Matt Barnes weighing his options, not loving them

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Thumbnail image for Mbarnes.jpgMatt Barnes is as indecisive about where he will play next year as Jessica Alba is about her hair color.

Well, to be fair, Barnes thought he had made a decision, and tweeted he was going to Toronto Monday. Except a few guys in suits forgot to do that math. So he is back on the open market and looking at his options. And is not quite sure what he is going to do, according to David Aldridge at NBA.com.

Matt Barnes was still trying to decide Wednesday afternoon whether he’ll take more money to play with the Cavaliers or chase a chance at a championship with the Lakers, Celtics or Heat.

The Cavaliers can offer the most money by far of any of the teams that Barnes is considering. Cleveland has its full mid-level exception for next season, $5.8 million, to use to sign players. The Cavaliers also have the $14.5 million trade exception they received from Miami as part of the sign-and-trade deal earlier this month for LeBron James. But Cleveland won’t use the trade exception for Barnes, and it’s not likely it would use all of the mid-level for the 30-year-old forward. Cleveland opted to take the big trade exception for James rather than renouncing him and several other free agents to clear cap space.

Just to break out the numbers on the contenders: The Lakers can offer the remaining $1.8 million from their mid-level exception (Steve Blake took up the first $4 million); the Heat and Celtics can only offer a veterans minimum of $1.2 million. Orlando does not have his “Bird rights” because he played for just one season for them, so they cannot exceed the cap to sign him. That’s what killed the sign-and-trade with Toronto. 

The money matters. Barnes has made “only” $7.7 million in his six years in the league. Yes, you and I would take that in a heartbeat, but in the financial world of the NBA that is nothing — every team in the NBA has at least a couple players making more than that this year alone, often players making twice that this year alone.

Barnes has played well under pressure for contenders, he deserves a payday. But he’s not getting a big one. So he sits and is indecisive. Can’t really blame him.

Larry Nance Jr. throws alley-oop to himself, throws alley-oop to himself (video)

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LOS ANGELES — Cavaliers forward Larry Nance Jr. immediately motioned for the replay to be shown of this dunk. It was necessary to properly appreciate it.

Best dunk of the night.

Donovan Mitchell won the dunk contest, though.

Larry Nance Jr. plays tribute to father — rock-the-cradle dunk in Suns uniform

Associated Press
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LOS ANGELES — Back in 1984, high-flying Larry Nance Sr. won the first NBA All-Star Dunk Contest with this set of dunks — most famously a rock-the-cradle move.

Larry Nance Jr. came into the 2018 Dunk Contest and went nostalgic — all the way back to the Suns’ throwback uniform and the same dunk.

That and a good second dunk got him into the Dunk Contest finals. In that round, Nance Sr. threw an alley-oop to his son for the windmill.

Donovan Mitchell throws alley-oop to himself – off second backboard (video)

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LOS ANGELES – Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell set a high standard with the first slam of the 2018 dunk contest.

Very creative. Very well-executed.

Looks like all that preparation paid off.

Devin Booker’s 3-point-contest victory bright spot for Suns (video)

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Los Angeles – Devin Booker‘s Suns have the NBA’s worst record (18-41).

“I think everyone is fed up with the losing, from the top to the bottom of the organization,” Booker said this afternoon. “So, for us, it’s what’s next?”

A 3-point contest victory.

Overcoming Phoenix’s poor record to draw an invite to All-Star Saturday Night, Booker won the 3-point contest with a whopping 29 points in the final round.

That score left little margin for 2016 champion Klay Thompson, who capped the event with a 25-point round that was otherwise the night’s high. Clippers forward Tobias Harris, in his new home arena, finished third.

Booker was all smiles after the rare victory.

“Season not going how we planned, but I know a lot of the city was ready for this All-Star Weekend, having somebody participate,” Booker said. “So, I’m glad I could win it.

Where he and the Suns go from here is still questionable, but he has a plan.

“I’m going to win the dunk contest next year,” Booker said. “No, I’m just kidding.”

Full results

First round

Klay Thompson 19

Devin Booker 19

Tobias Harris 18

Wayne Ellington 17

Bradley Beal 15

Eric Gordon 12

Kyle Lowry 11

Paul George 9

Second round

Devin Booker 29

Klay Thompson 25

Tobias Harris 17