Wednesday And-1 links: Calipari to Wizards, other rumors

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Here is our daily look around the NBA — links to stories worth reading and notes to check out (stuff that did not get its own post here at PBT).

John Calipari to coach the Wizards after Kentucky loses in the NCAA Tournament finals? Let’s just say it is out there and the guy who put it out there — David Aldridge — isn’t a guy who just puts things out there.

The Jazz trading Raja Bell to the Clippers is a possibility.

However, a number of teams (including the Celtics and Lakers) contacted the Jazz about Josh Howard. The Jazz turned them down.

Minnesota is taking a look at bringing in Jason Richardson via a trade with Magic

Golden State started talks of a Tyreke Evans for Monta Ellis deal, but those didn’t get far. They are off the table now, obviously.

The Blazers are leaning toward keeping Jamal Crawford now (which is really just them trying to pressure buyers to up the offer).

Here is an interview where Jamal Crawford talks about what it is like to be in all those trade rumors.

Tracy McGrady has helped launch what can best be described as a Groupon for sports. It’s everything you could hope.

Deron Williams will be out for this third straight game for the Nets on Wednesday night.

America thinks LeBron James is the third most overpaid American. The fact no financial institution CEOs are on this list makes me call it into question.

Derrick Rose was involved in a minor car accident, but was not hurt.

Also, Rose has bought a new condo in the Trump Tower in Chicago. It’s nicer than your place.

LeBron Janes wants to win Defensive Player of the Year. He should at least be in the conversation this year.

What is the worst shot to take in the NBA? It’s not what you think. And no, it doesn’t involve Josh Smith from three. Although maybe it should.

The 76ers get Spencer Hawes back on Wednesday. Don’t underestimate the importance of that, he was key to getting their ball movement going side to side in that offense. They are better with him.

Metta World Peace is researching retirement options. You think we’re kidding, but we’re not.

If one 10 seconds of video could sum up JaVale McGee, this would be it.

Jeremy Lin has signed an endorsement deal with Volvo.

Dominique Wilkins wants LeBron James to do the dunk contest.

Luke Walton is not traveling with the Lakers right now due to gastroenteritis.

Bulls are bringing in Mike James with questions about if Derrick Rose can go Wednesday.

Dallas is sending Sean Williams back to the D-League.

Russell Westbrook threw it down all over Michael Kidd-Gilchrist

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A rough night for the Thunder will not stop the Russell Westbrook highlights.

The Thunder had another poor game and fell to a Hornets. Westbrook tried to push the team back, but the Thunder defense that has kept them in games all season was not good enough against Charlotte, and the OKC offense was once again up and down.

Westbrook had 30 points on 22 shots on the night, and none of them were as impressive as this transition throwdown on Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.

Jahlil Okafor excited about fresh start with Nets

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NEW YORK (AP) — Jahlil Okafor finally got the fresh start he wanted.

Okafor was the consensus No. 1 high school player in his class, won a national championship at Duke, and averaged 17.5 points and seven rebounds in his rookie campaign for the Philadelphia 76ers.

Then things changed drastically.

Okafor struggled with injuries and a logjam at his position in his second season.

“When I first got drafted there, we already had Nerlens (Noel) there, Joel (Embiid) was there, so we’re trying to have three starting centers on the same team,” Okafor said Monday at his introductory news conference with his new team, the Brooklyn Nets.

“It just never really was the right fit.”

The 76ers traded Okafor along with seldom-used guard Nik Stauskas and two draft picks to the Nets on Thursday. Philadelphia got forward Trevor Booker from Brooklyn.

Okafor also had off-court problems during his time in Philadelphia. He got a speeding ticket for driving 108 miles per hour and was suspended by the 76ers for two games after in an altercation outside of a Boston nightclub with a heckler.

“Speeding obviously is illegal,” Okafor said. “I know that’s not what you’re supposed to do. I guess you just learn how the page can turn on you and how everything can flip. I can’t really say I learned anything, because you know going in that’s not right. You just learn from your mistakes, but (it was) a tough thing that I went through, I got past, and I’m looking to better times now.”

Okafor, the third overall pick in the 2015 draft, joins D'Angelo Russell, the second overall pick in the same draft class, on the Nets.

“We’re just very excited to get on the court together,” Okafor said. “You never would’ve thought the number two and number three picks would be playing on the same team a few years after, but like I said, everything happens for a reason and I’m really excited.”

Russell also had problems on and off the court with the team that drafted him. He was criticized for recording a video of former Lakers teammate Nick Young that aired sordid details about Young’s private life. The Lakers gave up on Russell and drafted Lonzo Ball as his replacement.

“I feel like we’re similar in that we have a lot to prove,” Okafor said. “I know he’s working his (butt) off as well. Right now he’s rehabbing, trying to get back on the court. I think we both have a chip on our shoulder and we have a lot to prove. We’re definitely similar in that regard.”

Okafor understands he has areas to improve, mainly defense and rebounding.

“I’m not a perfect player,” Okafor said. “I’m 21. There are things that I need to work on, that I have worked on and that I’ll continue to work on.”

He’s excited about fulfilling his potential with a new team.

“I feel really motivated right now, but I’ve always been motivated,” Okafor said. “This is the first time where people are against me in a sense because I’ve always been the hyped-up guy. It’s something new for me to experience, so I’m glad that I am experiencing it.”

 

Report: Celtics’ Marcus Morris to miss “extended time” to let knee heal

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Marcus Morris missed the Celtics’ first eight games of the season in an effort to get healthy. Upon his return he’s been solid, first as a starter, then coming off the bench, but his left knee continued to be an issue.

Morris was out Sunday when the Celtics beat the Pistons, and he’s going to miss more time trying to get a troublesome left knee right, reports Shams Charania of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.

How much time is “extended time?” Probably at least a couple of weeks.

Morris has averaged 12.1 points and 5.5 rebounds a game this season, with a true shooting percentage of 52.5, which is right around the league average.

This could mean more run for rookie forwards Semi Ojeleye and Daniel Theis, both of whom have played well in limited minutes.

Tristan Thompson expected to return to Cavaliers Tuesday, come off bench

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INDEPENDENCE, Ohio (AP) — Cleveland Cavaliers center Tristan Thompson could play for the first time since Nov. 1 on Tuesday against Atlanta.

Thompson has been sidelined with a strained left calf. The team initially said Thompson would be out for up to four weeks, but he said Monday that timeline was inaccurate and that his injury was more serious. Thompson did not divulge any other details about the injury.

Coach Tyronn Lue says Thompson will not start when he returns, meaning Kevin Love will remain at center. Thompson says he’s fine with a reserve role and made it clear he’s willing to do whatever Lue needs.

The Cavaliers have won 14 of 15 and their defense has improved dramatically over the past month.

Thompson says he’ll have the same mindset on the floor as always and “just be myself. Being myself has worked out pretty well for me.”