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News from and

News from and

  • The Timberwolves are reportedly looking to create a sign and trade deal to acquire Eric Bledsoe (Ball Don't Lie)

    Nearly three years ago, former Minnesota Timberwolves general manager David Kahn signed Kevin Love to just a four-year contract extension with an option for Love to opt out after three seasons. The move angered Love , despite the Minnesota front office’s protestations to the contrary, while pushing the working talking point that the team needed to preserve eventual cap space in order to sign point guard Ricky Rubio to a future contract extension. Now, with Love gone and the Timberwolves franchise working both a new front office and 10-year playoff drought, the Wolves are reportedly attempting to trade and sign for … a new point guard. Rubio, to date, has yet to receive that contract extension. Earlier on Friday, a local Phoenix sportscaster dropped this notice out of nowhere: NBA sources tell me the Twolves are prepared to offer Eric Bledsoe a Max contract #nba — Jude LaCava (@judefox10) September 19, 2014 Later on, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst revealed more : With just days before the start of training camp, the Minnesota Timberwolves are making a final push to acquire restricted free-agent guard Eric Bledsoe in a sign-and-trade with the Phoenix Suns, sources told The Wolves are offering Bledsoe the four-year, $63 million maximum-level contract that he has been seeking, sources said. Bledsoe and the Suns have been in a stalemate all summer after the team offered him a four-year, $48 million deal in July. This is a renewal of talks that have stretched over the past several months. The teams had discussions involving a Kevin Love trade that would involve Bledsoe but never made serious traction on a deal. So. The Wolves received a little payroll relief in trading Love, but because the prospects they received in return (Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett) were both top overall NBA draft picks, their rookie contracts are on the larger side of things and the Timberwolves are still over the cap. Minnesota was able to dump Alexey Shved and Luc Mbah a Moute in the deal, but they also took on Thaddeus Young’s two years and $19.3 million left on his contract. As a result, a sign and trade will have to take place in order for Minnesota to clear up enough cap space to bring Bledsoe in under those terms. And though Phoenix is in the same position as the Timberwolves as they stand outside the Western playoff bracket, it’s hard to believe that they’ll be terribly interested in some of the bigger contracts the Wolves would likely have to send back to match Bledsoe’s new salary. Kevin Martin would kind of work well as a Bledsoe replacement in coach Jeff Hornacek’s offense, but not at three years and over $22 million. Nikola Pekovic has his charms, but at four years and $48 million? Now, we’ve discussed the idea that Eric Bledsoe and Greg Monroe might be the first in the NBA’s recent line of uneasy restricted free agents that may carry over some enmity toward the teams that are holding them at arm’s length, and using restricted free agency to their benefit ( Monroe eventually signed for the qualifying offer ). It’s still true that the Suns have no reason to acquiesce to Bledsoe’s hopes for a max contract – both in basketball (he has his growing pains, and injury-filled past) and business (why bid against yourself?) terms. Eric Bledsoe’s pretty good, though. And there’s a good chance he’ll become pretty great. Bledsoe may be more than familiar with how restricted free agency works, but that doesn’t mean he can’t be angry with how the Suns are playing this out. Bledsoe’s value, because of the market and his restricted free agency, is more or less his $3.7 million qualifying offer that he and the Suns can agree on. His value in a vacuum, however, is far closer to that maximum offer he’s after. Weird setup, this. As if things weren’t confusing enough, the voice to listen to On All Things Minnesota-y and Timberwolves-y, Associated Press reporter Jon Krawczynski, dropped this after the similarly plugged-in Windhorst’s report : The Timberwolves are focused on getting a deal done with Rubio right now and not on Bledsoe according to my sources — Jon Krawczynski (@APkrawczynski) September 19, 2014 And then this : The Phoenix Suns have no interest in sign-and-trade discussions with the Minnesota Timberwolves involving restricted free-agent guard Eric Bledsoe , league sources told Yahoo Sports. The Suns would want an All-Star – or potential All-Star – in return for Bledsoe and had only considered Kevin Love in a possible sign-and-trade scenario with the Timberwolves, league sources told Yahoo Sports. Minnesota eventually traded Love to the Cleveland Cavaliers. So we’re just as confused in September as we were in July . Or even November . (Bledsoe, Rubio, Wiggins, Bennett, and Zach LaVine sounded pretty sweet for a while, though. At least we were able to count on that fantasy, in the interim.) - - - - - - - Kelly Dwyer is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter! Follow @KDonhoops

  • LeBron banner approved to hang in Cleveland (The Associated Press)

    CLEVELAND (AP) -- A larger-than-life LeBron James will again tower over downtown.

  • Healthy Nets tone down expectations, want to fly under radar in 2014-15 (Ball Don't Lie)

    Where's Brooklyn at? That was the question everyone in NBA circles was asking as Brooklyn stumbled out of the gate last season before righting the ship and advancing to the Eastern Conference semifinals — where it eventually lost to the Miami Heat. The Nets were supposed to be a legitimate title contender last season, going all in by trading for Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry — just one year after acquiring former Atlanta star Joe Johnson. Brooklyn was supposed to steal the thunder from its cross-town rivals after snatching the retiring Jason Kidd to come and coach the franchise that he was responsible for making a force more than a decade prior. Kidd faltered early, star after star became injured, and Brooklyn's massive dreams suddenly became a fruitless reality. This offseason looked to be shaping up to be somewhat similar to the tumultuous regular season that preceded it. Kidd bolted for Milwaukee, Pierce left for Washington, and the East got stronger. But as the attention shifted toward Cleveland and eyes focused on the ugliness and drama the NBA has been forced to endure in Atlanta, the Nets have quietly been getting healthy and ready for their first season under new head coach Lionel Hollins. Deron Williams underwent ankle surgery, Brook Lopez has been rehabbing the foot that has caused him to miss so much time in his young career, and Mason Plumlee has accelerated his learning process by spending the summer surrounded by stars en route to winning FIBA gold. Healthy and focused, these Nets know this season will be different, mainly because their marquee player will participate in training camp and the preseason. "It’s definitely different this year,” Williams said at his Celebrity Dodge Barrage event in Basketball City in New York. “I was in great shape last year, but I had to take a month off in the middle of September. There’s a big difference between being in shape and being in basketball shape. “I practiced one time, played nine minutes in a preseason game and was thrown into the fire at 60 or 70 percent.” Williams, entering his 10th season in the league, knows the pressure that is on him as the franchise player. The Nets gave Williams a max deal just before they moved from New Jersey to Brooklyn, but the All-Star has failed to meet expectations, which will be even higher as he is presumed to be healthy. “We’ve got to step up, myself included, leadership-wise,” Williams said. “I think having myself healthy and Brook [Lopez] healthy, that makes up for a lot right there. Just talk about missing Brook, that’s losing 20 points a night and a big man who can score on anybody in this league. [Putting him back in the lineup] changes things.” Williams and Lopez aren't the only stars Hollins is going to look to for leadership and meaningful contributions on the court. Hollins said he will turn to Garnett to play the kind of basketball that will surely have him ending up in the Hall of Fame when he eventually retires. Hollins expects the 38-year-old forward to start for Brooklyn, if he is healthy enough to. "There is nobody in the gym that I would put in his place," Hollins said. "He has earned the right to have that opportunity to be the starter from Day One. Somebody has to knock him out, it's got to be like a heavyweight fight. I don't really see that happening.” While it's hard to believe that a roster that has five former All-Stars and plays in the world’s largest media market can fly under the radar, Brooklyn hopes to – and the plan is use it to their advantage. “I think [not having the attention] is very good,” Nets forward Andrei Kirilenko said. “I think last year we had too much pressure from the outside. I think this year we have the chance to step back before the season and then make that jump.” Of course the Nets will have to once again go through a LeBron James-led team if it hopes to make that figurative jump – only this time it’s the Cavaliers and Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving standing alongside the four-time MVP. “Anytime you put those three guys on a team, I don’t care who they have with them, they’re going to be a good team,” Williams said. “They have a great supporting cast as well. They’re definitely going to be a force this year in the East.” Despite the toned down expectations from outside the organization and the shuffling of rosters around the conference, theoretically, the Nets figure to still be in contention for a top-four spot in the East. In addition to having Hollins, a coach who helped lead the Grizzlies to the Western Conference Finals in 2013, the Nets have a deeper roster and can lean on newly acquired Jarrett Jack to spell both Williams and Johnson, as well as Plumlee as an emerging star to help keep Lopez and Garnett’s minutes down in the frontcourt. “Health is the number one issue for this team going in,” Hollins said. “If [our players] are healthy and we can create continuity and create a foundation of a group playing together, then I think things will fall into place.”

  • Heat promote Fizdale, add Smart, Quinn to staff (The Associated Press)

    MIAMI (AP) -- The Miami Heat have promoted David Fizdale to assistant head coach, and hired Keith Smart and Chris Quinn as assistants on Erik Spoelstra's staff.

  • Atlanta mayor: Plenty of potential Hawks buyers (The Associated Press)

    The mayor has already heard from plenty of potential buyers for the Atlanta Hawks. Flanked by Hall of Famer Dominique Wilkins and other city leaders, Mayor Kasim Reed said Tuesday he expects the sale of the team to move briskly after racially charged comments by owner Bruce Levenson and general manager Danny Ferry. ''All six of those prospective buyers will have to go through a process to be vetted by the NBA.

  • James unveils new shoe before restart with Cavs (The Associated Press)

    LeBron James had some business to take care before rejoining the Cleveland Cavaliers for training camp. He was at Nike's corporate headquarters Tuesday for the unveiling of his new shoe, the LeBron 12. It is his first new shoe with Nike since he returned this summer to the Cavs. ''But I love it because it has my name and logo on it.'' The rollout comes less than two weeks before the four-time league MVP reports to training camp.

  • Atlanta mayor: Talked to 6 possible Hawks owners (The Associated Press)

    Mayor Kasim Reed said Tuesday he has already talked with six potential buyers of the Atlanta Hawks and expects a sale of the team to move quickly after racially charged comments by owner Bruce Levenson and general manager Danny Ferry. Flanked by Hall of Famer Dominique Wilkins and other city leaders, Reed said the crisis engulfing the NBA team would be solved ''the Atlanta way'' and predicted the franchise would come out stronger in the end. The Hawks have been under fire since it was revealed Levenson sent an email two years ago theorizing that many suburban whites would not attend NBA games because of the team's African-American fans.

  • LeBron banner could rise again in Cleveland (The Associated Press)

    A 10-story tall LeBron James could tower over downtown again. Sherwin-Williams Co. has asked the city for approval to hang a new banner of James on its headquarters across the street from Quicken Loans Arena, the Plain Dealer reported Tuesday. The banner is similar to the iconic one that was in place for years before being taken down after James signed with the Miami Heat in 2010. The city's planning commission released an image of the banner, which has a likeness of James, his arms outstretched and wearing a jersey that says ''Cleveland'' on the back, beneath a cloud of chalk dust, which he tossed into the air as part of his pregame ritual when he previously played for the Cavs.