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.

DeMarcus Cousins says Mavericks’ rumored interest flatters him, but he loves Kings

Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins (15) receives a blow to the head from Dallas Mavericks' Dwight Powell as Cousins works to get to the basket in the first half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2016, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
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The Mavericks’ long-rumored interest in DeMarcus Cousins took its most direct public turn before the season, when Dallas signed Cousins’ brother, Jaleel Cousins. Jaleel is now on the Mavericks’ D-League affiliate, and I bet he will remain there as DeMarcus approaches 2018 free agency.

Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News:

So, DeMarcus Cousins, what do you think about the Mavericks’ long-rumored interest in acquiring you?

“It’s flattering,” Cousins told me, with a laugh, after the Kings’ Wednesday shootaround at AAC. Then, turning serious, he added of the Mavericks, “I respect them.”

“But,” I said, “I’ve also heard that you like it in Sacramento.”

“No,” Cousins corrected, “I love Sacramento.”

Cousins is getting good at this, toeing the line between appreciating another team’s interest and expressing his satisfaction with the Kings.

And give Cousins credit. He keeps producing at a star level for a team that hasn’t provided him with the proper support. Sacramento again appears headed toward the lottery, even as Cousins averages 29-10.

Questions remain, though: How much of Cousins’ attitude is him trying to make the best of an inescapable situation, and will expanded options in the summer of 2018 test his loyalty?

LeBron James dunks, struts past camerapeople and toward crowd, spooks fan (video)

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LeBron James is dominating, and the Cavaliers are rolling over the Knicks.

It’s almost as if something has LeBron particularly riled up. But maybe ease up a little? That cowering fan isn’t Phil Jackson.

Kevin Love drips snot all over his face, maybe into his mouth (video)

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Cameras zoomed in on Kevin Love at the wrong moment:

Need a sensory cleanser? Enjoy this fantastic outlet pass from Kevin Love to LeBron James:

Derrick Rose out for Knicks-Cavaliers with back injury, getting MRI

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 22:  Derrick Rose #25 of the New York Knicks dribbles against the Portland Trail Blazers during their game at Madison Square Garden on November 22, 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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NEW YORK (AP) — Derrick Rose is missing the New York Knicks’ game against Cleveland because of lower back pain.

Rose left the Knicks’ victory over Miami on Tuesday in the third quarter with back spasms. Coach Jeff Hornacek says Rose still felt sore on Wednesday when he came in and met with team doctors, so they sent him for an MRI exam to make sure there was no structural damage.

Rose is averaging 16.7 points and this is the first game he’s missed this season.

Brandon Jennings will start in Rose’s place.