Eric Gordon thinks there’s ‘a good to great chance’ he’ll be back with the Pelicans

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The NBA franchise in New Orleans now known as the Pelicans has been plenty busy this offseason, but all of their moves have involved relatively big-name guards who have the ability to score.

On the surface, that seems like an odd choice.

Eric Gordon is in that position for the Pelicans at a salary of over $14 million, escalating up to $15.5 million over the next three seasons. When healthy he’s a dynamic scorer who many believe is deserving of that contract, but the fact is that he’s managed to play only 51 games in total over the last two seasons due to injury.

There’s also the little issue of Gordon wanting out of New Orleans when he was a restricted free agent, when he famously said his “heart was in Phoenix” after signing a max offer sheet to play for the Suns, which the then-Hornets went ahead and matched.

The moves made by the club so far have Gordon changing his tune, however, and he not only sounds happier to be where he is, but expects to be back next season.

From Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports:

“I’m all in with the Pelicans,” said Gordon, who has been friends with Holiday and Evans since their AAU days. “It would be great if we can all play together. I would say we’d definitely have a chance to make the playoffs.”

While Gordon and point guard Greivis Vasquez could be candidates for a sign-and-trade, Gordon doesn’t expect that to be the case for him.

“I wouldn’t say I’m 100 percent, but I do feel comfortable I am coming back,” Gordon said. “I think there is a good to great chance I will be back.”

The Pelicans made a draft-day trade to acquire All-Star point guard Jrue Holiday from the Sixers, and have tendered a four-year, $44 million offer sheet to Tyreke Evans, which he has reportedly agreed to sign.

Despite Gordon’s hunches, he may indeed be a candidate for a trade if the team believes his injury history or attitude is no longer a match for the franchise. But it’s not a surprise that for now, Greivis Vasquez is the odd man out in New Orleans, given his serviceable skill set at a much more affordable price.

Tyronn Lue says he has secret plan to fix Cavaliers’ defense for playoffs

AP Photo/Phil Long
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Only one team that ranked outside the top 12 in points allowed per possession during the regular season won an NBA title. The 2000-01 Lakers, who were 21st in defensive rating, are the lone outlier.

The Cavaliers rank 22nd in defensive rating this season and have been even worse lately.

But Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue says he has a plan. He just won’t reveal it yet.

Lue, via Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com:

“We’ve got to hold back. We can’t show our hand early because … these are some good teams and we don’t want them to be able to come into a series and be able to adjust to what we do. We just have to be able to play our normal defense until we get there and then we will see what happens.”

Also:

“I think the rebounding hurt us. Rebounding. But it will be different once some other things happen. … Their two-guards, their threes, they still crashed the boards. But we have something to fix that. Just not right now.”

What precisely those plans are, Lue wouldn’t tell us. And here’s the other part — he’s not exactly sure they’ll work.

“I’m not confident, but we’ve got to” get the defense fixed, Lue said. “We have to.”

The Cavs ranked just 10th in defensive rating last season, among the worst marks for an eventual champion. But they cranked up their defense in the playoffs, especially late. Cleveland held the Raptors 4.8 points per 100 possessions below their regular-season scoring rate and the Warriors 7.8 below theirs.

Lue also unleashed a 3-point-heavy attack in the playoffs last year after sitting on the strategy through the regular season.

So, I have some faith Lue will implement a better defensive gameplan when it counts. It also helps to have LeBron James, who can still play elite defense when not in the slog of a long regular season.

But the Cavaliers’ defensive deficiencies right now are glaring. This roster appears to lack defensive potential, and their many miscues keep them well below whatever that potential is.

The challenge in elevating this defense to championship-caliber will be immense, maybe even unprecedented.

Mavericks’ Salah Mejri dunks while getting shoved in the gut (video)

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The Mavericks built a 13-point lead over the Thunder with 3:30left thanks to plays like this Salah Mejri dunk on Nick Collison.

Unfortunately for Dallas, Russell Westbrook happened.

Willy Hernangomez dunks on Andre Drummond, Pistons’ playoff chances (video)

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Andre Drummond and the Pistons couldn’t slow down anything.

Not Willy Hernangomez. Not the Knicks. Not Detroit’s plummeting playoff hopes.

After a 109-95 loss to the Knicks last night, the Pistons — who’ve lost four straight and seven of eight — are 1.5 games and two teams out of playoff position.

Terrence Ross 360 dunks his way back into Raptors fans’ hearts (video)

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In his first appearance in Toronto since the Raptors traded him to the Magic, Terrence Ross did what he has done best throughout his career: Delight Toronto fans with a dunk.

And of course the fans appreciated it, because their Raptors cruised to a 131-112 win.