Orlando Magic v Atlanta Hawks - Game Three

Report: Magic, Timberwolves discuss deal involving Jason Richardson


The Magic have been much busier in the days leading up to the NBA’s trade deadline than they’d like to be, thanks to Dwight Howard’s uncertain future in Orlando and the many teams interested in offering a collection of less talented players in exchange for the league’s best big man. But he’s not the only player that teams are calling about.

The Timberwolves have been in talks with the Magic about a deal involving Jason Richardson, reports Jarrod Rudolph of RealGM.com, and Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld says the proposed deal would send Michael Beasley back to Orlando in return.

Minnesota has been looking to deal Beasley, likely due to the fact that the team’s frontcourt is overloaded with talent. Kevin Love, Nikola Pekovic, and rookie Derrick Williams are all producing, and the biggest weakness the Timberwolves have right now is a lack of consistent production from their wing players.

Richardson is aging, but he’s still proven to be a capable scorer. And clearly, he’d be a huge upgrade over the likes of Martell Webster, Wesley Johnson, and Wayne Ellington. There’s a slight salary cap concern here for Minnesota, if only because Richardson has two years left on his current deal, and a player option for a third year in the neighborhood of $6.6 million.

The dollars are by no means outrageous for a legitimate scoring threat of 15-20 points per game, but being locked in with him for the next three seasons might not be all that appealing from a flexibility standpoint.

As is the case with many of these reports this time of year, nothing is imminent. This is especially true in Orlando, where the team is not likely to do anything until right at the deadline, and only after weighing every last one of its options when it comes to what they want to do with Dwight Howard.

James Harden: “I am the best player in the league. I believe that.”

James Harden, Stephen Curry
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James Harden was the MVP last season — if you ask his fellow NBA players.

The traditional award (based on a media vote) went to Stephen Curry (in the closest vote in four years), and that was the right call (in my mind). But from the time it happened Harden did not buy it. And he still doesn’t buy it. In the least — and he’s using that as fuel for this season. That’s what he told Fran Blinebury over at NBA.com.

“I am the best player in the league. I believe that,” he said. “I thought I was last year, too.”

Well, it’s a more realistic claim than Paul George’s.

“But that award means most valuable to your team. We finished second in the West, which nobody thought we were going to do at the beginning of the year even when everybody was healthy. We were near the top in having the most injuries. We won our division in a division where every single team made the playoffs.

“There’s so many factors. I led the league in total points scored, minutes played. Like I said, I’m not taking anything away from Steph, but I felt I deserved the Most Valuable Player. That stays with me.”

That’s very Kobe Bryant of you to turn that into fuel. Defining the MVP Award is an annual discussion that nobody agrees on.

I could get into how Harden was the old-school, traditional stats MVP, how that ignores how Steve Kerr used Curry, and how that opened up the Warriors’ offense to championship levels. Curry put up numbers, but he was also the distraction, the bright star that Kerr used to open up looks for Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and others. Curry’s strength was not just what he did with the ball in his hands, but his gravity to draw defenders even when he didn’t. Did the Warriors stay healthier than the Rockets? No doubt. Should Curry be penalized for that?

It’s simple for Harden — if he can put up those numbers again, if he can be the fulcrum of a top offense, he will be in the discussion for MVP again. And, if he can lead the Rockets beyond the conference finals, nobody will talk about that MVP snub anyway.