Anthony Carter, Dahntay Jones

Dahntay Jones rightfully moves to the end of the Pacers’ bench

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Dahntay Jones spent the initial stage of last season on an unprecedented tear. After a series of unimpressive campaigns for the Grizzlies, Kings, and Nuggets, the power of a Pacer uniform somehow brought out the best in him. Through the ’09-’10 season’s first 15 games, Jones averaged 16.7 points (on 45% shooting) and four rebounds a night, and while those numbers weren’t quite impressive enough to turn his rookie card into a collector’s item, they were about three steps up in production for a previously marginal NBA player.

It looked like it was too good to be true, and it was.

Jones performed reasonably well for the rest of the season, but he would never match his November production. That was the brightest Jones’ star ever burned, and now with Mike Dunleavy Jr. back from injury, James Posey added via trade, and Paul George in need of experience and developmental opportunities, Jones has become a forgotten man. The four-year, $11 million contract that Jones somehow milked from Indiana now seems every bit as ridiculous as it was the day he signed it last summer, and the guard’s startlingly effective Pacer debut has been rendered irrelevant to everyone but Jones and his agent.

The Pacers are done. They’ve tried to trade him, and though unsuccessful in their attempts, they’ll keep trying. From Mike Wells of the Indianapolis Star:

It took Jones, the Pacers’ main offseason acquisition in 2009, four games before he made his first appearance of the season. In 11 minutes Wednesday night against the Philadelphia 76ers, Jones had eight points and four rebounds. “Yeah, it’s tough,” he said. “I’m competitive and I work hard. You work hard for the opportunity to play. When you don’t get in, it’s frustrating. But it’s part of the game and you work hard until your number is called.”

…Jones appeared in 76 games, including 26 starts, last season. But his playing time dwindled late in the season because he doesn’t shoot well enough from the perimeter to allow the Pacers to space the court. He was 4-of-32 on 3-pointers last season. The Pacers tried to trade Jones to clear a roster spot for Magnum Rolle last month, and they’re expected to continue to try to get him moved. “I’m a basketball player and I’ll always be a basketball player,” Jones said. “You will never call me a shooter. I just play basketball. I don’t take it as a negative that I’m not a shooter. I just play hard and hope what I bring to the table will be useful to the team.”

Jones is right: he’s no shooter. The problem is that he’s not really much of anything else, either. A fine athlete. A decent defender. Probably worthy of a spot at the end of someone’s bench, and Indy is as good of a landing point as any. He’s just not worth the money they’re paying him, and despite last November’s mirage, never has been. The Pacers overpaid for Jones and now are saddled with his obligatory roster spot, even if they’d prefer to have Magnum Rolle in his place.

Archie Goodwin requests trade, Suns waive him

PHOENIX, AZ - APRIL 13:  Archie Goodwin #20 of the Phoenix Suns handles the ball in the second half of the NBA game against the Los Angeles Clippers at Talking Stick Resort Arena on April 13, 2016 in Phoenix, Arizona.  The Suns defeated the Clippers 114 - 105.  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. (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)
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Archie Goodwin had been stuck behind better guards with the Suns, most notably Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight.

But when Goodwin lost playing time to someone better and younger – Devin Booker – it became time to exit Phoenix.

Suns general manager Ryan McDonough complied.

Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic:

McDonough said they did not see a way Goodwin would play meaningful time in a fourth Suns season.

“We told Archie Goodwin and his agent at the end of last season that if there wasn’t going to be an opportunity for him to play going into the last year of his deal, that we would try to help him get to a good spot,” McDonough said. “We explored some trade scenarios throughout the summer and into the fall. We tried to help him get elsewhere in a trade.“

Unable to fulfill a trade request from the Goodwin camp, the Suns waived the 22-year-old

This allows Phoenix to keep two players without guaranteed salaries, John Jenkins and Derrick Jones Jr.

Jenkins, the No. 23 pick in the 2012 draft, previous played for the Hawks and Mavericks. He looks like a good spot-up shooter and shot well from beyond the arc in Phoenix after being claimed on waivers last season. But he was dreadful from beyond the arc in Dallas and has had other lulls prior. Despite quality defensive rebounding for a shooting guard, he’s a defensive minus.

Undrafted out of UNLV, Jones is a phenomenal athlete. But he needs to develop his skills and, at 6-foot-7 and 190 pounds, his body. He’s an intriguing project.

So was Goodwin, but the guard didn’t progress enough in three NBA seasons. He remains a lousy 3-point shooter and unreliable defender. His ability to penetrate goes only so far without better finishing or floor vision.

Goodwin’s athleticism and raw tools could convince a team to take a flier on him. But he has a long way to go to being a helpful NBA player. The team that knows him best being willing to let him walk says something.

PBT Podcast: Predicting NBA playoffs, Finals. Yes, meaning Warriors vs. Cavaliers

CLEVELAND, OH - JUNE 16:  Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors reacts to a foul call during the fourth quarter as LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers looks on in Game 6 of the 2016 NBA Finals at Quicken Loans Arena on June 16, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. 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.  (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
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The Golden State Warriors vs. the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Like virtually every other prognosticator, we at PBT are predicting that as the NBA Finals as well.

Is having the same teams in three straight Finals good for the league? Which teams could get in the way of that rematch? Kurt Helin and Dane Carbaugh of discuss just that, including the Celtics, Spurs, and Clippers. They also talk surprise teams and the log jams in both conferences after you step back from the top few teams on each side. There’s a lot to cover.

As always, you can check out the podcast below, or listen and subscribe via iTunes (check there to see all the NBC Sports podcasts), subscribe via the fantastic Stitcher app, check us out on Google play, or check out our new PBT podcast homepage and archive at

Warriors, TNT to begin NBA season with tribute to Craig Sager

LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 13:  Honoree Craig Sager accepts the Jimmy V Award for Perserverance onstage during the 2016 ESPYS at Microsoft Theater on July 13, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
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NEW YORK (AP) — The Golden State Warriors and TNT will begin the season with a tribute to sideline reporter Craig Sager, who is battling leukemia.

TNT will unveil a T-shirt during its Tuesday night studio show that was inspired by the suit Sager wore while receiving the Jimmy Valvano Award at this year’s ESPY Awards. Proceeds from the sale of the shirt will benefit the SagerStrong Foundation .

The Warriors will then give their fans at their season opener against San Antonio a Sager Strong T-shirt. The team also will play a message in the arena supporting his fight.

The popular reporter, best known for his colorful suits, won’t be able to work the game as he continues treatment for the disease.

He also designed a special edition Nike sneaker, and 100 pairs will be available via online auction beginning Tuesday through Nov. 4. A portion of the proceeds from the auction will benefit the SagerStrong Foundation.

Before season starts, watch top 10 dunks of preseason

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Starting Tuesday night, the games matter. The dunks matter.

But before we move onto those dunks, let’s have some fun with the top 10 dunks of the meaningless preseason. They may not matter, but they certainly were fun.

Of course there are some expected highlights — can you have a dunk reel without Russell Westbrook? — but game-winning dunks always get the top slot.