Miami Heat v Atlanta Hawks

Report: Hawks not thinking Ellis/Jennings, deciding whether to match Teague offer

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The second that Jeff Teague signed a four-year, $32 million offer sheet with Milwaukee Bucks — something that was agreed to last night but may not have been formally signed until this morning according to some reports — he could no longer be signed and traded.

Which means the days of discussions between the Hawks and Bucks about a potential sign-and-trade involving either Monta Ellis or Brandon Jennings for Teague were toast.

So the Hawks have moved on, past Ellis and Jennings, to the question of whether to match the offer or not, reports Chris Broussard of ESPN.

If the Hawks let him walk they could still land Jennings or Ellis via free agency. Jennings is a restricted free agent (meaning the Bucks could match an offer, although if they get Teague it is unlikely). Ellis has fired his agent as a result of his not finding a good landing spot on the open market (remember he turned down three years, $36 million from the Bucks to see what the market would offer him, and it’s not been pretty.

If I were the Hawks I would match. Jennings is tempting because he is so much more athletic than Teague, but he doesn’t finish well when he does get in the lane, he settles for too many bad shots, and he is a disinterested defender. Teague can be unspectacular but he makes better decisions, assisted on a higher percentage of his teammates shots, and Teague is more effective on the defensive end.

We’ll see what the Hawks will do.

Report: Khris Middleton could return to Bucks before All-Star break

CHARLOTTE, NC - JANUARY 16:  Khris Middleton #22 of the Milwaukee Bucks reacts during their game against the Charlotte Hornets at Time Warner Cable Arena on January 16, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina. 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 Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
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The Bucks projected Khris Middleton to miss about 70 games when he tore his hamstring before the season. That extended absence often leads players just to shut down for the year, but Middleton vowed to return in time for the playoffs.

He might get back far sooner than that.

Marc Stein of ESPN:

Sources told ESPN.com the Bucks think Middleton, who suffered a hamstring tear just days before the season began, “has a chance” to return to the lineup during a three-game homestand next month before the All-Star ‎break.

Whether Middleton ultimately makes his season debut before or after the All-Star Game, he is expected to be kept on a minutes restriction as he eases way his back from the injury, sources said.

The Bucks have started Tony Snell, who has held his own as an outside shooter. But Middleton will upgrade Milwaukee on Snell’s biggest strength and provide massive defensive improvement. After a strong start, the Bucks have really struggled lately on that end.

Giannis Antetokounmpo has led Milwaukee to a 20-21 record, though the team is better than its won-loss mark indicates. The Bucks will be even better with Middleton, who will rival Jabari Parker as their second-best player and fit seamlessly.

Isaiah Thomas nutmegs Knicks center Marshall Plumlee (video)

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Isaiah Thomas usually saves his best play for the fourth quarter, but the Celtics guard showed out early with this pass between Marshall Plumlee‘s legs to get Kelly Olynyk a layup.

Thomas uncharacteristically just didn’t have enough late. Though he scored 39 points, he shot just 2-for-9 in the final period, as the Knicks pulled away for a 117-106 win.

Kevin Durant misses dunk so hard, ball flies past halfcourt (video)

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Kevin Durant played great in the Warriors’ win over the Thunder last night, but – perhaps fueled by excess emotion – he missed this incredibly emphatic dunk attempt.

Later, Russell Westbrook showed his former teammate how to do it (sparking their apparent conversation):

James Harden outduels Giannis Antetokounmpo as they produce fantastic highlight video

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James Harden and Giannis Antetokounmpo met in a battle of two of the NBA’s best point guards. (Still weird to say.) The final lines:

  • Harden: 38 points, 6 rebounds, 8 assists, 2 blocks
  • Antetokounmpo: 32 points, 11 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 blocks

The winner? Harden and the Rockets, who topped the Bucks, 111-92.

But the real winner? Anyone who gets to watch this highlight video. It just gets better as it goes.