Free agent Caron Butler drawing interest from power teams

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Caron Butler is 32 years old and coming off knee surgery that forced him to miss the second half of last season and the playoffs for the Dallas Mavericks. Injured and getting old (by NBA standards) is not usually a combo that has teams clamoring for a guy.

But in a sign of the market and respect for Butler, a lot of big-time teams with title aspirations are lining up for a shot to bring him in.

Here is the list via at tweet from Ken Berger of CBSSports.com.

Six teams have expressed early interest in UFA Caron Butler: Nets, Clippers, Bulls, Heat, Spurs and Knicks, per sources.

You can add the Mavericks to that list, as well. Dallas may have a massive payroll but as the most punitive parts of the luxury tax don’t kick in for a couple years Mark Cuban is willing to spend a little. Plus, with Butler in the lineup the first half of last season the Mavs were a power (that they maintained it in the playoffs with him gone was the impressive part).

As for the other teams, the Heat could use him to space the floor (he shot 43.1 percent from three pre-injury last season) and he would be a slasher who could spell those other wing guys Miami has on the roster.

He would be a fantastic answer for the Bulls at the two guard spot, a guy who can create shots so it all doesn’t fall to Derrick Rose. The Spurs need anybody athletic on the wing for depth and Butler qualifies. The Clippers desperately need a three and Butler would be an upgrade for them. He’s be an upgrade at the two for the Knicks and Butler’s respectable defense is an upgrade over what they have had at the wing. The Nets need every warm body they can get, Butler qualifies.

With all these teams in the bidding you can expect the price for Butler to be up around the mid-level exception of $5 million. Not cheap, but worth it if Butler is healthy and has bounced back to his old self of a slightly above average NBA wing. If not… well, that;s the risk.

Watch Kawhi Leonard, Mike Conley in epic playoff duel Saturday (VIDEO)

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Kawhi Leonard scored 16 straight points for the Spurs at the end of regulation to give San Antonio the lead and a chance. Then Mike Conley hit a floater in the lane forced overtime.

There Mike Conley hit a floating bank shot that had the Grizzlies up three with :47 seconds left, only to have Leonard answer with a three to tie the game. Marc Gasol would break that tie and get Memphis the series-evening win.

Conley and Leonard traded blows through the clutch parts of Saturday’s epic Game 4 between Memphis and San Antonio. It’s worth checking out the highlights again.

John Wall goes coast-to-coast, behind-the-back for lefty dunk (VIDEO)

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There’s not going to be many plays better than this in the entire playoffs.

There wasn’t a lot for Wizards’ fans to cheer in Game 3, the Hawks took control early and routed Washington, making it a 2-1 series. But there was this, John Wall going coast-to-coast with the ball, going around-the-back and throwing it down left handed.

Wall is just so fast end to end.

Warriors take 3-0 series lead over Blazers with 119-113 win

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PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Stephen Curry scored 34 points, Klay Thompson added 24 and the short-handed Golden State Warriors overcame a slow start to take a 3-0 lead in their playoff series against the Portland Trail Blazers with a 119-113 victory on Saturday night.

The Blazers led by as many as 17 points in the first half, but couldn’t hold off the Warriors, who can clinch the series with a win Monday night in Game 4 at the Moda Center.

Golden State was without Kevin Durant, who was sitting for a second straight game cause of a left calf strain, and coach Steve Kerr stayed back at the team hotel because of illness.

The Warriors took a 108-100 lead after Andre Iguodala‘s dunk with 4:05 to go.

Noah Vonleh‘s dunk got Portland within four at 110-106 with 1:29 left, but Curry answered with a 3-pointer that all but sealed it, sending fans streaming for the exits.

CJ McCollum led the Blazers with 32 points, while Damian Lillard added 31.

Markieff Morris calls Paul Millsap a “crybaby,” Millsap responds “It definitely got personal now”

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The Atlanta Hawks owned the Washington Wizards from the opening tip Saturday, making it a 2-1 series with an easy win.

It’s a series now — and that includes trash talk.

Paul Millsap had 29 points, pulled down 14 boards, got to the line 11 times, and led the Hawks to the win. He got the calls he wanted this game, but Washington’s Markieff Morris was not exactly down with high praise for Millsap.

The key line here: “”He just did more for his team. He’s a crybaby. Get all the calls and you a crybaby.”

Millsap was asked about that comment in his postgame presser — and the best part may be Dennis Schroeder’s reaction.

“It definitely got personal now, yes. I mean, I don’t care. So what? He can take his loss and go back to the hotel and be ready for the next game.”

These two have already had a beef this series.

Game 4 in this series just got a lot more interesting.