Lots of news, views and possible moves from around pro hoops. Let's get right to it.
Per the Akron Beacon Journal: "Following this loss to the Pelicans, on a night All-Star Anthony Davis sat with a leg injury, LeBron James’ message grew louder and more powerful. The Cavs have lost five of seven with him in the lineup for the first time since he returned to Cleveland. Now he’s roaring loud enough for everyone to hear." (Full report.)
James to reporters, via the Akron Beacon Journal: "We’re not better than last year, from a personnel standpoint … we’re a top-heavy team,” James said, adding a few minutes later, “I just hope that we’re not satisfied as an organization. I just hope we not satisfied. How hard it was to do that s---. I just hope we’re not satisfied.” (Full report.)
Per the Akron Beacon Journal: "Tyronn Lue has been piecing together his rotation ever since, trying to bring along second-round pick Kay Felder slowly at times. But James made clear Monday he doesn’t believe Felder or DeAndre Liggins, both untested to this point, can be counted on in the postseason." (Full report.)
Per the Akron Beacon Journal: "James mentioned Raymond Felton as a guy who signed for the league minimum with the Clippers in July. He mentioned Michael Beasley as someone who signed with the Houston Rockets for the league minimum last March after playing in China. He was traded to the Bucks prior to this season. He also mentioned Dahntay Jones, who was on the Cavs for last year’s championship run and who he said is 'sitting at home' right now." (Full report.)
Per Amico Hoops: "Overall, the Cavs (30-13) have simply been too soft lately. Hate to say it, but they really miss former point guard Matthew Dellavedova and his defense and grit off the bench. They get that from pretty much no one right now." (Full report.)
Per the Akron Beacon Journal: "James is averaging more than 37 minutes per game, but that number should soon start to decrease. That’s the plan, at least. Lue said previously James wanted to keep his minutes high until near the All-Star break before tapering back for the rest of the regular season." (Full report.)
Per Amico Hoops: "This technical was different. Lue got it in the first half, his Cavaliers team sleepwalking and watching the Anthony Davis-less Pelicans march to a 70-50 advantage at the intermission." (Full report.)
Per the New York Post: Nets GM Sean Marks insists the latest setback with Jeremy Lin won't change the grand plan, or make Marks more apt to move Brook Lopez before the trading deadline.
Magic GM Rob Hennigan, via the Orlando Sentinel: "We have to go into the trade deadline looking to improve the team by any means necessary. So we’re not in a position with our team right now to not explore and listen to any ideas or concepts that come our way or that we inquire about. So the goal’s to improve the team any way we can." (Full report.)
The Nuggets have claimed Mo Williams off waivers, per ESPN. Williams is expected to be immediately waived.
Per the Atlanta Journal-Constitution: "The Hawks will replace the Magic in operating the Erie (Pa.) BayHawks beginning with the 2017-18 season. The deal would not interfere with the timeline for the Hawks’ planned franchise in College Park that will begin operating for the 2019-20 season." (Full report.)
Per Grizzlies.com: "The Grizzlies have acquired an expansion NBA-Development League franchise they will own and operate in the Mid-South, multiple league sources confirmed Monday. The yet-to-be-named affiliate is scheduled to launch for the 2017-18 season and will play its 24-game home schedule at the Landers Center in Southaven, Mississippi." (Full report.)
Per NBA.com: "An announcement on expansion could come within weeks, before the NBA All-Star game Feb. 19 in New Orleans. Two of the new operations are close to being finalized to serve as direct affiliates for NBA franchises, with the possibility of a third addition that would bring the D-League to 25 teams." (Full report.)
Former D-League forward Michael Cobbins (Oklahoma State) has agreed to a contract with Wurzburg of Germany, per Amico Hoops.
Former D-League forward Greg Mays (Green Bay) has agreed to a deal with Rotterdam of Holland, per Amico Hoops.
Former Xavier forward Jalen Reynolds has agreed to a contract with Italian club Grissin Bon Reggio Emilia, per Amico Hoops.
Per ESPN: "Hard to believe that Kevin Love got a championship ring in Cleveland before he managed an All-Star berth with the Cavs. But it's true: This will be Love's first appearance on the East squad after conference coaches bypassed him the past two winters." (Full report.)
The Bulls and Knicks have a strong interest in available Timberwolves point guard Ricky Rubio, per multiple sources.
Per the Chicago Sun-Times: "According to multiple sources, the Bulls have been shopping guard Rajon Rondo and forward Nikola Mirotic in hopes of bolstering the roster and making a second-half run in the wide-open Eastern Conference." (Full report.)
Per Forbes.com: "Chicago seems to be in a state of limbo in regards to the trade season as there have been reports on the possible departures of Jimmy Butler and Dwyane Wade in the past few weeks." (Full report.)
Per Forbes.com: "One thing is clear, the Heat are, at the very least, picking up the phone for teams interested in talking about Dragic. I wouldn't put this rumor to rest just yet, as it still remains likely that the Heat deal Dragic by the deadline." (Full report.)
Per the New York Post: "Of course, you could say that about a lot of moves during Phil Jackson’s tenure with the Knicks. And that’s why it might be best for both parties if the organization can trade Anthony and get enough in return to start rebuilding." (Full report.)
Spurs point guard Tony Parker will skip the rest of the team's four-game road swing to return home for an MRI on his ankle, per the San Antonio Express-News.
Kings small forward Rudy Gay will undergo surgery Monday on his ruptured Achilles tendon, per the team.
Per the Akron Beacon Journal: "He’ll turn 32 in a few days and he’s playing in another new country for the first time, but Dru Joyce III is responding with his best season in basketball." (Full report.)
Per the Akron Beacon Journal: "Joyce, the former St. Vincent-St. Mary and University of Akron standout, left Germany after last season as the country’s all-time assists leader. He fired his German-based agent and joined Klutch Sports Management-World Division, signed a one-year contract with Tsmoki-Minsk last summer and moved up to the VTB United League in Russia. (Full report.)
Here are the latest D-League assignments and recalls, per Hoops Rumors.
Former D-League guard Trey Davis (Massachusetts, Canton Charge) has agreed to a deal with Sigal Prishtina of Kosovo, per Amico Hoops.
Undrafted guard D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera (Georgetown) has signed with Greek club Koroivos, per Amico Hoops.
Undrafted guard Melvin Johnson (VCU) has agreed to a contract with Italian club Unieuro Forli, per Amico Hoops.