Baseline to Baseline recaps: Maybe Miami does miss Wade

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What you missed while wildly overreacting to your team’s loss

Pacers 98, Lakers 96: This contrast in offensive balances was our game of the night.

Bucks 91, Heat 82: Milwaukee turned this into an ugly, grind-it-out game that favored their style and not the high-flying Heat. So, exactly what Scott Skiles wants them to do. Teams do take on the personality of their coach.

No Dwyane Wade so the Heat went heavy with Chris Bosh again, but he had 8 turnovers on the night, which was part of Miami’s problems. Another problem that Luc Richard Mbah a Moute did a good job making LeBron James work for his 28 points (which is about all you can ask).

Miami tried to go small (LeBron at the four) but they looked like a team on the second night of a back-to-back that was just a bit sluggish. It made the game a slower, dogfight of an affair, which plays to the Bucks strengths. Brandon Jennings had 23 points, but it took him 20 shots to get there.

Celtics 100, Wizards 94: Boston had no Rajon Rondo, out with a sore wrist. They were without Ray Allen most of the day after he tweaked his ankle in the second quarter. Still, this is the Wizards, you expect Boston to win this more handily. Without Rondo Boston really struggles to create good looks for each other. The Wizards just struggle to create good looks for themselves — there is no team play. Combine that with some defensive lapses by Andray Blatche and JaVale McGee down the stretch (falling asleep on help responsibilities) and the Celtics get the win. Paul Pierce had 35 points, 10 assists and 7 rebounds.

Clippers 103, Raptors 91: After the Clippers let a team hang around and it cost them against Minnesota on Friday, there was none of that Sunday. Los Angeles took control with a 13-0 run in the first quarter then started the second half on an 11-1 run just to salt it away. D’Andre Jordan had 10 points and 9 rebounds in the first quarter alone. Mo Williams had 26 for the Clips, 19 in the fourth quarter. Toronto shot just 35.8 percent as a team.

Nets 97, Bobcats 87: We watch these games so you don’t have to — two struggling teams, but by rule someone had to win. Charlotte came out turning the ball over 7 times in the first quarter and Deron Williams had 11 points in the first quarter , the Nets took the lead and never looked back. Williams finished the game with 19 points, 10 assists and 9 rebounds, while MarShon Brooks scored 20.

As expected, Blake Griffin reportedly opted out of contract with Clippers

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Doc Rivers says he wants Blake Griffin back with the Clippers next season.

The bigger question: Does Blake Griffin want to be back with the Clippers next season?

The decision is in Griffin’s hands as he has done what was expected, opting out of his contract for the coming season, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.

A number of teams — Boston, Miami, and others — are expected to take a run at Griffin. (In Boston’s case, he’s a backup plan to Gordon Hayward, but there will be conversations.)

What Chris Paul — also expected to opt out and become a free agent this summer — and Griffin choose to do will help set the market. They are two of the biggest free agent names out there where they could switch teams (Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant are staying put). If they take their time making a decision, it leaves the Clippers in a bind — they have to wait to hear from these two before starting replacing or rebuilding, but by the time they know other players may have decided — and could bottleneck the free agent process.

The Clippers are going to be one interesting team to watch this summer.

Pistons’ Kentavious Caldwell-Pope suspended two games for DUI

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This is the standard penalty for coaches and players hit with a DUI. I don’t think the penalty is stiff enough in general for a serious issue, but this is the precedent that has been set.

Detroit Pistons’ guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has been suspended two games by the NBA for “pleading guilty to operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated, in violation of the law of the State of Michigan,” the NBA announced. He will miss the first two games of next season.

This will not stop Caldwell-Pope from getting PAID this summer.

A quality wing defender who hit 35 percent from three last season, he plays a position of need for a lot of teams and he is a restricted free agent. Other teams with cap space — Brooklyn and Sacramento come to mind — could step in and give him a max or near max offer. Then Stan Van Gundy needs to decide if he is going to match. He may not have much of a choice, if he wants to keep Andre Drummond and build an inside-out team around him, he needs Caldwell-Pope, and the Pistons don’t have the cap space to replace him.

One way or another, Caldwell-Pope is in line for a massive pay raise. This suspension will not slow teams, it just takes a little money out of his pocket.

 

Lonzo Ball tops Rookie of the Year early betting odds

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If you are betting right now on next year’s NBA Rookie of the Year award, you are a die-hard fan of your team and their new addition. Or, you have a problem and need to seek help. Maybe both.

Either way, the people at the gambling site Bovada have posted the early betting odds for the ROY award for next season.

Lonzo Ball (Lakers) 5/2
Ben Simmons (76ers) 3/1
Markelle Fultz (76ers) 5/1
De”Aaron Fox (Kings) 7/1
Josh Jackson (Suns) 9/1
Jayson Tatum (Celtics) 9/1
Jonathan Isaac (Magic) 16/1
Malik Monk (Hornets) 16/1
Dennis Smith (Mavericks) 16/1
John Collins (Hawks) 20/1
Justin Jackson (Trail Blazers) 22/1
Lauri Markkanen (Bulls) 22/1

Yes, Ben Simmons is in the mix.

The two bets I like here, if I were a gambling man, are Jackson in Phoenix and Dennis Smith in Dallas. I doubt Smith wins it, but Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said after the draft Smith will start for them next year, which means he gets opportunities and can rack up assists feeding Dirk Nowitzki at the elbow for a year.

Jackson is going to be unleashed in an up-tempo Suns offense where he will be the defender they need on the wing, play with high energy, and get buckets in transition. Winning ROY is as much about fit and opportunity as talent, and Jackson has landed in a good spot.

Paul George-Gordon Hayward-Celtics rumor doesn’t add up

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Paul George reportedly wants to play with Gordon Hayward. George is also reportedly willing to join his desired team (universally accepted to be the Lakers) by means that don’t guarantee the highest salary.

Could the Celtics – who are pursuing Hayward in free agency – leverage those conditions into getting George?

Adam Kauffman of 98.5 The Sports Hub:

I don’t what George would do, but it’d be a MAJOR financial disadvantage to go this route.

There a couple ways it could happen – George getting extended-and-trade or George getting traded then signing an extension six months later. The latter would allow George to earn more than the former, but even if he pledged to sign an extension, would the Celtics trade for him knowing he’d have six months to change his mind if he doesn’t like Boston as much as anticipated?

There’s a bigger issue, anyway. Both extension routes would leave George earning far less than simply letting his contract expire then signing a new deal, either with his incumbent team or a new one.

Here’s a representation of how much George could earn by:

  • Letting his contract expire and re-signing (green)
  • Letting his contract expire and signing elsewhere (purple)
  • Getting traded and signing an extension six months later (gray)
  • Signing an extend-and-trade (yellow)

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Expire & re-sign Expire & leave Trade, extend later Extend-and-trade
2018-19 $30.6 million $30.6 million $23,410,750 $23,410,750
2019-20 $33.0 million $32.1 million $25,283,610 $24,581,287
2020-21 $35.5 million $33.7 million $27,156,470 $25,751,825
2021-22 $37.9 million $35.2 million $29,029,330
2022-23 $40.4 million
Total $177.5 million $131.6 million $104,880,158 $73,743,861

Firm numbers are used when it’s just a calculation based on George’s current contract. When necessary to project the 2018-19 salary cap, I rounded.

The Celtics could theoretically renegotiate-and-extend, but that would require cap room that almost certainly wouldn’t exist after signing Hayward.

Simply, it’s next to impossible to see this happening. It’d be too costly to George.