Cleveland-Jamison talks have "intensified"

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nba_jamison_250.jpgAdrian Wojnarowski, the lord of the trade rumor, tweeted that the Cavaliers are stepping up their pursuit of Washington forward Antawn Jamison. The big trade story of the week has been the Cavs’ attempt to acquire Amar’e Stoudemire. With Miami reportedly stepping up their efforts to get Stoudemire and Phoenix unsure of what J.J. Hickson can do for them, the Cavs may now be looking at alternative options. 

The Cavs have long been coveting Jamison, who could provide veteran savvy, scoring punch, and the ability to knock down long jumpers. The issue with getting a deal done appears to be that the Wizards want talent, namely Hickson, in return for Jamison. The Cavs appear to only be willing to move the 21-year old forward in a deal for Stoudemire, and want the Wizards to give Jamison up for financial reasons only. 
The Cavs are also skeptical of whether or not the Wizards would buy out Zydrunas Ilgauskas, and were rumored to be looking for a third team to facilitate the deal earlier in the trade season. Jamison would be a nice pick-up for the Cavaliers, but would clearly be a consolation prize to Stoudemire. Jamison is a crafty scorer, especially around the rim. But while Jamison is capable of hitting outside shots, his accuracy from outside the paint leaves something to be desired. According to HoopData, Jamison makes less than 40% of his shots from midrange, and his 34.5% mark on three-pointers isn’t setting the world on fire. The theory is that Jamison would get easier looks playing next to James and O’Neal, but 100% of his three-point attempts are assisted already. 
The 33-year old Jamison is also older than Stoudemire, and less likely to become part of a “core” that could entice LeBron James to stay regardless of the Cavaliers’ postseason success this year. 
While Hickson’s play has definitely improved in recent weeks, Jamison would likely represent a short-term upgrade as a starting power forward. The question for the Cavaliers is how much they’re willing to give up to get that upgrade, and if GM Danny Ferry wouldn’t be better served by taking an “all or nothing” stance as the deadline approaches. 

Victor Oladipo’s practice dunk better than anything he – or maybe anyone – did in dunk contest (video)

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Victor Oladipo has grown into far more than just a dunker.

In fact, in Saturday’s dunk contest, he didn’t look like a dunker at all.

The Pacers star missed all three attempts of his first dunk, and a Black Panther mask was by far the biggest draw of his second. Oladipo was eliminated after the first round.

Maybe Dennis Smith Jr. wasn’t the only eliminated dunker who left something in his bag. This Oladipo dunk – 180 degrees, throwing ball off the backboard with his left hand while in mid-air, dunking with his right hand – while preparing in Los Angeles was awesome.

Larry Nance Jr. had the contest’s best dunk. This would have rivaled it.

Pelicans owner Tom Benson hospitalized with flu symptoms

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METAIRIE, La. (AP) — New Orleans Saints and Pelicans Owner Tom Benson has been hospitalized with flu symptoms.

A statement released Wednesday by the NFL and NBA clubs says their 90-year-old owner is resting comfortably at Ochsner Medical Center, a hospital which also serves as a major sponsor and which owns naming rights to the teams’ training headquarters.

Benson has owned the New Orleans Saints since 1985 and bought the New Orleans Pelicans in 2012.

In recent years, Benson has overhauled his estate plan so that his third wife, Gayle, would be first in line to inherit control of the two major professional franchises.

 

Report: Seattle hosting Kings-Warriors preseason game

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Kevin Durant spent his rookie season in Seattle, before the SuperSonics moved to Oklahoma City and became the Thunder. He has said Seattle fans deserved to see him grow up in the NBA after supporting his promising start.

They’ll get their chance.

Ailene Voisin of The Sacramento Bee:

The Kings and Golden State Warriors have scheduled a preseason game next season in Seattle, according to multiple league sources.

The Oct. 6 meeting between Northern California teams will be the first NBA game in the Key Arena since the Sonics moved to Oklahoma City after the 2007-08 season and became the Thunder.

This game will be loaded with storylines. Not only Durant, but the Kings considered moving to Seattle a few years ago. And of course, the return of NBA basketball to Seattle.

At some point, Seattle will get its own team again. For now, this preseason game creates intrigue there.

Report: Kawhi Leonard cleared medically, seeking second opinion

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Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said he’d be surprised if Kawhi Leonard played again this season, a stark reversal from just a month ago. Back then, even while announcing Leonard was out indefinitely with a quad injury, the San Antonio coach said Leonard wouldn’t miss the rest of the season.

What’s going on?

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

After spending 10 days before the All-Star break in New York consulting with a specialist to gather a second opinion on his right quad injury, All-NBA forward Kawhi Leonard bears the burden of determining when he’s prepared to play again, sources told ESPN.

Leonard has been medically cleared to return from the right quad tendinopathy injury, but since shutting down a nine-game return to the Spurs that ended Jan. 13, he has elected against returning to the active roster, sources said.

The uncertainty surrounding this season — and Leonard’s future which could include free agency in the summer of 2019 — has inspired a palpable stress around the organization, league sources said.

At first glance, this sounds like Derrick Rose five years ago. Even after he was cleared to play following a torn ACL, the then-Bulls star remained mysterious about when he’d suit up. His confidence in his physical abilities seemed to be a major issue, and he was never the same player since (suffering more leg injuries).

But the Spurs famously favor resting players to preserve long-term health. They seem unlikely to rush back Leonard. They might even sit players who want to play more often. And Leonard isn’t Rose.

Still, it’s clear something is amiss in San Antonio. Maybe not amiss enough to end Leonard’s tenure there, but the longer this lingers, the more time for tension to percolate.