Don’t expect the Hornets to buy out Chris Kaman

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The usual pattern goes like this: Team tries hard to trade overpriced veteran player, then if they find no takes they buy him out after the trade deadline. Then he signs elsewhere for the minimum (or fades into the sunset)

That’s not going to be the pattern with Chris Kaman of the Hornets.

New Orleans has tried to trade him for a month but they couldn’t find any takers. The price they asked for a good big man but an expensive one ($14 million) who can walk as a free agent at the end of the season was too steep.

But they are not going to buy him out. The Times-Picayune got GM Dell Demps to say that, although in about the most wishy-washy way possible.

“Everything is always a possibility,” Demps said. “I mean there’s no reason to say I’m certain, 100 percent sure. There’s always a possibility. I never want to say never. But our intention is to keep Chris.”

Here are the two reasons they are not buying him out.

One, he’s playing pretty well. In his last 10 games he has averaged 15.8 points and 9.7 rebounds a game, plus dishing out 3.1 assists per contest. He’s been solid defensively. He’s probably been the best Hornets player. You keep guys like that (unless you are trying to tank, which the Hornets probably should do but can’t as they are owned by the league right now).

Second, the other owners would not allow Kaman to be bought out. Remember, saying the league owns the Hornets really means the other owners actually own the Hornets. If New Orleans bought out Kaman and made him a free agent he’d sign with the Heat within days, giving them the solid big man in the middle they lack. You think the other owners are going to help the Heat get better? They hate what the Heat did. They will block them? Remember Chris Paul to the Lakers? Same thing here.

So Kaman will stay with the Hornets. And there’s a decent chance that when he does become a free agent he re-signs in New Orleans.

Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook go head-to-head, literally (video)

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This sure didn’t look like just another game for Kevin Durant – and not only because the Thunder beat the Warriors for the first time since he left.

The 108-91 Oklahoma City victory didn’t look like just another game for Russell Westbrook (34 points, 10 rebounds, nine assists and four steals), either.

Harrison Barnes banks in game-winning, buzzer-beating 3-pointer (video)

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With the shot clock off in the fourth quarter and the game tied, Grizzlies big JaMychal Green put back Tyreke Evans‘ miss with a clutch flush. There’s a very fine line between ensuring the last shot and leaving time for an offensive rebound, and Memphis threated it almost perfectly.

Emphasis on “almost.”

The Grizzlies left the Mavericks 0.5 seconds, which Harrison Barnes used to bank in a 3-pointer – off a pinpoint bounce pass by Dennis Smith Jr. – to give Dallas a 95-94 win.

Heat snap Celtics’ 16-game winning streak

AP Photo/Lynne Sladky
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The Celtics didn’t have another comeback in them.

After overcoming a 13-point fourth-quarter deficit against the Mavericks on Monday to extend its winning streak to 16 games, Boston lost to the Heat tonight, 104-98. The streak ends as the NBA’s longest since the Hawks won 19 straight during the 2014-15 season.

The Celtics trailed Miami by 16 in the fourth quarter then cut the deficit to only one with three minutes left. But Dion Waiters hit back-to-back 3-pointers, helping the Heat pull away.

Goran Dragic (27 points) and Waiters (26 points) led Miami, which needed a reason to feel good after losing three of four to fall to 7-9.

The Celtics, on the other hand, still have a four-game cushion over the rest of the Eastern Conference. This might help them regain focus.

Serge Ibaka gets dunked on by Enes Kanter, hit in face by ball (video)

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Is Enes Kanter mad Serge Ibaka rifted with his family?

(No, not this family. That family.)