Report: Blazers still interested in trading Raymond Felton to Lakers

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We told you last week that the Lakers and Trail Blazers were reportedly having “exploratory talks” involving a trade of the teams’ point guards. The proposed deal would have Raymond Felton heading to L.A., and Steve Blake would return to Portland, where he’s been a Blazer three separate times in the past, most recently in 2010.

Nothing has come of it yet, but with the trade deadline approaching later this week, Portland still has some interest. From Ken Berger at CBSSports.com:

Rival executives believe the Blazers are interested in exploring a swap of Felton to the Lakers for Steve Blake, with L.A. sending another piece to make the salaries match and compensate the Blazers for getting the better player and future cost savings in the deal. The Portland coaching staff and front office are comfortable with Blake, who could provide a calming presence as the team battles through numerous distractions.

Ah, yes. The distractions.

Portland’s season has been nothing short of disastrous. Felton has been portrayed as one of the problems in the locker room, and head coach Nate McMillan may be on his way out, with the perception being that he’s lost his team.

The change of scenery may do Felton some good, and Blake would theoretically be able to navigate the chaos, knowing his way around the franchise from his previous stints there. From the Lakers standpoint, the deal would be all about potential upside; there isn’t a ton of risk here, as long as they believe Felton can (if nothing else) play around 20 minutes per game. That’s what the team is getting from Blake, though they aren’t getting much else — over his last six games, Blake is shooting a dismal .176 from the field, and has only connected on one of his last 12 three-point attempts in that same span.

Blake has been viewed as a serviceable point guard in the past, although that value, as it is with just about everyone who plays for the Blazers, has been greatly exaggerated thanks to the team’s passionate fan base. If Portland is willing to take him back, and if Felton can snap out of his funk in a new situation, it might be a deal that makes sense for both sides to continue to discuss.

Report: Kentucky’s Bam Adebayo staying in NBA draft

AP Photo/Jeff Roberson
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When De’Aaron Fox and Malik Monk declared for the NBA draft, they jumped in with both feet, hiring agents.

A third Kentucky freshman, Bam Adebayo, took a more cautious approach – until now.

Jon Rothstein of FanRag Sports:

Adebayo is a borderline first-round pick.

He’s a ferocious dunker. All his best skills – motor, explosiveness, physicality – come together to produce slams.

But Adebayo is an underwhelming shot-blocker and rebounder, and those same tools should translate. That speaks’ to his focus.

He has a center’s game. But at 6-foot-10 with a 7-foot-1.5 wingspan, does he have a center’s size? Adebayo can’t step away from the basket or handle the ball, so if he can’t bang with NBA centers, he’s in trouble.

NBA: James Harden should have been called for offensive foul late in Rockets’ Game 4 win over Thunder

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The Rockets were trying to protect a two-point lead as they inbounded with 7.8 seconds left in Game 4 against the Thunder on Sunday, and James Harden wanted the ball. So, the Houston star pushed off Alex Abrines.

The play still turned chaotic – Russell Westbrook tipping the inbound pass and Eric Gordon recovering the loose ball – but it never should have gotten that far. Harden should have been called for an offensive foul, according to the NBA’s Last Two Minute Report:

Harden (HOU) pushes off Abrines (OKC) to create space during the inbound.

A correct call would have given Oklahoma City the ball down two with 7.8 seconds left and a real chance to tie or take the lead.

Instead, the Thunder had to intentionally foul Gordon, who hit two free throws to effectively ice a 113-109 Rockets win. Houston now leads the first-round series, 3-1.

NBA: LeBron James got away with travelling before go-ahead 3-pointer in Cavaliers’ Game 4 win over Pacers

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The Cavaliers outscored the Pacers by just 16 points in their first-round series – tied for the narrowest margin ever in a four-game sweep. (The Warriors also outscored the Washington Bullets while sweeping the 1975 Finals.)

So, each Cleveland-Indiana game was close, including Sunday’s Game 4, which the Cavs won 106-102.

LeBron James hit a 3-pointer with 1:08 left to put the Cavaliers up 103-102, and they added a few free throws after intentional fouls to produce the final margin. But LeBron travelled with 1:14 left while making his move to get that 3-pointer, according to the NBA’s Last Two Minute Report:

James (CLE) moves his pivot foot at the start of his dribble.

A correct call would’ve ended Cleveland’s possession and given Indiana the ball with a two-point lead. Instead, the Pacers had only one possession before they had to begin intentionally fouling.

Would Indiana have won if the travel were called? Probably, though the odds would have been only slightly better than a coin flip.

Would the Pacers have won the series if the travel were called? Probably not. No team has ever overcome a 3-0 deficit, and even a Game 4 win was far from guaranteed with a travel call. But they might have at least felt better about not getting swept.

Raptors’ Norman Powell had a couple monster dunks Monday (VIDEO)

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“Give all praise to Norman Powell with his energy, his athleticism, his passion, just everything he brought to us this series.”

That was Kyle Lowry talking about what his Raptor Norman Powell, who put up a career playoff best 25 points in the Raptors’ Game 5 win. Powell played good defense on Khris Middleton and drained some deep threes to help Toronto pull away in this one. Lowry was so impressed after the game at a press conference he told the media to ask Powell questions, not him.

Oh, and Powell threw down some huge dunks, too. Just check out the video.