Blake Griffin

Clippers to quickly, quietly sign Blake Griffin to 5-year max extension

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This is about as much of a surprise as Tom Cruise burning through another marriage.

The Clippers top July 1 free agent priority will be signing star forward Blake Griffin to a max extension to his rookie deal. And it sounds like that is going to happen no problem, reports Ramona Shelburne at ESPNLosAngeles.com.

The Clippers remain confident they will be able to sign Griffin to a five-year maximum extension in July. Sources with knowledge of the talks say they have gone smoothly so far and neither side anticipates any problems getting the extension done and agreed upon by July 1. Don’t expect much fanfare from Griffin though. He’ll likely just walk into the Clippers’ practice the facility the next day the way Kevin Durant did in Oklahoma City a few years ago.

There was never any question Griffin was going to sign an extension to his rookie deal. He wants to get paid, and he gets to do it in a major market with all the endorsement and marketing advantages that come with it. Plus, the team seems to be building a winner around him (they need to re-sign Chris Paul next summer, too, and that may be the bigger question mark).

And if you know Griffin, you know he is pretty soft spoken. He’ll take this in stride.

Griffin will be in Las Vegas after July 4 trying to earn a spot in London on the U.S. Olympic team. By then he should have a new, much richer contract signed.

• In one other Clippers note, the Clippers are not expected to make offers to retain crowd favorite Reggie Evans as well as Kenyon Martin. Both will be unrestricted free agents.

Zaza Pachulia lays out Russell Westbrook, stands over him (video)

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Kevin Durant playing the Thunder invites extra emotions.

Russell Westbrook felt them – in the form of a flagrant foul by Warriors center Zaza Pachulia, who stood over Westbrook for emphasis.

Pachulia is really embracing his role doing the dirty work for star-studded Golden State.

Report: 76ers’ Ben Simmons sitting entire season still on table

TARRYTOWN, NEW YORK - AUGUST 07:  Ben Simmons of the Philadelphia 76ers poses for a portrait during the 2016 NBA Rookie Photoshoot at Madison Square Garden Training Center on August 7, 2016 in Tarrytown, New York. 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. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2016 NBAE  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
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That rumor No. 1 pick Ben Simmons won’t play this season?

It just won’t die.

Even after Simmons tried to quash it, even after the 76ers’ CEO outright denied it, even after Simmons returned to practice, even in an otherwise optimistic report.

Chris Haynes of ESPN:

76ers rookie forward Ben Simmons could make his much-anticipated NBA debut shortly after the All-Star break, league sources told ESPN.

Barring a setback in his recovery, sources say the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft has a chance to take the hardwood near March. There still remains the possibility Simmons sits the entire season, sources said, but his situation will continue to be thoroughly evaluated throughout his comeback quest.

76ers coach Brett Brown said there’s “no chance” Simmons plays in Philadelphia’s nationally televised game against the Rockets next week. Other than that, there isn’t much clarity.

It mostly sounds as if Simmons is still too far from returning to say something definitive.

Roy Hibbert passes ball into hoop, reacts with perfect facial expression (video)

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The Hornets did so much right in their 107-85 win over the Trail Blazers, even a bad pass went through the hoop.

Roy Hibbert reacted fantastically to blunder/basket (blasket?).

Dario Saric blocks back-to-back Raptors dunk attempts (video)

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Norman Powell – get out of here.

Jared Sullinger – get out of here.

Dario Saric blocked consecutive dunk attempts in the 76ers’ 94-89 win over the Raptors. Philadelphia has won seven of nine and looks suddenly revitalized.

The best part of all this? Saric’s teammates’ reactions – though the actual blocks were pretty great themselves.