Rumor Roundup: Cavaliers, Cook, Celtics

Sam Amico

Two days until the NBA trading deadline. Some of you can't wait. Some of you can't sleep. All of you can't be blamed, as the reports are swirling.

Let's take a look at the latest news, views and moves from around pro hoops:

Per Cavs’ exceptions expire; still seeking trades

">Amico Hoops: "The Cavaliers allowed $5.4 million in trade exceptions to expire Monday night when they could not find a suitable trade partner."

Per Cavs’ exceptions expire; still seeking trades

">Amico Hoops: "League sources told Amico Hoops that Portland, New York and Orlando were among the teams the Cavs spoke to about the exceptions, but could not find a deal that fit."

Per Cavs’ exceptions expire; still seeking trades

">Amico Hoops: "A team source said the Cavs are “aggressively” exploring the trade market before Thursday’s deadline, and that any free agency signings aren’t likely to take place until after the deadline passes."

Per "Cleveland general manager David Griffin and his staff searched for trades to fit in the $4.4 million exception created last season by dealing Anderson Varejao, but couldn't get anything done in time."

Per the Akron Beacon Journal: "As the second half of the season opens Thursday at home against the New York Knicks, LeBron James knows that health is the Cavs’ No. 1 issue, not his previously stated need for another playmaker." Per the Akron Beacon Journal: "J.R. Smith’s return is slated for late March, at the earliest. Kevin Love’s six-week recovery time would put him back March 21. How this is handled and how quickly the two can get back in the flow will be paramount." Per the Akron Beacon Journal: "Kyrie Irving said he will rely on the leadership of James and James Jones, who has been to six consecutive Finals with James, going forward. But those two can’t will the Cavs to mesh on the court." Canton Charge point guard Quinn Cook will work out for the Pelicans this week, per Amico Hoops sources. (Related post.) Cook attended training camp with the Pelicans. The Charge are the D-League affiliate of the Cavaliers, but Cook is not under contract and is free to sign with any NBA team. Free agent guards Mario Chalmers, Hollis Thompson and Reggie Williams will also work out for the Pelicans, per ESPN. Per Amico Hoops: "According to ESPN’s Ian Begley, the Minnesota Timberwolves have discussed the possibility of trading for Derrick Rose with the New York Knicks." Per Amico Hoops: "ESPN’s Brian Windhorst added later Monday night that the Knicks, Timberwolves and Detroit Pistons have discussed a three-team point guard swap that would send Rose to Minnesota, Ricky Rubio to Detroit, and Reggie Jackson to New York."

Per ESPN: "The Celtics have talked intermittently with the Clippers about Blake Griffin in recent weeks, per several league sources, but a deal is extremely unlikely. Griffin will be a free agent this summer, and Boston would probably need official permission to talk to him about his future -- a concession Minnesota allowed Cleveland before the Kevin Love trade. The Clips would ask for a bounty, starting with Jae Crowder and one of the Avery Bradley/Marcus Smart duo, plus picks, per league sources."

Per ESPN: "Indiana continues to reject any calls about Paul George, per several league sources."

Per ESPN: "The Clippers are still kicking the tires on everything, including their pipedream of snaring Carmelo Anthony from the Kazoos without giving up any of their core four guys."

Per ESPN: "The Clippers have called about almost every available small forward type, but no one is in a rush to take Jamal Crawford, Austin Rivers, and a distant first-round pick. That won't get them Wilson Chandler, and the Wiz threw their phones on the floor when the Clippers inquired about Otto Porter, per league sources."

The Jazz have "tested the market" for forward Derrick Favors, per ESPN.

Per ESPN: "Toronto and Washington are both eager to add another rotation player, per several league sources. The Raps roster is a little heavy on bigs after the Serge Ibaka deal, and they still have trade chips -- all their own picks, and some interesting young guys. They have the maximum 15 players under contract, but if necessary, they could waive Jared Sullinger to clear a roster spot."

Per ESPN: "Phoenix is taking calls on most of its veterans, with P.J. Tucker the best candidate to move, sources say."

Per the Chicago Sun-Times: "A source reiterated Monday that the Bulls have received numerous calls about Jimmy Butler, but they haven’t made any calls."

Per the Chicago Sun-Times: "That’s the same message they’ve relayed to Butler, who privately feels he won’t be moved unless “something crazy happens’’ between now and the deadline."

The Rockets are among the teams interested in available Nuggets small forward Wilson Chandler, per ESPN.

Per Hoops Rumors: "The Knicks surprisingly beat the Spurs last weekend in what could be Carmelo Anthony’s final home game as a member of the team. New York doesn’t have another game before the February 23 trade deadline and while the odds are against an Anthony trade, if he were to be moved, it wouldn’t be the most shocking trade to happen this week."

Per Jazz reportedly eyeing Lakers’ Williams

">Amico Hoops: "ESPN’s Ian Begley revealed Monday night the Utah Jazz have expressed interest in Lakers guard Lou Willams."

Per the Los Angeles Daily News: "Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak means Nick Young and especially Lou Williams, who have pre-cap explosion salaries (Sweet Lou makes $7 million, Swaggy P $5.4 million). If they can off-load either Timofey Mozgov or Luol Deng, so much the better."

Per the Los Angeles Daily News: "Like everyone else, the Lakers want draft picks with Magic Johnson recognizing that free agency has become much harder under the new rules when they no longer have all the money, glitz and cachet."

The Mavericks' approach to the trading deadline won't be impacted by Monday's big trade of DeMarcus Cousins to the Pelicans, per ESPN.

The trade of Cousins and Omri Casspi to the Pelicans for Buddy Hield and more is official, per the teams.

Per Pelicans GM Dell Demps: "This is an exciting time for Pelicans fans as we continue our quest for long-term success. I know our fans are equally excited to welcome DeMarcus and Omri to our great city."

The Kings have waived small forward Matt Barnes, per the team.

Per Amico Hoops: "So what's the next move for the Kings? It's hard to tell. But according to insiders league-wide, at least one more move is on the way."

Per Yahoo Sports: "Kings general manager Vlade Divac publicly pledged his allegiance to Cousins earlier this month, but internally, nobody believed him. The full-court press of Vivek Ranadive began before the season, league sources told The Vertical, and it was unrelenting."

Per Yahoo Sports: "The Kings didn’t get equal value for Cousins, but they never expected to either. Several teams, including Orlando and Boston, expressed nominal interest, while Sacramento’s efforts to extract Brandon Ingram from the Lakers were rejected. Cousins, rival executives say, is a bad investment, appealing only if the asking price was minimal."

Per Amico Hoops: "Former NBA guard Ben Gordon had a decent career and at nearly 34 years old, it’s not necessarily rocking chair time." Per Amico Hoops: "Those appear to be just two of the reasons Gordon is aiming for a comeback to the league." Former D-League guard Troy Huff (North Dakota) has parted ways with Liege of Belgium, per Amico Hoops. Former D-League draftee Walter Lemon Jr. (Bradley) has agreed to a contract with Rethymno Aegean of Greece, per Amico Hoops. Former NBA forward Esteban Batista has agreed to a deal with Italian club Umana Venezia, per Amico Hoops.

Cavs’ exceptions expire; still seeking trades

Sunday's News

Per "Kyrie Irving is with you. He thinks the All-Star Game has gotten too easy." Per "I think going forward, the All-Star experience will probably get a little harder in terms of defense," Irving said Sunday night. Per "Anthony Davis, the Pelicans' big man, the host All-Star, and, now the MVP, broke Wilt Chamberlain's 55-year-old record of 42 points in the All-Star Game...with 52 points. Russell Westbrook, who was ON DAVIS' TEAM, scored 41. In 20 minutes." Per Amico Hoops: "According to Joe Vardon of, the Cleveland Cavaliers hope to use a trade exception created by the deal that sent Anderson Varejao to Portland one year ago." Per Amico Hoops: "Vardon also revealed the Cavs 'have not ruled out' trading for Carmelo Anthony." Per Amico Hoops: "For the Cavs to pull off a trade with the Knicks, it’s likely a third team would have to be involved to make the salaries work." Per ESPN: "Sam Amico of AmicoHoops reports that the Minnesota Timberwolves have 'strong interest' in Iman Shumpert, according to multiple sources." Per Amico Hoops: "The New Orleans Pelicans have expressed an interest in point guard Quinn Cook of the Canton Charge and could sign him to a 10-day contract as early as this week, Western Conference sources told Amico Hoops." Per Amico Hoops: "The Charge are the D-League affiliate of the Cleveland Cavaliers, but the defending NBA champions are said not to be interested in Cook at this time." Per Yahoo Sports: "James’ run has been so unrelenting because he’s been responsible for assembling the only legitimate super teams in the East while also possessing the shape-shifting brilliance capable of compensating for any roster flaws." Per Yahoo Sports: "Ever since the Celtics ended his first stint in Cleveland in 2010, James has never been without a stellar supporting cast, going from Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh with the Heat to Irving and Kevin Love with the Cavaliers." Per Yahoo Sports: "We haven’t been healthy pretty much all season, but I feel, if I’m in the lineup, and I’m healthy and I’m feeling good, we’re going to have a chance," James said. "That’s the way I feel and that’s the way our guys feel as well. Because it motivates them, when someone goes out and they start doubting the guys on our team [who are] ready to go." Per Amico Hoops: "According to multiple reports, the Sacramento Kings have agreed to trade DeMarcus Cousins andOmri Casspi to the New Orleans Pelicans in exchange for Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans, Langston Galloway, a first-round pick in 2017, and a future second-round pick (via the Philadelphia 76ers). The Kings reportedly will waive Galloway after the deal is complete."

Per Amico Hoops: "It was a wild All-Star Sunday of trade rumors, as multiple teams, including the Los Angeles Lakers, were said to be in pursuit of Cousins, but in the end, the Pelicans presented the strongest offer."

Per ESPN: "The 2017 first-rounder going from New Orleans to Sacramento in the DeMarcus Cousins trade is top-3 protected, according to league sources."

Per Yahoo Sports: "As much as anything, Sacramento wanted to build a culture free of Cousins, and in the end, it changed course on committing a five-year, $209 million designated maximum contract extension to him this summer." Per ESPN: "New Orleans now seeking trade partner for forward Terrence Jones, league sources tell ESPN. Mutual decision on behalf of team, Jones' camp."

Per the New Orleans Times-Picayune: "Pelicans general manager Dell Demps had been actively trying to land a complement to Davis before Thursday's trade deadline. Demps also engaged the Philadelphia 76ers about acquiring forward Jahlil Okafor and the Brooklyn Nets about center Brook Lopez. ESPN reported Demps also had talks with the Indiana Pacers about All-Star small forward Paul George."

Per USA Today: "The scene afterward was surreal, with Kings officials informing Cousins of the development as he sat down to talk with reporters and Anthony Davis being asked about being paired with Cousins in his news conference."

Per USA Today: "He's a great player, dominant in this league, of course, with all the numbers he put up,” Davis said. “But I haven't heard anything. So I'm going to let the management, once again, do what they do, and when the time is right, they'll come talk to me about it. Of course, DeMarcus is an elite player in this league.”

Per USA Today: "This is a culture move for the Kings, who are extremely fond of Hield and who were desperate to replenish their depleted draft assets en route to another rebuild."

Per USA Today: "According to a person with knowledge of the situation, Cousins' mercurial ways played a major part in their decision."

Per ESPN: "The Kings told the Lakers that without Brandon Ingram, they weren't interested. Sources said talks didn't get much farther than that."

Per the Akron Beacon Journal: "The Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony, an injury replacement for the Cavs’ Kevin Love, refused to get into speculation about his future during his first All-Star interview on Saturday. The NBA trade deadline is Thursday at 3 p.m."

Per the Akron Beacon Journal: "Asked if he would be reinvigorated to be in a different uniform in the second half of the season, Anthony said, 'That’s like a setup question right there. I don’t know. It’s kind of hard at this point. I’ll have some time after the break to worry about that.'"

Per the New York Post: "According to a source who has spoken to Knicks officials, the odds are heavily against the team dealing Anthony by Thursday’s trade deadline. Anything that has been discussed probably has not been attractive enough, plus Anthony can block any deal that is not to Los Angeles, his preferred destination."

Per the New York Post: "The Knicks could still go in a rebuilding direction at the deadline with the expiring contracts of veteran point guards Derrick Rose and Brandon Jennings, who mysteriously sat out the last game prior to the break. Jennings’ contract is moveable at just $5 million."

Per Newsday: "Kyle Lowry is good friends with Carmelo Anthony, shares an agent with Kristaps Porzingis, and he will be a free agent this summer. But that doesn’t mean Lowry will consider the Knicks."

Per Newsday: "Lowry is very aware of how Anthony has been treated by team president Phil Jackson, and that could deter him from wanting to play for the Knicks."

Per the New York Post: "His trade kicker easily would make up for the lost money. Asked how important the no-trade clause was, Anthony said, 'I really didn’t come here to talk about my no-trade clause, [but] it was negotiated.'"

Per the New York Post: "His All-Star teammates were vocal in their support with Anthony missing Friday’s availability. Draymond Green said he’s 'pissed’' by Jackson’s treatment and DeMarcus Cousins called it 'disrespect.' Both played on Anthony’s U.S. Olympic Team in August."

Per the New York Post: "Of course, Green added he would 'try to destroy' Anthony if he wound up on the Clippers."

Following the trade for power forward Serge Ibaka, the Raptors are "aggressively pursuing a swingman," per the Racine Journal Times.

Per Sporting News: "League sources told SN this weekend that the Bulls are still very much uncertain of the direction they want to take this season. Rebuilding makes the most sense — the decision to sign veterans Rajon Rondo and Dwyane Wade last summer was a mistake — but the Bulls are still very much in position to make the playoffs in the East."

Per Sporting News: "Getting Jimmy Butler is not a simple notion for the Celtics, either. Boston president Danny Ainge has been scouring the league for a star player for three years now, and Butler has the makings of a perfect fit with the Celtics. He can handle the ball. He can score. He can defend."

Per Sporting News: "They can do that without Butler, instead trying to make a minor move for a contributor like Suns forward P.J. Tucker. Boston has expressed deep interest in Tucker ahead of the deadline, a source said."

Per Amico Hoops: "Mark Kiszla of the Denver Post wrote an interesting column on Saturday night, essentially making the case that the Nuggets would benefit from trading point guard Emmanuel Mudiay before the deadline."

Per Amico Hoops: "Kiszla cites the rise of rookie guard Jamal Murray as the biggest reason why the franchise could do without Mudiay for its long-term future."