Blake/Outlaw for Haywood swap rumored

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nba_haywood_small.jpgAccording to, the Blazers may be interested in shoring up their depleted frontline by swapping Steve Blake and Travis Outlaw to the Wizards for center Brendan Haywood. 

Blake, Outlaw, and Haywood all have expiring deals, which would make this a fairly low-risk move for both franchises. Blake has been underwhelming in his third season with the Blazers, averaging 7.5 points and 3.8 assists this season while shooting 40% from the field. With Andre Miller currently playing well, the Blazers have little use for Blake’s services. The Blazers also have a harem of talented young backcourt players, including Jarryd Bayless, Rudy Fernandez, Martell Webster, and rookie Patrick Mills, so it is probably in the Blazers’ best interest to let those players develop instead of letting Blake take their minutes. 
Outlaw is a talented scorer and is still only 25 years old, but has been hit hard by injuries this season; the recent strong play of 21-year old swingman Nicolas Batum also makes Outlaw somewhat expendable. For the Wizards, acquiring Outlaw could give them more freedom to trade Caron Butler, who they are believed to have been shopping as they look to rebuild.
For the Wizards, Haywood is quietly having one of the best seasons of his career. He is currently averaging 9.7 points on a career-best 56.1% mark from the field to compliment his 10.3 rebounds per game, which also represent a career high. He provides good defense and tough play inside, something the Blazers have missed since losing Greg Oden and Joel Pryzbilla to injury.

Of course, with their recent run of centers, Haywood may want to check his insurance before heading to the Pacific Northwest.

This trade looks like a slam-dunk for the Blazers if they can get the Wizards to agree on it. For the Wizards, the decision they have to make is whether Haywood fits into their long-term plans or whether or not it’s worth giving him up for some goodwill around the league and some much-needed stability in their backcourt. 

Timberwolves read mean tweets about themselves (video)

Flip Saunders, Karl-Anthony Towns, Tyus Jones
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The Timberwolves didn’t select the meanest tweets about these players, but credit Karl-Anthony Towns, Tyus Jones, Shabazz Muhammad and Zach LaVine for being good sports.

LeBron James: I’m healthier than a year ago


LeBron James received an injection in his back before the season.

It’s working.

Dave McMenamin of ESPN:

LeBron James now says he feels better than he did even a year ago.

“I feel better in the mornings; I feel better throughout the games; I feel better throughout the day,” James said before a Cavs shootaround Wednesday in preparation for their game against the Toronto Raptors. “It was a rough start to the season for me last year and for our team. Obviously the way we’ve been playing, a lot is predicated on my health and being able to lead these guys out on the floor and not from the sidelines.”

LeBron certainly looks healthier than he did at this point last year. He’s moving much better and giving more effort.

But comparing November to November means very little for the Cavaliers, who hope to play deep into June.

The key question: Did LeBron properly time his injection? There’s a limit on the number he can have in a year, and it takes time to recover after one. Cleveland doesn’t want LeBron to peak to early.

It’s good for the Cavs that LeBron feels better now, but his health in the playoffs remains the priority.

Report: Suns signing Bryce Cotton

Bryce Cotton
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Eric Bledsoe missed the Suns’ loss to the Spurs on Monday with a knee injury.

So, Phoenix is bringing in a reinforcement – Bryce Cotton.

Marc Stein of ESPN:

The Jazz waived Cotton before the season despite Dante Exum‘s injury leaving them with just two other healthy point guards. That says something about Cotton – but also Utah’s depth.

Cotton – who went undrafted out of Providence last year – is quick, varies his speed well and can leap. There’s reason to believe in his potential at age 23. But his 6-foot-1 frame limits him defensively, and he’s not much of a distributor.

Phoenix will rely on Brandon Knight and Ronnie Price at point guard if Bledsoe is unavailable. The Suns can also use fewer two-point guard lineups – giving more minutes at shooting guard to Devin Booker, Archie Goodwin and Sunny Weems.

Cotton provides insurance while Bledsoe is banged-up with what seems to be a minor injury. But he might have to show something to keep drawing an NBA paycheck once Bledsoe gets healthy.

Jimmy Butler wants Mason Plumlee to pay fine after scuffle (video)


Jimmy Butler and Mason Plumlee got into an altercation in the Bulls’ win over the Trail Blazers last night.

Plumlee lowered his head and tried to barrel through Butler’s chest on a Butler screen. Butler fell and retaliated by putting Plumlee in a leg lock, causing Plumlee to fall.

You might remember a leg lock as what Cavaliers guard Matthew Dellavedova did to Bulls forward Taj Gibson during last year’s playoffs. For all the talk then of Dellavedova being a dirty player, Butler seems particularly aggrieved after getting a technical foul, which comes with a $2,500 fine – the same penalty Dellavedova eventually received. (Plumlee got a flagrant foul.)

Butler, via Vincent Goodwill of CSN Chicago:

“He thought he was playing football for a second there,” Butler said. “Almost had to let the Fort Greene Projects out of me, Brooklyn, you know what I’m saying?”

It was said tongue in cheek considering Gibson was a few feet over and Butler wanted to draw some laughs. Gibson is a Brooklyn native and grew up in the Fort Greene Projects while Butler grew up in Tomball, Texas.

It was no laughing matter when he said he would find a way to approach Plumlee about the fine money, jokingly suggesting he would have his agent email him at “Mr. or something” and made a joke about Mike Dunleavy applauding Plumlee’s act.

Plumlee and Dunleavy are products of Duke University.

“Yeah, he cost me 2,500,” Butler said. “I’m not happy about that. Gonna ask him to pay me back and I’m not playing.”

Is that, or Or is it Dookie?

These are important questions – at least if you’re trying to turn the conversation away from your dirty play and toward your colorful quotes.