Tuesday And-1 Links: Re-imagining the 2010 NBA draft

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Here is our regular look around the NBA — links to stories worth reading and notes to check out (stuff that did not get its own post here at PBT) — done in bullet point form. Because bloggers love bullet points more than pundits love mock outrage over Miley Cyrus (you know, if you don’t like her act you can just tune out)….

• It really takes about three years to judge a draft properly, to look at the players after they developed and see who nailed it. Look back at the 2010 draft and it’s pretty clear the Indiana Pacers nailed it — Paul George and Lance Stephenson were their picks. Over at NBA.com Sekou Smith looked back at that draft and reconfigured it in the order the players would go now. Here is his top 10 (with their actual draft spot in parenthesis):

1. Paul George (10, with Indiana Pacers); 2. John Wall (1, with Washington Wizards); 3. DeMarcus Cousins (5, with Sacramento Kings); 4. Larry Sanders (15, with Milwaukee Bucks); 5. Greg Monroe (7, with Detroit Pistons); 6. Avery Bradley (19, with Boston Celtics); 7. Derrick Favors (3, with Utah Jazz); 8. Gordon Hayward (9, with Utah Jazz); 9. Eric Bledsoe (with Phoenix Suns); 10. Greivis Vasquez (28, with Sacramento Kings).

Who would have fallen? Evan Turner, the No. 2 pick of the Sixers; Wesley Johnson, the No. 4 pick now with the Lakers; and Ekpe Udoh who went No. 6 and is with the Bucks now (behind Sanders).

• Ted Leonsis, the owner of the Washington Wizards (and Capitals of the NHL) has thrown his support behind an effort to bring the 2024 Olympics to Washington D.C. He owns the Verizon Center, where you would imagine some major sports like basketball would take place.

“I think our community is ready for it,” Leonsis told CSNWashington.com. “We’re the largest, most powerful city in the world that’s never hosted an Olympic games.”

• Here is how often NBA players get mentioned in hip-hop lyrics, in a chart.

• Kobe Bryant met with a terminally ill veteran.

This is a great in-depth look at the Pacific division, with look ins from a scout and more.

• Here is the latest on the NBA negotiating its next television deal — let’s hope Turner (TNT) still keeps its Thursday night

Everything you wanted to know about the upcoming Portland Trail Blazers season but were afraid to ask.

Lang Whitaker at the All Ball Blog wrote a fantastic appreciation of Allen Iverson.

• Jordan Hill believes the Lakers could be the third best team in the West. He also believes in unicorns.

• Here is a good Q&A with rookie Trey Burke of the Jazz.

• Rookie Solomon Hill looks “ready to contribute right away” for the Pacers according to coach Frank Vogel. Good luck cracking that rotation.

• The former head of the  Arizona Board of Executive Clemency (parole board) became friends with Amar’e Stoudemire then coincidentally voted to parol STAT’s half-brother. Okay, not so coincidentally, apparently.

Are Bulls and Dwyane Wade moving toward a buyout?

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About a month ago, the Bulls said they hadn’t discussed a buyout with Dwyane Wade.

Have the two sides progressed since?

Nick Friedell of ESPN:

Dwyane Wade isn’t long for the organization’s future and is expected to reach a buyout agreement at some point in the next few months.

Expected by whom?

People with direct knowledge of momentum toward a buyout?

Or everyone who can see that a 35-year-old earning $23.8 million fits poorly on a rebuilding team?

For the Bulls to now drop their biggest name and a large expiring contract that could prove useful in trades should require Wade surrendering a large portion of his salary. He doesn’t sound like someone inclined to do that yet.

A few months is a long time. As long as Wade gets bought out by March 1, he could join another team’s playoff roster. It’d surprise nobody if he gets bought out after the February trade deadline, which we already knew. I don’t see strong indication of something more imminent.

LeBron James’ camp already shooting down leaving-Cavaliers rumor

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LeBron James has done a terrible job shooting down rumors about him leaving the Cavaliers

Except this one from Chris Sheridan, who cited a source saying LeBron would “100 percent” leave Cleveland next summer due to a rift with Cavs owner Dan Gilbert.

Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com:

Sheridan’s source saying LeBron is leaving doesn’t make that true. But other anonymous sources denying it doesn’t make the denials true, either.

New Orleans Saints fire Pelicans’ team physician

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The Pelicans have been crushed by injuries the last few years.

Why? That’s an incredibly complex question.

But the New Orleans Saints – who share an owner (Tom Benson), a front-office leader (Mickey Loomis) and other staff with the Pelicans – have found culprits for their own injury woes.

Mike Triplett of ESPN:

The Saints have fired team orthopedists Deryk Jones and Misty Suri, per source, after it was discovered that CB Delvin Breaux has a fractured fibula and will require surgery expected to sidelined him for 4-6 weeks. Breaux was originally diagnosed with a contusion

Suri is a Pelicans team physician.

Scott Kushner of The Advocate:

Fairly or not, Suri – after the Saints deemed him unacceptable – will be in the crosshairs if he keeps his job with the the Pelicans and their injury woes continue.

Rumor: LeBron James ‘100 percent’ leaving Cavaliers next summer

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Chris Sheridan was ahead of the crowd in 2014, reporting LeBron James would likely leave the Heat for the Cavaliers – which obviously happened.

But Sheridan called it a “90 percent chance,” a small – but large enough – hedge. He also said LeBron would announce the decision on LeBron’s personal website. Of course, LeBron revealed his choice in a Sports Illustrated essay.

So, maybe Sheridan knows what he’s talking about. Maybe he doesn’t.

But the longtime NBA writer just fanned the flames of the already hot LeBron-leaving-Cleveland rumors.

Sheridan:

Of course, the denials came quickly.

There have already been plenty of warning signs about LeBron’s relationship with Cavs owner Dan Gilbert, which didn’t restart in a great place.

It’s entirely believable LeBron would leave Cleveland, in large part due to Gilbert.

But it’s also fun to speculate about that salacious storyline.

Maybe Sheridan or his source got carried away for that very reason. Or maybe they know something.

Neither possibility should be discounted.