Former Sixer, Net MacCulloch is a pinball wizard

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Todd MacCulloch was a good NBA center a decade better, a career cut short by injuries. If you are a good big man you get paid handsomely in the NBA.

What did MacCulloch do with that money? He bought pinball machines. Seriously, it is estimated right now he has about 60 machines in his home. Which means that he has a pretty big home and his wife is amazingly understanding.

It also means he gets to practice a lot — which is why MacCulloch can be found paying pinball professionally. Seriously, you can do that. And when the World Pinball Championships came to Pittsburgh, MacCulloch entered, reports the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (via Eye on Basketball).

When standing over a pinball machine, Todd MacCulloch, who is 7 feet tall, cuts a striking figure. As he approached the 10 machines in the B division bank Wednesday afternoon, several of his fellow competitors did double-takes.

Mr. MacCulloch, 35, retired from the Philadelphia 76ers of the National Basketball Association eight years ago for medical reasons and resettled in Bainbridge Island, Wash. He’s now a full-time father to his two children and a part-time competitor on the professional pinball circuit.

“I always loved pinball growing up,” he said as he sat near the front entrance, collecting nods and greetings from competitors he has encountered on the circuit before. “Now that I can’t compete [in the NBA], pinball has filled that void of camaraderie.”

A chronic foot condition forced MacCulloch out of the NBA early (after four seasons plus a full one on IR. It’s still troubling enough that he has to play pinball sitting on a special stool.

But is a pinball event really able to replace the camaraderie of an NBA locker room? Well sure, maybe. My limited experience with pinball tournaments — I’ve never been, just seen a move about them — suggests there are huge cheering crowds, contestants wearing ginormous shoes, wild costumes, exploding scoreboards and reckless destruction of musical instruments. Not sure every pinball tournament is like that, but it sure looks like fun. And the movie’s soundtrack is pretty catchy.

Chris Paul thanks Clipper fans in online statement

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Chris Paul is as competitive a guy as there is in the NBA — he and James Harden are not the smoothest fit next to one another, but he would rather team with another star and go hard at the Warriors juggernaut than sit back and collect a check.

That’s why CP3 wanted to go to the Rockets as part of the trade reported Wednesday.

But before he left, he wanted to say thank you to Clippers fans.

Paul is committed to his charity causes, he’s not giving those up. He’s likely keeping his home in Los Angeles, too — L.A. is the unofficial off-season home of the NBA anyway.

Rockets make series of cash trades for expiring contracts to help line up Chris Paul deal

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While everyone was rightfully raving about the move by the Houston Rockets to trade for Chris Paul — you have to love a team not cowering from the Warriors but willing to take them on Game of Thrones style — there was one little catch. The trade, as first announced, didn’t pencil out.

Because the Rockets were over the cap, this trade needs to be a salary match. The Clippers were getting back nice young players in Sam Decker and Montrezl Harrell, plus a first-round pick, but the salaries still didn’t match up. Then a string of small cash deals for expiring contracts started rolling in.

All those deals are official — and led to one of the funniest tweets of the year.

All three of those players will head to the Clippers as part of the official trade, but then be waived by the Clippers so they don’t actually pay them.

Also of note, by staying above the salary cap line (as opposed to diving below it to absorb CP3’s contract) the Rockets will keep their mid-level exception, giving them a full $8.4 million to spend in free agency to get a role player to help fill out the roster in Houston.

The Rockets are not done big game hunting, GM Daryl Morey is reportedly going after Paul George and maybe free agents such as Paul Millsap. Carmelo Anthony reportedly would like a buyout so he can get to Houston now, but with Phil Jackson gone and $55 million owed over the next few years that seems more up in the air. Regardless, expect the Rockets to keep making small moves to set up big ones.

Reports: Rockets not done, looking at Paul George, other possible third big star

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If you’re going to go toe-to-toe with the Golden State Warriors, you can’t have enough elite talent on the roster. Which is turning the Western Conference into a Game of Thrones.

Houston has James Harden and just added Chris Paul — and GM Daryl Morey is not done, he’s targeting Paul George and other stars. That according to multiple reports from ESPN, starting with Jeff Goodman.

Rockets GM Daryl Morey not done yet, source told ESPN. Harden and CP3. Will try to add a third star to compete with Warriors.

The logistics of this would be difficult, but not impossible. The Pacers want a first-round pick, which the Rockets can include if the Pacers will wait until 2020 (the Rockets 2018 pick goes to the Clippers, 1-3 protected, which means they can’t trade 2019). With Sam Decker traded to LA, the Rockets may not have a young player of interest outside of Clint Capella (the Pacers have Myles Turner at center), but the Rockets have made a series of cash deals for non-guaranteed contracts to make this work with the Clippers and pave the way for future deals.

Also possible, the Rockets look for a way to land Paul Millsap (or maybe a lesser version, like Serge Ibaka) in free agency.

The Rockets also could target guys such as Carmelo Anthony or Dwyane Wade, if they are bought out. Anthony is rumored to want a buyout to go to Houston now, but with Phil Jackson out and being owed $55 million over a couple years, that may not happen.

The point is the Rockets are going all in — they see the window as now and, unlike much of the rest of the West and the NBA, they are not going to wait and hope for the Warriors to wilt in a few years.

Knicks fans celebrating Phil Jackson’s departure on social media

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When the Knicks hired Phil Jackson, he was a beacon of hope for an organization that had seen dark days. Jackson was going to keep owner James Dolan out of basketball decisions (he did that) and provide a direction for the franchise (he failed to do that).

Now, three year’s later, Jackson is out as president of the Knicks.

That had Knicks fans celebrating on social media.

HALLELUJAH.

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That’s just a small sampling. So all is good with the Knicks now, right?