Newly signed Houston Rockets player Dwight Howard during news conference in Houston

Warriors’ owner says team was ‘a lot closer than people realize’ to landing Dwight Howard in free agency

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Before ultimately deciding to sign with the Rockets, Dwight Howard met with four other teams in free agency — the Lakers, the Mavericks, the Hawks, and the Warriors.

No one on the outside truly believed that Howard would end up anywhere but Houston or Los Angeles, and Golden State especially appeared to be a long shot considering that they would need to clear salary cap space in order to sign Howard to the maximum contract he would require.

But Warriors owner Joe Lacob says the Warriors were truly in the mix, and were much closer to landing Howard than most realize.

From Sean Deveney of Sporting News:

“I don’t like to focus on those who aren’t here,” Lacob told SN as part of an exclusive conversation this week. “Good luck in Houston, Mr. Howard. And I am sure he will help that team, they will be better. But we would not have gone after him if we didn’t think we had a chance or that it made sense. … We were a lot closer than people realize to perhaps that actually happening, (Howard) coming here. I think that is a testament to what is happening here. He was affected by the presentation that he saw by our ownership and our management.”

Believe what you want, and obviously Lacob was in the room with Howard and we weren’t. It just doesn’t seem like the Warriors could have pulled it off, even if Howard had indeed decided that he wanted to spend the next five years in the Bay area.

But the fact that we’re even talking about it speaks volumes as to where the franchise is now, and in that sense Lacob is absolutely right.

DeMarcus Cousins pushes handsy Joakim Noah (video)

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Joakim Noah kept his hands on DeMarcus Cousins after getting called for a foul, and that – and/or the Kings heading toward their third straight loss – agitated Cousins into pushing the Knicks center.

Remember, Cousins and Noah have a history.

Aaron Gordon throws inbound pass off Marcus Morris’ back, scores (video)

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Aaron Gordon has backslid this season while playing out of his comfort zone at small forward, but there are still signs he’s progressing from great dunker toward great player – like this crafty inbounds pass off Marcus Morris‘ back.

Brandon Jennings sinks halfcourt shot after whistle (video)

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The NBA refuses to grant continuation when a player senses an intentional foul in the backcourt and launches a heave.

Fortunately, players continue to shoot anyway – which produced this fun Brandon Jennings non-basket.

Report: Kings forward Matt Barnes wanted for questioning after alleged New York nightclub fight

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Matt Barnes infamously fought then-Knicks coach Derek Fisher for dating Barnes’ estranged wife, Gloria Govan. Barnes even bragged that violence is sometimes the answer.

His self-earned reputation won’t earn him the benefit of the doubt over an incident earlier today.

TMZ:

Sacramento Kings star Matt Barnes is wanted by NYPD for questioning after he allegedly choked a woman inside a nightclub early Monday morning — and TMZ Sports got video of him right after the incident.

Law enforcement sources tell us cops got a 911 call to Avenue Nightclub after midnight, reporting a man assaulting 2 women and another man. We’re told things got physical when Barnes allegedly choked one woman during an argument — and when 2 other people tried to intervene … he punched both of them.

In the video, Matt and a teammate — it appears to be DeMarcus Cousins — are talking about the fight. The teammate is clearly heard saying, “Matt hit the s*** out this ni***!”

Barnes was also arrested for domestic violence against Govan in 2011. But she said the incident was blown out of proportion, and the charges were dropped.

The Kings have already played at the Knicks and Nets, so Sacramento doesn’t return to New York this season.