, it’s where I want to be,” he said. “I’ve made that clear several times, now we’ll see if we can work it out.”
Then there’s JaMychal Green, a restricted free agent, meaning the Grizzlies can match any offer he receives. “I love Memphis,” he said. “We talked a little bit last night after the game. I told everybody I WANT to come back. It’s not like I’m looking to leave. They want me around, I want to stay here. This is like home here. I would love to be back.”
Oh, and finally, there’s Vince Carter. Who some might think would be at the stage of his career when he’d like to chase a championship ring.
“I hear people say all the time, `Go chase the ring.’ That word `chase’ is tough for me,” Carter said. “I’m comfortable here, my family is comfortable here, we’re building something exciting and great and I enjoy going to work with these guys every day.”
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No. 4: Durant is rested and ready — Kevin Durant is telling Warriors fans that they can relax. He went on YouTube to say that his calf and knee problems, which forced him to sit for Games 2 and 3 in the first round against Portland, are behind and he’s looking forward to the second round of the playoffs against either the Clippers or Jazz, according to Daniel Mano of the Bay Area News Group:
“Calf is good, knee is good, been working hard,” Durant said. “Nothing too much, man, nothing too serious — so definitely looking forward to playing next round.
“On to Round 2. Man, great first series. Closed it out in four up there in Portland,” Durant began his update. “I was able to come back and play. Got my 20 minutes in… Even though I was a little skeptical going out there because I wanted to play more than 20 minutes, but they told me I was capped at 20 minutes and 20 minutes is better than no minutes. Glad to be back out there just playing the game that I love, man, it was fun. So much fun.”
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No. 5: Lakers attraction tugs at George — Whether Larry the Legend stayed or walked out the door, the Pacers simply can’t escape the fact that star forward Paul George has also had a soft spot for the team of his childhood fantasy and now more than ever could be looking to go to the Lakers, says Sam Amick of USA Today:
Whether in free agency two summers from now or via trade before then, the four-time All-Star is still hell-bent on joining the Los Angeles Lakers. Maybe now more than ever.
As elephant-in-the-room NBA free agency factors go, this is one of the more memorable ones. In most situations like these, there are quiet rumblings about where a particular player may or may not want to go. But with the 26-year-old George, who grew up in the Southern California town of Palmdale and always saw the Lakers’ Kobe Bryant as his preeminent basketball idol, there’s a transparent reality about his dream of seeing his name in the Staples Center lights.
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SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: The Rockets say they respect, but don’t fear the Spurs … Orlando also has an eye on Kevin McHale … Doc Rivers says Clippers-Jazz series deserves a Game 7…Dwyane Wade will take his time to decide on next step … Bulls fans wasted no time passing judgment on new Chicago QB Mitch Trubisky … Free agent Paul Millsap will evaluate his options … Yessir, Kobe Bryant did copy those moves from Michael Jordan.