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.

Kevin Durant responds to school handout telling kids to avoid being like him

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Kevin Durant is having a pretty good summer. He is obviously in a full on “I have a ring now” mode and is just battling everyone he can set his sights on. He’s confident, as he should be.

Durrant responded to critical comments conservative commentator and ex-ESPNer Britt McHenry made about the Golden State Warriors forward not wanting to visit the White House should an invitation come for the team.

Now, Durant has seen a handout that a teacher gave to kids in school comparing him and Michael Jordan. In the handout, it asks kids to refrain from being like Durant, asking them not to take the easy way out by cheating in class. Instead, it asks them to be more like Michael Jordan and not take shortcuts.

That’s not even a correct interpretation of the facts, much less a very good analogy. Nevertheless, when SB nation published an article on an image of the handout on Twitter, Durant responded.

Via Twitter:

Firing might be a little harsh but perhaps the person who wrote this handout could put their hardcore sports allegiances away for a minute? Things like this and up on the Internet, you know?

Stan Van Gundy talks up Pistons’ rookie Luke Kennard

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Luke Kennard came out of Duke with one of the best jump shots in the draft — he’s got a skill that translates to the NBA and will help the Pistons. The questions were about his defense and athleticism, but he started to answer those when he averaged 17.2 points a game in the Orlando Summer League. He hit threes but generally just looks like a guy who just knows how to get buckets.

So far, at the Pistons’ training facility and in the Orlando Summer League, coach and decision maker with the Pistons Stan Van Gundy likes what he sees from his rookie, he told the Pistons’ official website.

“Pretty much what we thought offensively, maybe even did a better job passing the ball than I thought,” Van Gundy said. “He’s able to make plays off the dribble , that nice change of pace, and things I hadn’t seen a lot of. He really has a great feel for the game and how to play in addition to clearly his ability to shoot the ball….

“We’ve seen that a lot. He’s got great mental toughness,” Van Gundy said. “The thing I have great confidence in is that as he runs into challenges in the league – and everybody does and he’ll be no exception – I just think he’s a smart guy who’s adaptable. I think he’ll figure out a way to combat it. I’ve got great confidence in his ability to do that….

“The thing I didn’t know that he showed me is he has the ability to move his feet defensively. Now, he’s still got a long way to go in terms of handling some of the other things, rotations and things like that. But he certainly showed that he can get down in a stance and move his feet. I did not have a good feel for that going into the draft, so that was a positive.”

Yes, you should take a coach talking up a rookie before a game is played with a grain of salt.

However, the comment about the potential to defend is good news. SVG is right that mental toughness, and willingness to put in the work, is what will allow Kennard to take steps forward, but he has to have a baseline to get there and Van Gundy thinks he has that. Kennard has challenges ahead of him but if he can keep hitting shots the Pistons will give him time to work out everything else.

Kennard is going to get plenty of run as the backup to Avery Bradley at the two in Detroit. In with a second unit of guys like Stanley Johnson and Anthony Tolliver, Kennard is going to get his chances to score. He could put up decent numbers for a rookie.

 

John Wall has a strong arm, can throw a tight spiral (VIDEO)

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If the Redskins need a quarterback should Kirk Cousins go down — he has played a full 16-game schedule the past two years, which is pretty remarkable — maybe rather than Colt McCoy Washington should look at the guy who makes the Wizards’ go.

John Wall showed on Friday he has a strong arm, can throw a tight spiral, and hit his man.

I love that Wall starts calling out Tom Brady after one good pass.

Michael Beasley had his truck stolen out of his driveway

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Michael Beasley will be getting buckets, shooting long twos, and playing inconsistent defense for the New York Knicks next season (the analysis is just based on recent history).

But first, he’d like to find his truck. Which was stolen.

Well, I did see a Dodge Ram 1500 on the road today, but since I’m on the West Coast and I have no idea what color/year Beasley’s truck is, I’m going to assume the guy I saw didn’t perpetrate the heist.

Still, that sucks for Beasley, even if he can easily afford to replace it.