Joe Lacob, Peter Guber

Warriors general manager Bob Myers hints team might buy draft pick

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Just three teams don’t have picks in the upcoming NBA Draft: the Heat, Raptors and Warriors.

The Heat, though every team could use draft picks, are doing just fine.

The Raptors, according at least one prominent report, sent out cash in the Rudy Gay trade and the Collective Bargaining Agreement limits how much money a team send out per year, so Toronto might be limited in its ability to acquire a pick.

The Warriors, though, might buy a draft pick.

They have a history of doing of so. In addition to their successful draft haul of Harrison Barnes, Festus Ezeli and Draymond Green last year, the Warriors also bought the No. 52 pick and used it on Ognjen Kuzmić. Kuzmić played for Joventut in Spain last season, leading his team in fouls per game despite playing the seventh-most minutes per game.

But it’s the process, not the results, that should matter most. Whatever process led the Warriors to buying a draft pick is still being used.

Kyle Bonagura of CSNBayArea.com:

Referencing the team’s acquisition of a second round pick for cash considerations last season, Myers acknowledged a similar deal could be made again.”What do they say? Past performance doesn’t predict future results, but in this case, it might,” he said. “What I can take from that is that is that our ownership group is willing to spend. Thankfully for our front office and myself, we have an ownership group that if we have a player we designate worth spending on, they’ll give us the green light.”Whereas in other situations there might be a mandate in the other direction that, ‘We’re not buying a pick, just so you know.'”Myers said that type of move would be predicated on a specific player being available at the right spot — likely in the second round.

This gives Golden State a real, though perhaps insignificant, competitive advantage. If they’re willing to spend to acquire additional draft picks – even if most of the picks never become successful NBA players – the Warriors increase their odds of getting help through the draft. On the flip side, any team that sells a pick lowers its odds.The salary cap, luxury tax and many other NBA practices limit how much a team can gain an advantage simply by spending more than other teams. But this is one way teams can get an upper hand, and everyone involved in the Warriors organization – from fans to players to coaches to executives – should appreciate the willingness of owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber to take advantage of it.

Report: Age minimum still on table in Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 23:  The full draft board of the first 30 pics of the first round of the 2016 NBA Draft is seen at the Barclays Center on June 23, 2016 in the Brooklyn borough of 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 Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
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A new Collective Bargaining Agreement is expected to be finished soon, but with months until the current deal expires, both the owners and players can afford to take their time and get the details right.

Both sides reportedly agreed to keep the age minimum – which requires players to be 19 and one year removed from their high school class’ graduation – in place.

Or not?

David Aldridge of NBA.com:

Other issues, like the age limit for players entering the league, are still on the table. The league has long sought to increase the age limit from its current 19, and at least one year removed from one’s high school class, to at least 20 years of age. The union has talked about a “zero and two” setup, similar to that used by baseball — players can enter the Draft out of high school, but if they choose to go to college, they have to stay in college at least two years (in baseball, it’s three years) before declaring for the Draft.

The union wants to lower the age minimum. Adam Silver wants to raise it.

Most likely, the current one-and-done rule remains in place.

But a zero-or-two setup could be an interesting compromise. That would allow players certain they’re ready for the pros out of high school to declare for the NBA draft. In all other cases, Silver would get his wish.

Again, the status quo likely remains in tact. But it’s good both sides are discussing the issue to see whether there’s a better solution.

76ers increase Joel Embiid’s minute limit to 28

Philadelphia 76ers' Joel Embiid, left, tries to get around Cleveland Cavaliers' DeAndre Liggins, center, and Kevin Love during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Sunday, Nov. 27, 2016, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
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Take comfort, chairs and staffers.

The 76ers have raised Joel Embiid‘s minute limit from 24 to 28.

Jessica Camerato of CSN Philly:

This was never a hard limit. Embiid played more than 24 minutes in five of his 12 games with a high of 27 in an overtime contest. Presumably, the new “limit” will also allow for Embiid to sometimes it.

Embiid’s numbers per 36 minutes are eye-popping: 28.6 points, 12.2 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 3.8 blocks and 6.4 turnovers. A small workload likely factors into his per-minute dominance, and he’s still a long way from typical starter minutes. But I’m interested to see how his production translates over a larger sample.

The 76ers, in their mission to be less bad this season, will also appreciate a few more minutes of Embiid. They defend like the NBA’s second-best defense with him on the floor and the league’s second-worst defense without him. They also score a little better with him. Overall, they get outscored by just 2.2 points per 100 possessions with him and a whopping 14.2 points per 100 possessions without him.

This could give Philadelphia a couple extra wins over the rest of the season. At minimum, it’ll make the 76ers more enjoyable to watch for a few more minutes each game.

James Johnson dunks on Rudy Gobert in crunch time (video)

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Opponents shoot just 41.8% at the rim with Rudy Gobert defending it – which is now second to Hassan Whiteside among the 50 players who defend the most shots at the rim per game.

But James Johnson went up with no fear, scoring two of his 24 points in the Heat’s 111-110 win over the Jazz last night.

Nicolas Batum bounces assist through Dwight Powell’s legs (video)

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The Hornets didn’t just beat the Mavericks, 97-87, last night.

Nicolas Batum got Charlotte style points with this pass through Dwight Powell‘s legs, assisting Cody Zeller.