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Baseline to Baseline recaps: George Karl has won some games

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Nuggets 123, Raptors 116: Congrats to George Karl on the win — his 1,000th. A well deserved honor for a personal favorite. Aside that, Carmelo Anthony sat an the Nuggets still won on the road, which tells you all you need to know about where these two teams are headed.

Bull 88, Lakers 84: Chicago started 6 of 29 from the floor and the Lakers were up double-digits early after a 14-0 run. But when the Laker reserves came in the extra pass stopped, creating offense off the dribble started and the Bulls turned those misses into transition opportunities. Chicago — Luol Deng leading the way — did a good job on Kobe, he was just 9 of 23 shooting and he got to the line just six times. Not a great game from LA, but people the Bulls may be for real.

Pacers 100, Bobcats 92: Indiana controlled the tempo of this game and that was the key, Indiana wants to run and the Bobcats are methodical. Indiana won that battle. It was an old-school win for the Pacers in that they seemed to make the little hustle plays that coaches loved all game long. All that and, well, the Pacers shot better.

Thunder 97, Hornets 92: The Thunder really got this win in the third quarter when they battled back from down 9 to take the lead, although the mid fourth quarter 10-4 run didn’t hurt. Actually, I take it back because the fourth quarter was so much fun with Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook going at it I would not have wanted to change anything before it With the game on the line in the fourth Russell Westbrook had 8, Kevin Durant had 6 and 4 assists.

Knicks 101, Wizards 95: Landry Fields? I saw the guy in college and he was a nice player and all, but where did this Landry Fields come from? Anyway, he had 9 points in the fourth quarter, some guy named Amare Stoudemire pitched in 8 and the Knicks have won 7 in a row. That said, one sloppy, ugly game.

Timberwolves 109, Pistons 99: The Timberwolves won, you should watch this video to celebrate.

Spurs 108, Hawks 92: It’s too early to be asking this, really, but we’re going to anyway: Could the Spurs beat the Lakers in the West? I want to say no, and the Lakers are not 100 percent yet, but the Spurs impress me more and more every time I see them. Of course, the Hawks started Jason Collins at center tonight, so there is your counterbalance.

Bucks 97, Rockets 91: The Bucks looked more cohesive and they looked, well, like the Bucks we expected this season. Andrew Bogut with 24 points and 22 rebounds.

Portland 101, Suns 94: This was the best Brandon Roy has looked in a long time, the best the Blazers have looked — the shooting, the ball movement. Everything. Some credit goes to Portland, some goes the terrible Suns defense for helping out.

Jazz 107, Magic 94: Stan Van Gundy put Brandon Bass in to start at the four, which strikes us as a smart because of the matchups. Not that it helped during this one. Orlando has some issues, Utah has Deron Williams.

Heat 106, Warriors 94: The Heat are running more, they are dangerous when they run. Frankly they are the best team in the league in transition. The Warriors want to run (less than the Don Nelson days, but they run). So the Warriors played right into the hands of the Heat. That went about like you’d expect.

Report: DeJuan Blair cited for misdemeanor battery against woman

Washington Wizards center DeJuan Blair sits in the front row seats as the Milwaukee Bucks are introduced before an NBA basketball game Friday, Oct. 30, 2015, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Darren Hauck)
AP Photo/Darren Hauck
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DeJuan Blair played for the Wizards last season before being traded to the Suns, who waived him.

Now, he’s facing legal trouble.

TMZ:

Las Vegas Metro PD has confirmed … officers were called to Drai’s nightclub at The Cromwell hotel around 1 AM Sunday morning to respond to a report of a man who allegedly got physical with a woman.

The alleged victim told police … she was arguing with Blair over the line into the club when he picked her up and tossed her off to the side. The woman was pissed and retaliated by striking him back — before calling for help.

Sources tell us … when cops arrived they checked security video and decided there was enough evidence to issue a citation to Blair for misdemeanor battery.  He was NOT arrested.

However, cops tell TMZ Sports Blair was also issued a “trespassing warning” from the property and told to leave immediately.

The 27-year-old Blair is a free agent. He has played for the Spurs, Mavericks and Wizards in a seven-year NBA career.

Report: Dion Waiters signing one-year, $2.9 million contract with Heat

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - MAY 28:  Dion Waiters #3 of the Oklahoma City Thunder reacts during the first half against the Golden State Warriors in game six of the Western Conference Finals during the 2016 NBA Playoffs at Chesapeake Energy Arena on May 28, 2016 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. 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 J Pat Carter/Getty Images)
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If there’s anyone who won’t fear replacing Dwyane Wade with the Heat, it’s Dion Waiters.

For better or worse.

Jon Krawczynski of the Associated Press:

This is presumably for the $2,898,000 room exception. At that price, it’s hard to argue with taking a chance on the talented 24-year-old. For a brief stretch in the playoffs, Waiters put it all together and looked like the complementary scorer and defender the Thunder desired.

But that was surrounded by more sober assessments of his value.

Oklahoma City didn’t extend Waiters’ contract before the season and yanked his qualifying offer last week. This must be a disappointing outcome for Waiters, but at least he can hit the market again in a year.

Erik Spoelstra and the Heat have a reputation for boosting the stock of wayward talented players. Just look at Hassan Whiteside, who became the first player in NBA history to go from a minimum salary one season to the max the next.

Waiters must play with more purpose on both ends of the floor. Too often, it appears he’s just drifting until his next opportunity to jack up a shot — which he does frequently and inefficiently.

Joining Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook for a season reduced Waiters absurdly high usage, but he’s still a gunner. One benefit of Wade leaving — easing the tension between point guard Goran Dragic and a ball-dominant shooting guard — has been reduced.

At least Miami can turn to Tyler Johnson and Josh Richardson in the backcourt if Waiters sees this as an opportunity to hunt his own shot without abandon once again.

Waiters has ability as a shooter and ball-handler. He’s strong enough to defend well. There is upside for the Heat here and little downside.

But there’s a reason Waiters had to settle for the room exception even as he’s entering his athletic prime.

Report: Celtics-76ers trade talks on Jahlil Okafor have grown ‘stale’

DALLAS, TX - FEBRUARY 21:  Jahlil Okafor #8 of the Philadelphia 76ers takes a shot against Zaza Pachulia #27 of the Dallas Mavericks in the first half at American Airlines Center on February 21, 2016 in Dallas, Texas.  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 Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
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The Celtics were reportedly interested in Jahlil Okafor, but they aren’t willing to give up much.

You know where that leads.

Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald:

It’s possible the Celtics and Philadelphia could revisit talks for Jahlil Okafor, but, according to sources, those talks appear to have grown “stale.”

The 76ers still want to trade Okafor or Nerlens Noel, but Philadelphia also doesn’t want to sell low. With Al Horford, Amir Johnson, Kelly Olynyk and Tyler Zeller already at center, it’s unlikely Boston surrenders enough to tempt the 76ers.

Sure, the Celtics could use a young interior scorer like Okafor. But he’d be more of a luxury than a need — which influences Boston’s offer.

It’s hard to envision what would freshen these trade talks, which means Philadelphia probably needs to find a new trade partner.

Report: Trail Blazers signing C.J. McCollum to four-year max contract extension

OAKLAND, CA - MAY 11:  C.J. McCollum #3 of the Portland Trail Blazers dribbles the ball against the Golden State Warriors during Game Five of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2016 NBA Playoffs on May 11, 2016 at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California.  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 Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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Four years ago, C.J. McCollum was playing at Lehigh.

Two years ago, he was barely in the Trail Blazers’ rotation.

Now, McCollum — the reigning Most Improved Player — is set to receive a huge payday.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

McCollum will earn $3,219,579 next season in the final year of his rookie-scale contract. His extension will kick in for the 2017-18 season.

The Trail Blazers could offer McCollum just a four-year extension, because they already made Damian Lillard their designated player with a five-year extension. They could have re-signed McCollum to a five-year deal as a restricted free agent next summer, but they chose this route.

If this is a true max contract, Portland also runs the risk of a new Collective Bargaining Agreement significantly changing McCollum’s max. In max extensions, the salaries are slotted once the cap is set the following offseason. It’s also possible the extension is written now with set salaries based on the projected max, protecting the Trail Blazers in the event of an unexpected max leap. (If McCollum’s salary is set to a number higher than where the max winds up, the salary is amended downward to the max.)

Portland also cuts into its 2017 flexibility, because McCollum will immediately count against the cap at his 2017-18 salary (projected to be about $24 million) rather than what would’ve been his cap hold ($8,048,948). If the Trail Blazers waited, they could have used that $16 million or so difference in cap space then re-signed McCollum with Bird Rights.

So, why go to all this trouble?

Portland locks up a talented 24-year-old through his prime.

The NBA is short on high-end shooting guards, and McCollum was likely to receive considerable interest as a free agent. He could’ve leveraged that into a shorter offer sheet, allowing him to hit unrestricted free agency — meaning potentially an even bigger payout and/or departure — sooner.

McCollum also complements Lillard well. They share playmaking responsibilities in the backcourt, rarely leaving the Trail Blazers without either player on the court. McCollum’s 3-point shooting also makes him a threat when playing with Lillard.

Not long ago, Lillard noted Portland was already playing without an All-Star when so much attention was paid to the Clippers losing Chris Paul and Blake Griffin. But All-Star berths are far from the only one to measure stature.

Now, the Trail Blazers have two players paid like stars, and they’ll depend on Lillard and McCollum to lead the team into the foreseeable future.