NBA News and Rumors – Feb 19, 2010

Clippers clear the way for top free agent

This should get them moving

Suns don’t move Amare

Grizzlies trade 2011 draft pick to Utah for shooting guard Ronnie Brewer

Landry was the key to big Kings trade

Larry Riley, on status quo Warriors: Nothing out there made sense, wait ’til summer time
Clippers clear the way for top free agent

Ben Bolch

The Clippers’ pursuit of a top free agent this summer will involve dollars and sense.

They took care of the first part this week, shedding enough salary to put them within range of being able to extend a maximum contract offer to the likes of Cleveland’s LeBron James.

Now comes the harder part: convincing an elite player that the Clippers are the right fit. It could be a difficult sell, considering the franchise’s history of consistently missing the playoffs.

"You’d like to think that we have a shot, but you never know," center Chris Kaman said Thursday. "You don’t know what most guys are thinking. Do they want to come to the Clippers? Notoriously, we’ve struggled, but we have great pieces and we have great things to offer someone like that."

General Manager Mike Dunleavy ticked off several selling points, including ideal weather, a "fabulous" practice facility and what he called a strong group of core players in Kaman, Eric Gordon, Baron Davis, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan.

"It’s not like the odds are totally in your favor," Dunleavy said, "but I think the things we have to offer that most of the other teams involved don’t have is the nucleus to go into a situation and be able to really win at a high level. That’s going to be the biggest draw for us."

Money shouldn’t be an issue for the Clippers.,0,3141139.story

This should get them moving

Gary Washburn

It may take Nate Robinson 30 seconds, maybe a minute, to become a fan favorite at TD Garden. Boston fans adore players who maximize their talent and relish the dramatic and critical moments.

Robinson is fearless, from his days as a superstar at Rainier Beach High School, to dunking on Pac-10 opponents at the University of Washington (or getting the key interception in a victory over archrival Washington State), to swatting a shot from 7-foot-6-inch Yao Ming or 350-pound Shaquille O’Neal.

New York was a perfect locale for Robinson, but the Knicks put him on a raggedy stage for nearly four years. His teammates were uninspired. He received shoddy playing time, and his fearlessness was discouraged because sometimes it was wrapped in negligence.

Robinson, acquired yesterday in the deal that sent Eddie House, J.R. Giddens, and Bill Walker to New York, is the answer to the Celtics’ bench ills. He wants to play for a winner, wants to make an impact for free agency, and hopes to show that he’s more than a circus act for All-Star Saturday nights. Robinson is a standout NBA player who needed a chance, and Celtics president Danny Ainge was savvy enough to bring him to a more positive situation.

This is what should happen when Robinson joins his new teammates tonight in Portland: Doc Rivers should pull him aside, say that he realizes Robinson was heavily scrutinized in New York, and tell him to just play his game – under control. The Celtics have a system, and if Rasheed Wallace can conform to the structure, Robinson should be able to fall in line, too.

Suns don’t move Amare

Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver informed Amare Stoudemire on the eve of Thursday’s NBA trading deadline that he was unlikely to be traded after discussions with several teams.

The deadline indeed passed at 3 p.m. Thursday afternoon with Stoudemire still in Phoenix, but only after the Suns and Houston Rockets engaged in 11th-hour discussions, according to sources close to the situation.

One source told’s J.A. Adande that the Rockets — fresh off constructing a three-team blockbuster that sent Tracy McGrady to New York and landed Kevin Martin in Houston — offered veterans Shane Battier and Luis Scola, multiple draft picks and the expiring contract of Brian Cook for Stoudemire. But the source said Phoenix wanted to waive the requisite physical examinations for the players involved to make sure the trade went through in time, only for Houston to refuse because of Stoudemire’s injury history.

Yet another source with knowledge of the talks disputed that account, telling that the Suns initiated the conversation by asking for Battier, Scola and draft considerations, which Houston refused.

It was just the latest episode in the Suns’ on-again, off-again shopping of Stoudemire, who has been aggressively made available and then not traded in two successive Februarys.

"I am still a member of the Suns," Stoudemire said on his Web site. "I am with a great team and coaches.

"It was nice to have other teams and players want me to join their teams, but I am happy to stay in Phoenix. I appreciated all the Suns’ fans across the country who reached out to me and showed the love and support. Everything happens for a reason."’s Chad Ford — who reported earlier Thursday that an unspecified new suitor was making a late bid for Stoudemire — reported after the deadline that Sarver and Suns president Steve Kerr were scheduled to go to dinner Thursday night with Stoudemire and agent Happy Walters. The meal was planned as an attempt to start mending fences after Stoudemire was so openly shopped in potential deals with Cleveland, Miami and Philadelphia before the Houston scenario.

It was not immediately known if the sides intend to resume talks on a contract extension before Stoudemire has the chance in June to opt out of the final year of his contract or if Stoudemire is determined to leave at season’s end no matter what. The camps recently exchanged proposals on an extension during All-Star Weekend in Dallas but did not get close to an agreement.

Grizzlies trade 2011 draft pick to Utah for shooting guard Ronnie Brewer

The Grizzlies’ ailing bench hopes it can get some relief with the addition of Ronnie Brewer .

Memphis acquired the 6-7 swingman Thursday in a trade with the Utah Jazz in exchange for a protected 2011 first-round draft

Brewer left the Jazz in New Orleans and arrived in Memphis a few hours after the deal was consummated. The teams began trade discussions nearly a month ago but didn’t finalize the transaction until about five minutes before the NBA’s 2 p.m. CST deadline.

In Brewer, the Griz picked up a versatile guard-forward who can handle the ball, generate offense and defend. He is a proven player who will be a clear upgrade from the young, raw talent residing on the Grizzlies’ bench at the shooting guard and small forward positions.

"He’ll start out off the bench." coach Lionel Hollins said. "But he’ll get significant minutes. He’ll give us flexibility and versatility."

Brewer will be paid $2.7 million this season and will be a restricted free agent this summer. A qualifying offer would cost $3.7 million. But the Grizzlies, who have the right to match any offer sheet Brewer receives in free agency, intend to retain his services long term.


Landry was the key to big Kings trade

Sam Amick

New King Carl Landry is expected to arrive in Sacramento for a physical today, having flown in from Houston for what is typically a routine exercise in such instances. But when it comes to this trade and this player, it is everything.

With all due respect to former Rocket Joey Dorsey and former New York Knick Larry Hughes, Landry is the reason Kevin Martin was sent to the Rockets in a three-team, nine-player deal that was formalized Thursday.

He is the sort of impactful forward they had been seeking, undersized at 6-foot-9 but overachieving in every way during this, the best of his three seasons. He is averaging 16.1 points (54.7 percent shooting) and 5.5 rebounds off the bench.

Landry was the point of inspiration for Kings basketball president Geoff Petrie, who hid his willingness to move Martin from most league executives until the trading deadline’s 11th hour but jumped at the chance to land the gritty, athletic big man.

Yet Landry also might be a health risk.

Landry had an operation on his right knee in his senior season (2005-06) at Purdue that league executives continue to be wary of, even though he appears unaffected some four years later. It influenced his draft position in 2007, when he fell to the second round and was selected 31st overall by Seattle and traded to Houston on draft night.

It remained a sticking point a year later, when Landry’s contract negotiations with the Rockets lasted far longer than expected because of the differing opinions about the knee and how it should be examined as well as his market value because of it. He eventually signed a three-year, $9 million deal in which this is the last guaranteed season and next season is a team option.

Larry Riley, on status quo Warriors: Nothing out there made sense, wait ’til summer time

Not a lot to add to this transcript of Larry Riley’s media availability this afternoon, other than:

* A source confirmed that Memphis again tried to acquire Monta Ellis, offering a package centering around O.J. Mayo plus salary-filler. And again, the Warriors declined.

The first Memphis offer came at the start of the season, but the Grizzlies renewed their attempts recently before the just passed trade deadline.

* My understanding is that the Warriors’ final calls on Thursday morning involved trying to get into the Houston-NYK-Sacramento deal to possibly peel off Carl Landry–a rugged shooting PF–or maybe Jason Thompson.

There were also late calls to Utah, though I’m not sure the names involved.

If the Warriors were mainly offering Corey Maggette and/or Andris Biedrins, it’s easy to see why nothing got done.

-RILEY: Officially, we did not make a trade. We evaluated several things over the last few weeks. And I was never comfortable with anything that I tried to present, because I didn’t get the response on the other side. Nor was I comfortable with anything that was presented to me.

I just think that it’s a situation where we’ve got a few things happening with our team. Raja Bell is rejoining us. We will have that veteran influence that we like that he brings.

And what that really means is we’re going to play out the rest of this season and continue to evaluate the talent level that we have. And get into a position then to make some moves this summer.

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