Toronto Raptors center Andrea Bargnani reacts to a call during the second half of their NBA basketball game against the Utah Jazz in Salt Lake City, Utah

Report: Knicks and Raptors have agreed on a trade to send Andrea Bargnani to New York


Things move fast on the free agency rumor wire.

It was just this morning when the Clippers were said to be involved in trade talks with the Raptors to deal for Andrea Bargnani, but as it turned out, the Knicks are the team that has acquired his services.

From Howard Beck of the New York Times:

[T]he Knicks are closing in on a deal to acquire Andrea Bargnani, the Toronto Raptors’ jump-shooting 7-footer, according to a person involved in the talks.

The Knicks are offering a package built around Marcus Camby, Steve Novak and two future draft picks, one in the first round and one in the second. Several teams have pursued Bargnani, but the Knicks have emerged as the “strong favorites” to land him, and a handshake deal could come soon, the person said.

The Times updated the initial report to say that the trade has been agreed upon by the two teams, and is awaiting approval from the league office.

The future first round pick is the painful part of this deal for the Knicks, even though Bargnani — with his remaining salary and recent injury history — is an underwhelming free agent choice in and of itself.

While the teams may have changed since this morning, the facts on Bargnani have not. He is owed close to $23 million over the next two years, and has only managed to appear in a total of 66 games over the last two seasons due to injury.

It’s worth noting that the reigning Executive of the Year in Masai Ujiri just took over the operations in Toronto, and the fact that he may be able to squeeze draft picks out of anyone for an albatross like Bargnani should be commended — but it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise.

Spurs to give Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili Friday night off in Denver

Manu Ginobili, Harrison Barnes, Tim Duncan
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The Spurs are 12-3 and comfortably in second place in the West, they have the best defense in the NBA allowing just 93.8 points per 100 possessions, and they have a top-10 offense to go with it.

So, time to start making sure guys are rested.

That is the first night of a back-to-back, with former Spurs’ assistant coach Mike Budenholzer and his Atlanta Hawks coming to San Antonio on Saturday. Popovich is saving his two veterans for that game.

Duncan and Ginobili have looked like they found the fountain of youth this season. Duncan is taking on less of the offense but has been very efficient in those moments. Ginobili has the impact he did a few years back in his bench role.

What Gregg Popovich cares about is them playing like that come the postseason. So they will rest on Friday.

Brandon Armstrong impersonates Ray Allen (video)

2014 NBA Finals - Game Five
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Ray Allen is retired-ish, but he’ll always be running through screens – in our mind and in this video.

Celtics draft pick Marcus Thornton gets beer dumped on head during Australian game (video)

Marcus Thornton, Will Cherry

The Celtics drafted Marcus Thornton with No. 45 pick in the 2015 NBA draft. That essentially entitled him to the required tender – a one-year contract offer, surely unguaranteed at the minimum.

Thornton rejected that, which is almost always a mistake.

Rejecting the tender is a favor to the drafting team, which gets to keep the player’s exclusive rights for a year. If Thornton tries to join the NBA now, he’s stuck negotiating with only the Celtics.

By accepting the tender, the player typically gets one of two outcomes. He either plays on that contract and draws an NBA salary or he gets waived. But even getting waived is better than rejecting the tender, because at least the player becomes a free agent and can negotiate with any team.

Players who reject the tender go to another league and play for less money. In Thornton’s case, that mean Australia.

How’s that going?

(Almost) never reject the required tender as a second-round pick.

Byron Scott says they just have to get Kobe Bryant better looks

Kobe Bryant, Joe Johnson, Byron Scott

Kobe Bryant is averaging 15.2 points a game at age 37. It’s just taking him 16.4 shots per game to get there. After his 1-of-14 shooting performance against the Warriors the other night — with too much isolation and too many plays run just for him — there has been a lot of talk about his shot. With reason, this is his shot chart so far this season.

Kobe shotchart season

So what do the Lakers’ do? Get Kobe to shoot less and get the ball in the hands of the young stars they supposed to be developing more? Nah.

They just need to get Kobe better looks, Scott told the Los Angeles Times.

“I know his mentality is that he can still play in this league,” Scott said. “And we feel the same way….

“Obviously he’s struggling right now with his shot, and I think everybody can see that,” Scott said. “So it’s trying to get him in better position to be able to have an opportunity to knock those shots down on a consistent basis. That’s No. 1.

“I don’t know if it’s his legs. I don’t think so. Again, our conversations are pretty blunt. … He tells me when he is tired and he tells me when he’s not tired. And the last few days, he said he feels great. So, I don’t think it’s a matter of him being tired or his legs being tired. I think it’s a matter of his timing being a little off.”

Yes, how could it be his legs? It’s not like he’s a 37-year-old with more than 55,000 NBA minutes played, and coming off an Achilles rupture and major knee surgery.

Honestly, I hope the Lakers and Kobe find a balance soon, because they have become just hard to watch. And I don’t want Kobe to go out this way.