Dwight Howard

Dwight Howard trade rumors heating up; maybe to Nets in three-team deal

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The Magic nearing a deal to ship out Ryan Anderson signals one thing — they are entering rebuilding mode, no joke, no holdovers.

Which means Dwight Howard rumors are picking up steam, fast. How much steam depends on who you ask — some sources sugest the deal could be done as soon as Monday, but there are a who lot of moving parts (maybe 11 players plus picks and three teams) and those kind of deals fall apart much faster than they come together.

The Brooklyn Nets — Howard’s preferred destination — have needed a third team to come in and take the soon-to-be-bloated sign-and-trade contract of Kris Humphries to make a deal with Orlando work (the Magic would take Brook Lopez and his soon-to-be bloated contract, plus a boatload of picks). They are making progress on that front, according to both Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports (also seen on the NBC Sports Network ) and this from Ken Berger of CBSSports.com.

Cleveland has emerged as a “possible destination” for Humphries in such a scenario, in which the Nets would attempt to accumulate at least three first-round picks to send to the Magic in their package for Howard, one of the sources said.

The Cavs have as many as six first-round picks in the next three drafts — three of them from previous trades, with various levels of protection. However, with cap space to sign Humphries as a free agent, getting Humphries alone wouldn’t provide any incentive for Cleveland to surrender one of those picks.

Front office folk in the East didn’t think any team in that conference would be willing to help Brooklyn create a another “big three” — Deron Williams, Joe Johnson and Dwight Howard. But we all may have underestimated Chris Grant, the Cleveland GM who made reaches in the last two drafts the Tristan Thompson and Dion Waiters (to be fair, we should wait until those guys don’t live up to the No. 4 pick status before calling them reaches).

The Lakers are not out of this, but they have more hurdles to a deal and it seems to be falling apart. First, Los Angeles likes Andrew Bynum and acting owner Jim Buss would prefer to sign Bynum to an extension and win with his guy. Second, Howard has consistently said he would not sign an extension in Los Angeles, and while the Lakers are confident if he played in L.A. he would change his mind that is a massive risk to take. Finally, why would Orlando trade one unpredictable big man in the last year of his contract for Bynum, an unpredictable big man in the last year of his contract? Bynum is supposed to be interested in Dallas, Houston and other teams if he leaves Los Angeles, but there has been no mention of him wanting to play in Orlando (although, to use his phrase, they do have banks in Orlando).

The Rockets also are not giving up on Howard and are making a push using Marcus Camby as part of the bait.

But the Nets appear to be he front runners. Pulling off a three-team deal to get Howard to Brooklyn is far from easy and not yet where you should even call it likely. But things are picking up steam fast.

Spurs demolish Thunder to take Game 1 of second-round series

SAN ANTONIO,TX - APRIL 30: LaMarcus Aldridge #12 of the San Antonio Spurs scores over Steven Adams #12 of the Oklahoma City Thunder during game one of the Western Conference Semifinals for the 2016 NBA Playoffs at AT&T Center on April 30, 2016 in San Antonio, Texas. 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 Ronald Cortes/Getty Images)
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The second round was supposed to be when things got exciting. Instead, the San Antonio Spurs put on an absolute clinic at home, blowing out the Oklahoma City Thunder, 124-92 to take a 1-0 series lead.

Just about everything went in for San Antonio, particularly for LaMarcus Aldridge and Kawhi Leonard, who combined for 63 points. How dominant were they?

Aldridge in particular got anything he wanted against the Thunder. Oklahoma City’s stars were quiet, with Kevin Durant scoring just 16 points and Russell Westbrook 14. San Antonio controlled the game from the start and Oklahoma City never recovered from the opening punch.

It’s hard to imagine Durant and Westbrook are this ineffective again, and hopefully the rest of this series will be a little more competitive. But the Spurs did what the Spurs do, and did nothing to shake the feeling that they’re the favorites to win the west, now that Stephen Curry‘s status is unknown.

Hawks get another playoff shot at King James and Cavaliers

at Philips Arena on April 1, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia.  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.
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ATLANTA (AP) A year ago, Atlanta’s magical season ended with a resounding sweep by Cleveland in the Eastern Conference final.

Now, the Hawks have another shot at LeBron James and the Cavaliers.

Feeling confident after an opening-round victory over Boston, the Hawks returned to practice Saturday to begin preparations for the best-of-seven series.

Game 1 is Monday night in Cleveland.

The Hawks were the top-seeded team in the East last season after a record 60-win campaign. It didn’t do them much good against the Cavaliers, who steamrolled Atlanta in four straight games.

Even though they slipped to 48 wins and fourth in the conference, the Hawks actually sound a bit more confident heading into this matchup, largely because of their improved defense and rebounding.

Report: Warriors to replace Luke Walton from outside the organization

MILWAUKEE, WI - DECEMBER 12: Interim Coach Luke Walton of the Golden State Warriors talks on the sideline during the second quarter against the Milwaukee Bucks at BMO Harris Bradley Center on December 12, 2015 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 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 Mike McGinnis/Getty Images)
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For the second consecutive year, the Warriors have lost their lead assistant to another team. When the Pelicans hired Alvin Gentry during last year’s playoffs, Steve Kerr promoted Luke Walton to associate head coach and added former journeyman big man Jarron Collins to the bench. Now that Walton is headed to the Lakers as their next head coach, the Warriors will go outside the organization to find a replacement, according to ESPN.com’s Marc Stein. And one name that will likely not be in the mix is David Blatt, who very nearly became an assistant under Kerr in 2014 before being offered the Cavaliers’ head job.

Given Walton’s success this season as interim head coach while Kerr recovered from back surgery, this will undoubtedly be the most attractive assistant job in the league.

Report: Luke Walton’s Lakers contract is for 5 years, $25 million

DENVER, CO - JANUARY 13:  Interim head coach Luke Walton of the Golden State Warriors leads the team against the Denver Nuggets at Pepsi Center on January 13, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. The Nuggets defeated the Warriors 112-110. 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 Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
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In the last few years, NBA head coaching salaries have skyrocketed, and new Lakers coach Luke Walton is no exception. According to the Los Angeles Times‘ Mike Bresnahan, Walton is getting $25 million over five years, which is the same as Steve Kerr’s deal with the Warriors, now-former Knicks coach Derek Fisher’s deal in New York, and Fred Hoiberg’s deal with the Bulls.

This kind of money has become standard for head coaches who don’t also have front-office power. Tom Thibodeau and Stan Van Gundy both get between $7 and $8 million annually to do both jobs. Given how good Walton’s current situation with the Warriors is, the Lakers probably had to be on the high end of the coaching spectrum to get him to leave.