Bucks start talks with Salmons agent, will keep Delfino

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The Bucks are just trying to keep the band together.

They liked the way last season ended. Well, except for that Andrew Bogut injury thing. But they were one of the hottest teams going to last month of the season and even without Bogut they pushed the Hawks to seven games.  Next season Brandon Jennings should take a step forward as his skills and game mature, which means the Bucks should improve.

If they can bring all their key players back.

That starts with keeping John Salmons in house. He is expected to opt out of his $5.8 million deal for next year and test the free agent market in hopes of a bigger — and multi-year — deal. The Bucks have talked to his agent about an extension of the current deal that would keep him off the market, General Manager John Hammond told the Journal-Sentinel.

Hammond would not discuss specifics of the offer, but it is believed the Bucks have offered a maximum extension that would include Salmons’ opt-in year and three additional years for a total of nearly $27 million…

“He has some decisions he has to make,” Hammond said. “The first decision is does he opt out. You may expect him to do that. If that happens, he becomes an unrestricted free agent and we can’t have official conversations with him or his representative until July 1.

Carlos Delfino came up big for the Hawks last season. He is due $3.5 million next season but it is not a guaranteed contract (well, just $500,000 of it is). The Bucks could cut him to save money. They won’t, Hammond said.

One guy that will see a lot of interest on the free agent market is Luke Ridnour, who had his best season in the league as a Buck. Hammond said he does not know what is going to happen there.

The Bucks may have Michael Redd back. He has played just 51 games total the last two seasons due to tearing his ACL in consecutive years, but he could return next year.

Suns’ Markieff Morris, Archie Goodwin get in scuffle on the bench

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Just another magical day in the Valley of the Sun, where clearly Jeff Hornacek was the problem….

During an early timeout in the Suns’ game at Golden State, Markieff Morris tried to explain something to Archie Goodwin, who is seated. This conversation gets heated quickly, and teammates eventually have to step in and separate the two teammates.

The Suns have shopped Morris around as the trade deadline approaches, this isn’t going to help his value.

We should find out more about what happened after the game ends, although I’m sure both sides will play it down as “nothing.”

Kawhi Leonard drains game winner to beat Orlando (VIDEO)

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This is how much Gregg Popovich trusts Kawhi Leonard on offense now: Tie game with 13.3 seconds remaining, and the play design is a 1-4 flat isolation for Leonard. It’s the kind of play teams will call for LeBron James or Kevin Durant. Popovich just called it for Leonard.

And he was rewarded with a game-winning bucket.

Leonard finished with 29 points, LaMarcus Aldridge had 21, and the Spurs head into the All-Star break with a 45-8 record, on pace to win 70 games this season. And that still would only get them a two seed.

Hornets’ Michael Kidd-Gilchrist suffers shoulder dislocation, leaves game

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
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Michael Kidd-Gilchrist had been back just six games after suffering a torn labrum in the preseason that required surgery. The Hornets had won four of those six, were playing improved defense, and looked like a potential playoff team in the East.

Now this.

He went straight to the locker room and did not return to the game (the Pacers got the win).

You can see the injury above. In a scramble for a loose ball, the Pacers’ Ian Mahinmi falls on MKG’s arm, dislocating his shoulder.

We don’t know the severity of all this and if MKG is going to miss time beyond this game. But it isn’t good.

Wife of former Pelicans coach Monty Williams dies in car accident

NEW ORLEANS, LA - DECEMBER 12:  Ingrid Williams, wife of New Orleans Pelicans head coach Monty Williams and other member of the Pelicans organization feed the homeless on December 12, 2013 at the New Orleans Mission in New Orleans, Louisiana. 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. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2013 NBAE (Photo by Layne Murdoch/NBAE via Getty Images)
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There are no words to describe how sad this is.

Ingrid Williams, the wife of Oklahoma City Thunder assistant coach and former New Orleans Pelicans head coach, Monty Williams, died Wednesday at the age of 44 from injuries suffered in a car accident the day before.

Williams’ car was hit head-on by another vehicle that had crossed over the center divider, according to the Oklahoman.

The Monty and Ingrid had been married more than 20 years and have five children, ranging in age from 17 to 5. Williams is one of the better respected and personally liked coaches around the league, and the tributes have just started to pour in.

Our thoughts are with Williams and his family.