Nene nuggets

Goodbye Denver, Miami among suitors lined up for Nene

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Nene is the biggest and best free agent on the market. Unless your team doesn’t need a legit 7-foot big man who plays smart, can defend the paint, rebound well, plus has a deft offensive touch around the rim and from the midrange.

Denver can use one of those but after nine years in the Rockies Nene wants out, reports Ken Berger at CBSSports.com. Nene did not feel appreciated by the organization last year.

The Nuggets are operating under the firm belief that Nene will test the market as an unrestricted free agent, according to a person familiar with the team’s thinking. Six teams have registered interest, the source said: Golden State, New Jersey, Indiana, Miami, Dallas and Houston.

This is where it gets interesting. And it all comes down to money — Nene can get $17.4 million if he goes to Indiana, and both the Nets and Rockets could make small moves to get to offer that much. Those are three teams that are building and see Nene as a key part of that future.

Nene has said he would like to land in Miami, but to go there would mean a pay cut and a sign-and-trade that Denver does not love, reports Brian Windhorst at ESPN.

They will go after top free agent centers like Nene as is Pat Riley’s custom, and perhaps offer Mike Miller and Udonis Haslem in a sign-and-trade with the Nuggets, who have Nene’s rights. They offered this deal, in fact, to the Nuggets last year. But unless Nene is willing to take a massive pay cut to play for the Heat, this is a pipe dream

Dallas is also a team that Nene likes and also is a pipe dream — Dallas wants him but more likely as a backup plan if they cannot re-sign Tyson Chandler.

Golden State could offer near max money if they amnesty David Lee or Andris Biedrins. The Warriors have a fantastic backcourt with Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry, Nene would help balance that roster tremendously. But does he want to trust his future to a new ownership group and an unproven coach in Mark Jackson?

When asked, Nene will tell you it’s not about the money, it’s about fit and the chance to win. He’ll have the chance to prove it — he could go to Miami for a lot less money and they become instant favorites for the title (Vegas says they already are). But the smart bet is that he takes the money. All while saying it was not about the money.

Patrick Beverley shuts down Westbrook on final play, bowls through own coach (VIDEO)

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Houston Rockets G Patrick Beverley is known around the NBA for being a dogged defender. His skill set was on full display on Friday night, where Beverley shut down Oklahoma City Thunder superstar Russell Westbrook on a potential game-winning 3-pointer in the closing seconds.

It all started early in the matchup, when Beverley — notorious for getting under the skin of both Westbrook and other NBA opponents — flopped with some serious gusto just 36 seconds into the first quarter.

Via Twitter:

The game continued like this, but the real highlight of Beverley’s defensive night was stopping Westbrook — who dropped his 7th straight triple-double — on an isolation play with six seconds left in the fourth quarter.

With the ball on the left garden spot, Westbrook gave a couple of dribble hesitation moves to Beverley, then tried to rise up for the go-ahead bucket.

Beverley was right up on him, and forced an airball from Westbrook:

The Rockets guard was so happy about the stop and the eventual win that he celebrated a little too enthusiastically with Houston coach Mike D’Antoni.

Going for a chest bump, Beverley wound up blasting through his own coach:

Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan’s bromance continues after beating Celtics (VIDEO)

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Toronto Raptors stars Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan are becoming one of the best duos in the NBA, on and off the court. They joked around in the locker room after their win over the Boston Celtics on Friday night, 101-94, but the comedy started before the two even left the floor.

In a postgame interview with CSNNE DeRozan was asked what the message was at halftime from coach Dewane Casey.

DeRozan — with Lowry looking devious in the background of the shot — was gracious.

“Just get [Lowry] the ball,” DeRozan smiled.

Pleased with the result, Lowry responded with a “That’s a good message right there!” before running off to the locker room.

The interview continued to be interrupted, with Raptors big man Jared Sullinger giving the camera a drive by “DeMar for President!”

New England Patriots RB LeGarrette Blount even showed up to show DeRozan some love.

Kevin Durant gets fouled by Stephen Curry, officials whistle Joe Johnson instead (VIDEO)

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The Golden State Warriors are so talented, perhaps the officials are predisposed to blowing whistles in their favor. At least, that’s the only explanation you could give to a Utah Jazz fan after seeing what happened between Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, and Utah’s Joe Johnson on Thursday night.

As Durant came off a curl on the far side of the court, he used a screen set by Curry on Johnson.

With the ball in his hands, Durant rose to fire but found himself locked in arms with another player. Durant’s shot attempt helplessly bounced away as he shot, and officials whistled Johnson on the play.

Of course, a closer look reveals that the player Durant’s arms were tangled up with was … Curry.

Yes, Curry had arm locked what he thought was Johnson on the screen but was instead his teammate and MVP candidate.

It didn’t matter, as referees awarded Durant the free throws, of which he only made 1 of 2.

Perhaps that’s some solace?

Golden State beat Utah, 106-99.

DeMarcus Cousins trolls Joakim Noah on shooting form (VIDEO)

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New York Knicks C Joakim Noah has an awkward jumper and free throw technique, there’s no denying that. His two-handed, horizontal approach to shooting a basketball is ripe for criticism.

DeMarcus Cousins thinks so, at least.

During a game between the Sacramento Kings and the Knicks, Cousins decided to give Noah a little tongue-in-cheek trolling about his form.

Via Twitter:

Looks about right.