Ray Allen chase involves Celtics, Heat, Clippers, Grizzlies

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Ray Allen may be 36 and have to have off-season ankle surgery after fighting through bone spurs all playoffs long, but that’s not slowing teams down much.

The chase for Ray Allen seems to be a four team race, reports David Aldridge of NBA.com — Boston, Memphis, Clippers, Miami.

It really comes down to what Ray Allen wants most.

Boston is offering two years, $12 million (total, $6 million per year), which is more than any other team. They also offer familiarity, teammates he has a bond with and a side that thinks they a chance to contend (you can decide for yourself if the Celtics can make another run like the one they just had, I’m not sold). The question here: Is Allen willing to accept the sixth man role full time and come off the bench behind Avery Bradley?

Miami can only offer $3 million per year, the lure there would be a chance at a ring. The Heat just won one and we saw in Game 5 of the finals what that team looks like if guys are knocking down threes. Hard to say if he would start (you would have to go very small and shift Dwyane Wade to the small forward spot) but Allen would get plenty of minutes.

The Clippers are in the market for a starting two guard (they are talking about bringing back Chauncey Billups but he will not be all the way back from his Achilles injury). And they can offer the $5 million full mid-level exception. The Clippers have Chris Paul as a floor general and Blake Griffin, they are an up-and-comer in the West, but is that enough?

Memphis also is looking for a two guard and can offer the $5 million mid-level. The show in Memphis still runs through Zach Randolph on offense, with Rudy Gay option No. 2. Does Allen want to see how he fits in that mix? O.J. Mayo didn’t like it.

Smart money has Boston as the team to beat in this race, but in free agency just about anything can happen.

Watch Hassan Whiteside beat the Pistons at the buzzer with tip-in (VIDEO)

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The Miami Heat took until the final moments on Tuesday night to beat the Detroit Pistons, but it was worth it. With just a handful of games left to play, the Heat need to stave off the Chicago Bulls for the final spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race. Thanks to a tip at the buzzer by Hassan Whiteside, they’re one step closer to achieving that goal.

The play came with just seconds left in the fourth quarter. James Johnson missed a shot with six seconds to go, and the Heat grabbed the rebound. Goran Dragic then tried his hand, but he couldn’t get it to go, either.

That’s when Whiteside came back with a tip at the buzzer that ended the game.

Via Twitter:

Miami now sits at 36-38, a game above the Bulls for the No. 8 seed.

Whiteside, meanwhile, is never going to wash that hand again:

Kobe Bryant says LeBron James has earned the right to take a rest (VIDEO)

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Former Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant was a pretty consistent player in the NBA. Save for his final injury-laden seasons and the lockout year of 2011-12, Bryant played in no fewer than 65 regular season games in a single season.

Coaches also had no reason or want to ask Bryant — a notorious worker — to sit out in order to rest. That wasn’t really on the menu, and Bryant knew that.

Speaking to ESPN’s First Take, Bryant said no coach really asked him to ever take a rest, “I’ve never been approached by a coach and asked to rest.”

Bryant remarked that he took queues from Michael Jordan during tough stretches of the season — back-to-backs or four games in five night scenarios — where he could switch his game up, floating from perimeter to post, in order to save energy during those matchups.

Bryant also said during the same interview that he understands the complexity of the modern game, and that players like LeBron James deserve to take a rest if they’ve earned it.

“LeBron has done so much for the game. He’s earned the opportunity to take a rest,” said Bryant.

The debate on this subject will continue, it seems.

Phil Jackson’s reaction to Kristaps Porzingis getting turned upside down feels about right

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New York Knicks big man Kristaps Porzingis is the future of the franchise, so any time he’s upended and nearly lands on his noggin it’s a cause for concern. To say the least.

That’s what happened on Monday night, as Porzingis got turned upside down during a play near the basket during a game against the Detroit Pistons.

Porzingis was OK on the play, and Detroit big man Andre Drummond did his best to help catch him so nothing too scary happened.

Still, Knicks president Phil Jackson had a pretty hilarious reaction to the whole thing. I guess that’s what happens when you watch your basketball life flash before your eyes.

Porzingis was unhurt and played a full 37 minutes. New York beat Detroit, 109-95.

Jimmy Butler won’t pick LeBron over Durant as toughest matchup in NBA, and for good reason

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Chicago Bulls star Jimmy Butler is a smart dude. He’s spent years of offseason work turning himself into a max-level player, and that shows he knows not only how to work but how to attack the game of basketball.

He’s also smart enough to know he shouldn’t go poking the bear when it comes to two future Hall of Fame players in LeBron James and Kevin Durant.

When asked whether the Cleveland Cavaliers star or the Golden State Warriors scorer was the toughest matchup in the NBA, Butler made sure he wasn’t adding any kind of blackboard material to rile up either player.

Via Twitter:

The best way to defend LeBron or Durant: don’t make them angry.

Smart move, Jimmy.