Bobcats forward Maggette drives on Mavericks center Haywood during their NBA basketball game in Dallas

Charlotte ‘wins’ Brendan Haywood amnesty auction

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This is legitimately a good move. The Bobcats need a true starting center, and Bismack Biyombo is not it. You can pair Brendan Haywood with Biyombo and have incredible length and size and Biyombo can focus on improving in space and be a weak-side help guy. This is a fine move. It’s really cheap, as the Bobcats nabbed Haywood today off the amnesty waiver wire for just $2.05 million according to David Aldridge of NBA.com, with the first year at $4.19 million, which still isn’t bad. There’s nothing wrong with getting a good starting center for less than $2.5 million per year.

It’s just…

The Bobcats will pay Haywood and Desagana Diop over a combined $11.5 million next season. That’s just so much for two guys who the Mavericks literally paid to go away. With the amount of cap room the Bobcats have, it’s not a big deal, it’s just also not a good thing on the surface. The Bobcats have to hit the salary floor, and that’s an issue, but you’d think they could find someone on the open market to give a one-year deal for a moderate amount of money to based on upside, and fill out the rest of the roster with D-Leaguers. Haywood’s contract is more than manageable, it’s just awkward.

But the Cats get a veteran on the cheap, will play him moderate minutes, and maybe get some production. He can help the kids develop and protect the rim some. He’ll be paid his value. But as a rebuilding team, the Cats are hosting some contracts that make you understand why the lockout happened, and boggle that owners and GM’s don’t understand it was these types of decisions that lead them there.

Zaza Pachulia lays out Russell Westbrook, stands over him (video)

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Kevin Durant playing the Thunder invites extra emotions.

Russell Westbrook felt them – in the form of a flagrant foul by Warriors center Zaza Pachulia, who stood over Westbrook for emphasis.

Pachulia is really embracing his role doing the dirty work for star-studded Golden State.

Report: 76ers’ Ben Simmons sitting entire season still on table

TARRYTOWN, NEW YORK - AUGUST 07:  Ben Simmons of the Philadelphia 76ers poses for a portrait during the 2016 NBA Rookie Photoshoot at Madison Square Garden Training Center on August 7, 2016 in Tarrytown, New York. 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. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2016 NBAE  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
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That rumor No. 1 pick Ben Simmons won’t play this season?

It just won’t die.

Even after Simmons tried to quash it, even after the 76ers’ CEO outright denied it, even after Simmons returned to practice, even in an otherwise optimistic report.

Chris Haynes of ESPN:

76ers rookie forward Ben Simmons could make his much-anticipated NBA debut shortly after the All-Star break, league sources told ESPN.

Barring a setback in his recovery, sources say the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft has a chance to take the hardwood near March. There still remains the possibility Simmons sits the entire season, sources said, but his situation will continue to be thoroughly evaluated throughout his comeback quest.

76ers coach Brett Brown said there’s “no chance” Simmons plays in Philadelphia’s nationally televised game against the Rockets next week. Other than that, there isn’t much clarity.

It mostly sounds as if Simmons is still too far from returning to say something definitive.

Roy Hibbert passes ball into hoop, reacts with perfect facial expression (video)

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The Hornets did so much right in their 107-85 win over the Trail Blazers, even a bad pass went through the hoop.

Roy Hibbert reacted fantastically to blunder/basket (blasket?).

Dario Saric blocks back-to-back Raptors dunk attempts (video)

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Norman Powell – get out of here.

Jared Sullinger – get out of here.

Dario Saric blocked consecutive dunk attempts in the 76ers’ 94-89 win over the Raptors. Philadelphia has won seven of nine and looks suddenly revitalized.

The best part of all this? Saric’s teammates’ reactions – though the actual blocks were pretty great themselves.