Report: Jeff Teague signs four-year, $32 million offer sheet with Bucks

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The Bucks, led by their new coach Larry Drew (who just happened to be the coach in Atlanta last year), had been going hard at Jeff Teague, the Hawks’ restricted free agent point guard.

They got their man according to Adrian Wojnarowski and Marc Spears of Yahoo Sports.

Atlanta Hawks restricted free-agent guard Jeff Teague has signed a four-year, $32 million offer sheet with the Milwaukee Bucks, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.

The Hawks have three days to match the offer sheet or Teague will rejoin his old Hawks coach, Larry Drew, in Milwaukee.

There are some reports out of Milwaukee the offer sheet will be signed Thursday morning. The three-day clock starts when he signs the paper.

The Hawks and Bucks had spent days discussing sign-and-trade scenarios around Teague and Monta Ellis, or possibly Brandon Jennings. Nothing came of those and with Jennings signing an offer sheet a sign-and-trade is now off the table. The Bucks may need to renounce the rights to Joel Przybilla to make the math work.

This seems to spell the end of Jennings with the Bucks (unless the Hawks match the offer to Teague). Jennings had been a restricted free agent who reportedly wanted $12 million a year for four years from the Bucks, who balked at a smaller offer. The Bucks still have the rights to Jennings and could match an offer, if one comes in, but it’s not likely if they get Teague.

If you think Teague is a downgrade from Jennings, you haven’t watched a lot of them.

Jennings is certainly the more explosive and athletic player, but he doesn’t use that quickness to get into the lane as much as you would think and when he does he doesn’t finish well (Jennings shot just 43.1 percent in the paint last season). Teague seems to constantly be thinking not just reacting, so he can be hesitant and that can get him in trouble. But he assisted on a higher percentage of his teammates shots — Teague assisted on 36 percent of his teammates buckets while he was on the floor, Jennings 29 (Monta Ellis may have been a factor in Jenning’s numbers). Both guards are solid but not spectacular from three.

Teague is not a great defender, he’s pedestrian, but at least he tries. That puts him well ahead of Jennings.

There is not a ton of room between the two right now, but Teague is showing improvement while Jennings just seems to happily continue to live on bad shot choices. If a team thinks they can change that Jennings has the higher ceiling, but I’d lean Teague right now because I can see his improvement.

Kobe Bryant on race for Podoloff Trophy: “We might see our first co-MVPs this year”

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The race between James Harden and Russell Westbrook for the 2017 NBA MVP has narrowed to a two-man race toward the end of the season. The Oklahoma City Thunder star is averaging at triple-double this year, and the Houston Rockets guard is doing things nobody has ever done on a basketball court before.

It’s a tough decision to decide between them, so much so that even former Los Angeles Lakers great and 2008 NBA MVP Kobe Bryant can’t do it.

Speaking on ESPN on Sunday, Bryant said he thought the league might have to just bite the bullet on Westbrook vs. Harden.

“We might see our first co-MVPs this year,” said Bryant.

That would be a huge step for the league, but I’m not entirely sure they would do it. There have been co-NBA All-Star Game MVPs in years past, but never league MVP.

Still, can you decide between Russ and Harden? The Mamba can’t.

Watch Rockets C Nene lead the break, eurostep past Enes Kanter (VIDEO)

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Houston Rockets center Nene is from Brazil, but on Sunday against the Oklahoma City Thunder the South American native went full euro.

On a fastbreak possession, Nene took on Thunder big man Enes Kanter near the rim and absolutely shook him with a nasty eurostep.

The play was so good that it forced Oklahoma City to call a timeout as James Harden and the rest of the Rockets bench met Nene on the court to celebrate.

Kobe Bryant says he didn’t even have NBA League Pass until a month ago (VIDEO)

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What has retired all-time NBA great Kobe Bryant been doing with his time? A little of this, a little of that. Apparently that doesn’t include watching non-national NBA games.

Speaking with ESPN’s Jemele Hill and Michael Smith on SC6, Bryant revealed that he went to go watch a little NBA while he was getting a workout in at his house and realized he didn’t have the NBA package hooked up on his cable.

Via Twitter:

I don’t know if I totally buy this. On one hand, Kobe is a busy guy and he did spend two decades living and breathing the NBA night in and night out. I would expect that after all that time he might want some kind of relief.

Then again, to think that Kobe doesn’t have multiple assistants that would have handled that sort of thing already is sort of silly. The only benefit here is Kobe trying to sell that he’s just relaxing and not paying attention to the league too much, which is hilarious.

Kobe, we all know who you are by now. You’re watching the league, man. You’re Kobe. We get it. You didn’t suddenly turn into The Dude.

Let’s just hope Kobe’s League Pass works right off the bat. We all know how much of a hassle it can be.

Damian Lillard dismisses playoff expectations as pressure, says it insults regular people

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The Portland Trail Blazers have had a disappointing season thus far. The team is just 34-38 before their game with the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday, and they’re battling it out for the last spot in the Western Conference playoffs with the Denver Nuggets.

This comes as after expectations rose greatly following the 2015-16 campaign which saw the Blazers finish 44-38, good enough for the No. 5 spot in the West.

Portland has looked better after trading Mason Plumlee to Denver in exchange for Jusuf Nurkic, but it might be too little too late. Meanwhile, team leader Damian Lillard isn’t bowing to the idea that last season’s good fortune raised the bar so much that it put undue pressure on his team.

Speaking with Sporting News, Lillard said he thinks the idea is really more about pressure vs. challenges.

Via SN:

Pressure, nah. Fam, this is just playing ball. Pressure is the homeless man, who doesn’t know where his next meal is coming from. Pressure is the single mom, who is trying to scuffle and pay her rent. We get paid a lot of money to play a game. Don’t get me wrong — there are challenges. But to call it pressure is almost an insult to regular people.

Look at the Wizards, they were kind of on the same wave as us. Didn’t even make the playoffs while we did. Now this year they’re the second-best team in the East. The adversity made them better. It can make us better, too. What I come from and my background made me who I am. As comfortable as I am with the good times, I’m also comfortable in adversity. Yeah, I might feel some type of way when somebody comes for me or says my name. But when it’s all said and done, it ain’t gonna rock me.

This is interesting to hear an NBA player say out loud. One, because I’m not sure I entirely believe it. You can have pressure without it having to be something that threatens your overall wellbeing.

Then again, maybe we’re arguing linguistics here. There’s definitely a different emotion from, say, trying to make sure you make rent and aren’t evicted to the street vs. trying to make the NBA playoffs. If one emotion is being defined as pressure, it makes sense to call the other a challenge.

It’s also interesting to hear an NBA player speak in those kinds of terms. There are a few guys around the league who seem to be relatively grounded and give out quotes like this from time-to-time. The absurdity of the NBA — playing games, making millions, and having folks worship you — would easily bend reality for most of us.

In any case, the challenge of making the playoffs for Portland is not going to be an easy one to overcome. Going into Sunday’s matchup with the Lakers, the Trail Blazers are a game behind Denver for the final spot.

Portland will face Denver on Tuesday, March 28 in perhaps their most important game of the season.