Tuesday's roundup: Billups reportedly in talks to join Cavaliers

Detroit News wire services, DetroitNews
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Cleveland — A person familiar with the talks says Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert met with former Pistons star Chauncey Billups about a position in Cleveland’s front office.

The meeting took place on Tuesday in Detroit, said the person who spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the negotiations. Gilbert is looking for a general manager after parting ways with David Griffin on Monday as the Cavs regrouped after losing to Golden State in the NBA Finals.

Multiple media outlets reported the meeting between Gilbert and Billups.

Gilbert has known Billups since his days with the Pistons.

A five-time All-Star, Billups does not have any front-office experience, so it’s more likely he could fill an executive role to work alongside a new GM. Billups, who has been working as a TV analyst, is also close with Cavs coach Tyronn Lue.

Griffin guided the Cavs to three straight Finals, but he and Gilbert couldn’t agree on the team’s direction.

Sources: Russell dealt

Three people with knowledge of the deal say the Los Angeles Lakers have agreed to trade point guard D’Angelo Russell and high-priced center Timofey Mozgov to the Brooklyn Nets for big man Brook Lopez and the 27th overall pick in the upcoming draft.

The people spoke to AP on condition of anonymity because the trade hadn’t been consummated.

The Lakers’ new front office led by Magic Johnson has boldly decided to give up on Russell, the No. 2 pick in the 2015 draft, after just two years. He averaged 15.6 points and 4.8 assists last season while Los Angeles struggled to its fourth consecutive losing record.

The deal all but confirms Los Angeles will select UCLA point guard Lonzo Ball with the second overall pick in the NBA Draft on Thursday, adding the gifted playmaker to run coach Luke Walton’s up-tempo offense.

The Lakers also appear to be sacrificing Russell to clear the salary cap space eaten up by the final three seasons of the four-year, $64 million contract given to Mozgov by the previous front office.

Although Mozgov performed reasonably well when given the chance last season, averaging 7.4 points and 4.9 rebounds, the 7-foot-1 Russian didn’t appear to fit into Walton’s Golden State-influenced schemes.

Mozgov and forward Luol Deng both got exorbitant free-agent deals from general manager Mitch Kupchak and decision-maker Jim Buss last July. Both were dismissed in February by owner Jeanie Buss, who hired Magic and general manager Rob Pelinka to return the 16-time champions to contention.

Yahoo! Sports first reported the deal.

If the Lakers continue to create salary cap room with other moves, they could be an attractive landing spot for free agents next season with the flexibility to offer two enormous contracts — perhaps even maximum deals. Although the moves likely would require further abandonment of their rebuild around youth, Los Angeles also would still have wing scorer Brandon Ingram and Ball, the last two No. 2 picks in the draft.

Slam dunks

A person with knowledge of the situation tells the Associated press that Pau Gasol will not exercise $16 million option on his contract for next year, but intends to sign a new deal with the Spurs when free agency opens in July.

... Dwyane Wade has told the Bulls he plans to exercise his $23.8 million option to return next season, the Chicago Tribune reports, citing two sources.

... The NBA Development League will now be known as the “NBA G League” under a rebranding that went into effect to coincide with draft week through a partnership with Gatorade.

... The Timberwolves waived center Nikola Pekovic, whose troublesome right foot limited a once-promising career to 271 games with the team over seven seasons. He has one season remaining on a five-year, $60 million contract.

... The Magic and Walt Disney World have reached an agreement to have the Disney logo appear on Magic players’ game jerseys. As part of the NBA’s pilot program testing ads on jerseys, the Disney name will appear on a rectangular patch on the front upper-left area of Magic jerseys beginning with the 2017-18 NBA season.

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