One factor in Iguodala rumors: Who owns the team?

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Andrea Iguodala is being traded to the Clippers. Or the Warriors. Or the Magic. Or probably 26 other teams who have inquired about the services of one of the best perimeter defenders in the league.

There is an assumption that the Sixers are going to move Iggy. With that, any smart GM would at least call up and get a feel for what might be needed to make a deal work.

But the assumption that Philadelphia wants to move Iguodala may have one flaw — what if the new owner doesn’t want to?

We told you about reports that the Sixers may be sold from Flyers-loving Ed Snider to Joshua Harris, that talks are on going and things can happen soon. As Phil Sheridan said at the Philadelphia Inquirer, that raises a lot of questions.

Getting a new billionaire owner isn’t necessarily a magic solution to a sports franchise’s problems. Ask fans of the NFL team in Washington about that. We don’t know whether Joshua Harris is the next Daniel Snyder or James Dolan or whether he’d be another Mark Cuban or Arthur Blank. We don’t even know whether any of those examples would be the right sort to restore the Sixers to first-class citizenship….

One worry is that he’d see the team as merely another business to strip and flip, although there are NBA rules against downsizing the roster. Another worry is that the team would be just a toy, a vanity project for the 46-year-old Harris until he gets bored with it.

The best case, of course, is that he’s a competitive guy with a mean streak who will do whatever it takes to win a title. It looks as if we’ll find out.

The new owner and the new Collective Bargaining Agreement will have a lot of say about if and where Iguodala is moved. Which is to say, don’t expect anything to happen fast.

Rockets bench hams it up over Andre Roberson missed free throw (video)

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Russell Westbrook might not want to talk about his supporting cast distinctively, but it’s a real issue for the Thunder, who trail the Rockets 3-1 in their first-round series.

Even Andre Roberson, who has impressively defended James Harden, brings a glaring weakness: free throws. Roberson is 2-for-17 from the line in the playoffs, including 2-for-12 in Game 4 yesterday. Houston even repeatedly intentionally fouled him late.

It was agonizing for all but the most partisan Rockets supporters – though even Houston’s bench, while at least implicitly mocking Roberson, appeared put off that he missed yet again.

Isaiah Thomas: ‘Mentally and emotionally, I’m not here’

AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast
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Isaiah Thomas previously explained his emotions in a statement, but the Celtics guard spoke publicly yesterday for the first time since the death of his sister in a car crash just before the playoffs.

Thomas, via A. Sherrod Blakely of CSN Northeast:

“Mentally and emotionally I’m not here,” Thomas said after Game 4, the first time he has spoken publicly since his sister’s death. “So I just feed off of what the guys give me. They give me a lot of confidence. I can’t do it without those guys. They believe in me. Being here is what makes me sane and makes me feel somewhat normal through these tough times.”

Thomas has played well for Boston, which won twice in Chicago to even its series with the Bulls, 2-2. It’s remarkable considering the heavy emotional burden and extra travel, going to Seattle for his sister’s funeral then joining the Celtics in Chicago.

His teammates have clearly rallied around him, and that surely helps. But I can’t even imagine how he’s simultaneously handling such a tragic family situation and the biggest games of his career.

Kyrie Irving knocks flamingo from Pacers fan’s hands (video)

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Pacers super fan Matt Asen brings his lucky flamingo to each game.

He also annoyed the heck out of Kyrie Irving by trying to hand it, rather than the ball, to the Cavaliers guard.

James Harden reveals he’s playing through ankle injury

AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki
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James Harden didn’t lead the Rockets in scoring in their Game 4 win over the Thunder yesterday.

He didn’t even rank second – or third.

Nene, Eric Gordon and Lou Williams each outscored Harden, who scored 16 points on 5-for-16 shooting, including 0-for-7 on 3-pointers.

What happened to the Houston star?

Calvin Watkins of ESPN:

Houston Rockets star guard James Harden said he has been hobbled by an ankle injury that occurred in Game 3 of this first-round series against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Harden made the revelation to ESPN’s Lisa Salters after the Rockets’ 113-109 Game 4 victory on Sunday afternoon.

“It was pretty tough; we don’t make excuses,” Harden said in a news conference when asked about his health. “We just try to go out there and get the job done. You build trust, and trust in your teammates all year long. When there’s moments like this, guys step up and they did tonight. We have another opportunity in a few days to go out there and win on our home court, and we’re going to have to get off to a really good start.”

Many players are grinding through injuries this time of year. Is Harden’s exceptionally bad? There’s no way of telling from the outside.

But he didn’t look quite right in Game 4, and if he’s hobbled, that opens the door slightly wider for Oklahoma City to come back from its 3-1 deficit.