Who has the cap space this summer?

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Thumbnail image for wade.jpgIt has all been about the summer of 2010. While some of the trades that went down yesterday — or will go down today — were about this season, for the most part teams and general managers were looking ahead to the summer spending spree. Even the Cavaliers getting Antawn Jamison was as much about making LeBron James stay put this summer as it was winning a title this year.

But even if LeBron stays there will be Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Joe Johnson and a host of other quality players on the market for those that want to spend lavishly in a down economy.

And who has the dough to spend?

As of right now, that list starts with the New York Knicks, who can spend enough for about two max-contracts — that would mean LeBron and Bosh, or Wade and Bosh, or Wade and Johnson, or… you get the idea. They dream big in the Big Apple. They have a player-friendly coach playing a fun style on the biggest stage in the world, that has to be tempting, right? Ignore the rest of the roster, think about the potential is the pitch.

Then there is the Miami Heat, who can re-sign Wade and still bring in one more huge contract. So rather than move Wade to another city, why not bring Bosh or Johnson to Miami to join Wade in South Beach. Add in the fact Florida has no state income tax and that becomes a tempting destination.

The Chicago Bulls are making sort of the same pitch with their room for a max contract — come play along side Derrick Rose. A Rose/Bosh tandem with quality role players around them (several of which are in place) and you are instantly on a contending team that will win right away.

The other teams may have cap space but does any big name really want to play for them? The New Jersey Nets, Los Angeles Clippers and Sacramento Kings have the room to make big offers, but he ownership and franchise situations cannot be appealing. The Nets are changing owners and will be playing in New Jersey but moving to Brooklyn in a couple years, leaving them in sort of a limbo. Sacramento’s owners want to move their team as well (although the latest stadium proposal there shows promise). The Clippers actually have a decent roster — Baron Davis, Chris Kaman, Blake Griffin — but have an owner nobody trusts. Plus, playing for the Clippers means always being in the shadow of the Lakers (LA is a Lakers town) and Kobe Bryant.

Other teams will try to get themselves in position for a crowded marketplace this summer as well before the trade deadline today.

Judge grills Suge Knight – facing murder charge – on NBA-champion pick (Rockets)

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Suge Knight is facing a murder, threat and robbery charges in three separate cases.

The former rap mogul was in court yesterday to set a trial date for the murder charge.

Marisa Gerber of the Los Angeles Times:

A few minutes later, during a separate hearing in the criminal threats proceeding, another judge asked Knight to return to his courtroom in May. The judge then turned to Knight, asking who he thought would win the NBA playoffs.

“At this time…” Knight said, before the judge cut him off, saying he wanted a once-and-for-all answer.

“Houston,” Knight responded.

“Alright, Houston. Good pick,” the judge said.

Knight smiled.

What?

Milwaukee taco restaurant releases security footage showing manager greeting Giannis Antetokounmpo

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Shortly after Giannis Antetokounmpo led the Bucks to a Game 4 win over the Celtics on Sunday, someone eating at a Milwaukee taco restaurant tweeted a photo of the Greek Freak waiting for a table. According to the tweeter, nobody helped Antetokounmpo at all.

The picture went viral.

But!

The restaurant claims a manager greeted Antetokounmpo and released surveillance footage to prove it:

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“We appreciate everyone’s passion for treating Giannis and all customers with great customer service,” Monday’s follow-up read. “It is something we strive to do every day. We reviewed the entryway footage from last night, and we are proud to reaffirm that Giannis was promptly greeted by our manager and told the wait time. Giannis has been a customer many times and he has graciously accepted our apology for not being able to seat him and other customers more quickly last night.  Our focus is now on supporting our team on this playoff run. Go Bucks.”

The release concluded with the hashtag #TacoBoutAMisunderstanding.

TacoBoutAMisunderstanding, indeed.

For his part, Antetokounmpo never griped publicly about the taco restaurant. The wait was longer then he wanted so he went elsewhere.

He has more important issues to focus on – like Game 5 in Boston tonight.

Kevin Durant: Liking anti-Russell Westbrook Instagram comment was ‘total accident’

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Kevin Durant liked an Instagram comment critical of Russell Westbrook.

Here we go again?

Royce Young of ESPN:

I’m not inside Durant’s mind. He could be lying to cover another burner Instagram snafu.

But I tend to believe him. It’s easy enough to accidentally click like, and the greater context is on his side.

Durant has always tried to downplay a feud with Westbrook. Even at the personal rivalry’s peak, Durant just seemed as if he wanted Westbrook to like him. So, it’s nearly impossible to believe Durant – even for a button-pushing moment – wanted to publicly slight Westbrook.

But maybe Durant wanted quiresultan or some other alter-ego to do so? Maybe, as beaten down as he looked by the controversy over those deleted tweets last summer, Durant didn’t learn his lesson and still uses burner accounts. I certainly wouldn’t rule that out.

Again, though, this would be a weird message. Last summer’s deleted tweets praised Westbrook while slamming the rest of the Thunder. Durant was going to have a burner account take the opposite stance now? That doesn’t really add up.

NBA apparently reviewing whether Russell Westbrook should be suspended for Thunder-Jazz Game 5

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The NBA has a hard rule during altercations: Any players who leave the bench area receives a one-game suspension. Intent doesn’t matter. It’s not negotiable. The league simply doesn’t want more players entering a fracas.

Russell Westbrook found a gray area last night.

The Thunder star was waiting to check into Oklahoma City’s Game 4 loss to the Jazz when Raymond Felton fouled Rudy Gobert, um, unpleasantly. Gobert and Felton got into it, though not immediately. Once they did, Westbrook walked onto the court, and he and Gobert swiped at each other.

Gobert and Felton eventually received technical fouls. But could harsher punishment be in store, especially for Westbrook?

Andy Larsen of KSL.com:

A pool reporter request to the game officials to ask them about the play was initiated, but the NBA indicated that the officials wouldn’t comment on the matter because it would be reviewed by the league’s disciplinary committee.

The key question should be: Did a referee already beckon Westbrook into the game? If one did, Westbrook shouldn’t be suspended. If none did, Westbrook should be suspended.

The league will talk to the refs and get a better understanding of what happened. Their account matters most.

But one indicator working against Westbrook: Steven Adamswhose toughness is beyond reproach – was also waiting to check in and stayed on the sideline. If Adams had already entered the game, wouldn’t he have gotten involved? Maybe not, but his hanging back is circumstantial evidence pointing toward a Westbrook suspension.

Again, though, the referees’ accounts matter far more.