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Reports: Wizards trade for Ariza called off after misunderstanding

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Former NBA champion and valuable 3-and-D swingman Trevor Ariza was headed to Washington — until Phoenix and Memphis couldn’t agree on which Brooks would be dealt to the Suns.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Shams Charania of The Athletic originally reported that the Suns, Wizards and Grizzlies had agreed on a multi-team deal that would send Ariza to Washington, Austin Rivers to Phoenix and Kelly Oubre to Memphis.

Later Friday evening, however, confusion grew as to whether Phoenix would acquire Marshon Brooks or Dillon Brooks (both currently with the Grizzlies) as part of the deal. 

 

The uncertainty surrounding this particular detail, Wojnarowski reports, could ultimately unravel the trade if Memphis and Phoenix cannot arrive to an agreement on which Brooks is to be dealt to the Suns.

Dillon Brooks is a 22-year-old guard taken in the second round of the 2017 Draft. Marshon Brooks is 29-year-old swingman who has played just 66 NBA games since 2013-14. The former was apparently too valuable to trade, as Memphis reportedly killed the deal roughly one hour after it was originally as all but complete.

Ariza previously played in Washington for two seasons (2012-14), and it was there he blossomed as a 3-point shooting specialist. The former second-round pick teamed up with John Wall and Bradley Beal to help the Wizards advance to Game 6 of the Eastern Conference semifinals. After four years with Houston, Ariza signed a one-year deal with the young Suns during the 2018 offseason.

Phoenix, however, is dead-last in the West at 5-24 and in need of a point guard to play alongside Devin Booker. The Suns are a bottom-five team on both offense and defense while alternating between rookie point guards Elie Okobo and De’Anthony Melton.

Memphis, meanwhile, failed to acquire a versatile swingman at least for the time being. The 15th overall pick in 2015, Oubre is averaging a career-high 13.0 points per game, but will enter restricted free agency in 2019.



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Kyrie Irving says he called LeBron to apologize, discuss roles as leaders

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Kyrie Irving said Wednesday night he called LeBron James after last Saturday’s frustrating loss in Orlando to apologize for how he acted as a young player in Cleveland.

Irving said he had to apologize for “being that young player that wanted everything at his fingertips” and admitted he “should have kept it in house” when criticizing his younger teammates.

 

Irving was in a better mood after scoring 27 points to lead Boston past the Toronto Raptors, 117-108, on Wednesday night.

Returning after missing the last game with a bruised right leg, Irving scored 10 points and dished six of his career-high 18 assists in the fourth quarter – including passes to set up Boston’s last three baskets in a 17-4 closing run.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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Blogtable: Have Celtics entered crisis mode?

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Real or mirage: The Celtics are in danger of falling into the bottom half of the Eastern Conference bracket.

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Steve Aschburner: Real. There are five teams vying for the top four slots in the East. Boston’s embarrassment of riches in talented players won’t save them from slipping to the bottom of that pack if they don’t figure out how to put the good of the group first. Seeing as how the Celtics’ best player, Kyrie Irving, landed there because he essentially had that issue in Cleveland, it’s possible they don’t figure it out by the end of 82. I think they will and expect to see Philadelphia opening the playoffs on the road. But going seven games in the conference finals last season assures Boston of nothing.

Shaun Powell: Aren’t they already there, or close enough? What really matters is where the Celtics are come April. If they’re still looking up to the Pacers, for example, then there’s some issues here and this is no disrespect to Indiana. That’s not the ideal way to go into the playoffs — no home court advantage and a measure of doubt.

John Schuhmann: They’re already there! It’s definitely a surprise to see the Celtics in fifth place this late in the season. But with all the angst about roles and all the ups and downs with their offense, the Celtics have the league’s third best point differential, that of a team that’s 31-12 instead of 25-18. Part of that comes from four wins by 28 points or more (including one by 56) against the three worst teams in the East, but a good point differential is a good thing and the Celtics’ mediocre record (10-10) in games that were within five points in the last five minutes should improve over the second half of the season. Of course, the four Eastern Conference teams ahead of them in the standings are all really good, so there’s no guarantee that improvement from the Celtics will lead to a top-four seed. Boston, Indiana and Philadelphia all have similarly tough schedules going forward. (The Raptors have the easiest remaining schedule among the East’s top five.)

Sekou Smith: Mirage. Things are sticky right now in Boston. There is clearly a disconnect in that locker room right now that has to be remedied sooner rather than later. But I don’t think the Celtics are in danger of falling out of the playoff mix in the Eastern Conference. They are, however, already stumbling out of the position that should be non-negotiable, given all of the talent on the roster. The Celtics needing to chase the top four pack in the standings is an insult to the work Danny Ainge and Co. have done compiling talent and assets. The depth and versatility on the roster should have made this kind of slide impossible. But again, that disconnect in the locker room … now that’s no mirage. It’s as real as real gets.

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Blogtable: What does forecast look like for Cousins’ return?

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What’s a reasonable expectation for Warriors fans when DeMarcus Cousins finally joins the lineup?

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Steve Aschburner: Huffing, puffing and so much perspiration. And a learning curve for all involved that will last until the All-Star break. Incorporating an elite big man with an offensive game to attend to will take time, patience and some sacrifice. Draymond Green, Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant grace the biggest adjustments in minutes, touches and pecking order, respectively. As we head toward spring, though, they’ll figure it out and become, potentially, frightening.

Shaun Powell: Expectations for Warriors fans, who happened to be a bit spoiled? Around 25 points and 15 rebounds a night. Oh, wait: Realistic? I suspect the Warriors won’t throw much toward DeMarcus Cousins right away in terms of minutes and role; that will evolve over time, depending on how his body adjusts. Besides, they’re not exactly starving for his production. That said, he’ll be the best big man in the Steve Kerr era merely by suiting up. And if he can be the antidote for Nikola Jokic should the West come down to a Warriors-Nuggets showdown, then that’ll be good enough.

John Schuhmann: The primary hope has to be that he doesn’t disrupt things. The Warriors’ offense is on fire, having scored more than 128 points per 100 possessions as they’ve won seven of their last eight games. On Tuesday, the Nuggets, a top-10 defensive team, couldn’t keep up with the ball and player movement, which didn’t stop until the ball was going through the net. You have to think that the movement will be affected by the presence of Cousins, who’s a good passer, but not necessarily a good fit with how the Warriors move. On defense is where the Warriors actually need some help right now (they rank 16th on that end of the floor overall and 18th since Christmas), but will he be moving well enough to defend effectively? No matter what, it will be fascinating to watch.

Sekou Smith: Since when do the Warriors and “reasonable” go together? They jumped that shark after the 73-win season. But I’ll definitely play along here. The most reasonable expectation for the Warriors with Boogie Cousins in the fold is the same expectation we all had for them without that fifth All-Star in the starting lineup. The road to a championship goes through Oakland. Someone has to vanquish the champs to take what is theirs. Cousins could be the jolt to the system this Warriors team has been searching for to get them back on that otherworldly level they’ve played on in recent seasons. Steve Kerr has already made it clear that there will be no easing Boogie into the mix. If he’s starting in his debut, it’s pretty obvious the Warriors are going for broke right from the very start.

 

DeMarcus Cousins is excited to get back on to the floor.

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