That the Wizards are terrible should not surprise you. A terrible team looking to change its personnel should not surprise you. But when any team declares itself completely open for business outside of one player, yeah, that’s worth at least a look. From the Washington Post’s Michael Lee:
Source just told me #wizards have informed teams they can have any player except John Wall if they are willing to take Andray Blatche
So as bad as the Wizards are, there are players worth pursuing. JaVale McGee can be a blockhead, but he’s also an extremely talented athletic center with upside. Chris Singleton is a gifted wing defender. Jan Vesely is raw but shows a world of potential to make an impact all over the floor. Nick Young is a sharpshooter. And Trevor Booker is an extremely underrated big man who attacks the ball like a bulldog.
It’s good that the Wizards recognize the problem that Andray Blatche gives them considering his contract, and that they’re open for business. They’re not pursuing trades for everyone, they’re just making it known. Even if they take a loss on a deal, who cares? They need to clean house, by any means available, and being willing to take on a little blood loss to do so is worth it. They can’t squander John Wall’s career any more.
The Wizards do have to be careful, though. Moving Blatche and taking on more long-term contracts (for say, Stephen Jackson) only digs them a different kind of hole. Moving Blatche for nothing is fine. Moving Blatche for something worse is unacceptable.
LeBron James says he doesn’t see Cavaliers-Warriors as rivalry
“We don’t look at it as a rival,” James said. “They’re a great team. They’ve been the best team the last couple years, last three years.”
“It’s just the next game, it’s Golden State,” James said. “They’re a helluva team, like I said the best team in the league and they’ve been that way the last three years, four years, however long it’s been, I’m not quite sure. But, listen, you guys know, we don’t put all our eggs in one basket for one game.”
LeBron just doesn’t want the Cavs to become comfortable. They’ve beat Golden State in four straight games – the last three of the 2016 Finals and on Christmas – and could extend the streak to five today. Beating a rival that frequently is a cause for celebration, and celebration leads to contentment. LeBron would rather keep Cleveland focused and hungry. Hence, saying the Warriors aren’t a rival.
Andre Drummond hits 3-pointer from inside Pistons’ own 3-point arc (video)
But Booker’s last four – which put Phoenix up for good – came directly after incorrect calls, according to the NBA’s Last Two Minute Report.
First, Booker drew a (legitimate) foul on Pau Gasol with 1:08 left and made both free throws. The problem: One second before that, Suns center Tyson Chandler should have been called for offensively fouling Tony Parker, according to the league:
Chandler (PHX) sets the screen on Parker (SAS) and makes leg to leg contact that affects his ability to defend the play.
That would’ve ended Phoenix’s possession rather than allowing Booker to get to the line.
The other missed call in the two-minute report is trickier, because it directly benefitted the Spurs but indirectly benefitted the Suns.
Manu Ginobili got away with travelling with 59.1 seconds left, according to the league:
Ginobili (SAS) moves his pivot foot.
But he coughed up the ball moments later anyway, and – thrilled to gain possession with a live-ball turnover rather than a dead-ball turnover – Booker turned the miscue into a fastbreak dunk.
Rather than debate how to evaluate San Antonio getting away with a travel and it ultimately helping Phoenix more, let’s stick to just the uncalled Chandler offensive foul. That netted the Suns two points. Their lead when the Spurs began intentionally fouling? One.
Russell Westbrook puts up 20th triple-double of season, lifts Thunder past Kings (VIDEO)
Through 41 games — half the season — Russell Westbrook is averaging 30.8 points, 10.7 rebounds, and 10.5 assists a game. Those numbers are insane, particularly considering his 42 percent usage rate. He has to put up numbers and do so fairly efficiently or the Thunder stand no chance of winning — and he has the Thunder on pace for 48 wins this season.
The Thunder picked up another of those wins Sunday night knocking off the Sacramento Kings behind Westbrook’s 20th triple-double in 41 games — 36 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists. The video highlights are above.
It’s going to be fun watching him and James Harden go back-and-forth in the MVP race for the next few months.