Kyle Lowry

Report: Raptors trade for Rockets’ Kyle Lowry

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The Raptors did not win the Steve Nash sweepstakes, but it looks like they have landed a very good and underrated point guard. At least for next season.

The Raptors reportedly have reached a deal for Rockets point guard Kyle Lowry, reports Marc Stein at ESPN. The trade would be for a future first-round pick, and David Aldridge of NBA.com is saying that it is required to be a lottery pick. Which is the reverse of the traditional lottery-protected pick.

But Lowry would be worth it … if they can keep him.

Lowry was a borderline All-Star point guard at the start of last season, and on the year he averaged 14.3 points and 6.6 assists per game with a PER of 18.9. But he went down with an injury and Goran Dragic almost Wally Pipped him, playing so well Lowry never got his regular minutes and rotation back. Which led to issues between Lowry and coach Kevin McHale and Lowry asking to be shipped out of Houston.

With Lowry and incoming rookie Terrence Ross and last year’s pick Jonas Valanciunas, and with coach Dwane Casey getting Toronto to actually play defense last season, the Raptors become an interesting team. Likely not a playoff team, but interesting. And the Raptors will get the full effort from Lowry because he is a free agent next summer.

The question is can the Raptors keep him. Otherwise they may miss this future lottery pick as they rebuild.

As for Houston… who needs a point guard? Dragic is headed to the Suns, Lowry is a Raptor and while they are making an offer to Jeremy Lin the Knicks will match.

Still, I like what Houston is doing in this sense — they were stuck in the NBA’s middle ground, fighting for a late playoff spot and getting an okay pick every year. Even if they have to go backward to go forward, they are shaking themselves out of that rut.

DeMarcus Cousins says Mavericks’ rumored interest flatters him, but he loves Kings

Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins (15) receives a blow to the head from Dallas Mavericks' Dwight Powell as Cousins works to get to the basket in the first half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2016, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez
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The Mavericks’ long-rumored interest in DeMarcus Cousins took its most direct public turn before the season, when Dallas signed Cousins’ brother, Jaleel Cousins. Jaleel is now on the Mavericks’ D-League affiliate, and I bet he will remain there as DeMarcus approaches 2018 free agency.

Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News:

So, DeMarcus Cousins, what do you think about the Mavericks’ long-rumored interest in acquiring you?

“It’s flattering,” Cousins told me, with a laugh, after the Kings’ Wednesday shootaround at AAC. Then, turning serious, he added of the Mavericks, “I respect them.”

“But,” I said, “I’ve also heard that you like it in Sacramento.”

“No,” Cousins corrected, “I love Sacramento.”

Cousins is getting good at this, toeing the line between appreciating another team’s interest and expressing his satisfaction with the Kings.

And give Cousins credit. He keeps producing at a star level for a team that hasn’t provided him with the proper support. Sacramento again appears headed toward the lottery, even as Cousins averages 29-10.

Questions remain, though: How much of Cousins’ attitude is him trying to make the best of an inescapable situation, and will expanded options in the summer of 2018 test his loyalty?

LeBron James dunks, struts past camerapeople and toward crowd, spooks fan (video)

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LeBron James is dominating, and the Cavaliers are rolling over the Knicks.

It’s almost as if something has LeBron particularly riled up. But maybe ease up a little? That cowering fan isn’t Phil Jackson.

Kevin Love drips snot all over his face, maybe into his mouth (video)

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Cameras zoomed in on Kevin Love at the wrong moment:

Need a sensory cleanser? Enjoy this fantastic outlet pass from Kevin Love to LeBron James:

Derrick Rose out for Knicks-Cavaliers with back injury, getting MRI

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 22:  Derrick Rose #25 of the New York Knicks dribbles against the Portland Trail Blazers during their game at Madison Square Garden on November 22, 2016 in New York City.   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 Al Bello/Getty Images)
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NEW YORK (AP) — Derrick Rose is missing the New York Knicks’ game against Cleveland because of lower back pain.

Rose left the Knicks’ victory over Miami on Tuesday in the third quarter with back spasms. Coach Jeff Hornacek says Rose still felt sore on Wednesday when he came in and met with team doctors, so they sent him for an MRI exam to make sure there was no structural damage.

Rose is averaging 16.7 points and this is the first game he’s missed this season.

Brandon Jennings will start in Rose’s place.