DeAndre Jordan, Corey Maggette

Warriors apparently ready to offer DeAndre Jordan around $10 million

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From the Contra Costa Times’ Marcus Thompson:

The Warriors are preparing an offer sheet for Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan, according to a team source. The Warriors must have the space under the cap to cover the first year of the deal in order to make the offer. Don’t yet know how much the offer will be. But …

If the Warriors (and this is me just thinking out loud now) are going to offer Jordan a double-figure salary in the first year of the deal, they will likely have to waive guard Charlie Bell via amnesty.

Considering that the Warriors would be paying more than $9 million a year to a player that averaged 7.1 points per game last season and can’t score in the post, make a jumper, or make more than half of his free throws, this deal might seem a bit crazy.

However, look at the starting centers of the 4 teams that played in the Conference Finals last season:

– Tyson Chandler

– Joel Anthony

– Joakim Noah

– Kendrick Perkins

Those are four very good defensive players who protect the rim, and, with the exception of Anthony, are efficient, low-usage offensive players. Perkins isn’t as good offensively as Chandler or Noah, and Noah’s passing and ball-handling make him a different kind of offensive threat, but none of those players have reliable mid-range jumpers or refined post games. A possible Causation/Correlation error is certainly worth mentioning here, but the point is that a “traditional” post-up center no longer seems to be a requirement for on-court greatness.

Jordan’s free throw struggles are certainly a concern (although he’d somehow be a significant upgrade over Andris Biedrins at the line), but he protects the rim, is a ridiculous athlete who makes himself available for crushing dunks, and converted on nearly 70% of his shots last season. Those are the kind of centers the best teams in the NBA currently employ, and that may well make DeAndre Jordan worth $10 million.

For the Warriors, though, this is a bit strange. The team is only a year removed from taking Ekpe Udoh with the 6th overall pick in the draft, and while Udoh shot 43.7% from the floor in his rookie season instead of a DeAndre-like conversion rate, he’s a great defensive prospect, and it would seem strange for the Warriors to spend so much money on a player whose skills seem to have a lot of overlap with one of their best young prospects’, but centers like Jordan are becoming more and more valuable, and the Warriors’ new owners seem extremely eager to make a splash this off-season.

Report: Khris Middleton could return to Bucks before All-Star break

CHARLOTTE, NC - JANUARY 16:  Khris Middleton #22 of the Milwaukee Bucks reacts during their game against the Charlotte Hornets at Time Warner Cable Arena on January 16, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
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The Bucks projected Khris Middleton to miss about 70 games when he tore his hamstring before the season. That extended absence often leads players just to shut down for the year, but Middleton vowed to return in time for the playoffs.

He might get back far sooner than that.

Marc Stein of ESPN:

Sources told ESPN.com the Bucks think Middleton, who suffered a hamstring tear just days before the season began, “has a chance” to return to the lineup during a three-game homestand next month before the All-Star ‎break.

Whether Middleton ultimately makes his season debut before or after the All-Star Game, he is expected to be kept on a minutes restriction as he eases way his back from the injury, sources said.

The Bucks have started Tony Snell, who has held his own as an outside shooter. But Middleton will upgrade Milwaukee on Snell’s biggest strength and provide massive defensive improvement. After a strong start, the Bucks have really struggled lately on that end.

Giannis Antetokounmpo has led Milwaukee to a 20-21 record, though the team is better than its won-loss mark indicates. The Bucks will be even better with Middleton, who will rival Jabari Parker as their second-best player and fit seamlessly.

Isaiah Thomas nutmegs Knicks center Marshall Plumlee (video)

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Isaiah Thomas usually saves his best play for the fourth quarter, but the Celtics guard showed out early with this pass between Marshall Plumlee‘s legs to get Kelly Olynyk a layup.

Thomas uncharacteristically just didn’t have enough late. Though he scored 39 points, he shot just 2-for-9 in the final period, as the Knicks pulled away for a 117-106 win.

Kevin Durant misses dunk so hard, ball flies past halfcourt (video)

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Kevin Durant played great in the Warriors’ win over the Thunder last night, but – perhaps fueled by excess emotion – he missed this incredibly emphatic dunk attempt.

Later, Russell Westbrook showed his former teammate how to do it (sparking their apparent conversation):

James Harden outduels Giannis Antetokounmpo as they produce fantastic highlight video

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James Harden and Giannis Antetokounmpo met in a battle of two of the NBA’s best point guards. (Still weird to say.) The final lines:

  • Harden: 38 points, 6 rebounds, 8 assists, 2 blocks
  • Antetokounmpo: 32 points, 11 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 blocks

The winner? Harden and the Rockets, who topped the Bucks, 111-92.

But the real winner? Anyone who gets to watch this highlight video. It just gets better as it goes.