Baseline to Baseline recaps: The night of the living blowouts

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What you missed while planning to be one of the Joker’s henchmen

The Cavaliers historically bad performance against the Lakers is our Anti-Game of he Night.

The Hawks hosting the Bucks was postponed due to snow and will be played on March 15.

Wizards 136, Kings 133 (OT): This was more roller coaster than basketball — the Wizards were up 19 after on quarter (14 points for Nick Young in 10 minutes) and it looked like it was over. The second quarter was the Bizzaro first quarter with the Kings suddenly hot, they stormed back and were up by two at the break. Then the third quarter it was the Wizards turn again, with Young dropping 18 in the quarter (he had 43 for the game).

This time it really should have been over — the Wizards were up six with 14 seconds left. But then a Jermaine Taylor dunk, followed by a terrible inbound pass by Rashard Lewis that was stolen by Francisco Garcia, who converted it to an and-one, and suddenly it was a game again, and we soon were headed to overtime.

Kirk Hinrich had six in OT. Nobody played particularly well in this game, but it was entertaining.

Pacers 111, Sixers 103: Andre Iguodala was back, which is the good news for Philly. He shot 0-7 from the field, which is the bad news. This was another roller coaster game where the Pacers were up 16 in the third; the Sixers battled back to lead in the fourth.

The Pacers went on a 10-2 run late to seal it with Danny Granger and Darren Collison providing the spark. Which is what we expected to happen all season for the Pacers, but it’s been spotty.

Spurs 107, Timberwolves 96: The Spurs alternated between brilliant and sloppy all night, but that was enough to beat the Wolves. Crazy sequence of five quick technicals all on Minnesota at one point in the game, including two on Rambis sending him to the showers… or bar, or wherever coaches go. Some nights the quick-trigger refs are back.

Nuggets 132, Suns 98: There were boos for Carmelo Anthony, although maybe not as many as the last game. Really, the Pepsi Center was fairly quiet in the first half when the Suns opened up a double digit lead. The Nuggets may have had all five of the preseason planned starters for ready to go but it was the bench that sparked the run, and that became contagious. By the end of the night Denver had an offensive rating of 133 (points per 100 possessions), and they took over in the second half with ‘Melo dropping 12 in the third quarter and Arron Afflalo dropping 31.

Knicks 100, Trail Blazers 86: Ronny Turiaf played maybe his best game as a Knick defending the rim. Portland was a little flat as a team, they weren’t shooing well (looking at you, Wes Mathews) so they tried to get into the lane, and Turiaf was there to play one of his better games. You can get the idea in a stat — the Knicks shot 50 percent and he Suns just 34.9 percent.

Report: LeBron James being hands off, letting Cavaliers front office handle Irving trade

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Okay, Koby Altman — the Cavs interim general manager about to have the first part of that title removed — and Dan Gilbert, the ball is in your court.

Kyrie Irving has told the Cleveland Cavaliers he wants to be traded, and he’s given them a list of preferred landing spots. Normally in this kind of situation, the team’s biggest star would not only be informed but consulted and asked his opinion, however this time around LeBron James is going to be hands off, reports Brian Windhorst of ESPN.

LeBron James intends to let the Cleveland Cavaliers front office and owner Dan Gilbert take the lead in dealing with Kyrie Irving’s trade demands, sources told ESPN.

As the Cavs consider their options, sources said James has expressed to the team that he is focused on his offseason workout regimen and is planning to report to training camp with the intention of leading his teammates to a fourth consecutive Finals — no matter who those teammates are.

Despite the perception — and some reality, the team did try to make him happy — LeBron has not wanted to play GM of the Cavaliers in recent years. He has wanted to be more hands off, but has let his feelings be known at times. Part of that was he grew to trust David Griffin to make decisions. With Griffin out of the way, a lot of things feel different in Cleveland.

Consider this part of the crumbling of the foundation in Cleveland. LeBron is acting like an employee, one who shows up to do his job and that’s it — which is what he is, but stars can take on a larger role in the franchise. LeBron has, and does still to a degree, but he has scaled it back after his experiences over the years. Things feel like they are closing in on the Cavaliers, the only question is how fast?

Report: Cavaliers unhappy Kyrie Irving news leaked because it hurts trade value

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The news Kyrie Irving wants out of Cleveland came as a bolt of lightning to a finally slowed NBA offseason. Speculation about the future of LeBron James had been rampant, but discussions of Kyrie Irving’s future were usually tied to LeBron (if he left the Cavs, Irving would go, too).

Cleveland wanted to keep it under wraps, because it’s easier to do business that way. Now the word is out — including that he prefers to be traded to San Antonio, Minnesota, Miami, or New York — and the Cavaliers are not happy, reports Chris Haynes of ESPN.

It means that there will be a lot more leaks — teams that want to look like they are trying to do something but have no real interest/assets will make a call then leak it so it looks like they are trying. It will mean a lot of distracting headlines.

However, unlike Carmelo Anthony with the Knicks, the Cavaliers have leverage here. Irving doesn’t have a no-trade clause so the Cavaliers can take the best offer. Irving is an All-Star level point guard, one of the five to eight best in the NBA (depending on how much you knock him for his defensive lapses, and who you classify as a point guard). He also has two seasons left on his contract, so teams that trade for him have a chance to win him over to stay.

That said, leaked info or not, they are not getting equal value back. It doesn’t work that way with stars generally. That said, everyone knowing he wants out doesn’t help the Cavaliers cause here.

Kyrie Irving’s reported preferred trade destinations: Knicks, Heat, Spurs, Timberwolves

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Kyrie Irving requested a trade from the Cavaliers.

He even apparently provided a list of teams he prefers to join.

Chris Haynes of ESPN:

That’s quite an eclectic mix.

The Knicks play in a major market near Irving’s native New Jersey, but they’re lousy. The Heat have a merely good team, excellent basketball culture, beautiful weather and a state with no income tax. The Spurs also offer a great basketball culture and no state income tax – plus Gregg Popovich and Kawhi Leonard. The Timberwolves are an up-and-comer with multiple players – Karl-Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins and Jimmy Butler (a friend) – on Irving’s timeline (though one would likely have to be traded for him) and a coach in Tom Thibodeau who worked with Irving through USA Basketball.

But Irving doesn’t possess a no-trade clause. Cleveland can trade him anywhere – or not at all.

Teams that Irving greenlights might offer more than teams he doesn’t, believing he’d be more likely to re-sign when his contract expires. But his free agency is still two years away. It doesn’t seem that will play a huge factor.

For Irving to work his way to a team he prefers, it will take a little luck in which team offers the Cavs the best package – or impressive finagling by his agent.

Report: Spurs re-signing Pau Gasol to three-year contract

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Even after Pau Gasol opted out, there it nearly certain he’d stay with the Spurs.

Now, a deal is done.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

I’m a little surprised San Antonio guaranteed Gasol’s salary next season. By rule, it must be within 5% of what he’ll earn this year.

The Spurs could have major flexibility to chase free agents next summer, making keeping the books clean a priority. Their only constraints with Gasol this year are paying him up to 120% of his prior salary (which comes out to $18.6 million), the hard cap ($125,266,000) and whatever expense ownership would endure. So, if Gasol were willing to play ball, San Antonio could have paid him a sizable salary this year and far less – the room exception or even the minimum – next year.

Instead, Gasol’s compensation will be more balanced between the seasons. We’ll see how much he’ll earn.

Gasol remains an effective scorer, in part because he increased his range beyond the 3-point arc. He rebounds well in his area, and his length and basketball intelligence make him a passable defender given his other skills. His immobility can be a major defensive liability in certain matchups, though.

He’s also 37, an age where players can drop off quickly – another reason a one-year deal would’ve been preferable. At least the partial guarantee in the third year will help San Antonio.