More trade rumors from around the league (cont.)
The Nuggets and restricted free agent small forward Wilson Chandler are struggling to get a deal done, and his agent, Chris Luchey, said on Friday that the possibility remains that he head overseas until next season.
Chandler, who played in China during the lockout but was recently cleared by FIBA to return to the NBA, had until March 1 to sign an offer sheet with another team and force Denver to match. But since no offer sheets were signed and Nuggets GM Masai Ujiri has made it clear he will only sign Chandler to a long-term deal, the four-year veteran may decide to play in Italy and restart negotiations this summer when he would still be a restricted free agent.
Teams with cap space could then join the bidding and the question of whether the Nuggets would match wouldn't be so certain then as it was before. Luchey, who made it clear that the negotiations with Ujiri continue, said one offer sheet came in that was declined (he wouldn't specify which team).
In a roundabout way, Clippers center DeAndre Jordan deserves as much credit for the Jeremy Lin saga as anyone. Because Golden State was so determined to land the then-restricted free agent in early December, they waived Lin in order to clear more salary cap space and boost the offer.
Nearly three months later, Lin -- the second-year, undrafted pick out of Harvard who was also cut by Houston before landing in New York and sparking the Knicks' incredible turnaround -- may be the most marketable talent in the league, in part, because of his international appeal as an Asian-American phenom. And should Lin feel like cutting Jordan a check from a potential new contract to show his appreciation, you can bet it won't be returned.
"It's a great story," Jordan said recently. "And at the end of the day, I'm happy for that dude. So I mean, I know he's about to sign some new deals, so..."
"Pay up?" he was asked in jest
"Exactly," Jordan said.
For the Clippers' purposes, it was -- as coach Vinny Del Negro said -- the "smart move." But Blake Griffin's decision not to defend his All-Star slam dunk contest crown was seen as a negative by most everyone else, as the event was sorely lacking on star power and sizzle.
Between the Rising Stars Challenge and the All-Star Game itself, Griffin's schedule was plenty full and he opted to take a rare rest on Saturday night after making the long trip from Los Angeles to Orlando.
"I was able to just rest and see my family and chill, and I needed that," Griffin said once the weekend had come to an end. "Looking back on it, I'm so glad I did it that way, just because I wouldn't have had a chance to rest otherwise. It wasn't necessarily a no-brainer. I wanted to."
Griffin hadn't yet heard of LeBron James' idea, how the Miami star said he'd reconsider participating if there was a $1 million reward involved. And while he already said he'd like to take part again, he admitted the extra incentive wouldn't hurt.
"I'm not opposed to doing it again ... but [the $1 million] makes it a little bit more competitive," Griffin said. "Like I said, I think a lot of guys want to rest for All-Star weekend. That's two or three days you don't normally get. That's just one more thing to do. It's just one of those things."
Memo to NBA fans in the Orlando area: Find Gilbert Arenas at your local YMCA and get back to me with a scouting report, or even some YouTube material.
The 30-year-old guard who was amnestied by the Magic in mid-December continues to dominate the rec league ranks, informing me via text message that he scored 42 points on Thursday night -- in the fourth quarter alone. Arenas, who explained his situation at length in our recent interview, always envisioned a post-All-Star break return. The Lakers worked him out on Feb. 29 in Los Angeles and could still sign him. The trade deadline could be coming into play here, as teams likely want to preserve maximum flexibility until no more moves can be made.
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