If Billups is out in New York, does he land in Miami?

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If Chauncey Billups walked around all day today with a dumbfounded look on his face, he’d have a right. When he woke up this morning he thought he was the starting point guard of the New York Knicks, by the end of tomorrow the NBA’s bottom feeders could be bidding on him.

Billups still has value on the court — value the Miami Heat could really use. But could they get him?

They want him according to a tweet from Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated.

Heat in a tough spot financially but sources say the team is hoping that if amnestied Billups will push to play in Miami.

He can push, but that may not be enough. Let’s walk through the process, which can get confusing so stick with us.

The Knicks need to get Billups off the books to land Tyson Chandler — and they are going to get Tyson Chandler. One way that could happen is the Knicks doing a sign-and-trade with the Mavericks that sends Chandler to NYC and Billups to Dallas, where he would share point guard duties with a depleted Mavs team.

If not that, the Knicks will use their amnesty clause on Billups, essentially waiving him. But this does not just make Billups a free agent — he would then be thrown into a secondary waivers where teams under the salary cap could bid on part of his contract. Essentially, if the Sacramento Kings wanted to bid $5 million, they could get him for that (and the Knicks would still pay the remainder of Billups $14 million deal).

Billups agent Andy Miller has already been warning teams not to bid on Billups in that situation — Billups has the threat of retirement. Here is what Miller told Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo.

“(Billups) has no intention of being open-minded about any possible situation where a team would claim him off waivers unless it’s a team he chooses himself. Buyer beware.”

If no team picks him up on these waivers, then Billups does become a free agent.

And then it would likely come down to the Heat and Billups hometown Denver Nuggets. The question then for Billups is one of a shot at another ring — he would be the best point guard on the Heat roster by far (sorry Mario Chalmers) — versus playing at home as he ends his career. The Heat would have a shot.

But we’re a long way from there right now.

Jazz call deactivating Jeff Withey, who was accused of domestic violence, ‘strategic basketball-related decision’

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Jazz Center Jeff Withey was accused of domestic violence in a police report filed by his ex-fiancée.

Withey played a small role in Utah’s first two playoff games, but once the accusation over an alleged 2016 incident became public, he hasn’t seen the court. Withey received a DNP-CD in Game 3 against the Clippers, and the Jazz deactivated the center for Game 4 last night.

Ryan McDonald of the Deseret News:

The team called it a “strategic basketball-related decision.”

Withey was always going to see a reduced role with Rudy Gobert returning from injury.

Though Gobert didn’t play in Game 3, the Jazz had two injured players – Gobert and Alec Burks on the inactive list – so Withey was active but never played. But Withey was active for Game 1, which Gobert started healthy before injuring his knee 11 seconds in.

Therefore, deactivating Withey in Game 4 for Joel Bolomboy, a little-used second-round rookie who has yet to play in the postseason, is a curious choice for basketball reasons. It’s almost as if that wasn’t the reason.

Russell Westbrook on Rockets laughing at Andre Roberson missing free throws: ‘Probably the guys that don’t play’

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The Rockets bench made a big production when an intentionally fouled Andre Roberson kept missing free throws in the Thunder’s Game 4 loss to the Rockets yesterday.

Russell Westbrook stuck up for his teammate.

Royce Young of ESPN:

Westbrook:

I didn’t see it. I didn’t see it at all. Probably the guys that don’t play, probably over there the ones laughing, if I had to guess.

Good guess. It appears Montrezl Harrell and Bobby Brown – whose only playing time this series came late in Houston’s blowout Game 1 win – led the jeers.

But the most important thing for the Thunder is Roberson making his free throws. They need him on the court to defend James Harden, which exposes him to hacking. If Westbrook deflecting attention onto the Rockets’ benchwarmers helps Roberson at the line, great. But if not, the Rockets will keep having reasons to laugh.

Magic Johnson winks at bringing Paul George to Lakers

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Paul George-to-the-Lakers rumors have swirled for a while.

New Lakers president Magic Johnson will only fuel them.

Asked how he’d interact with the Pacers star to avoid tampering if they ran into each other, Johnson said on Jimmy Kimmel Live:

We’re going to say hi, because we know each other. You just can’t say, “Hey, I want you to come to the Lakers,” even though I’m going to be wink-winking like [blinks repeatedly]. You know what that means, right?

In explaining how he’d avoid tampering, Johnson probably tampered. Accidental tampering appears to be his specialty.

The Collective Bargaining Agreement says team employees can’t permissibly “induce, persuade, or attempt to entice, induce or persuade, any Player who is under contract to, or whose exclusive negotiating rights are held by, any other Member of the Association to enter into negotiations for or relating to his services or negotiate or contract for such services.” But the league arbitrarily enforces tampering, so who knows whether he’ll be punished?

Johnson almost certainly could have gotten away with the hypothetical conversation he laid out. But going on television and describing it — even as fantasy, even not directly to George — could constitute tampering in itself,

If Johnson helps attract George to Los Angeles, it’d well be worth it. At least he’s trying something.

Report: Austin Rivers returning for Clippers-Jazz Game 5

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There have been bigger injuries in the Clippers-Jazz first-round series: Blake Griffin‘s toe, Rudy Gobert‘s knee and Gordon Hayward‘s stomach.

But Clippers guard Austin Rivers has yet to play due to a strained hamstring.

It sounds as if that will change tomorrow.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

This is neither as big a deal as the Clippers will make it out to be nor as meaningless as Rivers’ many detractors will claim.

The 6-foot-4 Rivers will provide an important defensive upgrade on the perimeter. The Clippers haven’t successfully hidden Jamal Crawford and Raymond Felton, allowing Utah too many quality looks. Here how the Jazz have shot when defended by each, per NBA.com:

  • Crawford: 18-of-36 (50%), including 7-of-17 on 3-pointers (41%)
  • Felton: 13-of-24 (54%), including 5-of-8 on 3-pointers (63%)

Rivers needn’t be great to help behind Chris Paul and J.J. Redick.