Erick Dampier says it's down to four teams, Portland now in mix

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edampier_post.jpgErick Dampier made a decision, he wanted to take his backup center talents to South Beach, like everyone else. But for reasons not totally clear, Miami didn’t want him (Damps is not a great center, but he’s better than anyone they’ve got).

So he’s taking his time making another decision. He told Sam Amick of FanHouse he’s narrowing it down.

“I’ve talked to Milwaukee, Toronto, Portland, and one other team,” he said after confirming talks with the Rockets as well. “There’s no one in the No. 1 spot. I’m not in a rush. I just want to find the perfect fit and give myself an opportunity to compete for a championship.”

If a ring is really the goal, you can see why the Rockets are in the mix — they are a popular darkhorse pick by league pundits, and if Damps minutes can help keep Yao Ming healthy they are closer. However, Portland is right there and has more room for growth. They and Oklahoma City have positioned themselves as the teams to beat in the West after the Lakers step back (whenever that happens).

Dampier is in no rush.

“There’s different scenarios, different teams every day,” he said. “There’s no timeline. As of a couple days ago, a couple other teams had reached out and are wanting to talk to me, so we’ll probably go do interviews and sometime after that make a decision.”

Is DeMarcus Cousins MVP worthy? “It’s mine to grab”

DeMarcus Cousins
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Last season, DeMarcus Cousins received zero MVP votes (the same as every year of his career). Even though he averaged 24.1 points, and 12.7 rebounds a game, which was enough to get him his first All-Star berth, MVP is another thing entirely. Only players on winning teams tend to draw the attention of MVP voters.

This season, can Cousins — arguably the best center in the game — get in the conversation?

He thinks it’s more than just that, he told Kevin Ding at Bleacher Report.

The topic is the 2015-16 NBA MVP award and whether it could be reachable for DeMarcus Cousins.

“Reachable, man?” Cousins told Bleacher Report, his voice rising high. “It’s mine to grab.”

As noted above, the only way Cousins gets into the conversation — fair or not — is if the Kings are in the playoffs (at the very least). He understands that.

“It’s going to take a full team effort,” Cousins said. “I’ll try to play at a high level and bring my team along with me.”

Vlade Divac built a Kings’ team designed to start winning now — as you would expect from a team a year away from moving into a new arena they need to fill. Owner Vivek Ranadive is not about selling hope anymore, he wants to sell wins.

I think Cousins can help provide that.

I’m less sold on the cast around him being able to help.

PBT Extra bold prediction preview: Markieff Morris will be a happy Sun

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After a bumpy season where the he fought with Suns coaches, then a summer where he and his twin Marcus felt they were blindsided by a trade, Markieff Morris has been plenty vocal about his unhappiness in Phoenix. To the point it has cost him some serious cash.

So what should we expect from Markieff Morris’ upcoming season?

Relative calm, I tell Jenna Corrado of NBCSports in this latest edition of PBT Extra previewing the NBA season.

The reasons are twofold. First, he has to realize the Suns aren’t trading him anyway (especially not while he publicly demands a trade, lowering his trade value). Second, can you imagine how new locker room leader Tyson Chandler is going to react to that? Chandler was brought in to fill a leadership void in the locker room, and you can bet he will make his displeasure at such team-disrupting antics known.

Still not sure if that’s enough to get the Suns to the playoffs.