NBA PM: Clippers Reluctant to Deal Bledsoe
The Los Angeles Clippers’ search for a shooting guard doesn’t seem to be coming to an end anytime soon. The team has been looking for backcourt depth since Chauncey Billups’ season ended with an injury, but league sources have told HOOPSWORLD’s Eric Pincus that talented, young point guard Eric Bledsoe is not going to be dealt unless the team is blown away by a proposal.
As previously mentioned, league sources have told HOOPSWORLD’s Alex Kennedy that Portland Trail Blazers guard Jamal Crawford won’t pick up his option this summer. And since he’s on the verge of becoming a free agent, sources said he’s likely to be dealt before Thursday’s deadline.
However, the Clippers aren’t interested in a rental, which is why they’re reluctant to part with Bledsoe.
And why are the Clippers being so hesitant?
Well Bledsoe is the team’s only guard who’s signed beyond the 2012-2013 season. Mo Williams has a player option for 2012-2013, Chris Paul’s deal expires after that season and both Randy Foye and Billups are set to become a free agents after this season. And considering that Crawford is intent on becoming a free agent this summer (a good decision considering the dearth of shooting guards around the league) the Clippers aren’t willing to deal a prospect such as Bledsoe for a few months of Crawford.
Nets Interested in Diaw?
That’s a pretty misleading sub-headline. The truth is, the Nets are interested in acquiring an expiring contract in an effort to unload the remaining years of Jordan Farmar and Johan Petro’s contracts. Now, the two haven’t done anything to warrant being traded (they’ve been solid backups who have all too often been forced into starting roles because of injuries) but the real goal here—as always—is cap space.
If Farmar picks up his option—which isn’t really in doubt—the Nets would owe a combined $7.75 million to him and Petro next season. But if you could expunge those deals from the books, the Nets might not only be able to sign Deron Williams, but Dwight Howard and possibly another star as well. Sources have told HOOPSWORLD that a third star would greatly increase the chances of landing both Howard and Williams.
That’s why it wasn’t exactly a surprise to see Charlotte Observer reporter Rick Bonnell tweeting that he’d heard from “multiple sources” that the Nets have inquired about Diaw’s $9 million expiring deal.
The Nets have two first-round picks to work with (as long as the Rockets don’t end up in the lottery) and while those are valuable in themselves, multiple rookies would take up cap space. In other words, New Jersey’s front office could be motivated to trade the pick they received from Houston as part of last year’s Terrence Williams trade, although I’ve yet to hear that from any league sources.
Hill Returns to Houston in time for trade circus
Third-year big man Jordan Hill is returning to the Rockets rotation after a knee injury kept him out for nearly a month. The good news is that he moved well in the Rockets’ last two games, registering five rebounds and a block in 16 minutes between Saturday’s win in New Jersey and Sunday’s loss in Cleveland. He did pick up four fouls in seven minutes against the Cavaliers, but that sort of rust can be expected whenever you’re coming off an injury.
The more immediate concern might be the trade winds that are howling through Houston. Hill hasn’t been mentioned by name in any rumors, but as someone who was traded by the Knicks to create cap space leading into the Summer of LeBron in 2010, he knows he can be swept out of town simply to facilitate another deal.
“I definitely feel that people definitely have that in their head worrying about the trade talk if they’re going to be here the next day,” he told HOOPSWORLD. “The trade deadline is not here yet so you know we just feel we have to go out there and have fun and play until it’s time to go, but definitely after the trade deadline (our) focus (will be) on what we need to do to keep running (toward) the playoffs.”
Hill has enough to worry about without knee problems and trade rumors.
He entered the league as a power forward, but at 6-10, 235 pounds he’s been deemed big enough to handle center duties, which means he’s had to make some big changes to his game in the last year and a half. Hill doesn’t lack the confidence to defend centers—or anyone for that matter—but he does admit it takes some attention to detail.
“It’s just a mental thing,” he said. “Right now I feel like I can go out there and guard a 3-man or 2 man—just got to go out there and move your feet and work hard and stay active and stay mentally focused when you’re on your man. That’s what I been trying to do this season and it’s working out pretty good. But, you know, I still need a lot of work too.”
Hill’s numbers have been respectable so far this year (4.7 PPG, 4.7 RPG in 14.6 MPG), but he’s still struggling to take that next step. Thankfully, he has a coach in Kevin McHale who knows a thing or two about playing in the post.
“It’s been real good,” Hill said. “He’s a great mentor, a great, great player back in the day and you know I just want to go out there and have fun while I’m on the court. Coach, it’s definitely fun to play under him, so I just have to go out there and do what I have to do and have fun.”
If he stays with the Rockets as opposed to being dealt by Thursday’s deadline, Hill could have a chance to excel under McHale’s guidance. After all, power forward Luis Scola could be on his way out of town and center Samuel Dalembert’s contract isn’t guaranteed for next season.
Hill has 24 more regular season games to carve out a rotation spot for the playoffs and next season. And if he can do that, there’s no telling where he could go from there.
Ilyasova, Ellis named Players of the Week
Bucks forward Ersan Ilyasova and Warriors guard Monta Ellis were named the Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week respectively, which is interesting because both players could be traded by Thursday’s deadline.
Ilyasova helped push Milwaukee to a 3-1 stretch last week which included wins over Philadelphia and New York. He averaged 25 PPG while making 63.8% of his field goals, 66.7% of his 3-point attempts and 90% of his free throws. He also added 10.8 RPG, which is why he was able to register three double-doubles last week.
Ellis, meanwhile, helped Golden State to a 3-1 week by averaging 20.5 PPG, 7.5 APG and 2.0 SPG. He too made 66.7% of his 3-point attempts.
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