Report: Andre Miller brought in to now-dead Melo trade talks

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This is Vescey-time, so get your grain of salt ready. The “notable” writer for the New York Post reports today that during the final stages of the four-team deal for Carmelo Anthony to be shipped to the Nets, the Blazers were involved in talks. Vescey reports that Charlotte was swapped out with Portland, with Portland getting Devin Harris and Andre Miller being sent elsewhere.

While this news seems odd considering the stability in Portland’s roster, Miller has been on the block consistently over the past year. For whatever reason, since signing with Portland as a free agent, the coaching staff and whoever’s been at the top of the chain have been active in discussing moving him. It’s not individual production, but probably the fact that Miller’s not a super-producer. He’s a good, solid, all-around point guard, but he’s not a masterful producer.

Basically, every team wants a Chris Paul, not a combo guard.

If the report is true, it also shows that Denver was willing to move pieces around to try and get a deal done, before getting cold feet and trying to convince Melo to chill out. (Get it? Because he’s mellow, you see.) They’re of course saying everything’s fine and dandy, but you’ll notice Anthony’s signature isn’t on the dotted line of that extension. That situation continues to percolate, and how the first three months of Denver’s season goes will determine what it brews.

Meanwhile, the Blazers continue to consider moving Miller, which is probably only going to make a pretty surly player even more surly. Then again, coach Nate McMillan was able to not only make the playoffs with Miller’s friction but helped to him a very productive season, especially down the stretch with Brandon Roy out when Miller took over the perimeter scoring load. So it would appear that for all the cause for concern, the Blazers can handle putting Miller on the line. Whether he stays in Portland is a different question.

Finally, Devin Harris became agitated at being out on the trade block during this whole ordeal. Was he really upset if he learned he was going to Portland, a young, talented playoff team? Seems unlikely and might be a good reminder for him not to protest too much.

Spurs’ LaMarcus Aldridge nails three from one knee during warmups (VIDEO)

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Take that Stephen Curry.

Gregg Popovich would pull him so fast he’d look like a fidget spinner if he tried this in a game, but during warmups before Game 4 Monday night LaMarcus Aldridge knocked down a deep three from one knee.

If Aldridge is taking a lot of threes that’s not a good sign for the Spurs, but we’ll see if he can have a big night and keep the Spurs alive in this series.

Stephen Curry drains shots from near half court during warmups like they’re layups

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Stephen Curry‘s pregame warmups draw people into the arena early, it’s a show in and of itself.

Before Game 4 Monday night, Curry was taking a couple shots from the center-court logo. And draining them. Like layups. Because he can.

We’ll see if he can put on that kind of show when the game tips off.

Gregg Popovich makes it official: No Kawhi Leonard for Game 4

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This was expected. It still sucks to hear.

Kawhi Leonard is out for Game 4 vs. the Warriors Monday night.

Leonard has sprained his left ankle in Game 5 against the Rockets and sat out Game 6 of that series (a San Antonio win), then returned for Game 1 against the Warriors. He re-injured his ankle twice in that game — once stepping on David Lee‘s foot, once when Zaza Pachulia slid under him on a jumper and took away his landing space. Leonard left that game with his team up 23 points, but the Warriors rallied back to win Game 1 and have controlled the series ever since. Leonard has not returned to the series.

San Antonio will play with pride on Monday night, but it may not be enough. You can bet the Warriors were reminded all day about taking their foot off the gas after what happened with Cleveland Sunday.

Report: Orlando hires Toronto GM Jeff Weltman to be president of basketball operations

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In Toronto, Masai Ujiri is the head of basketball operations and the guy with the hammer on deals. Jeff Weltman was his right-hand man and team GM.

Make that was his right-hand man, Weltman has been hired by the Orlando Magic to run its basketball operations, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.

The Orlando Magic have hired Toronto Raptors general manager Jeff Weltman as the franchise’s president of basketball operations, league sources told The Vertical.

Weltman met with Orlando CEO Alex Martins and ownership on Monday, finalizing a five-year deal, league sources said.

Orlando officials had been intrigued with Cleveland GM David Griffin, but moved steadily toward Weltman as they became further engaged with his candidacy in recent weeks, league sources said. Weltman has been deeply involved in every aspect of the Raptors’ front office under president Masai Ujiri as Toronto became a perennial Eastern Conference contender.

Making a move now is smart in this sense: The Magic have the No. 5 pick in this draft and would want the guy making the big picture decisions about this roster on board to make this selection.

That roster already has some quality pieces — Aaron Gordon, Evan Fournier, Nikola Vucevic, maybe Elfrid Payton — but has underachieved. There were questions about the culture and a lack of accountability, and that blame ultimately fell on GM Rob Hennigan and he was let go. Frank Vogel is locked in as

Frank Vogel is locked in as coach, so how well Weltman and Vogel work together — and share a vision — will be key.

Weltman is well-respected around the league. He spent five seasons as an assistant GM in Milwaukee, and has been with the Raptors since 2013 as that team has risen up the Eastern Conference standings and had its best run in franchise history. He also has worked with the Clippers and in Denver. He’s been one of those guys expected to get a chance in the big chair for a few years now.

He’s got it, and it’s an interesting challenge in Orlando.