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. .

Rockets owner appears to leave seat, yell at refs during matchup with Thunder (VIDEO)

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The Houston Rockets are in control of their series against the Oklahoma City Thunder, and were up 3-1 heading into Tuesday night’s Game 5 in Texas.

That did not stop what appeared to be Rockets owner Leslie Alexander from complaining to NBA referees. During gameplay. While standing directly next to an official, some 20 feet from his courtside seat.

Via Twitter:

Congratulations are in order to Bill Kennedy, the official in question, for keeping his cool. Or perhaps he just was so surprised by some dude yelling in his ear from right next to him he didn’t know how to react.

Brandon Jennings no fan of the NBA’s new Awards Ceremony event

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Come June 26, Drake will be on stage in New York City, handing out the NBA’s awards — Most Valuable Player, Defensive Player of the Year, Coach of the Year, and so on. (We need to set an under/over on the number of players Drake hugs that night.)

The NFL does it. The NHL does it. And the NBA has decided to follow suit with a broadcast awards ceremony where everything — except the All-NBA Team — will be announced that night. It’s happening because the broadcast partners want it.

Brandon Jennings is not a fan. Here is what the Wizards’ point guard Tweeted:

Jennings took down a Tweet that said if he had won the award he would have wanted to get it with the organization and his teammates around him. (And no, he knows he’s not winning the award. If you were going to put that in the comments be more creative.)

There’s something to what Jennings is saying. The NBA award roll out was awkward at times in previous years, but it gave the fans a chance to celebrate the awards with their favorite player. Now, everyone will watch it unfold on television from a ballroom in NYC. That feels a little colder. Also, we will get to see the reaction of those who don’t win (particularly this season, where several players can make a strong case for MVP).

It will be interesting to see how this first year goes, and how the league tweaks it going forward. The more than two month gap between the end of the regular season and the awards could feel a bit awkward. But we’re not going to knock the idea until we’ve seen it in action.

Portland GM makes it official, Festus Ezeli will not be back with team next season

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This season the Portland Trail Blazers found their center of the future (and the present) in Jusuf Nurkic.

Which makes the next step fairly obvious: Portland will not pick up the option on Festus Ezeli for next season, GM Neil Olshay confirmed at the team exit meetings Tuesday.

Portland signed Ezeli on what they thought was a great contract (one-year, $7.4 million, with a team option for the second year) because he was coming off knee surgery last summer. However, Ezeli was never healthy, needed a second surgery, and never got on the court. After taking it slow over last summer he practiced with the team twice in mid-October, there was more swelling, so he pulled back.

This summer Ezeli will not draw any guaranteed money from teams, but some teams may take a look at him. Athletic bigs get a lot of chances in the NBA.

Gordon Hayward will play for Jazz in Game 5 without minutes restriction

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Gordon Hayward has averaged 20.5 points a game in these playoffs — and that includes a 40 point outburst in Game 3 — but what has been more impressive is he has done it efficiently, with a true shooting percentage of 61.1. While Joe Johnson and others have stepped up, Utah will need Hayward’s shot creation if they are going to win this series.

They will have it Tuesday night in Game 5.

After missing the second half of Game 4 due to food poisoning (he tried to play but was ineffective in the first half), he is back and ready to go this time around.

So is Rudy Gobert. The Jazz will be at full health, while the Clippers remain without Blake Griffin for the remainder of the playoffs.

Having those two back is a boost for the Jazz, they need to score more consistently against the Clippers, but the bigger key will be defensively trying to deal with Chris Paul on the pick-and-roll. He has been masterful this series, and the Jazz need to keep him in check to give their offense a chance.