NBA Finals Game 3: San Antonio Spurs v Detroit Pistons

Chauncey, Rip and ‘Melo with Nets? It’s what could have been in Detroit.

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Let’s travel back in our minds to 2003, when at the movie theater we were all Finding Nemo and at the NBA draft the Detroit Pistons went with Darko Milicic over Carmelo Anthony. We wince now (we winced then, too), but Detroit went on to win the NBA title the next season thanks to stifling defense and a team led by Rip Hamilton and Chauncey Billups.

But dreams of what might have been if Anthony had been part of that team in 2005 and beyond still haunt Piston fans. How many titles? For sure they would still be relevant rather than rebuilding.

Now, the three-team trade talks between the Nets, Pistons and Nuggets could unite in New Jersey what Detroit fans dreamed of — Billups could move with Anthony from Denver to New Jersey, and Hamilton would join them out of Detroit.

It’s Anthony’s agent, Leon Rose, who is pushing for Billups and Hamilton to go to Jersey, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo. The reason is simple: Anthony does not want to take a step backwards by going to a New Jersey team that is still rebuilding, he wants to go there and be competitive in the East. We can have a debate about whether bringing in 34-year-old Billups and 32-year-old Hamilton — while sending Devin Harris and Derrick Favors out — is really smart or makes them competitive in the East, but that’s their thinking.

However, Ken Berger of CBSSports said this Detroit dream scenario is dead for now because the Nets asked Detroit to also give up a pick while taking on Johan Petro and his two-year deal. That may well have shut off talks, but there are so many scenarios and offers out there we’re hesitant to think any option could not be revived.

Berger adds that there have been talks with Minnesota to be the third team, and they are not the only team being approached. But the bottom line has not changed — Denver is taking its time and likely will drag this entire thing out until close to the Feb. 24 trading deadline. Don’t expect anything soon.

Report: Bulls’ Cristiano Felicio ‘strong favorite’ to replace Anderson Varejao on Brazilian Olympic team

CHICAGO, IL - FEBRUARY 19: Cristiano Felicio #6 of the Chicago Bulls looks to pass against the Toronto Raptors at the United Center on February 19, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls defeated the Raptors 116-106. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using the photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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Warriors center Anderson Varejao will miss the Rio Olympics due to a back injury.

Where will Team Brazil turn now?

Likely to Bulls center Cristiano Felicio.

Marc Stein of ESPN:

Felicio came on strong late last season. He puts his 6-foot-10, 275-pound frame to good use protecting the paint and rebounding. He showed potential as passer and mid-range shooter, too.

At age 24, he’s a candidate to break out in the Olympics.

If he’s not ready, Brazil can turn to a steady veteran at center, Nene.

Report: Equipment staffer punched by Blake Griffin no longer works for Clippers

Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin stands on the court as equipment manager Matias Testi, left, stands behind the bench during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Thursday, Feb. 18, 2016, in Los Angeles. Griffin broke his hand last month when he punched Testi in the face. The Clippers won 105-86. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
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Blake Griffin broke his hand punching Clippers equipment manager Matias Testi in January.

Make that former Clippers equipment manager Matias Testi.

TMZ:

The L.A. Clippers equipment staffer who was punched in the face by Blake Griffin during a fight in Toronto earlier this year is off the team — and will NOT be back for the ’16/’17 season … TMZ Sports has learned.

We spoke with a rep for the Clippers who confirmed Matias Testi “no longer works for the team.”

#Family

Writer recants report of Kevin Durant telling Russell Westbrook he’d re-sign with Thunder

OAKLAND, CA - MARCH 03:  Kevin Durant #35 and Russell Westbrook #0 of the Oklahoma City Thunder talk to head coach Billy Donovan during their game against the Golden State Warriors at ORACLE Arena on March 3, 2016 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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The report that Kevin Durant told Russell Westbrook he’d re-sign with the Thunder before choosing the Warriors?

Never mind.

Royce Young of ESPN:

I misspoke in saying that Durant specifically told Westbrook he was coming back.

Warriors/Brazil center Anderson Varejao to miss Olympics with back injury

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31: Dan Clark #13 of Great Britain shoots over Anderson Varejao #11 of Brazil in the Men's Basketball Preliminary Round match between Great Britain and Brazil on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Basketball Arena on July 31, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Center Anderson Varejao will miss the Olympics for host Brazil because of a herniated disc in his lower back.

The Golden State Warriors announced the injury Wednesday and say that Varejao should be ready for the start of training camp but will not be healthy enough to play in the Olympics. Varejao recently experienced back pain while training with the Brazilian National Team and returned to California to be examined by Dr. Robert Watkins earlier this week.

Varejao averaged 2.6 points and 2.3 rebounds in 22 games after signing with the Warriors on Feb. 22. He re-signed with the team earlier this month.