Nuggets guard Smith celebrates a three-point shot in their NBA basketball game against the Timberwolves in Denver

Chandler, Smith could be released from China when lockout ends

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What the Chinese government — which is what really runs the Chinese Basketball Association — did not want was teams to rent an NBA player during the lockout. So they only allowed their teams to sign NBA free agents and no opt-out clause for when the lockout ended.

But even as seemingly half the Denver Nuggets signed in China — Wilson Chandler, Kenyon Martin and J.R. Smith — there was speculation they would be back when the NBA season eventually started.

Marc Stein at ESPN tweeted this early Monday morning.

source:

PBT talked about this possibility at the time. China has the highest turnover of foreign players of any league in the world, and already this year Earl Clark has been released by his Chinese team. Not only is the basketball different, it’s a huge culture change with the language, food and customs. Last season only a couple of teams in the Chinese league didn’t have player turnover.

The idea that bigger name American players could have a handshake deal to be let go when the lockout ends was something PBT discussed at the time.

Even if they are not, the Chinese season ends in March, which would lead to a second free agent signing period with good players that could change the dynamic of the league heading into the playoffs.

Al Horford shows he still has hops dunking on Solomon Hill (VIDEO)

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That’s just nasty.

Atlanta’s Al Horford gets the ball out high, but within his range, so when he pump fakes Indiana’s Lavoy Allen goes flying by. That opens up the lane and Horford attacks it, Solomon Hill tries to cut him off, but Horford just finishes threw him.

Pacers and Hawks played an entertaining, close game Friday night.

Dwyane Wade shows he still has hops with dunk on Hornets (VIDEO)

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Dwyane Wade still has some springs.

In what may be his best dunk in recent memory, he shoulders Michael Kidd-Gilchrist to create space in transition, then gets up and throws it down before Nicolas Batum can get there for the block.

Not sure even Wade saw that one coming.

Reigning dunk champ LaVine: ‘I’ve got tricks up my sleeve’

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota Timberwolves guard Zach LaVine is heading back to All-Star weekend to defend his slam dunk title. And he says he has “a few tricks up my sleeve” after dominating the event last year.

LaVine will compete against Detroit center Andre Drummond, Denver swingman Will Barton and Orlando forward Aaron Gordon in Toronto next weekend.

LaVine was one of the breakout stars of All-Star weekend last year with his electric performance in the dunk contest. He says he debated about coming back and made his decision after strong encouragement from his fans.

If LaVine wins, he will become the fourth player in the 31-year history of the event to repeat as champion. Michael Jordan, Jason Richardson and Nate Robinson are the others.

Report: Blake Griffin has second procedure on hand, timeline remains unchanged

Blake Griffin
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Blake Griffin will still return to the Clippers some time in March (barring any setbacks).

That said, he had a second procedure this week to repair the boxer’s fracture in his right hand, reports Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.

Clippers forward Blake Griffin underwent a second procedure this week on his broke right hand, sources told ESPN. The procedure was a part of the original surgery last week, so sources said the 4-6 week timeframe for his return remains unchanged.

This might help explain why Griffin’s hand looked so swollen and scarred this week. But to be clear, this was a planned second procedure, not a setback.

Griffin suffered the fracture punching a Clippers’ equipment manager while everyone was out to dinner in Toronto recently, while Griffin was still sidelined with a quadricep injury. The Clippers have moved on, but it is likely the league will tack on a couple of game suspension for Griffin upon his return to health.

And no, the Clippers are not looking to trade Griffin in spite of this. So stop asking.