Report: Cavs, Wolves, Pistons talky-talk; Cavs would get No. 1 and No. 2

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ESPN.com reports that the Cavaliers, Pistons, and Timberwolves are discussing a trade that is kind of complicated. Here are the pieces:

  • The Pistons send Rip Hamilton and the No. 8 to Cleveland for part of their massive trade exception from you-know-who, which gets the guy who caused a mutiny in the locker room off the squad.
  • Cleveland then turns around and swaps their No.4 pick and the No.8 pick from Detroit to Minnesota for the No.2 pick, which the Wolves don’t want because they don’t want to mess up that wonderful Michael Beasley-Anthony Randolph rotation they have going on.
  • The Timberwolves don’t have to draft Derrick Williams and get to draft Enes Kanter at No.4 and then their pick of any number of solid players at the No.8 spot.
The Detroit News reports that the deal is unlikely since Hamilton’s “almost an expiring.” Which is kind of true. But kind of not. Let me explain.
Hamilton’s on the books for $12.5 million in 2011-2012, and has $9 million of $12 million guaranteed in 2012-2013. (Thank you, Sham Sports.) The idea is that with the impending lockout, Hamilton’s contract becomes at once easier to pay off and easier to move. Let’s take a near-worst-case scenario approach as a hypothetical. The absolute worst case is the loss of a whole season, which makes Hamilton’s deal an expiring once the lockout ends. Easy. They either trade him as an expiring or cut a deal for a buyout over the remaining $9 million. But the more likely near-worst-case scenario is we lose half  a season, pick it up around the 42 game mark. That puts Hamilton in for $6 million next year and $9 million the year after for a grand total of $15 million. Even if the Pistons manage to talk him down for a buyout into the $10 million range, you’re still dealing with a locker room cancer until that’s resolved. Conversely, you move him, now, Cleveland treats him as dead weight payment for Derrick Williams, Hamilton agrees to a buyout with no other options, and everyone walks away happy, especially the Bulls when they get Hamilton for $2 million next season.
The other sticking point here is that the Pistons, in their first move under new ownership (pending approval) would lose a player and a pick for nothing. That’s a bad start. So the idea is they need to get something, anything back. But with both the Wolves and Cavs pretty much desperate to reshape their rosters, they can probably salvage this deal and get something back from one of those two teams to save face.
The big winner here is the Cavs should it go down, who get to start over with Kyrie Irving throwing lobs to Derrick Williams. That’s nice. Real nice. But maybe the better aspect of this is the COA angle. The Cavaliers can’t afford to lose out on a top draft pick and though Irving very much looks a lock, the draft is honestly a crap shoot half the time. This guarantees (almost) that one of their guys will wind up as a valuable player even if they do swing and miss on one or the other.

Serge Ibaka is dunking and Giannis Antetokounmpo isn’t going to stop him. Twice. (VIDEO)

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The Toronto Raptors had their best half of their first-round series against the Bucks, taking an early lead and, despite a little shooting slump midway through the second they were up nine at the half.

That was all topped off by two emphatic Serge Ibaka dunks. Ones Giannis Antetokounmpo wasn’t going to stop.

Ibaka dunked around him more than over the Greek Freak, but still.

Stephon Marbury is parting ways with Beijing Ducks after three titles

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Stephon Marbury is big in China — he has his own statue and a play in his honor.

In six seasons he led the Beijing Ducks to three titles, but eventually rebuilding hits every team and it is coming to Beijing. Which means that while Marbury wants to stay in China beyond this season he is essentially a free agent. Here are the details, via shanghaiist.com (this has been confirmed by other sources).

The 40-year-old former NBA All-Star had a contract with Beijing for the next season that included an unusual clause allowing the team to decide if Marbury — known to fans as “Old Ma” — would return as a player or as an assistant coach. Marbury has said that after his playing days are over, he wants to coach in China; however, he still feels he could play for one more year.

But, after missing the playoffs this past season, Beijing is looking to rebuild and didn’t want their aging superstar clogging up a precious foreign player roster spot. The Ducks announced at a press conference on Saturday that after being unable to negotiate a deal, they were going to terminate Marbury’s contract.

Marbury put out a letter to fans on Weibo — a Chinese social media site — that Shanghaiist excerpted.

Second, we did not make the playoffs in the past season, as a player who always want to win and work hard to prepare myself for winning, it’s very hard to accept the way the season ended. Though I am 40 years already, I still work very hard to keep my body right, I can still play at a very high level, I am sure all the fans could tell from last season I’m still capable of playing. I was still able to lead the team to compete, even with an injured leg. I pulled my hamstring at the beginning of the season and I still played and put everything on the court because that’s who I am. I want to play, I love to compete, I [pursue] winning all the time, l love basketball because it’s my life, I still have a lot in the tank that [makes] me really want to play for another year. I want to dedicate this last year of my career in the best way possible on the court for the CBA, then I’ll retire and work as a coach to help the basketball here for the rest of my life.

Marbury had a 13-year NBA career (and was a two-time All-Star) but things got a little messy for him around the end of his career in the Association. Then he found a second life in China. A lot of Western players struggle to adjust to a very different culture and environment in China — not to mention a different style of basketball — so the league has a high drop out of Western players

However, Marbury has thrived. He’s found a second home.

I have to imagine a lot of teams would leap to get a draw like him on their team for a season.

Report: NBA to announce All-NBA Teams early, because of salary cap reasons

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The NBA’s Most Valuable Player award will not be announced until an awards ceremony June 26 on TNT — after the NBA draft, and after the NBA playoffs that will shape the narrative of the award even though voting will have been completed more than two months earlier. Same for Defensive Player of the Year, Coach of the Year, Rookie of the Year and on down the line.

But not the All-NBA Teams, those are coming sooner — because teams want it that way.

The easiest example is the Indiana Pacers: If Paul George makes an All-NBA team they can offer him a designated veteran contract worth roughly $80 million more than any other team. However, if he doesn’t make a team the Pacers need to worry about him leaving as a free agent in 2018, and they may try to trade him. The best time for that trade might be around the draft — Indiana may be able to secure a high pick from a team near the top of the draft in a trade. However, if the Pacers didn’t know if George made an All-NBA team by the draft they wouldn’t make that move.

So the NBA is announcing early, a story broken by Tim Bontemps of the Washington Post.

To allow for its teams to have all the necessary information to make offseason preparations, the NBA will announce its all-NBA teams before its inaugural awards show in late June, according to league sources.

Because of the newly created Designated Player Exception, which relies on players making, among other things, one of the three all-NBA teams to qualify, decisions about whether players — such as Indiana Pacers star Paul George, for example — will be willing to remain with their current team or be open to being traded elsewhere could be based upon whether a player is voted on to one of the teams.

Smart move by the NBA. There are also bonuses and other impacts on salaries based on end of season awards that will alter the salary structure of teams heading into free agency.

Larry Bird delivers Pacers’ 2021 All-Star bid in IndyCar

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NEW YORK — Indiana wants the NBA All-Star Game and sent Larry Bird to get it – in an IndyCar

Bird drove four blocks down Fifth Avenue in his car Monday to deliver the Pacers’ bid to host the 2021 game to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, fitting his 6-foot-9 frame into a car usually driven by much shorter people.

Bird, an Indiana native and now the Pacers president, had driven an IndyCar only once, during his practice for his drive Monday.

Drawing a crowd of a couple hundred spectators, he maneuvered along the left lane, exited his yellow and blue “Larry Bird” car and called it a “little rough ride” because of his big feet and the car’s small pedals.

Silver says the Pacers, who hosted the game in 1985, would be “fantastic hosts.”

The 2018 NBA All-Star Game is in Los Angeles, and 2019 is expected to be re-awarded to Charlotte. Houston, Orlando, and a number of other cities are expected to make bids for the 2020 and 2021 games, along with Indiana.