Rumor Roundup: Cavs, Lakers, Cousins

It’s NBA All-Star Weekend, which means it’s time for a little rest, a little fun and even some basketball. Of course, it also means the trade talk heats up more than ever with the deadline less than a week away.

Let’s take a look at all the news, moves and views taking place around pro hoops:

Per the Akron Beacon Journal: “It hasn’t always been easy and oftentimes it has quite literally been painful for those involved, but the Cavaliers enter the All-Star break again on top of the Eastern Conference and the overwhelming favorites to return to the NBA Finals for what would be LeBron James’ seventh consecutive trip.”

Per the Akron Beacon Journal: “We’ve played some good ball,” James said following the Cavs’ win Wednesday over the Indiana Pacers. “Obviously, we know January wasn’t such a good month for us, but overall, for the season, we’re in a good place.”

Per the Akron Beacon Journal: “The Cavs have still struggled for long stretches defensively and they consistently fail to put teams away after building big leads, which in turn makes James’ minutes climb higher than necessary. They have plummeted to 20th in defensive rating and they’re 16th in defensive field-goal percentage.”

NBA insider Brian Windhorst discusses some of the Cavs’ options at the trade deadline in this ESPN podcast.

Per ESPN: “Since the start of the past season, including the regular season and playoffs, nearly 50 players have attempted at least 15 shots in the final minute of one-possession games. Kyrie Irving is the only one who has made more than half of his attempts (10-for-19).”

Per Cleveland.com: “Before Kevin Love was lost until April because of arthroscopic knee surgery, the Cavs’ game plan was to run the offense through him in the opening minutes to make sure Love received the confidence boost a strong first quarter provides.”

Per Cleveland.com: “With Irving, it’s as former baseball pitcher and philosopher Joaquin Andujar said: ‘There’s one word in America that says it all, and that word is, ‘You never know.’ Just because Irving starts cold does not mean he will stay that way.”

Per ESPN: “LeBron James outscored the Pacers’ Paul George 31-13 Wednesday night. James has outscored George in 31 of their 37 head-to-head meetings, including 17-of-19 postseason meetings. James did not allow a point to George as the primary defender Wednesday.”

Per the Toronto Star: “From Toronto’s Masai Ujiri saying ‘I still have my phone,’ to the Indiana Pacers being ‘open for business’ and LeBron James insisting on some sort of help for the Cavaliers, to the Boston Celtics looking for a game-changing star worth adding for the various impressive assets they have stored, to the bench-starved Washington Wizards linked to high-scoring ex-Raptor Lou Williams, almost every team of significance in the East seems willing to do some kind of deal.”

Per the Toronto Star: “League sources insist Toronto will not give away any more young assets such as Delon Wright, Jakob Poeltl, Lucas Nogueira, Pascal Siakam, Norm Powell or Fred VanVleet, but that doesn’t mean a package can’t be put together.”

Per the Toronto Star: “The Celtics have a good team verging on very good, but they lack a stud wing. If they can try to pry Jimmy Butler away from the Chicago Bulls, it’d be the game-changer in the conference.”

Per the Toronto Star: “The names being bandied about — maybe true, maybe not — include everyone from Carmelo Anthony of the Knicks to P.J. Tucker of the Suns and Miami’s Goran Dragic. Perhaps they are available, perhaps they are not, but it does feel like there’s more serious talk by more teams than usual this year.”

Per the Los Angeles Times: “As the NBA trade deadline approaches on February 23, the Lakers have their ears open.”

Per the Los Angeles Times: “We are active, yes,” General Manager Mitch Kupchak said. “We’re active every year. … Quite frankly compared to the last three or four years, we have a lot of talent on this roster that I think a lot of people have interest in — varying levels of interest. I would think there’s more meaningful discussions this year than there have been the last two or three years.”

Per the Los Angeles Times: “Kupchack and Jim Buss, the Lakers’ executive vice president of basketball operations, are scheduled to meet with Magic Johnson next week.”

Per the Los Angeles Times: “Veteran guards Nick Young and Lou Williams have frequently been the subject of trade speculation. The Lakers tried to trade Young last summer.”

Per ESPN: “DeMarcus Cousins says he intends to sign an extension with the Kings this summer, because he wants his ‘legacy to end in Sacramento” and his “jersey to be in the rafters in Sacramento.'”

Per ESPN: “Although his tenure in Sacramento has been marred by constant regime changes — Dave Joerger is the sixth coach he has played for in seven seasons — Cousins says he feels confident in the direction of the franchise going forward, or at least confident enough to sign an extension.”

Per the Dallas News: “Asked if his gut told him he would be back next week when the team reconvenes for practice on Wednesday, Andrew Bogut said: ‘That’s not a question for me to answer. But I don’t think anything’s going to happen.'”

Per Hoops Rumors: “Celtics GM Danny Ainge is not interested in a quick-fix deal and is driving a hard bargain when it comes to his best trade assets, he said during a radio interview posted by CSNNE.com.”

Per Hoops Rumors: “Ainge doesn’t want any ‘band aids’ for the final 25 regular-season games. ‘We’re trying to build something that’s a little more sustainable than we are to rent a player,’ he said. The Celtics have the ability to dangle some tantalizing draft picks, as well as young players, to acquire the ‘long-term’ impact player that he’s seeking.”

Per Amico Hoops: “According to Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Hawks are looking to make moves and improve their roster before the Feb. 23 trade deadline.”

Per Amico Hoops: “The Hawks have a deep pool of assets to include in trades, including the Nets’ 2017 second-round pick, the Heat’s second-round pick (protected 31-40) in 2017 or unprotected in 2018, the Timberwolves’ first-round pick (protected 1-14) for 2018, 2019 or 2020 or second-round picks in 2021 and 2022 if not conveyed as a first-rounder, the Cavaliers’ first-round pick (protected 1-10) in 2019, and the Wizards’ second-round pick in 2019.”

Per Newsday: “Charles Oakley doesn’t expect his feud with Knicks owner James Dolan to ever end, saying “some things can’t be solved.'”

Per Newsday: “And the former Knicks forward may have started a new feud of sorts with the NBA by saying commissioner Adam Silver’s meeting with Oakley and Dolan on Monday at the league office was an effort ‘to make themselves look good.'”

Per Newsday: “Oakley criticized his former teammates who have not yet spoken up on his behalf in the wake of the incident at the Knicks-Clippers game. He also declined to say whether he will pursue a lawsuit against Dolan or MSG.”

Per Amico Hoops: “Road wins should only count when they are against teams that aren’t run by bungling general managers who are giving away talented rim protectors like charity donations. What a sad, sad state of affairs at the Spectrum Center.”

Per Amico Hoops: “This weekend is All-Star Weekend, however, and that’s no time for gloominess or negativity. This is a time to celebrate! Sure the Hornets only win one meaningful road game per fiscal quarter these days. Sure the Hornets are only a couple games ahead of teams in the East that are likely trying to lose (see: Magic, Orlando; Sixers, Philadelphia). Sure they are paying Nic Batum more cash than guys like LaMarcus Aldridge, Blake Griffin, Paul George, Jimmy Butler, Kyrie Irving, Kawhi Leonard, Klay Thompson… well, you get the point.”

Bucks forward Jabari Parker is expected to be out a year following knee surgery, per The Vertical.

Kings guard Malachi Richardson will miss 4-6 weeks with a torn hamstring, per the team.

The Heat have assigned power forward Okaro White and small forward Marcus Georges-Hunt to the Sioux Falls Skyforce of the D-League, per The Step Back.

Former NBA forward Shane Battier has been hired as the Director of Basketball Development & Analytics for the Heat, per the team.

Former NBA big man Jeff Byers has agreed to a contract with Toyota Alvark of Japan, per multiple reports.

Former D-League draft pick David Logan (Indianapolis) has agreed to a deal with Scandone Avellino of Italy, per Amico Hoops.

Former Kansas guard Kevin Young has signed with Argentinian club Platense, per Amico Hoops.

Dribbles: All fun, and now All-Star Game, for Cavs