Rockets to buy out contract of Derek Fisher

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The Lakers needed to move Derek Fisher for political reasons in the locker room — can you have a guy the Lakers fans love and the team signed because Kobe Bryant wanted him to sitting at the end of the bench? Almost never in the game? His play warrants him sitting, but fans won’t see it that way. Media would ask Kobe what he thought, it would be a topic for talk radio, it would be a distraction the Lakers don’t need.

The Rockets traded for him but they really don’t need him either — so they are going to buy out his contract. That according to a tweet from Fran Blinebury of NBA.com.

Fisher has a player option for $3.4 million for next season that he certainly was going to pick up. The Rockets will certainly have to compensate him for that.

Once he is bought out, he will be a free agent. There was interest from the Miami Heat last year, and it wouldn’t be stunning to see a contender or near contender add him for the stretch run.

And no, the Lakers are not going to be that team. Aside the reasons mentioned above, the CBA prevents the Lakers from re-signing him until July after trading him.

Also, we have to say this — Fisher the player does not bring much at all to the table any more. On any contending team he is likely the third point guard (as he would have been in Los Angeles behind Ramon Sessions and Steve Blake). Lakers fans are understandably sentimental about him, but the reality is if he were any other player with another franchise he would not have gotten his last contract. A team might bring him in now to provide championship experience in the locker room and a little guard depth, but he can’t contribute much on the court anymore. Even in the final seconds.

This ending is not how I will choose to remember Fisher. But this is pretty much the end.

Did Reggie Jackson distract Jimmy Butler into missing game-tying free throw? (video)

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With the Timberwolves trailing the Pistons by three and 6.2 seconds left, Jimmy Butler drew a foul on a 3-pointer.

Butler made the first two free throws then, just before he got the ball for the third, Reggie Jackson interrupted to talk to Stanley Johnson, who was in rebounding position. Butler missed the free throw, and Detroit won 100-97 after an intentional foul.

Butler said Jackson didn’t affect him, but Butler’s side eye during the delay at least appeared to speak loudly.

Bulls’ Kris Dunn dunks on T.J. Warren after savvy/explosive halfcourt drive (video)

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Kris Dunn had a nice weekend – 39 points, 13 assists and 11 rebounds as the Bulls beat the Hornets and lost to the Suns – punctuated by this dunk in Chicago’s 113-105 loss to the Suns last night.

T.J. Warren paid the price for Tyler Ulis overplaying a Robin Lopez screen Dunn cleverly never used.

Orlando Magic will no longer host summer league

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ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — The Orlando Magic has decided to end their annual summer league.

Magic president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman said Sunday the trend of NBA teams playing in the Las Vegas Summer League led to the decision end Orlando Pro Summer League. Orlando’s Summer League, which showcased rookies and young players, began in 2002.

Las Vegas will host all 30 teams for the summer league beginning in the summer of 2018. The Orlando Pro Summer League began as a 10-team tournament but there were just eight participating teams this past summer.

The summer league in Orlando, which is played in the Magic’s practice gym, was the only one of three summer leagues that did not allow fans to come in to watch.

Kevin Durant misses game vs. Nets with sprained ankle, status vs. Thunder in doubt

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Not that the Warriors needed him with Stephen Curry going off again, but Golden State was without Kevin Durant on Sunday in Brooklyn due to a sprained ankle.

Durant is officially day-to-day, but that brings up the question of whether he will be ready to go Wednesday night when the Warriors travel to Oklahoma City to take on his former team. Chris Haynes of ESPN asked Durant about it.

While some blowhards will talk about him dodging the Thunder, the Warriors course here is obvious — they do not want to rush him back for any game in November. Even one against Russell Westbrook. Ankles with stretched ligaments are easy to re-injure if not fully healed, and the Warriors don’t want this to be chronic and last through more of the season.

Durant is averaging 24.9 points per game, 7 rebounds, and 4.7 assists, and — with all due respect to fellow former MVP Curry — he is the best player on the Warriors. Maybe the best player in the world right now, period. Durant can score at will, and he had become a key part of the Warriors’ fifth-ranked defense blocking 2.2 shots per game (their offense is No. 1 in the league).