NBA AM: Blazers Are Not Shopping Aldridge
Not Going Anywhere: There are some stories in the NBA that are so obvious they are almost not worth reporting, but because this one got out there, it is worth repeating: The Portland Trail Blazers are not shopping LaMarcus Aldridge.
The Oregonian’s Jason Quick recounted a recent encounter with an opposing team’s assistant coach suggesting that the Blazers might be open to dealing their best all-around player in LaMarcus Aldridge. Quick took the concept to Blazers’ GM Neil Olshey, who flatly denied any interest in moving any of the Blazers’ core pieces, although he acknowledged that with the trade deadline coming into focus teams have started calling looking for a deal.
“The players on our roster who are no-brainers,” Olshey said, “are not going anywhere.”
Olshey has been around the NBA long enough to know how the rumor mill works, and was clear that he wasn’t shopping Aldridge.
“Until you get enough phone calls for the message to get around the league that we are not breaking this up to rebuild, that we are building from where we are, (rumors) will probably still be out there,” Olshey said. “But clearly, trading a 27-year old All-Star like LaMarcus doesn’t get you better today.”
Olshey’s stance is that the Blazers will be built through the draft and free agency and likely not through major trades. Olshey wouldn’t rule out a deal, but said at this point he’s not sure what his non-core players would return in trade and that it was unlikely the Blazers would be buyers at the trade deadline.
“What people have to understand and be a little patient with is – if we are still learning what the value is with the majority of the players on our roster, then how do they have any assigned or perceived value around the league?” Olshey said. “Everything is what do I give/what do I get? At this point, we have a better idea of what we would give, but I don’t know what we would get back from other teams.”
The Trail Blazers are 14-13 so far on the season, which is good enough for eighth place in the West.
The Blazers are looking at roughly $18 million in possible cap space this summer, and have seen stellar play from rookie point guard Damian Lillard and from offseason signee Nic Batum. The Blazers are in the market for help at center and at shooting guard, but the odds that they address either need at the trade deadline seems low.
Confidence Is The Key: Hornets rookie Austin Rivers is having what most stats experts would say is an awful year. He’s shooting 34.9 percent from the field, 36 percent from NBA three and hitting on just 62.3 percent of his free throws. He has a PER (Player Efficiency Rating) of 6.74, which ranks him 28th among all rookies. Not exactly the stellar start Rivers or the Hornets were hoping for.
Rivers talked with HOOPSWORLD about his rookie season and the progressions he’s making on the floor and why he’s not letting the early season struggles get to him.
What To Do With DeMarcus Cousins?: The Sacramento Kings lifted their “indefinite suspension” of DeMarcus Cousins after just one day away from the team. While Cousins did practice with the team this week, whether or not he’ll play remains up in the air.
Cousins lost his cool with head coach Keith Smart during halftime of the Clippers game last Friday, in what teammates characterized as a profanity laced outburst that became “personal”.
Cousins has a long track record of behavior like this and its clear the Kings are growing frustrated with Cousins repeated unprofessionalism. However, sources close to the situation say that despite teams calling about Cousins availability the Kings don’t seem willing to entertain trading him. They don’t seem interested in playing him either, which could create an even more combustible situation in Sacramento.
Cousins is in his third season in the NBA, and during the NBA Draft process several teams flagged Cousins for maturity and behavioral issues. However, the Kings took the talent of Cousins over the obvious red flags other teams saw in their meetings and research on him.
One executive joked at the time that if the Kings could survive the “toddler years” of Cousins’ development as a person and a player they could end up with the best player in the 2010 Draft.
Cousins has shown himself to be an outstanding NBA player on the court, but continues to struggle with the emotional control that has been a part of his basketball career all the way back to AAU basketball.
One league executive who was asked about the Cousins situation this week said that he was unsure what kind of value the Kings could extract for Cousins as most teams competing for something would not risk taking on such a violate and disruptive player.
Cousins, for his part, says he does not want to be traded from Sacramento, but it’s clear that the Kings are at the end of the line with Cousins attitude and that a little “tough love” may be at work with the suspension and subsequent cloudy role going forward.
The Kings are 9-19 on the season and have lost seven of their last ten games, giving them the seventh worst record in the NBA.
Where is Royce White?: You’d have thought that the reporter asked Kevin McHale to solve an Algebra problem when asked about the status of Rockets’ rookie Royce White. McHale answered honestly that he just didn’t know.
“Good question,” McHale said to the Associated Press. “I don’t know. Royce has kind of been away from us.”
“He hasn’t been around. I haven’t seen him. As crazy as it sounds, you’re just kind of going with the guys who are there.”
White has been using Twitter to get his message out. The message is that despite reaching some protocols that would help him manage his mental health issues, that the Rockets and most importantly the Collective Bargaining Agreement won’t allow it, and hence why he is staying away from the team.
#AnxietyTroopers CLARIFICATION! The team DOCTORS approved/recommended the protocol, the TEAM did not... as weird as that may sound.— Royce White (@Highway_30) December 21, 2012
The Rockets for the most part have been trying to let the White story die down, however it’s clear as McHale stated, the team is moving on without him.
The NBA allows for the Rockets to fine Royce for missing games and practices at the rate of 1/110th of his owed salary, if they label his absence from the team a suspension, which the team has not done.
Rockets GM Daryl Morey has said numerous times that the situation with White is not a distraction and that the team is working with him to find a solution.
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NBA Chats: There are three NBA chats today starting with my weekly NBA Rumors Chat at 10:30am EST. Get your questions in now as the chats do fill up fast. Senior NBA writer Joel Brigham will host his weekly NBA Chat at 3:00pm EST. Joel covers the Central Division for HOOPSWORLD. Lang Greene re-scheduled his chat from yesterday to 8pm EST tonight, so drop in a question for Lang too. You can always find the next chat here: Upcoming NBA Chats. If you are looking for a completed chat, check the Chat Archive.