Which 1-on-1 matchups would you like to see?

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NBA fans have long wanted to see a one-on-one tournament of some kind during All-Star Weekend. HORSE ended up becoming a reality, so a one-on-one tournament might at some point in the future. It’s unlikely that the matchups everyone wants to see will happen, like Kobe-LeBron, CP3-Deron, Carmelo/Durant, or KG/Zaza. However, if the NBA uses the one-on-one contest like it uses the dunk contest, to showcase the talents of rising stars, there are still some great matchups.
 
Here are some of my ideas, revolving around players with similar skill-sets, battles between young guns, and of course PRIDE-style freak show matches:

Brandon Jennings vs. Jamaal Crawford

Lots of sweet crossovers, plenty of long jumpers off the dribble, not a lot of defense, and some great back-and-forth. This one would be a doozy.

JJ Redick vs. Adam Morrison

Years in the making. Redick’s quietly become a solid player this season, but how would he fare against NBA champion Morrison? Redick plays defense and has a better all-around game, but Morrison can score the ball, and his moves would be suited to a one-on-one match. Also, I’d look forward to JJ trash-talking Ammo in poem form.

Gerald Wallace vs. Josh Smith

An obvious choice, but still needed. When they meet at the rim, the universe may collapse upon itself.

Tyreke Evans vs. Danilo Gallinari

Evans is a guard with freakish strength who dominates in the paint. Gallinari has the size of a power forward but does his damage with a sweet three-point stroke. Would Gallo’s size allow him to keep Evans out of the paint and shoot over him, or would Evans’ strength allow him to push aside Gallo and keep him from getting the looks he wants offensively?

James Posey vs. Derek Fisher

INTANGIBLES BATTLE.

Steph Curry vs. Jameer Nelson

After Curry’s explosion against the Clippers and Brandon Jennings’ 55-point game against the Warriors early in the season, it’s become clear that the ultimate rookie performance would happen if Steph Curry was somehow able to play with Steph Curry guarding him. Sadly, that’s impossible, but Nelson’s game and build are fairly similar. Nelson’s a better defender than Curry, but he’s no Alvin Robertson either.

Rasheed Wallace vs. Nate Robinson

I would much rather see this than have Nate do another dunk contest. I think he’d win, which would mean maximum possible embarrassment for Rasheed. Sold.

Rajon Rondo vs. Russell Westbrook

Another choice based only on sheer awesomeness.

Joakim Noah vs. Anderson Varejao

This would be the most exciting and boring game of one-on-one ever played all at once.

Well, there are my choices, but there are certainly many, many more great possible matchups out there. What are some of the matchups you’d like to see if a one-on-one contest ever becomes a reality?

Gregg Popovich pins Spurs’ effort problems on players: ‘I don’t remember playing tonight’ (video)

San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich gives instructions against the Detroit Pistons in the first half of a preseason NBA basketball game in Auburn Hills, Mich., Monday, Oct. 10, 2016. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
AP Photo/Paul Sancya
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The Spurs fell behind by 18 and eventually lost to the Bulls, 95-91, last night โ€“ which begged the question:

Does San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich bear any responsibility for his team’s lack of early intensity?

Jabari Young of the San Antonio Express-News:

Popovich:

I don’t remember playing tonight. I didn’t play. Guys get a lot of money to be ready to play. No Knute Rockne speeches. It’s your job. If you’re a plumber and you don’t do your job, you don’t get any work. I don’t think a plumber needs a pep talk. If a doctor botches operations, he’s not a doctor anymore. If you’re a basketball player, you come ready. It’s called maturity. It’s your job.

Like it or not, motivation is part of an NBA coach’s job.

But that’s also precisely what Popovich is doing.

His credentials dwarf any other coach’s. He can play to his own ego and absolve himself of responsibility โ€“ and players will seek to please him. His years of success have earned him the ability to motivate this way, a method no other coach could use without alienating his team.

Donatas Motiejunas signing four-year, $35 million contract with Rockets

DENVER, CO - MARCH 07:  Donatas Motiejunas #20 of the Houston Rockets is helped to his feet by teammates James Harden #13 and Patrick Beverley #2 of the Houston Rockets at Pepsi Center on March 7, 2015 in Denver, Colorado. The Rockets defeated the Nuggets 114-100. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
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Once the Rockets let Donatas Motiejunas back into free agency, this was only a matter of time.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

This sounds remarkably similar to the salaries and incentives set in the original offer sheet from the Nets. But remember, the Rockets didn’t match some of those bonuses that Brooklyn would have been bound to.

So, why not hold Motiejunas to what became a four-year, $31 million offer sheet once matched? Houston got something in return โ€“ a later trigger date on guaranteeing Motiejunas’ 2017-18 salary. Originally, that decision had to be made March 1 โ€“ which would’ve meant dropping Motiejunas from the team this season to prevent his salary from counting next season. Now, the Rockets can make that call in July, after this season is complete.

The following two Julys, Houston will also have a choice on guaranteeing Motiejunas’ upcoming salary or dropping him.

Essentially, Motiejunas is signing the most lucrative Hinkie Special in NBA history. If he plays well and stays healthy, the Rockets have Motiejunas at an affordable rate. If he struggles or his back injuries flare up, they can drop him with little to no penalty.

After they backed themselves into this corner, Motiejunas and his agent, B.J. Armstrong, didn’t do so bad. Considering the similarity between this contract and the Nets’ original offer sheet, it seems Houston helped Armstrong save face after a bungled free agency (which is easier to accept when you’re adding a talented reserve to a formidable team).

But for how little is guaranteed and how much control the Rockets hold over the next four years, wouldn’t Motiejunas have been better off accepting the $4,433,683 qualifying offer?

Report: Rockets return Donatas Motiejunas to restricted free agency, working on new contract with him

Donatas Motiejunas, Kenneth Faried
AP Photo/David Zalubowski
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The Rockets had Donatas Motiejunas in a bind.

He was beholden to them on a four-year, $31 million deal and unable to sign with other teams. Motiejunas’ choices: Report for a physical or wait in limbo.

But apparently Houston has allowed him out of that constraint.

Marc Stein of ESPN:

This means Motiejunas can’t sign with the Nets, who signed him to the original offer sheet, for one year.

I bet it also means Motiejunas and Houston have agreed to a new contract. Otherwise, why release him from the offer sheet? The Rockets would be giving up a tremendous amount of leverage out of the goodness of their hearts โ€“ unless this is just a prelude to a new deal with Houston.

John Wall pushes down Jusuf Nurkic from behind in retaliation (video)

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John Wall didn’t like how Jusuf Nurkic bumped him, so Wall shoved the Nuggets center from behind and sent him to the floor.

An overreaction to the bump? Probably. Wall got hit with a technical foul.

But I’m mostly just impressed Wall was strong enough to push over Nurkic.