Al Jefferson for Zach Randolph trade dead in the water

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Thumbnail image for zrandolph.jpgUPDATE 6:05 pm: It’s that time of year, when rumored deals get leaked and die almost as fast. Just like this one.

Apparently everybody in Minnesota and Memphis sobered up and realized this was a bad idea. Here is the official reasoning from Chad Ford:

Memphis is
unwilling to part with their picks as part of a deal. Minn thinks they
can do better

Translated: Memphis doesn’t want to pay $29 million the next two years for Jefferson and Minnesota realized they were about to trade for Zach Randolph.

Personally, I think sobering up just explains it better.

5: 28 pm: Minnesota is going to get Derrick Favors at No. 4 in the NBA Draft tomorrow — another young big man, potentially the best they will have although quite raw right now.

But that means creating some room on the front line, so David Kahn has been calling everywhere looking for a trade — including trying to move the No. 4 pick — and may have found a deal he likes.

Al Jefferson and the No. 16 to Memphis for Zach Randolph and the No. 12 pick. Chad Ford at ESPN had it and DraftExpress’s Jonathon Givony is hearing the same thing.

Minnesota saves a ton of money with this — they pay $4.3 million more this year to escape the $29 million owed Jefferson the next two years. They don’t, however, solve the logjam up front, they just rotate big bodies. At some Minnesota has to get Kevin Love some more burn at the four. Which could mean sitting Randolph or paying him to sit and try to move him at the trade deadline as an expiring deal.

The idea of Memphis taking on a lot more salary makes me question if this goes down, but they are getting the better player in the deal. Is he really $29 million better? That is the question. (And the answer is basically no.)

Jefferson’s game means a more rounded big man to put next to Marc Gasol on the front line. Jefferson can put up some good offensive numbers and play more consistent defense than Randolph (not that it is all that hard to play more consistent defense than Randolph).

Give whatever credence to this you want, but this is the hot rumor out there.

Report: Knicks’ Joakim Noah to be suspended 20 games for violating league drug policy

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Joakim Noah hasn’t set foot on an NBA court since Feb. 4, and his season was all but ended when he had knee surgery at the end of February. Last summer, Phil Jackson took a $72 million gamble on an aging Noah that has not worked at all, and left New York with an anchor of a contract for three more seasons after this one.

Tomorrow it will be official Noah is done for this season, but not because of the Knicks or his injury.

During his recovery, Noah violated the NBA’s drug policy and will pay for a 20-game suspension, reports Adrian Wojnarowski at The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.

Noah tested positive for an over-the-counter supplement that is prohibited under the outgoing Collective Bargaining Agreement, league sources said.

Noah, 32, is expected to serve 10 games of the suspension to finish out the 2016-17 regular season and 10 games to start the 2017-18 season, league sources said.

The National Basketball Players Association’s investigation concluded that Noah hadn’t “knowingly or willingly” violated the policy and cooperated fully with the league’s probe, league sources said.

According to reports, this is not a substance banned in the new CBA that kicks in July 1, but was covered in the previous CBA. Over-the-counter supplements could be something put in his regular workout recovery drinks that he was unaware of, although we are unsure of the details.

Traditionally, the player has to be healthy enough to play before the league starts the suspension. Noah has been out for more than a month, but if a league doctor says he is healthy enough to play the then the clock on the suspension can start. The 10 games this season is no big deal for the Knicks, he wasn’t going to play anyway, but the 10 at the start of next season could sting (depending on how they plan to use him).

 

 

Devin Booker drops 70 points for Suns in loss to Celtics (VIDEO)

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Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker is just 20 years old. He’s a League Pass favorite, and indeed he should be a favorite in Phoenix for years to come. On Friday, Booker dropped 70 points — yes, 70 — in a loss to the Boston Celtics.

Booker’s 70 points is the best outing of the season. It also made him the youngest player to ever reach 70 points.

His final stat line, as you might imagine, was ridiculous. Booker shot 21-of-40 from the field, going 4-of-11 on 3-pointers and a whopping 24-of-26 from the free-throw line. The Suns phenom also grabbed eight rebounds to go with six assists.

Despite the loss to Boston, 130-120, it’s still an incredible milestone for Phoenix and for Booker. There’s a bright spot out there for the Suns.

Magic’s Aaron Gordon skies to finish amazing alley-oop (VIDEO)

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Aaron Gordon may not have had the best dunk contest this year — apparently drones and dunks don’t mix well — but the guy can still get up and finish with the best in the league.

As he did on this alley-oop against Detroit.

Elfrid Payton had to throw a lob that would get over Andre Drummond, but how many guys in the league can get that high, reach back and finish that? Damn.

Former Hawk Pero Antic’s celebration accidentally punches teammate in face in Eruoleague (VIDEO)

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Former Atlanta Hawk Pero Antic is now playing for Turkish powerhouse Fenerbahce, in case you were not aware.

Fenerbahce was facing Anadolu Efes in a EuroLeague game, it was tight late and former NBA player Ekpe Udoh was at the free throw line for Fenerbahce. He missed his second shot, but the rebound caromed out-of-bounds off an Anadolu Efes player. Antic was pumped.

Maybe a little too pumped.

Ouch.

That was Nikola Kalinic, by the way, the guy Antic now owes dinner to. Kalinic would like the dinner more than the hug and kiss he got from Antic right after the play.

Also, Anadolu Efes held on to win 80-77.

(Hat tip to Ball Don’t Lie.)