Report: Mavericks to add Yi Jianlian

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The Mavericks continue to search out new ways to improve their team after getting their first win Friday over Toronto. ESPN.com reports that the Mavs will be adding Chinese forward Yi Jianlian.

The deal is likely to be finalized within the next 48 hours, sources said.

After looking mostly at centers to fortify their frontcourt rotation in the wake of Tyson Chandlers free-agent departure — including advanced negotiations with former Utah Jazz center Kyrylo Fesenko — Dallas is using its 15th roster spot to sign Yi, who is a free agent after playing for the Washington Wizards last season.

With Yi needing a game or two of live action to get re-acquainted with full-speed basketball after a teammate fell on his knee in a Chinese Basketball Association league game, sources said Yi will join the Mavericks D-League affiliate in nearby Frisco on a rehabilitation stint with the Texas Legends before joining the Mavericks.

via Dallas Mavericks, Yi Jianlian agree on one-year deal, sources say – ESPN Dallas.

The Mavericks are going to have a bunch of wing-forwards. Shawn Marion, Dirk Nowitzki, Lamar Odom, Brian Cardinal, and Vince Carter can all spend time at the 3 or 4, as can Yi. Yi was highly regarded coming out of China in the 2007 draft, but failed to show he can put it together. The Mavericks have also had interest in Kyrylo Fesenko according to Stein, and may continue their pursuit regardless of the signing, though they’ll have to release someone in order to make room.

The Mavericks are known to take chances on highly regarded young players labeled as busts, with Sean Williams and Brandan Wright, and having just traded Corey Brewer. Maybe the Mavericks can find a spot for him. Yi Jianlian also makes yet another former Wizard to wind up with the Mavericks. Brendan Haywood, Caron Butler, and DeShawn Stevenson have all had stints in D.C. .

Devin Booker drops 70 points for Suns in loss to Celtics (VIDEO)

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Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker is just 20 years old. He’s a League Pass favorite, and indeed he should be a favorite in Phoenix for years to come. On Friday, Booker dropped 70 points — yes, 70 — in a loss to the Boston Celtics.

Booker’s 70 points is the best outing of the season. It also made him the youngest player to ever reach 70 points.

His final stat line, as you might imagine, was ridiculous. Booker shot 21-of-40 from the field, going 4-of-11 on 3-pointers and a whopping 24-of-26 from the free-throw line. The Suns phenom also grabbed eight rebounds to go with six assists.

Despite the loss to Boston, 130-120, it’s still an incredible milestone for Phoenix and for Booker. There’s a bright spot out there for the Suns.

Magic’s Aaron Gordon skies to finish amazing alley-oop (VIDEO)

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Aaron Gordon may not have had the best dunk contest this year — apparently drones and dunks don’t mix well — but the guy can still get up and finish with the best in the league.

As he did on this alley-oop against Detroit.

Elfrid Payton had to throw a lob that would get over Andre Drummond, but how many guys in the league can get that high, reach back and finish that? Damn.

Former Hawk Pero Antic’s celebration accidentally punches teammate in face in Eruoleague (VIDEO)

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Former Atlanta Hawk Pero Antic is now playing for Turkish powerhouse Fenerbahce, in case you were not aware.

Fenerbahce was facing Anadolu Efes in a EuroLeague game, it was tight late and former NBA player Ekpe Udoh was at the free throw line for Fenerbahce. He missed his second shot, but the rebound caromed out-of-bounds off an Anadolu Efes player. Antic was pumped.

Maybe a little too pumped.

Ouch.

That was Nikola Kalinic, by the way, the guy Antic now owes dinner to. Kalinic would like the dinner more than the hug and kiss he got from Antic right after the play.

Also, Anadolu Efes held on to win 80-77.

(Hat tip to Ball Don’t Lie.)

James Harden helped recruit Lou Williams to Houston

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The Lakers had been shopping Lou Williams around in the run-up to the trade deadline, the only question was would they get a first-round pick for him. Rumors around the league say that Houston had offered them one weeks before, it was on the table, but the Jim Buss/Mitch Kupchak front office held their cards close and hoped a better deal would come through.

While all that was going on James Harden decided to ease the process and did a little recruiting calling up Williams, the sixth-man guard told Shams Charania of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.

“When James called, he asked me if I was interested in playing with them,” Williams told The Vertical. “I told him that I loved the Lakers, but James and them have a group that fit my personality, fit how I play. He said he was going to make it happen.”

Williams then laughed, sitting on the edge of a visiting court following a recent practice. “I’ve heard that before, so I didn’t really put stock into it,” Williams told The Vertical. “I guess James did put the word in, and the team made it happen.”

We all know what happened, Jeanie Buss removed her brother and Kupchak a few days before the trade deadline, Magic Johnston stepped in, called around, and quickly pulled the trigger on a trade that sent Williams to Houston (the Lakers also got Corey Brewer). Williams has averaged 14.5 points per game and had some strong performances with the Rockets, although he’s still finding his groove with the team on the court. Still, he’s been an upgrade for the Rockets’ bench.

Harden knew he would be, so he did his part to make sure it happened.