Suns extend qualifying offer to Aaron Brooks

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The Phoenix Suns have extended a qualifying offer to restricted free agent guard Aaron Brooks, according to a team press release. The offer is reported to be in the neighborhood of $3 million, and ensures that the team has the right to match any offers that Brooks receives from other teams in free agency.

Brooks was acquired at the trade deadline last season for Goran Dragic and a first round draft pick, in the hopes that he could provide a scoring punch off the bench while backing up Steve Nash at the point guard position. But Brooks mostly struggled, and rarely showed any of the same flashes that led him to receive the league’s Most Improved Player award the season before while playing for the Rockets.

The extension of qualifying offers to restricted free agents in the NBA is really a formality more than anything else. Teams would obviously much rather have the option of matching an offer for a player than having to outbid for his services, and that’s all this move guarantees.

As for Brooks, many factors will go into whether or not the Suns decide to retain his services moving forward. The quality of the offers he receives from other teams, Phoenix’s ability to improve at the position through trades or tonight’s draft, and of course, the post-lockout landscape of the league and what the salary cap situation becomes could all potentially impact this situation.

The bottom line is, the Suns would like to do better. But if they can’t, and the price to keep Brooks isn’t too steep, they may just stick with what they’ve got.

Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook go head-to-head, literally (video)

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This sure didn’t look like just another game for Kevin Durant – and not only because the Thunder beat the Warriors for the first time since he left.

The 108-91 Oklahoma City victory didn’t look like just another game for Russell Westbrook (34 points, 10 rebounds, nine assists and four steals), either.

Harrison Barnes banks in game-winning, buzzer-beating 3-pointer (video)

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With the shot clock off in the fourth quarter and the game tied, Grizzlies big JaMychal Green put back Tyreke Evans‘ miss with a clutch flush. There’s a very fine line between ensuring the last shot and leaving time for an offensive rebound, and Memphis threated it almost perfectly.

Emphasis on “almost.”

The Grizzlies left the Mavericks 0.5 seconds, which Harrison Barnes used to bank in a 3-pointer – off a pinpoint bounce pass by Dennis Smith Jr. – to give Dallas a 95-94 win.

Heat snap Celtics’ 16-game winning streak

AP Photo/Lynne Sladky
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The Celtics didn’t have another comeback in them.

After overcoming a 13-point fourth-quarter deficit against the Mavericks on Monday to extend its winning streak to 16 games, Boston lost to the Heat tonight, 104-98. The streak ends as the NBA’s longest since the Hawks won 19 straight during the 2014-15 season.

The Celtics trailed Miami by 16 in the fourth quarter then cut the deficit to only one with three minutes left. But Dion Waiters hit back-to-back 3-pointers, helping the Heat pull away.

Goran Dragic (27 points) and Waiters (26 points) led Miami, which needed a reason to feel good after losing three of four to fall to 7-9.

The Celtics, on the other hand, still have a four-game cushion over the rest of the Eastern Conference. This might help them regain focus.

Serge Ibaka gets dunked on by Enes Kanter, hit in face by ball (video)

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Is Enes Kanter mad Serge Ibaka rifted with his family?

(No, not this family. That family.)