Brendan Haywood reaches deal to return to Dallas

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bhaywood.jpgDallas gets it. Miami is about to get it — you need a big man to go alongside your flashy, scoring power forward.

Brendan Haywood is a big man, and he is going to continue playing alongside Dirk Nowitzki for the next couple years. He has agreed to a six-year, $55 million deal with the Mavericks, according to Marc Spears at Yahoo.

Eric Dampier is still the biggest center on the Mavericks’ roster, but his $13 million 2010-2011 salary is unguaranteed, meaning a team could cut him without paying him anything at all. Dallas has been using that as a trade chip with teams trying to bring back some talent that will get the Mavericks over the hump in the West. And by hump we mean the Lakers.

Haywood is an above-average center — he shoots at a good percentage (56 percent with the Mavericks last year), can rebound well and is a solid defender. He’s better than Dampier, and he makes the Mavericks better.

Dallas knows this — they have a bunch of advanced stats to confirm what their eyes see — and that’s why they made Haywood a priority. He was the first visit for coach Rich Carlisle once free agency opened.

The only question is the six years — Haywood will be 36 years old at the end of this deal. They may be looking to trade that salary by then.

But for now, this is a solid signing for Dallas. Mark Cuban, however, wants more than solid. This is a team still looking to make a big move.

Kobe Bryant with spin move around LeBron James (VIDEO)

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The game itself went about how you’d expect one between a title contender and a high lottery team to go — the Cavaliers 120-111 win over the Lakers was never really in doubt.

But the fans in Cleveland wanted to see some vintage Kobe Bryant, and they got it late when he spun around LeBron James and hit the reverse lay-up.

LeBron had 29 points on the night, and Kyrie Irving had 35. Kobe finished with 17 and got a standing ovation from the Cleveland crowd.

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.