Noel from the University of Kentucky shakes hands with NBA Commissioner Stern after being selected by the Pelicans as the sixth overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft in Brooklyn

Trade: New Orleans sends Nerlens Noel and a 2014 pick to Sixers for Jrue Holiday


We have our first trade of the 2013 draft, and it involves some fairly big names.

The New Orleans Pelicans selected Nerlens Noel with the sixth overall pick, but he won’t be playing alongside Anthony Davis on the front line next season. They picked him for the Philadelphia 76ers, who will send All-Star point guard Jrue Holiday back in return.

The Pelicans will also send a protected 2014 first round pick to Philadelphia, who will send the 42nd pick in this year’s draft to New Orleans, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.

The Sixers finished out of the playoffs in the East last season with a record of 34-48, so it looks like the team’s new general manager Sam Hinkie is preferring to start a rebuild from scratch instead of building on existing assets.

Andrew Bynum didn’t play at all for the Sixers last season, and is an unrestricted free agent this summer that Hinkie doesn’t seem all that interested in pursuing. A new GM just beginning the first year of his deal has a lot more leeway to make bold choices like this, so if he wasn’t that sold on Holiday’s fit with his future plans for the franchise, entering a full-fledged rebuild might have been the collectively agreed-upon decision.

From the Pelicans’ perspective, getting a 23-year old All-Star point guard  to pair alongside Eric Gordon (if healthy) is a very nice piece. Holiday averaged 17.7 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 8.0 assists in 37.5 minutes per game last season — all career-highs.

Dwight Howard crushes Kristaps Porzingis with dunk (video)

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Sometimes – as Kristaps Porzingis sees against Dwight Howard – it’s more flattering just to play James Harden-level defense.

Marc Gasol heads ball into basket after drawing foul (video)

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This was not Marc Gasol‘s first attempt to head in the ball after a whistle, but this time, he converted.

Here was his January try:


James Harden’s defense: Stop and point while opponent flies to rim (video)


As Rockets general manager Daryl Morey once noted, cherry-picking James Harden‘s worst defensive plays to create a video is unfair. Many players would look awful by that measure.

But Harden provides serious ammo for these worst-of videos.

This non-attempt to stop Lance Thomas is just brutal.

At least Houston buckled down to beat the Knicks, 116-111 in overtime. The Rockets have climbed to 26th in points allowed per possession.

Jerry Colangelo says Kobe Bryant could still make 2016 U.S. Olympic team

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So, Kobe Bryant‘s NBA career is officially going to come to an end after the 2015-16 season. That part he announced on Sunday.

What’s still up in the air is Bryant’s participation in one last Olympics. Bryant has been in consideration to make Team USA this summer at the games in Rio de Janeiro, and USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo tells’s Marc Stein that he hasn’t ruled that out yet:

Kobe was asked about this at his post-game press conference Sunday and said it was not a goal, but if it was offered he’d consider it.

“I’d be honored if that was there, it would be fantastic to be around that group and spend kind of the last journey with them,” Bryant said. “That being said, it’s not something that I’m obsessing over.”

‘When Bryant made it known that he wanted to play in Rio, he made it clear to Colangelo and Team USA coach Mike Krzyzewski that he wanted to earn a spot, not be given one as a lifetime achievement award. Watching him so far this season, it’s almost impossible to imagine him making the roster on merit.

But nobody should begrudge him if he wanted to extend the farewell tour just a little bit longer.