Shockingly, the Detroit Pistons may not want a logjam on the wing

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tracy_mcgrady.jpgI’m not sure Tracy McGrady fits in well with any NBA team at this point, but the Detroit Pistons are a pretty bizarre match. He may not be breaking the bank with his recently signed one-year, $1.3 million deal, but T-Mac is a fairly demanding offensive player whose level of production no longer validates his inefficient style. To make matters worse, the Pistons already had all kinds of options lined up at both shooting guard and small forward. Ben Gordon and Rip Hamilton are set to be shooting guard fixtures, and Detroit’s forward crop yields Tayshaun Prince, Austin Daye, DaJuan Summers, Jonas Jerebko, and Charlie Villanueva.

McGrady will eat into somebody’s minutes, but why would the Pistons go through this much trouble to sign an aging superstar-turned-role-player-who-doesn’t-seem-to-know-he’s-a-role-player? Detroit isn’t making a championship run or even a legitimate playoff run, yet they insist on signing McGrady and sacrificing the playing time of either their young, emerging talent or their biggest trade chips/most qualified veterans.

Everything that has transpired between McGrady and the Pistons has been odd, but David Aldridge of NBA.com gives us a slight indication as to what the team’s thinking might have been:

A league source indicated Tuesday that the Pistons will work to
“un-jam the log jam” the team now has at the shooting guard and small
forward spots after signing the 31-year-old McGrady, who has been
working out for several teams this summer looking for a home, including
Chicago and Cleveland.

The source said that McGrady agreed
without conditions to play behind starters Rip Hamilton and Tayshawn
Prince next season, though it’s likely that Detroit will move either
Hamilton or Prince before the start of next season. It’s more likely
the Pistons will move Prince, who is entering the last year of his
contract.

If Detroit can successfully trade either Prince or Hamilton for a non-wing player, the move is made a bit more understandable. However, with the current cast in Detroit, it would behoove the franchise to dole out McGrady’s minutes among the team’s younger and more productive players.

Jared Dudley: Giannis Antetokounmpo practiced mean mugging in locker room

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Giannis Antetokounmpo‘s Game 3 dunk over Aron Baynes was great.

Antetokounmpo’s Game 4 dunk over Al Horford (seen above) is even better, because of the fantastic mean mug that followed.

The rise of Antetokounmpo is no accident. He worked hard to develop his on-court skills. And that includes all aspects.

Suns forward Jared Dudley, who played with Antetokounmpo on the 2014-15 Bucks:

This is the inside info we need.

Report: Knicks are Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer’s top choice for job

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Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer withdrew from the Suns coaching search, but that he was even involved with another opening while under contract with Atlanta is telling. It probably wasn’t about the Phoenix job being special. He’s also talking with the Knicks – and maybe that goes somewhere.

Marc Berman of the New York Post:

Mike Budenholzer is genuinely interested in the Knicks’ job, according to an NBA source who has spoken to the Hawks coach.

“New York’s his top choice,’’ the NBA source said. “If they offered him the job, he’d say yes. He wants to live in New York.’’

“Phoenix and the Knicks are trying to win every game,’’ said the NBA source who has spoken to Budenholzer recently. “There’s a good chance Atlanta is not looking to win games the next two years. This wasn’t Mike’s decision. He didn’t expect it. He doesn’t want to lose games.’’

Going to the Knicks to win? What a time to be alive.

But the Hawks are only one year into what appears to be a multi-year rebuild. Relative to that, New York is ahead.

When Kristaps Porzingis returns is the biggest variable. But Enes Kanter, Tim Hardaway Jr., Courtney Lee and Trey Burke are all in their primes. Atlanta is much thinner.

The Knicks would probably also offer Budenholzer a raise and the Hawks compensation. Though dealing with James Dolan carries downside, this could be a financial boon to everyone else involved. It’s no wonder Budenholzer and the Hawks are both into this.

The big question is whether New York, which is casting a wide net, tabs Budenholzer. He doesn’t have a clear connection to Knicks president Steve Mills or general manager Scott Perry. But Budenholzer is a demonstrably good coach, and that ought to matter plenty.

Andrew Bogut signs to play in NBL in native Australia

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Back in January, the Los Angeles Lakers waived Andrew Bogut. He had a very limited role on a Los Angeles team that was not making the playoffs, serving as a backup big man against teams who use a traditional center. That’s not much of a role anymore. He’s a center who can pass, shoot from the midrange a little, and knows where to be defensively, but the game has evolved as Bogut’s skills have faded. Bogut tried to latch on with a contender for the playoffs, but could not find a team to take him.

So he is going home.

Bogut is signing to play for the Sydney Kings in Australia’s NBL.

Bogut was the first No. 1 draft pick from Australia when he was selected by the Milwaukee Bucks in 2005. He made the All-Rookie team that season, was All-NBA in 2010, but may be best known for his role as a crucial part of the defense of the NBA champion Golden State Warriors in 2015 (and his injury during the 2016 Finals is an underrated reason Cleveland was able to pull off a miracle comeback).

At age 33 Bogut may not have a spot in the NBA, but in the NBL he both will thrive for a few more years but also be a huge draw and get the welcome home from fans that he deserves.

When Lance Stephenson gets a traveling call, he earns it (VIDEO)

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Yes, guys get away with traveling in the NBA. James Harden on the step back (sometimes, not always), or guys sliding left/right to avoid a closeout at the arc and not bothering to dribble while they do it.

Lance Stephenson got called for traveling Sunday in the Pacers’ loss to the Cavaliers. In a game where Stephenson got under the skin of LeBron James and drew a technical (and tied him up for a jump ball at one point), this was the best Lance highlight of the game. Because if you’re going to travel, you should go all in.

Never change Lance. Never change.