Dwight Howard to Nets: It can happen, but is it likely?

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The Orlando Magic are talking to the New Jersey Nets about a possible Dwight Howard deal. And there are a few ways — complex ways — that a deal could come together.

But if you think it’s a foregone conclusion — and I’m looking at you, Nets fans — you should check out what Ken Berger at CBSSports.com wrote.

Indeed, according to another person briefed on the matter, there is little optimism even from Howard’s camp that the Nets can put together a realistic package for the All-Star.

The reported deal would send Dwight Howard and maybe Hedo Turkoglu to Brooklyn for Brook Lopez, Kris Humphries, MarShon Brooks and some first round picks. Plus there are other players and pieces that could be part of any final configuration of the deal.

Here is what it takes to make it work: First Orlando has to accept a version of a deal with the Nets that they basically rejected before the trade deadline last year. And rejected before the draft. The Magic are in no hurry to do any deal right now because no deal can be consummated until July 11 at the earliest — why agree to terms now when someone else may come in with a better offer in a few days?

Howard has said he only will sign an extension in Brooklyn, but the Magic could not care less. If some team comes in with a better offer to rent Howard — and try to convince him to stay — then Orlando will take it.

As for the Nets deal, there are a whole lot of complications. Especially if the Magic insist that Turkoglu and his $11.8 million salary for next season is part of any deal. Think about it this way, the Nets would have the salary just agreed to with Gerald Wallace ($10 million a year), Joe Johnson’s salary from the trade with the Hawks, the max salary Deron Williams if he resigns, plus Dwight Howard’s max and Turkoglu — that alone is about $79 million. The Nets may take on Jason Richardson’s deal instead of Turkoglu to save a few bucks, but they are still over the tax line.

Then to make this work, the Nets have to convince Kris Humphries to sign a new contract and accept a trade, and the same for Brook Lopez. In total, as many as seven players may need to agree to a sign-and-trade to make this work.

Plus a third team has to be found to take on Humphries’ deal because the Magic are not going to add that salary, according to multiple reports.

And all that is pretty much the shortened, simple version.

So yes, the sides are talking and a trade of Dwight Howard to the Nets is possible — the Nets want it to happen and Howard wants it to happen.

But it is a very complex deal, and far more of those fall apart then come together.

Matt Barnes announces retirement from NBA after 15 seasons

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When too many fans think of Matt Barnes, they think of the guy who tried to fight Derek Fisher, the nightclub incident in New York, the guy who was a pest on the court and racked up more than his share of technicals and fines in a 15-year NBA career.

Ask Barnes former teammates about him, and they loved him — off the court and on. He was the quintessential guy you wanted on your team and hated to play against.

Barnes announced Monday on Instagram that his 15-year NBA run was over.

Barnes won an NBA title with the Warriors last season, and he played well for the team after signing in Golden State — Kevin Durant went down with a knee injury and Barnes stepped up his role and play. He earned that ring. However, this season there seemed to be no fit for him in the league.

Barnes was drafted in the second round out of UCLA by the Memphis Grizzlies and went on to play for nine teams during his career. He was the guy teams turned to for a spark off the bench — both because he could shoot the rock and because he played a fiery, emotional game. Barnes finished his career averaging 8.2 points and 4.6 rebounds per game.

I’m going to miss him. While he had a rough exterior and was plenty chippy on the court, off the court he was one of the more thoughtful basketball interviews out there — ask him about the game and he gave smart, calm, intelligent answers, not just clichés. He was active with charities and gave of his time and money, it wasn’t just a tax write off. I wish him the best and know he’ll enjoy life after basketball.

Shaq on free throws: ‘I told Rick Barry I’d rather shoot 0% than shoot underhand’

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Rick Barry famously made 90% of his free throws while shooting underhand.

Shaquille O’Neal infamously shot just 53% on his free throws, inspiring hack-a-Shaq.

Why didn’t Shaq use Barry’s technique?

Shaq, via Emmanuel Ocbazghi, Noah Friedman and Graham Flanagan of Business Insider:

Shaquille O’Neal: Because it’s boring.

Business Insider: But it’s been proven to be somewhat effective.

O’Neal: No, it’s not. It’s not proven. Just ’cause a couple guys did it doesn’t mean anybody can do it.

I told Rick Barry I’d rather shoot 0% than shoot underhand. I’m too cool for that.

O’Neal is somewhat trying to protect his larger-than-life, jokester image. But he’s also speaking to truth.

Barry would have been a good free-throw shooter overhand, too. Shooting underhand wasn’t necessarily going to fix Shaq’s problems at the line. Just because it worked for Barry doesn’t make it a “proven” technique.

Yet, every poor free-throw shooter – from Shaq to Andre Drummond to Andre Roberson – has been pestered about shooting underhand. It might be the right form for some players, but it’s no silver bullet.

Report: George Hill unhappy after Scott Perry promised him, Zach Randolph, Vince Carter that Kings would compete for playoffs

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After a recent Kings loss, George Hill tweeted:

Reading too much into vague tweets is often folly, but Hill hasn’t looked happy in Sacramento. Despite signing him, Zach Randolph and Vince Carter last summer, the Kings are 8-18.

Tony Jones of The Salt Lake Tribune:

These are vets brought in to help a young team, and according to sources, were brought in with the promise of a team aiming to be playoff competitive.

But that promise was made to them by Scott Perry, who since left Sacramento and now makes personnel decisions for the New York Knicks. So the direction of the franchise has shifted since Perry left. An organization that brought in veterans aiming to win now is aiming to lose.

Not surprisingly, Hill isn’t happy, according to multiple sources

The Kings aren’t bad because they shifted direction after Perry left for the Knicks. They’re bad because they lack talent.

This team was mostly assembled by the time Perry departed, and it looked lousy. To whatever degree Sacramento is emphasizing youth post-Perry – Garrett Temple, Randolph and Hill rank in the top four in minutes – the won-loss record wasn’t changing much.

If Hill, Randolph and Carter didn’t know that, they have nobody to blame but themselves. Smart veterans like them should have understood the bargain they accepted.

Hill ($40 million guaranteed over two years), Randolph (two years, $24 million) and Vince Carter (one year, $8 million) took the money. In exchange, they’re stuck on a bad team. And that’s fine. Many of us prioritize salary in career decisions.

But now they’re dealing with the downside of that arrangement – grinding through a long, losing season. It’s disingenuous to sulk and blame Perry (though, if Perry pledged a team realistically competing for the playoffs, he overpromised).

Unfortunately for everyone involved, Sacramento isn’t making rapid improvement overnight. So, something might have to give with Hill’s mood.

Tristan Thompson: Cavaliers’ stated 3-4-week timeline for my injury was never realistic

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When Tristan Thompson suffered a calf injury early last month, the Cavaliers announced he’d miss 3-4 weeks.

More than five weeks later, Thompson still hasn’t played.

Tom Withers of the Associated Press:

Thompson:

Who said that was the real timetable? They told you guys three to four weeks. That was never the case. The first week, I was on crutches the whole time. So, there was no chance. So, I don’t know. I don’t know who told you three to four weeks. For that, I’m sorry.

Thompson sounds close to returning, so this issue should pass. But teams are usually conservative in these estimates so as not to expose their players to criticism for not working hard enough in rehab. Thompson was left hung out to dry here.

Maybe Thompson, who’s famously low-maintenance, doesn’t mind. But if a 3-4-week timeline was never realistic, I wouldn’t blame him for resenting the Cavs.

Poor communication on injuries might not be limited to only the 76ers.