Report: Magic end all trade talks for Dwight Howard

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Do not think for a second this is permanent. But when Christmas Day comes comes Dwight Howard will suit up for the Orlando Magic against the Oklahoma city Thunder.

The Orlando Magic have cut off all trade talks for Howard, according to a tweet from Adrian Wojnarowski.

Magic decided to take Dwight Howard off market, ending talks with Nets and the rest of his NBA suitors for now, league sources tell Y!

This echoes the idea that the Magic were in no hurry to make a deal, something Ken Berger at CBSSports.com reported earlier Wednesday. That has always been the Magic’s process here, to be more like the Nuggets with Carmelo Anthony and try to take their time to get him to stay or find the best deal they can.

Consider this the Magic throwing cold water on the process they thought was getting overheated. It happens as the New Jersey Nets were working hard to put together the framework of a three-team deal that also included the Portland Trail Blazers and would have sent Gerald Wallace, Brook Lopez and more (including picks) to the Magic. Portland was to get a number of first-round picks back and the Nets would have gotten the star they needed to pair with Deron Williams.

The Lakers also are supposed to be in the mix for Howard, but would not surrender both Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum. (The Lakers are reportedly using Gasol as part of a package as they try to obtain Chris Paul.)

The other two teams on the list where Howard had said he would sign an extension are Dallas — which does not have the assets to make a trade and would need to sign him as a free agent next summer when they have cap space — and the Magic themselves.

The Magic are trying to slow everything down. The process they can do that with, the rumor mill is another matter. In the end, if they can’t re-sign Howard to an extension (and that is not looking likely) they have to trade him or watch him walk for nothing, just like happened with Shaquille O’Neal. But the Magic have wanted to take their time with this from the start, this move fits in with that.

Victor Oladipo’s practice dunk better than anything he – or maybe anyone – did in dunk contest (video)

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Victor Oladipo has grown into far more than just a dunker.

In fact, in Saturday’s dunk contest, he didn’t look like a dunker at all.

The Pacers star missed all three attempts of his first dunk, and a Black Panther mask was by far the biggest draw of his second. Oladipo was eliminated after the first round.

Maybe Dennis Smith Jr. wasn’t the only eliminated dunker who left something in his bag. This Oladipo dunk – 180 degrees, throwing ball off the backboard with his left hand while in mid-air, dunking with his right hand – while preparing in Los Angeles was awesome.

Larry Nance Jr. had the contest’s best dunk. This would have rivaled it.

Pelicans owner Tom Benson hospitalized with flu symptoms

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METAIRIE, La. (AP) — New Orleans Saints and Pelicans Owner Tom Benson has been hospitalized with flu symptoms.

A statement released Wednesday by the NFL and NBA clubs says their 90-year-old owner is resting comfortably at Ochsner Medical Center, a hospital which also serves as a major sponsor and which owns naming rights to the teams’ training headquarters.

Benson has owned the New Orleans Saints since 1985 and bought the New Orleans Pelicans in 2012.

In recent years, Benson has overhauled his estate plan so that his third wife, Gayle, would be first in line to inherit control of the two major professional franchises.

 

Report: Seattle hosting Kings-Warriors preseason game

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Kevin Durant spent his rookie season in Seattle, before the SuperSonics moved to Oklahoma City and became the Thunder. He has said Seattle fans deserved to see him grow up in the NBA after supporting his promising start.

They’ll get their chance.

Ailene Voisin of The Sacramento Bee:

The Kings and Golden State Warriors have scheduled a preseason game next season in Seattle, according to multiple league sources.

The Oct. 6 meeting between Northern California teams will be the first NBA game in the Key Arena since the Sonics moved to Oklahoma City after the 2007-08 season and became the Thunder.

This game will be loaded with storylines. Not only Durant, but the Kings considered moving to Seattle a few years ago. And of course, the return of NBA basketball to Seattle.

At some point, Seattle will get its own team again. For now, this preseason game creates intrigue there.

Report: Kawhi Leonard cleared medically, seeking second opinion

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Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said he’d be surprised if Kawhi Leonard played again this season, a stark reversal from just a month ago. Back then, even while announcing Leonard was out indefinitely with a quad injury, the San Antonio coach said Leonard wouldn’t miss the rest of the season.

What’s going on?

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

After spending 10 days before the All-Star break in New York consulting with a specialist to gather a second opinion on his right quad injury, All-NBA forward Kawhi Leonard bears the burden of determining when he’s prepared to play again, sources told ESPN.

Leonard has been medically cleared to return from the right quad tendinopathy injury, but since shutting down a nine-game return to the Spurs that ended Jan. 13, he has elected against returning to the active roster, sources said.

The uncertainty surrounding this season — and Leonard’s future which could include free agency in the summer of 2019 — has inspired a palpable stress around the organization, league sources said.

At first glance, this sounds like Derrick Rose five years ago. Even after he was cleared to play following a torn ACL, the then-Bulls star remained mysterious about when he’d suit up. His confidence in his physical abilities seemed to be a major issue, and he was never the same player since (suffering more leg injuries).

But the Spurs famously favor resting players to preserve long-term health. They seem unlikely to rush back Leonard. They might even sit players who want to play more often. And Leonard isn’t Rose.

Still, it’s clear something is amiss in San Antonio. Maybe not amiss enough to end Leonard’s tenure there, but the longer this lingers, the more time for tension to percolate.