T.J. Ford shoots down the Pacers' buyout offer

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tj_ford.jpgAs our own Kurt Helin noted yesterday, the Pacers have taken a new approach in trying to sever their ties with point guard T.J. Ford. Though Ford has been on the trading block since, well, moments after he arrived in Indiana, the Pacers were, as of yesterday, attempting to negotiate a buyout with Ford — likely as a display of good faith to the newly acquired Darren Collison.

That’s all well and good, but ultimately futile if Ford doesn’t want to play ball. Err, I mean if he doesn’t want to not play ball. For the Pacers anyway. And not playing ball he most certainly doesn’t want to do. For something a little less confusing, we turn to Mike Wells of the Indianapolis Star:

The Pacers – like they’ve been doing for quite some time – tried to trade Ford on Wednesday. They couldn’t throw him in a deal so they then tried to negotiate a buyout with him. The Pacers wanted Ford to take a buyout for about $5 million. The point guard quickly shot that idea down. “I’m not taking a buyout,” Ford said.

You can’t blame Ford for not taking a buyout, especially since he’s scheduled to make $8.5 million next season. He didn’t pick up his player option to leave $3.5 million on the table. “T.J. is on the team and we expect him to come in here and be
professional and try to get a job and get some playing time,” [Larry] Bird said.

So unless Indiana can find a taker for Ford’s $8.5 million expiring contract or the team decides to waive him outright, Ford should be a Pacer next season. Even if that’s in name only. Ford will no doubt serve in a less prominent capacity next season (note Larry’s quote regarding his hope that Ford will try to “come in here and…try to get a job and some playing time,”) and could easily become a fixture at the end of the Pacers’ bench.

Kings’ Rudy Gay suffers apparent torn left Achilles tendon, would be done for season

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This not only changes the Kings dreams of making the playoffs in the West, it also alters the trade deadline and free agency.

Rudy Gay, the Kings wing and second-leading scorer, has been diagnosed with a torn left Achilles tendon, according to the team. During the third quarter of Wednesday night’s game against the Pacers, Gay drove out of the right corner and, untouched, fell to the floor hard. He had to be helped off the court by teammates.

Team doctors made the initial torn Achilles diagnosis, which will need to be confirmed by an MRI scheduled for Thursday. He would be out not only for this season but likely the start of the next one as well.

Without Gay, a lot more will fall on Matt Barnes and, once he returns from his calf injury in a couple of weeks, Omri Casspi. Those two are a drop off from what Gay brought to the Kings,  and with that team’s playoff chances have taken a hit (they are 1.5 games out of the eight seed after Wednesday’s loss to the Pacers). Don’t be surprised if the Kings look to add a scorer at the trade deadline.

Gay was not happy in Sacramento and said he planned to opt out of the $14.3 million final year of his contract to be a free agent next summer, which made him someone potentially traded before the deadline (although the Kings being in the playoff hunt impacted that). Gay averaged 18.7 points and 6.4 rebounds a game for the Kings, and while his game was a little old school — more isolation and midrange shots than teams prefer — he put up points. Enough that he was drawing trade interest heading toward the deadline from Oklahoma City and other squads.

That is all off the table now. At age 30, if Gay does still opt out of his contract for next season this will impact what he would make on the free market.

Zaza Pachulia lays out Russell Westbrook, stands over him (video)

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Kevin Durant playing the Thunder invites extra emotions.

Russell Westbrook felt them – in the form of a flagrant foul by Warriors center Zaza Pachulia, who stood over Westbrook for emphasis.

Pachulia is really embracing his role doing the dirty work for star-studded Golden State.

Report: 76ers’ Ben Simmons sitting entire season still on table

TARRYTOWN, NEW YORK - AUGUST 07:  Ben Simmons of the Philadelphia 76ers poses for a portrait during the 2016 NBA Rookie Photoshoot at Madison Square Garden Training Center on August 7, 2016 in Tarrytown, New York. 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. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2016 NBAE  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
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That rumor No. 1 pick Ben Simmons won’t play this season?

It just won’t die.

Even after Simmons tried to quash it, even after the 76ers’ CEO outright denied it, even after Simmons returned to practice, even in an otherwise optimistic report.

Chris Haynes of ESPN:

76ers rookie forward Ben Simmons could make his much-anticipated NBA debut shortly after the All-Star break, league sources told ESPN.

Barring a setback in his recovery, sources say the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft has a chance to take the hardwood near March. There still remains the possibility Simmons sits the entire season, sources said, but his situation will continue to be thoroughly evaluated throughout his comeback quest.

76ers coach Brett Brown said there’s “no chance” Simmons plays in Philadelphia’s nationally televised game against the Rockets next week. Other than that, there isn’t much clarity.

It mostly sounds as if Simmons is still too far from returning to say something definitive.

Roy Hibbert passes ball into hoop, reacts with perfect facial expression (video)

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The Hornets did so much right in their 107-85 win over the Trail Blazers, even a bad pass went through the hoop.

Roy Hibbert reacted fantastically to blunder/basket (blasket?).