Dwight Howard

Winderman: Despite Dwightmare, we’ve reached NBA slow season

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In a non-Dwight year, this is when it tends to stop, in August.

As an NBA executive recently explained, there tend to be four stages to the offseason when it comes to personnel moves:

— The start of the free-agency period and the resulting immediate frenzy.

— The period shortly thereafter when offer sheets are matched or rejected, potentially freeing up what essentially had been frozen money.

— A follow-up period from lower- and minimal-salaried players, primarily those with families, who want to establish in advance their landing spots for the coming season.

— And then the long wait, until just before, or even amid, the start of camps, when, amid depleted cap space, a minimal-salary reality becomes the only reality for those still left on the board.

While the timing of the Olympics and the uncertainly of the Dwight Howard situation make 2012 a bit more complex, the silence currently being experienced is typical.

Oh, there still are those who see more than a minimum-salary reality, such as Mickael Pietrus distancing himself from the Celtics, as well as a few lingering free agents who may yet still cash in, such as fairly recent amnesty additions Andray Blatche and Josh Childress or somewhat-proven veterans such as Carlos Delfino and Kenyon Martin. But most it has become a case of players and teams assessing the prospects of playing time, the only true remaining currency.

That, essentially, is where the best-of-the-rest stand today, free agents such as Matt Barnes, Derek Fisher, Chris Andersen, Darko Milicic, Leandro Barbosa, Josh Howard, Anthony Tolliver, Jodie Meeks, Maurice Evans, Anthony Parker, Ryan Gomes and Tracy McGrady.

As for the pool of restricted free agents, that list has been reduced to Atlanta’s Ivan Johnson and Cleveland’s Alonzo Gee, effectively ending offer-sheet season.

At this point, it is likely the NBA’s transaction wire will be busier in September, when camps start to open, than in August, when the assessments could be limited to foreign teams scouting prospects in the Olympics.

Ira Winderman writes regularly for NBCSports.com and covers the Heat and the NBA for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. You can follow him on Twitter at @IraHeatBeat.

Andre Drummond hits buzzer-beating heave from beyond halfcourt (VIDEO)

ATLANTA, GA - OCTOBER 27:  Andre Drummond #0 of the Detroit Pistons reacts in the final seconds of their 106-94 win over the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena on October 27, 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia.  NOTE TO USER User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading andor using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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Andre Drummond is a terrible free-throw shooter…except, apparently, when he’s shooting from the other free-throw line. Monday night against the Raptors, Drummond cut Detroit’s deficit to five at the end of the third quarter with this three-quarter-court heave at the buzzer:

Now, if only he could work on his accuracy from his own free-throw line.

Joe Johnson banks in three to give Nets win over Nuggets (VIDEO)

NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 03:  Joe Johnson #7 of the Brooklyn Nets dribbles against the Indiana Pacers during their game at the Barclays Center on February 3, 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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Not a lot has gone right for the Nets this season, but an impressive clutch shot by seven-time All-Star Joe Johnson gave them their 14th win of the season on Monday. With time expiring, Johnson banked in a long three-pointer to put Brooklyn up 105-104 over Denver and secure the victory:

Johnson had 12 points on the night.

Report: Kings plan to fire George Karl in coming days

SACRAMENTO, CA - JANUARY 09:  Head coach George Karl of the Sacramento Kings stands on the side of the court during their game against the Golden State Warriors at Sleep Train Arena on January 9, 2016 in Sacramento, California.  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 Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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For about a week, word has circulated throughout the NBA that George Karl’s days in Sacramento were numbered. They’ve lost eight of their last 10 games, and players have more or less checked out on him. Remember, it’s only been a year since the Kings unceremoniously ousted interim head coach Ty Corbin to bring Karl in, which came on the heels of their puzzling dismissal of Mike Malone in December 2014.

Now, ESPN.com’s Marc Stein reports that the Kings have made the decision to let Karl go:

The decision itself isn’t surprising—it always seemed to be a matter of “when,” not “if” Karl would be fired. But the optics here are not good. If everybody knows it’s coming, it makes no sense to leak that the change is going to happen hours or even days before it’s made official.

The report of the Kings’ decision on Karl comes on the heels of a concerning bombshell Rajon Rondo dropped following Sacramento’s 120-100 loss to the Cavaliers on Monday night.

Via the Sacramento Bee‘s Jason Jones:

Sports Illustrated‘s Jake Fischer further reported that only three players indeed showed up on Monday morning:

That’s a bad look for everybody involved. An optional shootaround is more or less unheard of in the NBA, and if only three players bothered to come, that’s an unignorable sign that the team has quit on Karl.

Karl-Anthony Towns fakes out Luke Babbitt with spin move (VIDEO)

ATLANTA, GA - NOVEMBER 09:  Karl-Anthony Towns #32 of the Minnesota Timberwolves reacts after hitting a basket against the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena on November 9, 2015 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.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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Since he came into the league, Karl-Anthony Towns‘ offensive footwork has been unusually advanced for a rookie. He showed off his impressive moves again on Monday night, getting to the basket around Luke Babbitt with this spin: