O.J. Mayo, Dwight Howard

Report: 100 percent chance Mavericks won’t keep No. 13 pick

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The Mavericks have made no secret about wanting to prevent the No. 13 pick from cutting into their cap room, whether that means trading the pick or drafting and stashing a player.

The idea of wasting a lottery pick, either by dumping it in an uneven trade or using it on a lesser prospect just because he agreed to defer the start of his guaranteed rookie rookie contract, seems less-than-wise at face value, but if it helps land Dwight Howard and/or Chris Paul, it’s genius.

According to Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News, the Mavericks aren’t hedging their bets. They’re going all-in with using cap space rather than the draft to upgrade their team.

One source put the chances of the Mavericks having the 13th overall draft pick on their opening-day roster next season at 0 percent.

There is an 80-percent chance that the pick is traded before or, more likely, during the draft, the source said. There is at least a 15-percent chance that the pick is a foreign player who is under contract and can be left overseas for a year and not count against the Mavericks’ salary cap.

There is less than a 5 percent chance that one of the top five or six players in the draft slips to No. 13 and the Mavericks take him, knowing fully that they can jettison that valuable chip easily for future considerations.

Why is the source so certain? Perhaps, Dallas already agreed to trade the pick. Because the Mavericks traded a future first-round pick for Lamar Odom that might be transferred in 2014, they can’t trade their 2013 pick before the draft. But they can agree to trade it beforehand, select a player on behalf of another team and then make the trade official after the fact.

Or maybe Dallas has already promised a player who agreed to remain overseas for a year.

As far as the five percent chance of a top prospect drafting, a pre-arranged trade or promise could always be contingent on certain players not being available.

This could be a source overstating something that is probable but not a sure thing, or the source could know with as much certainty as he or she states because it’s already a done deal.

Kobe Bryant with spin move around LeBron James (VIDEO)

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The game itself went about how you’d expect one between a title contender and a high lottery team to go — the Cavaliers 120-111 win over the Lakers was never really in doubt.

But the fans in Cleveland wanted to see some vintage Kobe Bryant, and they got it late when he spun around LeBron James and hit the reverse lay-up.

LeBron had 29 points on the night, and Kyrie Irving had 35. Kobe finished with 17 and got a standing ovation from the Cleveland crowd.

Suns’ Markieff Morris, Archie Goodwin get in scuffle on the bench

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Just another magical day in the Valley of the Sun, where clearly Jeff Hornacek was the problem….

During an early timeout in the Suns’ game at Golden State, Markieff Morris tried to explain something to Archie Goodwin, who is seated. This conversation gets heated quickly, and teammates eventually have to step in and separate the two teammates.

The Suns have shopped Morris around as the trade deadline approaches, this isn’t going to help his value.

We should find out more about what happened after the game ends, although I’m sure both sides will play it down as “nothing.”

Kawhi Leonard drains game winner to beat Orlando (VIDEO)

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This is how much Gregg Popovich trusts Kawhi Leonard on offense now: Tie game with 13.3 seconds remaining, and the play design is a 1-4 flat isolation for Leonard. It’s the kind of play teams will call for LeBron James or Kevin Durant. Popovich just called it for Leonard.

And he was rewarded with a game-winning bucket.

Leonard finished with 29 points, LaMarcus Aldridge had 21, and the Spurs head into the All-Star break with a 45-8 record, on pace to win 70 games this season. And that still would only get them a two seed.

Hornets’ Michael Kidd-Gilchrist suffers shoulder dislocation, leaves game

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
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Michael Kidd-Gilchrist had been back just six games after suffering a torn labrum in the preseason that required surgery. The Hornets had won four of those six, were playing improved defense, and looked like a potential playoff team in the East.

Now this.

He went straight to the locker room and did not return to the game (the Pacers got the win).

You can see the injury above. In a scramble for a loose ball, the Pacers’ Ian Mahinmi falls on MKG’s arm, dislocating his shoulder.

We don’t know the severity of all this and if MKG is going to miss time beyond this game. But it isn’t good.