Bargnani wouldn’t mind playing somewhere warmer

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UPDATE 7:11 pm: Andrea Bargnani released a statement Wednesday to clarify his comments. Here it is (via the fantastic Holly McKenzie at The Score), you can make of it what you will.

“I wish to personally clarify and correct an inaccurate portrayal of my words that recently appeared in the media. Much of what I said was taken out of context with respect to an entire conversation.

“I want to make clear my love for Toronto and that I consider the city a second home. I never said that I want to leave Toronto and I’m sorry if fans interpreted the inaccuracy that way.

“I am proud to represent Toronto and the Raptors organization. I appreciate what Bryan Colangelo and the organization has done for me during the past five years of my career. I will always continue to work to improve myself as a player in an effort to reward the organization and our fans with the best team possible.”

2:13 pm: If Andrea Bargnani isn’t completely captivated with the city of Toronto, the feeling may be mutual.

The Raptors center that likes to hang out at the three-point line has been doing color commentary on the Italian feed of the Western Conference Finals and he did a segment talking about his NBA career so far.

Which included this quote, according to the Toronto Star.

“I want to stay in Toronto, at least this is the politically correct answer. If (I am) to go somewhere else, I’d like a warm climate city and a team where I can actually play in my role.”

It seems to me Toronto has been pretty accommodating about letting him play his game, but he apparently doesn’t see it that way.

Bargnani also goes and shows there’s an apparent rift between him and GM Bryan Colangelo. A GM who just got a contract extension, by the way. Colangelo after the season called Bargnani “the enigma of enigmas.”

“(Colangelo) had some unfortunate and not very courageous comments about me … The facts are there for everybody to see and judge.”

Does a sober reading of the facts make either Bargnani or Colangelo look good?

There have been reports the Raptors are open to trading Bargnani, but as he is owed $41.5 million over the next four years, that is not going to be easy to do.

Warriors pose for photos with Jahlil Okafor’s dad’s ‘FREE JAH’ shirt

AP Photo/Chris Szagola
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Jahlil Okafor‘s father has not been shy about speaking out on his son’s behalf. NBA players are advocating for the 76ers to grant Okafor, who’s out of the rotation and on an expiring contract, his desired trade or buyout.

When both join forces…

Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and Stephen Curry appear to really enjoy Chukwudi Okafor’s shirt. That doesn’t mean they’re necessarily calling on Philadelphia to do anything. But they hadn’t to know how it’d be perceived.

It’s easy to predict free agents will avoid the 76ers as a result of the Okafor situation, but few anticipate getting stuck similarly. Players overwhelmingly value money, winning, role and location. If Golden State’s stars are applying any external pressure, it shouldn’t really move Philadelphia more than anything that has already been said and done.

A couple of Lonzo Ball’s triple-double assists look dubious (video)

Harry How/Getty Images
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Lonzo Ball draws outsized attention because his father, LaVar Ball, lures onlookers and because the rookie plays for the high-profile Los Angeles Lakers.

So, when Lonzo gets a triple-double – like his 11-points, 16-rebound, 11-assists game against the Nuggets yesterday – it draws scrutiny.

Mo Dakhil of The Jump Ball:

The NBA defines an assist as a “pass that directly leads to a basket. … An assist can be awarded for a basket scored after the ball has been dribbled if the player’s pass led to the field goal being made.”

I wouldn’t describe either of those passing as leading directly to a basket. Ball’s teammates each hold the ball for a moment after receiving the pass then take two dribbles against set defenses.

But assists are subjective, and the Lakers aren’t alone in offering a home-court scorekeeping advantage.

Kyle Neubeck of Philly Voice

So, criticize/laugh at the Lakers. But your favorite team probably manipulates assists in its favor, too.

Robin Lopez and T.J. Warren exchange contact, heated words (video)

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Robin Lopez whacked T.J. Warren in the head while chasing an offensive rebound. Warren didn’t like that, so he ran to the opposite end of the court and shoved Lopez to the floor. A heated confrontation ensued, though it didn’t escalate beyond yelling.

Warren received a flagrant foul, and Lopez was hit with a technical in the Suns’ 113-105 win over the Bulls.

Lakers blow 5-on-1 fastbreak (video)

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Corey Brewer is better at finishing fastbreaks than leading them.

Nice defense by Emmanuel Mudiay, too.

But at least the Lakers won.