NBA Finals Heat Mavericks Basketball

Report: Nets, Warriors Rockets leaders in Tyson Chander sweepstakes


It starts here: Tyson Chandler wants to get paid. A lot. This is likely his last big contract and the man wants his money (reportedly he asked the Mavericks for a $20 million deal and wants max money from others).

Dallas has balked at the cost and that is why Chandler has said he expects to be on another team next season. I wouldn’t be shocked if in the end he comes back to the Mavericks, but right now he is going to play the field.

Who is in that field? New Jersey, Golden State and Houston, Marc Stein at ESPN reports.

With little movement in the talks in the days since, sources say that Golden State, Houston and New Jersey have emerged as the most serious suitors for Chandler, who is widely credited with changing the defensive culture in Dallas and combining with Mavs mainstay Dirk Nowitzki to spark the franchise to its first-ever championship.

The Rockets and Nets also remain at the forefront of the chase for Denver Nuggets free agent Nene — along with the Indiana Pacers and Nuggets themselves — and are likely to meet with the Brazilian big man as well in the coming week. Sources stressed that the Mavericks, meanwhile, continue to keep an open dialogue with Chandler in hopes that a deal can still be struck.

Golden State is interesting. It’s a team where the owners are working hard to change the culture, starting with a bigger focus on defense as they try to wash the remainder of the Don Nelson era away. They have scorers with Monta Ellis, Stephen Curry and even David Lee. Put Chandler in the middle and that is a much better team that could make Mark Jackson look good.

Houston is sort of similar, but maybe not as good. They could use the defender in the middle and they have Kevin Martin and others to do the scoring. They also have a known, stable franchise that will build quality around its stars. But Chandler is another role player in Houston on a team of good ones. With the Nets, he shares the paint with Brook Lopez on a team and franchise trying to build something fast. Chandler in New Jersey is really Nets ownership saying, “Look how hard we are trying, Deron Williams, please sign with us.”

In the end, Chandler is going to get a big payday, maybe not as big a one as he wants but a big one. And after having won a title, will he want to go to another team that is rebuilding for a few more bucks? Is that really worth it at this point in his career.

PBT Extra bold prediction previews: Don’t expect more wins in Toronto

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After winning the Atlantic Division then getting thumped in the playoff two years running, the powers that be in Toronto decided it was time for a change.

The added DeMarre Carroll and made shifts to make this a more defensive-minded team, all because of dreams of playoff success (which for the Raptors would be making the second round). What this changeover is not going to mean is an improvement off the 49 regular season wins the Raptors had last season — they sacrificed some scoring to get this defense, and there is a trade-off.

That said, I still expect the Raptors to win the Atlantic. Maybe they make the second round of the playoffs (way too early to make that call).

How many regular season wins they get — and if they win a postseason series — for me is going to come down to if Jonas Valanciunas takes a step forward. Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan will be strong, Carroll is an upgrade, but the big man in the middle will be the hinge for everything.

Mike Budenholzer smirks at lawyer calling Thabo Sefolosha ‘NBA superstar’

Mike Budenholzer, Thabo Sefolosha
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The funny part, via Robert Silverman:

The substantive part:

NEW YORK (AP) — NBA player Thabo Sefolosha, who was arrested outside a New York City nightclub in April following a confrontation with police officer, has a character “of the highest order,” his head coach, Mike Budenholzer, testified Thursday.

Taking the stand as the final defense witness in Sefolosha’s trial, Budenholzer described the Atlanta Hawks guard-forward as “highly intelligent” and a “hard worker.”

When asked by defense attorney Alex Spiro to describe his character, he said it was, “of the highest order.”

“Thabo is of the highest character,” he said during brief testimony in Manhattan Criminal Court.

The Swiss national is charged with misdemeanor obstructing government administration, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest charges stemming from a confrontation with officers outside a trendy Manhattan nightclub early in the morning on April 8. He has pleaded not guilty.

Officers testified this week that Sefolosha and former teammate Pero Antic repeatedly disobeyed their orders to move off the block and away from a crime scene that had been established following the earlier stabbing of another NBA player, Chris Copeland, and two women.

One of the officers also said Sefolosha lunged at an officer with his arm extended but was intercepted before making contact, eventually taken to the ground and arrested.

Sefolosha has testified that he was complying with orders and moving up the block as a particularly aggressive officer screamed profanities at him.

His attorney has argued that his client was singled out by the officer, who is white, because Sefolosha is black.

Sefolosha testified Thursday that he was trying to give money to a panhandler before entering an awaiting car when he was grabbed by police. He said his leg was kicked in the scuffle and he was taken to the ground, handcuffed and hauled to a police precinct. He suffered a fractured right leg, which forced him to miss the playoffs.

The case is the second one involving high-profile athletes accusing New York Police Department officers of wrongdoing this year. On Wednesday, the city agency charged with investigating police misconduct substantiated claims by former tennis star James Blake that an officer used excessive force when he took him to the ground last month after mistkaing Blake for a fraud suspect.