Morning Shootaround

Shootaround (Aug. 16) -- Kristaps Porzingis reportedly 'part of future' with New York Knicks

This morning’s headlines:

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Report: Porzingis off limits in Irving trade talks — The trade talk surrounding Cleveland Cavaliers star guard Kyrie Irving isn’t going to die down anytime soon. The New York Knicks have been caught up in the Irving talk of late after a report circulated that the Cavs have eyes for Knicks phenom Kristaps Porzingis. But according to Steven Marcus and Mike Rose of Newsday, Porzingis’ name is off the table in any Irving trade talks:

The Knicks don’t appear interested in trading Kristaps Porzingis, including a possible deal for Cavaliers All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving, according to a league source.

ESPN reported on Tuesday that the Cavaliers may be preparing for a future without LeBron James and have Porzingis as a “primary” target in trade scenarios for Irving. The Cavaliers appear focused on getting back a young star in return for Irving, the report said.

“[Knicks president] Steve Mills and [Knicks general manager] Scott Perry on the record were very clear that Kristaps was part of the future,’’ the source said in reference to comments made last month by both executives. “In all the discussions since then — there were other rumors before that Cleveland would want Kristaps — and it didn’t seem that [the Knicks] were interested at all in a conversation.’’

ESPN reported that Porzingis, Celtics rookie Jayson Tatum, Suns rookie Josh Jackson and Nuggets guard Jamal Murray, who averaged 9.9 points per game in his rookie season, are among the players the Cavaliers have interest in.

A spokesperson at ASM Sports, which represents Porzingis, said, “It’s agency policy not to comment on possible trade scenarios.’’ Porzingis is in his native Latvia for the European Championship.

Porzingis skipped his exit meeting with the Knicks at the end of the season, but Mills said last month that he and Porzingis had spoken a few times this summer.

“Kristaps and I have a hectic texting relationship,” Mills said. “I continue to text Kristaps over the summer and he and I have spoken two or three times over the summer.”

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LeBron gets in pickup game with Anthony, Durant — Summertime is the perfect time for a little pickup basketball, no matter who you are. And in pick-up basketball circles, you go where the best game is at. Those ideas are true even for some of the best players in the NBA, as LeBron James recently flew to New York to get in some run with Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony. Chris Haynes of has more:

Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James took a private jet from Akron, Ohio, to New York on Tuesday morning to participate in high-profile pickup games that featured Carmelo Anthony of the New York Knicks and Kevin Durant of the Golden State Warriors, among others.

James played for approximately two hours, a source said. As soon as the game was over, he hopped on his jet and flew back to Ohio in order to attend his annual LeBron James Family Foundation function at Cedar Point amusement park.

“He just has a love for basketball,” a source close to James said, adding that the Cavs star plans to partake in some pickup games in Los Angeles in the near future.

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Kerr a fan of 2017-18 schedule — The NBA went out of its way to try and lighten the overall burden of the 82-game season when it released the 2017-18 schedule. While no league schedule is ever perfect, this one has been met with overall solid reviews from not only the media but also the coach of the defending NBA champs, Steve Kerr of the Golden State Warriors. Daniel Mano of The Mercury News has more:

Next season’s NBA schedule so delights Steve Kerr that he gave commissioner Adam Silver serious kudos.

The Warriors head coach praised Silver while on 95.7 The Game’s Damon Bruce Show on Monday.

“That’s the beauty of this schedule, is that the league and Adam Silver, they really listened to us,” Kerr told Bruce. “They listened to our thoughts and our concerns and our complaints. Obviously adding a week to the calendar of the season helped quite a bit.

“But I think the league went beyond that and really did a good job of making sure that the schedule just made more sense — taking the player’s health into consideration.”

Golden State has three fewer back-to-backs this season (from 17 to 14) and will not have a stretch of four games in five nights (one last season, NBA eliminated such stretches this season).

“I have zero complaints about our schedule and I think it’s really a tribute to the work that Adam and the league do with the players and the union to try to work together to put together the best possible product for our fans,” Kerr told Bruce. “Everything just checks out. … Nobody in the league has a single stretch of four games in five nights.”

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Report: Grizzlies to hire Prince for front office job — During his NBA career, Tayshaun Prince was a defense-first player who could provide a little scoring punch at times, too. His versatility will perhaps come into play as he is reportedly in line for an executive-type role with one of his former teams, the Memphis Grizzlies. Ronald Tillery of The Commercial Appeal has more:

Retired forward Tayshaun Prince will soon be named special assistant to Grizzlies general manager Chris Wallace, according to several NBA sources.

Prince is widely considered a big influence in NBA locker rooms and operated as a calming voice with Grizzlies players.

The Grizzlies believe Prince will bring a unique voice to front office decisions.

Before the 2014-15 season, Prince started 838 regular-season games since the beginning of the 2003-04 season with the Detroit Pistons. That was the second-most in the NBA, behind Cleveland’s LeBron James.

Prince always discussed his role as wide-ranging.

“It’s not the minutes you play, it’s what you can get done in the time you’re out there and the opportunities you have,” Prince told The Commercial Appeal in 2014. “Obviously, what I do on the floor, being versatile and defending multiple positions and doing things without scoring, requires minutes. But who knows what the minutes will be? It’s just having more of a chance offensively would be the only thing I’d say that would be a different scenario.”

Teammates echoed Prince’s sentiment.

“He’s a good friend and a great locker room guy,” swingman Tony Allen said. “He’s a class A-1 guy. He knows how things are supposed to be run. He’s a champion.”

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