NBA Draft: Thunder score the No. 18 pick and Daequan Cook for the No. 32

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So far, the pre-draft trades have turned out pretty well for all parties involved. Y’know, unless the Zach Randolph-Al Jefferson swap goes down and forces all of the remaining Wolves fans to live underground while the franchise is burned to the ground.

Oklahoma City and Miami will make a minor swap that goes down as another win-win. The Heat will clear even more cap space for their off-season overhaul while the Thunder will add another mid-first round pick and a guy who can (theoretically) hit from outside. The Heat will send Daequan Cook and the No. 18 pick to OKC for the No. 32 in a move that has little to do with either Cook or the No. 32 and everything to do with the No. 18 and the salary shed.

After losing Cook’s $2.2 million in 2010-2011, the Heat have brought their salary owed to a functional minimum. Mario Chalmers, Michael Beasley, Joel Anthony, and James Jones will receive a little more than $8.5 million total (not including cap holds), allowing Pat Riley and Erik Spoelstra to basically create an entire team from scratch.

On the other side, Oklahoma City clearly seems to be targeting a specific player with the No. 18 pick. Rumors point to VCU’s Larry Sanders as the apple of Sam Presti’s eye, but it could realistically be a number of big men projected to go in the middle of the first round. Cook is pretty much a non-factor in the deal, as the player chosen at 18 is the real prize. Yet if Daequan could rediscover his 2008-2009 shooting stroke (when he went 38.9% from three, as opposed to 31.7% in 2009-2010), he wouldn’t be a complete spare.

Regardless, Presti has another feather for his hat. After this trade, the Thunder will have three first rounders (No. 18, No. 21, No. 26) to play with in this summer’s draft, a unique opportunity to infuse the most successful young core in the NBA with even more young talent. Well-played, Sam.

Hawks get another playoff shot at King James and Cavaliers

at Philips Arena on April 1, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia.  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.
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ATLANTA (AP) A year ago, Atlanta’s magical season ended with a resounding sweep by Cleveland in the Eastern Conference final.

Now, the Hawks have another shot at LeBron James and the Cavaliers.

Feeling confident after an opening-round victory over Boston, the Hawks returned to practice Saturday to begin preparations for the best-of-seven series.

Game 1 is Monday night in Cleveland.

The Hawks were the top-seeded team in the East last season after a record 60-win campaign. It didn’t do them much good against the Cavaliers, who steamrolled Atlanta in four straight games.

Even though they slipped to 48 wins and fourth in the conference, the Hawks actually sound a bit more confident heading into this matchup, largely because of their improved defense and rebounding.

Report: Warriors to replace Luke Walton from outside the organization

MILWAUKEE, WI - DECEMBER 12: Interim Coach Luke Walton of the Golden State Warriors talks on the sideline during the second quarter against the Milwaukee Bucks at BMO Harris Bradley Center on December 12, 2015 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 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 Mike McGinnis/Getty Images)
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For the second consecutive year, the Warriors have lost their lead assistant to another team. When the Pelicans hired Alvin Gentry during last year’s playoffs, Steve Kerr promoted Luke Walton to associate head coach and added former journeyman big man Jarron Collins to the bench. Now that Walton is headed to the Lakers as their next head coach, the Warriors will go outside the organization to find a replacement, according to ESPN.com’s Marc Stein. And one name that will likely not be in the mix is David Blatt, who very nearly became an assistant under Kerr in 2014 before being offered the Cavaliers’ head job.

Given Walton’s success this season as interim head coach while Kerr recovered from back surgery, this will undoubtedly be the most attractive assistant job in the league.

Report: Luke Walton’s Lakers contract is for 5 years, $25 million

DENVER, CO - JANUARY 13:  Interim head coach Luke Walton of the Golden State Warriors leads the team against the Denver Nuggets at Pepsi Center on January 13, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. The Nuggets defeated the Warriors 112-110. 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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In the last few years, NBA head coaching salaries have skyrocketed, and new Lakers coach Luke Walton is no exception. According to the Los Angeles Times‘ Mike Bresnahan, Walton is getting $25 million over five years, which is the same as Steve Kerr’s deal with the Warriors, now-former Knicks coach Derek Fisher’s deal in New York, and Fred Hoiberg’s deal with the Bulls.

This kind of money has become standard for head coaches who don’t also have front-office power. Tom Thibodeau and Stan Van Gundy both get between $7 and $8 million annually to do both jobs. Given how good Walton’s current situation with the Warriors is, the Lakers probably had to be on the high end of the coaching spectrum to get him to leave.

Luke Walton says he won’t run the triangle as Lakers coach

at American Airlines Center on December 30, 2015 in Dallas, Texas.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
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On Friday night, the Lakers announced that they’re hiring Luke Walton as their next head coach, effective as soon as the Warriors’ playoff run is over. It’s a good hire, but it’s especially interesting given Walton’s close relationship with Phil Jackson and the rumors that never seem to go away, that Jackson might be set up to return to the Lakers to run the team alongside fiancée Jeanie Buss after next season, when he has an opt-out in his contract with the Knicks.

But that doesn’t mean Walton will be running the triangle, as he said in his first comments to reporters since the news broke.

Via the Orange County Register‘s Bill Oram:

Regardless of whether Jackson eventually gets back in the picture in Los Angeles, Walton has been a successful assistant in Golden State and has the right temperament to lead the Lakers into the post-Kobe era.