Raja Bell

That Jazz are like “Nah, that’s cool, Raja Bell. No need to come to training camp.”

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Things have gone from bad to worse to apathetic in Salt Lake City as the Salt Lake Tribune reports that disgruntled guard Raja Bell has been asked by the Jazz not to show up next week when the team begins its preseason.

The Jazz announced Friday that veteran guard Raja Bell won’t attend training camp next week.

“I have spoken with Raja and his representative, Herb Rudoy, and we have mutually agreed that although Raja remains under contract, it is in the best interest of all parties that he not rejoin the team next week when the Jazz begin training camp,” Utah general manger Dennis Lindsey said in a news release. “We will now move forward focusing on Jazz basketball and our preparation for the upcoming season. We will have no further comment on this matter.”

via Utah Jazz announce Raja Bell won’t attend training camp | The Salt Lake Tribune.

That’s a pretty strong statement form the team, who continues to try and reach some sort of agreement with Bell. They’re squabbling over a buyout and much like Rip Hamilton with the Pistons, the situation is untenable, yet unsolvable. Neither side will budge and a trade is a tricky thing to pull off considering the value involved.

It never makes sense to me why the holdout over the buyout. I understand that the team agreed to pay that money and that it’s not explicitly Bell’s fault that the coaching staff clashed with him so much. But from a practical standpoint, he’s still going to get a pretty decent chunk of it back wherever he signs next. If he does get let go, look for Miami, the Wolves, the Lakers, and others to be interested in him.

Al Horford shows he still has hops dunking on Solomon Hill (VIDEO)

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That’s just nasty.

Atlanta’s Al Horford gets the ball out high, but within his range, so when he pump fakes Indiana’s Lavoy Allen goes flying by. That opens up the lane and Horford attacks it, Solomon Hill tries to cut him off, but Horford just finishes threw him.

Pacers and Hawks played an entertaining, close game Friday night.

Dwyane Wade shows he still has hops with dunk on Hornets (VIDEO)

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Dwyane Wade still has some springs.

In what may be his best dunk in recent memory, he shoulders Michael Kidd-Gilchrist to create space in transition, then gets up and throws it down before Nicolas Batum can get there for the block.

Not sure even Wade saw that one coming.

Reigning dunk champ LaVine: ‘I’ve got tricks up my sleeve’

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota Timberwolves guard Zach LaVine is heading back to All-Star weekend to defend his slam dunk title. And he says he has “a few tricks up my sleeve” after dominating the event last year.

LaVine will compete against Detroit center Andre Drummond, Denver swingman Will Barton and Orlando forward Aaron Gordon in Toronto next weekend.

LaVine was one of the breakout stars of All-Star weekend last year with his electric performance in the dunk contest. He says he debated about coming back and made his decision after strong encouragement from his fans.

If LaVine wins, he will become the fourth player in the 31-year history of the event to repeat as champion. Michael Jordan, Jason Richardson and Nate Robinson are the others.

Report: Blake Griffin has second procedure on hand, timeline remains unchanged

Blake Griffin
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Blake Griffin will still return to the Clippers some time in March (barring any setbacks).

That said, he had a second procedure this week to repair the boxer’s fracture in his right hand, reports Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.

Clippers forward Blake Griffin underwent a second procedure this week on his broke right hand, sources told ESPN. The procedure was a part of the original surgery last week, so sources said the 4-6 week timeframe for his return remains unchanged.

This might help explain why Griffin’s hand looked so swollen and scarred this week. But to be clear, this was a planned second procedure, not a setback.

Griffin suffered the fracture punching a Clippers’ equipment manager while everyone was out to dinner in Toronto recently, while Griffin was still sidelined with a quadricep injury. The Clippers have moved on, but it is likely the league will tack on a couple of game suspension for Griffin upon his return to health.

And no, the Clippers are not looking to trade Griffin in spite of this. So stop asking.