Andrei Kirilenko

Kirilenko to Nets rumor out there, refuted by other sources

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7:15 pm: The rumor started out of Europe, but here in the United States everybody denies it. Here is what Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News tweeted that echoed the consensus.

It has been reiterated: No truth to there being a deal with Nets and Kirilenko and no discussions about next season.

Of course there was no direct contact at this point between the team and Andrei Kirilenko. At this point it would all be handled through back channels. There would be nothing official and anything discussed would be in general terms. How far the back channel talks have gone, who knows, we will never know for sure.

But there is a lot of smoke here, plus there is some logic to this rumor for me. That said, we are a long way from people signing contracts.

3:06 pm: When the lockout came, Andrei Kirilenko took his talents to his native Moscow, playing for European power CSKA Moscow.

Now a Russian connection may be bringing him back to the NBA and Brooklyn. Here is a tweet from European basketball writer Wendell Maxey (via Sam Amick of SI):

spoke with two contacts in russia close to andrei kirilenko. say AK to brooklyn nets deal in place. plans to sign 3-year after euroleague.

Interesting. You can bet Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov has his fingerprints on this. No official announcement would come until CSKA Moscow is done with Euroleague next month.

Obviously, Dwight Howard remains target number one for Brooklyn this summer, but that is at the whims of the Magic. But what if the Nets get Kirilenko — who played with Deron Williams in Utah — and keep Gerald Wallace. Would that be enough to convince D-Will to stay and not bolt for Dallas?

Either way, this is a nice pickup for the Nets. Curious what the price is, but he’s a quality NBA player at both ends of the floor, averaging 12 points — a 6-9 forward who shot 36.7 percent from three — and five rebounds per game his last season in Utah. In Europe this year he averaged 14 and 7, shooting 60 percent from the floor, and was named Euroleague’s top defender.

Brandon Ingram posterizes Taj Gibson on alley-oop (video)

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The Lakers wouldn’t trade Brandon Ingram for DeMarcus Cousins, because they believe in Ingram (or because they couldn’t get on the same page about a deal, but let’s go with a belief in Ingram).

The Thunder traded for Taj Gibson because he provided, among other things, stellar rim protection.

One of those worked better than the other on this play.

Gordon Hayward dunks on Giannis Antetokounmpo, Thon Maker (videos)

Gordon Hayward (20), del Jazz de Utah, intenta un enceste ante Thon Maker (7) y Michael Beasley (9), de los Bucks de Milwaukee, en el duelo del viernes 24 de febrero de 2017, en Milwaukee. (AP Foto/Benny Sieu)
AP Foto/Benny Sieu
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Are we obligated to call Gordon Hayward “deceptively athletic”?

The Bucks have something special in Giannis Antetokounmpo, and they think they have something special in Thon Maker.

But Hayward jammed all over those two in the Jazz’s 109-95 win last night.

First, he got Antetokounmpo:

Then, he got Maker:

Report: Lakers working toward buyout with Jose Calderon; Warriors, Rockets interested

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 18:  Jose Calderon #5 of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts to a called foul during the second half of a game against the San Antonio Spurs at Staples Center on November 18, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
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The Lakers took on the salary of Jose Calderon this year so they could get a couple second-round picks from the Bulls (Chicago got him from New York in the Derrick Rose trade), but even with the previous regime in Los Angeles the aging point guard was never part of the future.

As was expected, the Lakers are now talking about buying out the Spanish national and letting him head to a playoff team for a stretch run, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.

Sources told ESPN that it’s not yet a certainty Calderon will secure his release from the Lakers in the coming days, but the sides are indeed discussing the options as Wednesday’s playoff eligibility deadline nears….

Sources say that Calderon, if he winds up hitting the open market, would instantly become a target for both the Golden State Warriors and the Houston Rockets.

Cleveland may also have interest if their plan to land Deron Williams when he is bought out by Dallas goes awry.

Calderon, 35, was not part of the Lakers’ regular rotation, playing in just 24 games. He can still knock down a shot if he has space and can set his feet, and he still has a high hoops IQ and can see the floor, but his athleticism has faded, and that can leave him exposed. Particularly on defense.

Players are being waived now so they clear in time for teams to sign them by March 1, after that said players are not eligible for playoff rosters.

There are better players to hit the waiver wire in the coming days — D-Will, Andrew Bogut, Matt Barnes — but Calderon is going to land somewhere. He’d be a solid third point guard and veteran presence for a playoff run.

Marquese Chriss blocks Bobby Portis, who gets testy (video)

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Bobby Portis didn’t enjoy getting blocked by Marquese Chriss. And Portis sure didn’t appreciate how Chriss fell on him.

But it was all worth it (for me, at least) just to see the Bulls forward make a face that reminded me of this: