Iguodala says playoffs will help decide if he opts out of contract

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Smart money says Andre Iguodala will opt out this summer, forgoing the last year of his deal to get longer, more secure one (even if he takes a haircut on his one-year salary.

Iguodala is set to make $16.1 million next season but said the other day he plans to opt out at the end of this season to seek a more stable long-term deal (likely four years).

However, speaking with Benjamin Hochman of the Denver Post Iguodala backed off that a little.

“I’m going to explore every option,” Iguodala said. “Ideally, you would want to opt out. The business of the NBA says you opt out and get a deal you like. But I think that’s still to be determined, depending on our success in the playoffs. I can’t make that decision now.

“The goal is to try to win a championship right now, and then everything else (falls into place). It would be hard for me to win a championship here, or get to the (league) Finals or get to the Western Conference finals and say, ‘You know, I’m out.’ I don’t want to make any guarantees, but if that happens, it would be obvious, (Nuggets executive) Masai (Ujiri) and them would understand my worth to the team and we could come to an agreement. But who knows what is going to happen? I could get hurt tomorrow and then have to opt in.”

We’ll see how far Denver can go as they face a rash of injuries — Ty Lawson is out with a torn plantar facia but could be back for the playoffs, Danilo Gallinari appears done for the year with an ACL injury.

I still expect Iggy will opt out then re-sign in Denver. With Iguodala off the books Denver would have about $52.5 million in committed salary for next season, so they have the room to bring Iggy back (say four years, $50 million give or take) and tweak the roster in other places. The Nuggets will not want to pay the luxury tax, a line that likely will be in the $72 million a year ballpark next season.

Just something to watch as Iguodala is wisely keeping his options open.

Jusuf Nurkic trolls Nuggets, tells former team to enjoy their summer (VIDEO)

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Jusuf Nurkic did not enjoy his time as a member of the Denver Nuggets. His trade to the Portland Trail Blazers in exchange for Mason Plumlee was a welcome change of scenery.

On Tuesday night, Nurkic got to take on his old team with huge playoff implications at stake. Portland beat the Nuggets, 122-113, moving a game ahead of their rivals in the race for the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference and giving them the best tiebreaker between the two.

Nurkic was impressive, blasting his old squad with 33 points on 12-of-15 shooting, adding 16 rebounds, three blocks, and two assists.

Nurkic was interviewed in the arena after the game, and he was obviously happy he helped his team while also sticking it to Denver. Speaking with Portland reporter Brooke Olzendam, Nurkic took one last shot at the Nuggets, telling them to enjoy their summer.

Via Twitter:

Nurkic quite possibly sent the Nuggets packing for the year with the game at the Moda Center on Tuesday, so he might have been the guy who helped start their summer.

Still, that is ice cold.

James Johnson decimates Marcus Morris with huge one-handed dunk (VIDEO)

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Miami Heat forward James Johnson is one of the NBA’s best in-game dunkers. On Tuesday night against the Detroit Pistons, he yammed down a huge one-handed slam that embarrassed Marcus Morris and drew gasps from the crowd at the Palace.

The play came midway through the fourth quarter with Johnson at the top of the key. After a quick pass over to him, Johnson gave a quick hesitation before driving to his left and past his defender.

With the quick step, Johnson’s only remaining opponent at the basket was Morris, who was unfortunate enough to find himself between the high-flying Heat and the rim.

This is what happened next:

Morris was whistled for a foul on the play.

Watch Hassan Whiteside beat the Pistons at the buzzer with tip-in (VIDEO)

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The Miami Heat took until the final moments on Tuesday night to beat the Detroit Pistons, but it was worth it. With just a handful of games left to play, the Heat need to stave off the Chicago Bulls for the final spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race. Thanks to a tip at the buzzer by Hassan Whiteside, they’re one step closer to achieving that goal.

The play came with just seconds left in the fourth quarter. James Johnson missed a shot with six seconds to go, and the Heat grabbed the rebound. Goran Dragic then tried his hand, but he couldn’t get it to go, either.

That’s when Whiteside came back with a tip at the buzzer that ended the game.

Via Twitter:

Miami now sits at 36-38, a game above the Bulls for the No. 8 seed.

Whiteside, meanwhile, is never going to wash that hand again:

Kobe Bryant says LeBron James has earned the right to take a rest (VIDEO)

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Former Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant was a pretty consistent player in the NBA. Save for his final injury-laden seasons and the lockout year of 2011-12, Bryant played in no fewer than 65 regular season games in a single season.

Coaches also had no reason or want to ask Bryant — a notorious worker — to sit out in order to rest. That wasn’t really on the menu, and Bryant knew that.

Speaking to ESPN’s First Take, Bryant said no coach really asked him to ever take a rest, “I’ve never been approached by a coach and asked to rest.”

Bryant remarked that he took queues from Michael Jordan during tough stretches of the season — back-to-backs or four games in five night scenarios — where he could switch his game up, floating from perimeter to post, in order to save energy during those matchups.

Bryant also said during the same interview that he understands the complexity of the modern game, and that players like LeBron James deserve to take a rest if they’ve earned it.

“LeBron has done so much for the game. He’s earned the opportunity to take a rest,” said Bryant.

The debate on this subject will continue, it seems.