This morning’s headlines:
- Reports: Cavs in pursuit of George
- Drexler corrects LeBron on ‘Big Three’ talk
- Turner ready to lead Pacers if George leaves
Reports: Cavs still pursuing George, remain active in trade market — The Cleveland Cavaliers have been in any number of talks for superstars since the end of The Finals, with their name linked to Paul George, Jimmy Butler and others. While acquiring Butler is off the table after his move to Minnesota on Draft night, the Cavs remain in pursuit of George. That’s the word from both ESPN.com’s Chris Haynes and Marc Stein as well as Cleveland.com’s Joe Vardon.
First, here’s Haynes and Stein on how Cleveland has been hotly in pursuit of George of late ...
The Cleveland Cavaliers continue to pursue a trade for Paul George and will be leading contenders for Carmelo Anthony’s services, should Anthony secure an offseason buyout from the New York Knicks, according to league sources.
Sources told ESPN that the Cavaliers engaged in serious three-way trade discussions leading up to the NBA draft on a deal that would have brought them George from the Indiana Pacers and landed Kevin Love, George’s fellow Eastern Conference All-Star, with the Denver Nuggets.
The Nuggets were recruited into the talks to furnish the Pacers with the combination of promising young players and draft picks that they are seeking before consenting to surrender George, whose agent, Aaron Mintz, informed Indiana management just over a week ago that George has no intention of staying with the club beyond the expiration of his current contract in June 2018.
The three teams could not agree to a final trade construction in time to complete a deal on draft night Thursday, but sources say the Cavaliers won’t abandon their trade pursuit of George, believing that acquiring the 27-year-old and George’s potentially winning a championship next season alongside LeBron James is the one scenario that could convince the two-way menace to abandon his well-chronicled desire to join the Los Angeles Lakers as soon as possible.
The Lakers, Houston Rockets, Boston Celtics and San Antonio Spurs are among the teams, sources say, that also pursued George trades aggressively in conjunction with the draft.
Sources say the Nuggets, meanwhile, have made upgrading at power forward one of their offseason priorities, which is why they covet Love.
In one version of the potential three-team swap, Faried would be Cleveland-bound, league sources told ESPN.
The Knicks’ inability to find a workable trade for Anthony — who possesses a full no-trade clause — and Chicago’s decision to trade Butler and start rebuilding around younger players has prompted speculation that both former All-Stars and close friends of James could end up on this summer’s open market.
Although no trade for George came to fruition last week, sources say that both the Rockets and the Lakers remain determined to keep pushing for their George deals.
And here’s Vardon on the George trade talk, which sounds less promising based on his reporting, as well as some other roster/team news …
One of the Cavaliers’ plans to pry Paul George away from the Indiana Pacers was to trade Kevin Love to the Denver Nuggets, sources confirmed to cleveland.com.
As first reported by ESPN, the Cavs engaged the Nuggets as a possible third team to facilitate a trade for the All-Star George on draft night, but a source said the discussion was “nothing serious” and “very unlikely” to happen now.
Essentially, Cleveland was trying several avenues to corral the mix of high draft pick and young players the Pacers wanted for George, who informed them he will become a free agent and leave after next season.
The Nuggets had the No. 13 pick in Thursday’s draft and traded it to Utah for Trey Lyles — obviously giving up on getting Love, at least for the time being.
The Cavs are still in discussions with Chauncey Billups to lead Cleveland’s front office after the departure of David Griffin. They’re also remaining active in the trade market, with a host of remaining front-office personnel, including Koby Altman, an assistant GM under Griffin, working the phones.
Drexler corrects LeBron on talk of Rockets as ‘Big Three’ — When Charles Barkley was traded to the Clyde Drexler/Hakeem Olajuwon-led Houston Rockets in 1996, they were thought of as a title contender. That trio never reached the NBA Finals together, but it hasn’t stopped LeBron James from citing them as a “Big Three” — something Drexler had to correct James on, writes ESPN.com:
Earlier this month on the “Road Trippin'” podcast, James pointed to the 2002-03 Los Angeles Lakers(Karl Malone, Gary Payton, Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant) and 1995-96 Rockets (Drexler, Charles Barkley, Hakeem Olajuwon) as the original superteams.
James was responding to Draymond Green’s declaration at the Golden State Warriors’ victory parade that James had “started the superteam” with the Miami Heat, a few days after James had said he never played on a superteam.
Drexler, in Brooklyn, New York, on Sunday for the beginning of the BIG3 League, where he is a coach, told ESPN’s Coley Harvey that the first superteams were the Boston Celtics of Bill Russell, John Havlicek, Bob Cousy and Sam Jones in the 1960s, the Lakers’ trio of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, James Worthyand Magic Johnson in the 1980s and their rival, the Celtics squad that included Larry Bird, Robert Parish, Cedric Maxwell, Kevin McHale and Dennis Johnson.
“You know, I love LeBron and anything he says is gold. But I’d really like to give you a different opinion,” Drexler told ESPN on Sunday. “The Big Three was Kareem, Worthy and Magic, way before Bird, Parish, Maxwell and McHale and D.J. Those great teams always had four, five great players. Not only three, they had four to five great players.
“The early Celtics from the ’60s with Bill Russell, Havlicek, Cousy and Sam Jones, that was the first Big Three. So it goes further back from that.”
Turner shares his thoughts on George trade rumors — The Indiana Pacers have one of the best young big men in the NBA in Myles Turner. They also have one of the top trade commodities on their roster in All-Star Paul George, who seems as good as gone this summer via a trade. Turner recently spoke with Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype.com about those George trade rumors and how he’s approaching them:
What was your reaction when you first heard that Paul George wants to leave Indiana?
Myles Turner: “The first thing I thought was, ‘Alright, well, what’s next?’ We have to start rebuilding and look at what we can do for our future. That was my initial thought. PG has to do what’s best for him and his family. He’s from L.A. so I feel like he’s always wanted to play with them. I think it was a childhood dream of his and you can’t take that personally. He’s been here in Indy for eight or nine years and done a great job here. If he wants to move onto other endeavors, you have to let him do what he wants to do. I don’t take it personally at all. He’s done great things here and I wish him all the best and good luck going forward.”
Have you talked to Paul since the report surfaced?
Myles Turner: “Not really. He was here for the celebrity softball game we do in Indiana and we talked a little bit, but not much about all of this stuff that’s going on. He’s obviously hearing enough about it and I didn’t want to be another guy in his ear about it. We just kept things casual.”
If Paul George does leave, you’re going to be the face of the franchise. Are you ready for that?
Myles Turner: “Without a doubt. I’ve had two years of experience and I know that’s not a whole lot, but with [what I’ve done] in that little sample size, I feel like I’m ready to take on more. I want to become a leader – why not start early? I’m really looking forward to our future. I feel like with the right pieces, we can go young and build for the future. And I’m ready to lead this young movement.”
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SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: Don’t forget that the NBA Awards show is tonight on TNT (9 ET) … New Orleans Pelicans big man DeMarcus Cousins has dropped a bunch of weight … Go behind the scenes as the Los Angeles Lakers prepared to draft Lonzo Ball … Watch Draymond Green name all 34 players taken before him in the 2012 Draft … The Atlanta Hawks have a lot of big decisions ahead to ponder …