Report: Nets in talks with Hawk for Joe Johnson trade

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Talk about big ticket item.

Yahoo Sports reports that the New Jersey Nets are in talks with the Atlanta Hawks about a potential trade for Joe Johnson.

In a potential move that would cripple their aspirations of eventually acquiring Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard, the Brooklyn Nets are engaged in talks with the Atlanta Hawks on a deal for All-Star swingman Joe Johnson, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.

The Nets’ plan would be to pair Johnson and point guard Deron Williams to create an All-Star backcourt. No deal is close, and the Hawks and Nets were both discussing deals on several fronts, sources said. Hawks officials have told teams they have multiple trade possibilities.

via Brooklyn Nets discussing trade for Atlanta Hawks guard Joe Johnson – Yahoo! Sports.

After years of stagnation, the Hawks are in complete rebuild mode under new GM Danny Ferry. Yet any serious rebuilding efforts are blocked by Johnson, whose max contract still has four years remaining and which ends up in the $20-million-plus range in the final year of the deal, crippling under the new CBA. Billy King and the Deron-Williams-desperate Nets could be their Get-Out-Of-Luxury-Tax-Free card.

The Nets want a star, and the idea here is to pair Williams with Johnson, but not with Dwight Howard. Due to salary cap structures and the new CBA, the Nets would not be able to bring in Dwight Howard if they acquire Johnson. There is some speculation that Johnson could be seen as a “Plan B” if Deron Williams isn’t re-signed as well.

Johnson’s efficiency is slipping as his age climb just as his contract really gets going year-by-year. But he’s an exceptional defender, something that’s often overlooked, and still can have monster scoring nights. But for the Nets, this seems a bit desperate. Trading for Johnson would be proof that no contract is untradeable. He’s an All-Star but only in the loosest sense of the word.

There are big rumblings across the NBA landscape as free agency season begins.

2017 NBA playoffs have been historically uncompetitive

AP Photo/Elise Amendola
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The NBA Finals so many wanted to see – Cavaliers-Warriors III – is here.

At least it will be.

Today is the first of six off days before the 2017, which begin June 1 in Oakland.

The lengthy delay is the product of an underwhelming postseason featuring few competitive series and numerous blowouts.

Golden State swept its way through the West, and Cleveland dropped only one game (to the Celtics in the conference finals) while winning the East. There have been only two Game 7s, but considering the magnitude, neither felt that compelling. Blake Griffin‘s injury undercut the Clippers against the Jazz, and Celtics over Wizards felt inevitable with home teams winning each game of the series. Between, there have been several lackluster games and series.

There have been just 74 playoff games this year – the fewest before the Finals since since the NBA instituted a best-of-seven first round in 2003:

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That’s 74 of a possible 98 games – 76%, the lowest since 1999 and seventh-lowest ever.

Even if the Finals go seven games, it will be the fewest games in a postseason since 2007. If the Finals go five or fewer games, it’ll be the shortest postseason in this playoff format.

And it hasn’t just been quantity. The quality of games has been lacking, too.

Though there were more blowouts last year by nearly any measure, the 2017 postseason’s average margin in pre-Finals games (13.5) is fifth-highest all-time and second-highest since 1959 (behind 2016, 14.2).

Combine the two factors, and these are the drabbest playoffs in nearly 50 years. Here’s each postseason plotted by average margin in pre-Finals games and percentage of possible games pre-Finals:

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This probably just confirms what you’ve seen: The 2017 playoffs have been in a rut.

We’re all counting on the Cavaliers and Warriors to salvage this postseason, but considering how deep the hole is, anything less than an epic Finals probably won’t cut it.

Kyrie Irving crosses over Avery Bradley, hits 3-pointer (video)

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Avery Bradley got around one screen then, thanks to Kyrie Irving‘s excellent ball-handling, lunged at another that wasn’t coming as Irving hit a 3-pointer.

LeBron James beautifully pass-fakes, makes layup in transition (video)

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LeBron James is a treasure.

Shaquille O’Neal’s big toe is seriously jacked up (PHOTO)

shaq o'neal
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Remember how we we all freaked out when we saw pictures of LeBron James‘ feet back in 2013?

You probably didn’t want to be reminded that it existed, but it does. Still. And apparently jacked up feet is the consequence of a lifetime of playing professional basketball. Once can only assume it has something to do with tight shoes and constant, hard changes of direction in said tight shoes.

We got yet another vision of what basketball shoes can do to feet on Thursday when TNT analyst Shaquille O’Neal showed off his, er, little piggies.

Much to the horror of the Internet in general, it was Shaq’s right big toe that took social media by storm. Mostly because it’s not even close to pointing in the right direction.

I’m going to show you what it looks like. Be forewarned, it might just be NSFL.

Via Twitter:

Oh. Oh … why?

Social media reacted appropriately and proportionately:

Shaq did have issues with that toe during the course of his career, and at one point it was so bad that he had to have surgery to remove bone spurs from the toe in 2002.

That still doesn’t explain why it’s all over your TV and the Internet, but here we are. I am sorry.