CLEVELAND — The word is out around the NBA. The Cavaliers want a veteran starter, a blue chipper on a rookie contract, and a first-round pick for Kyrie Irving. The Cavs are working diligently to make Irving happy (he wants to be traded) and get what they want for him in return. They’ve been in contact consistently with Irving’s camp as they field calls and offers from interested suitors, trying to cultivate an offer that makes sense. Among the scenarios under consideration, LeBron James worked out with a number of stars in Las Vegas this past week, among them Eric Bledsoe, the Phoenix Suns guard who’s been linked to numerous rumors as a possible target in a trade for Irving. Bledsoe is 27, never been an All-Star, and has endured three knee surgeries. But he is coming off the best of his seven seasons, averaging 21.1 points and 6.3 assists for the Suns and is a better defender than Irving (who has superior ball skills). It’s easy to brush off James’ workouts with Bledsoe — Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook, and Chris Paul were also there and James and Bledsoe share an agent — but Bledsoe would fit one of the Cavs’ requirements. The Suns also own Miami’s first-round pick, which is partially protected in 2018. That’d be the second box checked. Cleveland also wants Josh Jackson, a 6-8 rookie drafted fourth overall by the Suns in June. Phoenix reportedly doesn’t want to trade Jackson, and a source said the Suns told Devin Booker he would not be traded — which would seem to put a serious hamper in this potential trade. “If that deal (Bledsoe, Miami first rounder and Jackson) for Irving was there, it’d be done by now,” a league source with knowledge of the Cavs’ thinking told cleveland.com. The deal would be agreed to, perhaps, but not officially done. As a rookie, Jackson cannot be traded for 30 days after signing his contract — which he put his name to on July 3. That means the Suns couldn’t deal Jackson to anyone until later this week. The Cavs-Suns potential trade is just one being bandied about on talk shows and the Internet, as the basketball world dines on the delicious, offseason rumor meal of Irving wanting out and Cleveland trying to make it happen. The general manager attempting to make the trade on the Cavs’ side is new, 34-year-old Koby Altman. If it were his predecessor, David Griffin, orchestrating the trade, history tells us what the Cavs would ultimately end up with would be something almost no one saw coming. Perhaps that same history can be used as a guide to envision what kind of haul Altman ultimately pulls for Irving. “In terms of David Griffin, the biggest testament to him is he’s got us all ready for this,” Altman said Wednesday. “He was a tremendous leader for us and that’s what he did. That’s the best testament to him is he has all of us ready for this challenge.” Griffin, who departed from the Cavs June 19, left behind Altman, Mike Gansey (now the assistant GM), and Brock Aller (now senior director of basketball operations) as three men who worked in Griffin’s front office and are now running the show here. Trades can be complicated things in the NBA. What looks to us like one trade can often count as multiple transactions within the same deal as GMs like Griffin deftly navigated the league’s collective bargaining agreement to get the best returns. Taking the above caveat into consideration, Griffin essentially made four roster-changing, crucial deals in his three seasons as GM — each of which ended in the Finals. One was trading Andrew Wiggins (now a rumored target of the Cavs for Irving) to Minnesota for Kevin Love — that one was the exception to Griffin’s rule of multiplicity and general secrecy. The other three fit. In January of 2015, with the Cavs scuffling, Anderson Varejao out for the season and coach David Blatt flailing, Griffin knew he needed to deal. The Cavs’ interest in Timofey Mozgov in Denver was well known, but before Griffin could acquire him he first pulled off a three-team blockbuster cheap jerseys in which Dion Waiters was shipped to Oklahoma City and J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert came to Cleveland from the Knicks. Smith was the surprise in the deal because of his off-court issues, but in the meantime Griffin needed the first-round pick the Cavs received from Oklahoma City for Waiters to package in a deal with Denver for Mozgov. The following season, with the Cavs wanting to spread the floor when they went to their bench, Griffin with little prior fanfare traded with Orlando for Channing Frye. Cleveland could’ve had Frye straight up, but also wanted to move salary so it roped Portland into the deal, convincing the Blazers to take Anderson Varejao’s contract in return for a first-round pick. The Blazers sent a second rounder to the Magic. Last season, of course, with Smith out for three months because of a broken thumb and free-agent signee Mike Dunleavy not panning out, Griffin’s front office stunned the league by acquiring one of the greatest 3-point shooters in league history — Kyle Korver — in exchange for Dunleavy, the expiring contract of Mo Williams, a first-round pick, and cash. It is from that kind of depth which Altman may be operating as he attempts to move Irving. He may try to attach the expiring contract of Frye ($7.4 million) as well as Shumpert’s contract (two years, $21.3 million) to Irving-related moves. He could seek to use what he receives from one team for Irving to acquire a whole new set of assets from a third team. That’s what Griffin would’ve done. And it’s Griffin from whom Altman learned his craft.
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The moment of truth has arrived for Carmelo Anthony.Tuesday night, Anthony will be in a place he cherishes. Not Houston, but Baltimore, where he will host The Basketball Tournament — a month-long event that is down to its final four. Keeping a low profile lately, Anthony will be front and center Tuesday at Coppin State, watching a Syracuse alumni team face Overseas Elite in one semifinal. In the other, Ohio State alumni, which features Nets target Jared Sullinger, play Team Challenge ALS, a Boston College squad fighting to raise money to support alumnus Pete Frates who is suffering from Lou Gehrig’s disease. The Knicks’ 33-year-old recent recluse has yet to give an interview since the regular-season finale April 12, when he saw “the writing on the wall.’’ The indication was he knew the club wanted to rebuild without him. In the next few days, Anthony will have a chance to speak his piece. Phil Jackson is out as president, but the franchise’s strategy hasn’t changed much. A stalemate has ensued as sources indicate Anthony only wishes to waive his no-trade clause to go to the Rockets. Not even Cleveland, which is in turmoil, is good enough for Anthony as the Cavaliers are dealing with Kyrie Irving’s trade demand. The Knicks’ management tandem of Steve Mills-Scott Perry claim it won’t trade Anthony to Houston unless it cobbles together a solid deal that makes sense for the Knicks’ future. Nothing has materialized. In fact, a source told cheap nba jerseys authentic The Post the signing of veteran point guard Ramon Sessions partly was due to him connecting better with Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis than did Derrick Rose, who left for Cleveland via free agency. Anthony has also dealt with the very public separation from his wife, La La. All those issues swirl about as Anthony hosts The Basketball Tournament that concludes Thursday. Anthony also will attend a charity event Wednesday with Catherine Pugh, the mayor of Baltimore. The $2 million winner-take-all competition featuring former NBA and Division I players is in its fourth year. Anthony, ironically, engineered its move from New York to Baltimore for the semifinals and finals, which will be televised by ESPN. Anthony lived in Brooklyn until age 10 before moving to Baltimore. “After years of watching TBT, I decided to get involved,’’ Anthony stated in a release. “It’s a tournament for people to live out their basketball dreams and that’s exciting to me. I’m a believer in chasing after your dreams no matter what. And that’s what this tournament symbolizes to me. “Baltimore will always have a special place in my heart, and I’m excited to bring a tournament like this to this city. Basketball and Baltimore go hand in hand. The perfect match. A city that is all about determination. A city that helped build me.” The nearby Wizards would seem an attractive destination for Anthony, but they just matched an offer sheet to small forward Otto Porter Jr. (four years, $106 million). The Post has reported the Knicks want Anthony to expand his wish list and Oklahoma City and Portland reportedly are interested. Hooking up with his buddies Chris Paul and James Harden in Houston has become Anthony’s priority. Even the prospect of playing again for former Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni has not deterred Anthony, who rebelled against his speed-ball offense and reliance on Jeremy Lin, leading to the coach’s resignation in 2012. Dan D’Antoni, the former Knicks assistant, told The Post on Monday his brother will be able to move on from the rancor in New York. “There were a lot of things that went wrong, but Carmelo is a heckuva player,’’ Dan D’Antoni said. “All I’m saying is Mike’s a good person. He understands people change, things change. Two things you can’t deny: Mike’s a helluva coach. Carmelo is a very good player. If those two see eye-to-eye, Mike and I are always optimistic things are meant to be. The next day is going to be better than the day before.” The Rockets dangled Ryan Anderson’s contract in multi-team packages but found no takers. General manager Daryl Morey stockpiled a handful of non-guaranteed pacts to apply to an Anthony trade for mathematical purposes but Sunday released one of those players, Jarrod Uthoff, who had $200,000 due this week if he remained on the roster. Shawn Long, Tim Quarterman and Isaiah Taylor are still non-guaranteed chips on Houston’s roster. Anthony can only hope those guys will be on the move soon.
Anthony Davis has emerged as a two-way force during his three seasons in New Orleans, rightfully wearing the mantle as the NBA’s next generational star. The New Orleans Pelicans are understandably preparing to pay him like it.Marc Stein of ESPN.com reported the Pelicans will offer Davis a five-year contract extension in July, which could exceed $140 million. The actual terms of Davis’ contract will depend on how high the salary cap rises in 2016-17, the first year of the NBA’s new television deal. Current projections have the cap in 2016-17 at $89 million, a jump of roughly $22 million ($21.9 million) from 2015-16, per Jonathan Givony of Draft Express. Davis commented on the possibility of signing a max deal, per John Reid of NOLA.com. “It’s a business, so whether this July or next July or the Julys down the road, it’s going to come up,” he said. “When that time comes, you are going have to deal with it and make tough decisions.” Davis, who fans voted as an All-Star Game starter in February, will almost certainly be eligible for the so-called “Derrick Rose Rule.” Under a provision of the NBA’s current wholesale nba jerseys collective bargaining agreement, players are eligible to make 30 percent of their team’s salary cap when signing an extension if they reach certain performance benchmarks. Players on their rookie contracts who do not reach the parameters are capped at a maximum of 25 percent. Davis averaged 24.4 points, 10.2 rebounds and 2.9 blocks per game while leading the Pelicans to their first playoff berth in four seasons. His 30.81 player efficiency rating from this season is the 11th-highest mark in NBA history, per Basketball-Reference.com. With Davis improving by leaps and bounds, it’s not a shock that the Pelicans will do everything possible to keep the budding superstar with the franchise. It’s ultimately up to Davis, however, whether he wants to sign a five-year deal with New Orleans or potentially pursue a shorter contract instead.
CHICAGO — Milwaukee Bucks forward Jabari Parker is pumping the positivity as he recovers from another torn ACL in his left knee, the second time he has suffered the injury in three seasons.“I feel great,” Parker told ESPN.com during a promotional appearance in Chicago on Thursday. “I tell myself every day I couldn’t be in a better situation because it’s going to make me a great man at the end of the day. It’s going to make me mentally tough and it’s going to help me for the future.” Parker, 22, initially tore his ACL in December 2014 and is in what cheap nba jerseys authentic figures to be a yearlong rehab process after reinjuring the knee in early February last season. He does not have a return date in mind. “As of right now, the way I treat my body, it doesn’t have a date,” he said. “I can give you a little piece of information: I’m not the average person with this injury. Obviously I had it once, but I’ve done stuff so far that’s exciting. But most importantly, I want to be able to jump as high, jump higher than I was, be faster than I was. That’s the only way I’ll play again.” Parker says the mental part of the rehabilitation is more difficult than the physical part. “It’s definitely mental,” he said. “Especially if it happens to you more than once. “But actually, me getting hurt the second time has helped me embrace [rehab and recovery] stronger than I did the first one. It gave me that mentality [of] I don’t give a f— no more. Excuse my language, but I just don’t. If it happens [again], it happens. But I’m not going to let that hold me back. And if it happens again, I’m just going to do the same stuff I was before.” Parker, the second overall pick in the 2014 draft, acknowledged that there was a brief moment when he couldn’t believe the injury occurred again. “For two seconds,” he said. “When I heard the news. When I read over my MRI with the doctor. Two seconds. After that, I was just like, get back to work.” Parker, who won four high school state titles at Simeon Career Academy in Chicago, said he has taken some motivation from watching former NBA MVP and fellow Simeon alum Derrick Rose. The freshly minted Cleveland Cavaliers guard has made his way back from several serious knee injuries of his own. “He had a great year with the Knicks,” Parker said. “People who know basketball and appreciate him, they give him some type of respect, and that’s just what I want. I don’t have that career that I wanted so far, but what stands out is the respect that I’ll have from overcoming my obstacles.”
INDEPENDENCE, Ohio — Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert and new general manager Koby Altman called Kyrie Irving’s reported trade request to the team’s brass several weeks ago a “fluid” situation and would not say cheap jerseys China if they indeed plan to deal the four-time All-Star.“He’s a core piece of what we’ve done,” Gilbert said at Altman’s introductory news conference Wednesday. “Kyrie is a tremendous player. He has made great contributions to this franchise, and we enjoy him as a player and we’re going to keep this stuff in house in terms of what was said in those meetings, but he continues to be a core piece of who we are and what we do.” Gilbert and Altman would not even confirm that the trade request occurred, even though it has been widely reported since ESPN’s Brian Windhorst broke the news Friday. When pressed if Irving still would be with the team when training camp for the 2017-18 season opens Sept. 25, Gilbert made it sound like Cleveland plans to hold on to the point guard it drafted with the No. 1 pick in 2011. “Right now, Kyrie Irving is under contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers for two or three years, depending on the last year,” Gilbert said, referring to the point guard’s player option for 2019-20. “As of now, he’s one of our best players, and sure, we expect him to be in camp.” Whether it was denial on the part of the Cavs’ decision-makers or simply an optimistic outlook that the relationship between LeBron James and Irving can be salvaged at this point — despite reports of Irving’s desire to grow outside the four-time MVP’s overbearing shadow — they did not reject the notion of James and Irving playing together next season. “I think a lot of it has been overblown,” Altman said. “I think the people who are in this building every day haven’t seen any of that animosity. This is, along with Kevin Love, this is a group that got us to three straight Finals and won an NBA championship together. They play great together on the floor, and a lot of that I do think is overblown. We haven’t seen a lot of that ‘animosity’ that’s been out there in the media.” Multiple Cavs players have told ESPN they are hopeful that there is a reconciliation of sorts between James and Irving this summer and the team stays together as currently constructed. Gilbert, who again only would confirm that “several scenarios” were discussed between him, Irving and Irving’s agent, Jeff Wechsler, on July 7, might have unintentionally confirmed the trade request by comparing Irving to Kobe Bryant. “I think you also have to look at history sometimes,” Gilbert said. “The other Kobe, not this Koby, Kobe Bryant, I think there was a time [in the summer of 2007] he was calling radio stations and saying he was demanding to be traded and won two or three championships after that point. Things happen and you never know. I’m not saying that happens here. The possibilities of what will happen is wide, and it’s not just one path or one track.” One thing Gilbert would say definitively is that he has confidence in the state of his franchise, despite the past six weeks that have seen the Cavs lose the Finals to the Golden State Warriors in five games; part ways with general manager David Griffin; fail to land Chauncey Billups after courting him for a front-office position; have a trade with the Indiana Pacers for Paul George fall apart at the finish line; and now have to deal with the Irving quandary. “I believe we’re going to be competing for championships for a long period of time,” Gilbert said. “I really do. And especially this year coming up. And we’re not done yet. We’re not done yet.” The question hanging over the Cavs, however, is when will James be done with them? The superstar forward can opt out of his contract to become a free agent next summer. Gilbert and Altman painted James as a happy camper. “LeBron has been as helpful as he’s ever been,” Gilbert said. “He’s active and helped with Derrick Rose, and that’s why Derrick Rose has signed here; and he’s been active, he’s been responsive. “That hunger is as strong as I’ve ever seen.” And Altman expressed confidence that the man he deems the “best player in the world” will remain on board with the Cavs. “LeBron remains deeply committed to this organization,” Altman said. “He remains deeply committed to this team and deeply committed to this city. He has deep roots to this city. And it means a lot to him to be here and compete for championships for years to come. That’s his goal, and so we have shared goals. We have a shared vision.”