Jason Kidd says Deron Williams should be in the MVP conversation next season

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The NBA’s Most Valuable Player award has always been sort of a nebulous distinction. The qualifications aren’t written down anywhere, but it almost always goes to the best player on one of the league’s top two or three teams.

If the Brooklyn Nets meet or exceed their own expectations in the coming year, then Deron Williams would likely be a big part of the reason why, and would almost certainly be included in the award’s conversation.

New Nets head coach Jason Kidd, along with veteran guard Jason Terry are expecting that to be the case.

From Jared Zwerling of Bleacher Report:

Can Deron Williams not only help the new-look Brooklyn Nets knock off the Miami Heat this season but also take away the MVP crown from LeBron James?

Two new members of the Nets, coach Jason Kidd and sixth man Jason Terry, have said Williams should be in the MVP conversation in 2013-14. And that has D-Will pumped up.

“It definitely excites me when they’re talking about you like that,” he told Bleacher Report. “I feel like if we’re winning and I’m playing well, it will take care of itself. I don’t get caught up too much into that stuff.”

The highest Williams has placed in the MVP voting was ninth in 2009-10. That season, he averaged 18.7 points, 10.5 assists and 1.3 steals over 76 games, leading the Utah Jazz to a 53-29 record and the Western Conference Semifinals.

LeBron James and Kevin Durant are widely recognized now as the game’s two best players, and if either the Heat or the Thunder end up at or near the top of the league-wide standings, one of those guys is taking home the MVP, pure and simple.

But the fact that the award does tend to go to a player on one of the best teams in the league at least would get Williams into the conversation if the Nets perform as expected. And really, that’s all his head coach or his new teammate could possibly ask.

Did Reggie Jackson distract Jimmy Butler into missing game-tying free throw? (video)

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With the Timberwolves trailing the Pistons by three and 6.2 seconds left, Jimmy Butler drew a foul on a 3-pointer.

Butler made the first two free throws then, just before he got the ball for the third, Reggie Jackson interrupted to talk to Stanley Johnson, who was in rebounding position. Butler missed the free throw, and Detroit won 100-97 after an intentional foul.

Butler said Jackson didn’t affect him, but Butler’s side eye during the delay at least appeared to speak loudly.

Bulls’ Kris Dunn dunks on T.J. Warren after savvy/explosive halfcourt drive (video)

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Kris Dunn had a nice weekend – 39 points, 13 assists and 11 rebounds as the Bulls beat the Hornets and lost to the Suns – punctuated by this dunk in Chicago’s 113-105 loss to the Suns last night.

T.J. Warren paid the price for Tyler Ulis overplaying a Robin Lopez screen Dunn cleverly never used.

Orlando Magic will no longer host summer league

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ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — The Orlando Magic has decided to end their annual summer league.

Magic president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman said Sunday the trend of NBA teams playing in the Las Vegas Summer League led to the decision end Orlando Pro Summer League. Orlando’s Summer League, which showcased rookies and young players, began in 2002.

Las Vegas will host all 30 teams for the summer league beginning in the summer of 2018. The Orlando Pro Summer League began as a 10-team tournament but there were just eight participating teams this past summer.

The summer league in Orlando, which is played in the Magic’s practice gym, was the only one of three summer leagues that did not allow fans to come in to watch.

Kevin Durant misses game vs. Nets with sprained ankle, status vs. Thunder in doubt

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Not that the Warriors needed him with Stephen Curry going off again, but Golden State was without Kevin Durant on Sunday in Brooklyn due to a sprained ankle.

Durant is officially day-to-day, but that brings up the question of whether he will be ready to go Wednesday night when the Warriors travel to Oklahoma City to take on his former team. Chris Haynes of ESPN asked Durant about it.

While some blowhards will talk about him dodging the Thunder, the Warriors course here is obvious — they do not want to rush him back for any game in November. Even one against Russell Westbrook. Ankles with stretched ligaments are easy to re-injure if not fully healed, and the Warriors don’t want this to be chronic and last through more of the season.

Durant is averaging 24.9 points per game, 7 rebounds, and 4.7 assists, and — with all due respect to fellow former MVP Curry — he is the best player on the Warriors. Maybe the best player in the world right now, period. Durant can score at will, and he had become a key part of the Warriors’ fifth-ranked defense blocking 2.2 shots per game (their offense is No. 1 in the league).