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Reports: Eight teams reach out to Andrew Bynum; Heat, Clippers at top of list

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No, Andrew Bynum’s basketball career is not over — NBA big men with skills get more comeback chances than Brett Favre.

Bynum was traded from Cleveland to Chicago for Luol Deng and the Bulls instantly waived him in a salary dump.

When Bynum clears waivers Thursday eight teams will be lined up to take a shot at him, tweets Chris Broussard of ESPN. He’ll want more than just a minimum salary for the rest of this year, or he’ll want additional years, but how much teams really will give him based on his history and his knees remain to be seen. If he wants to play on a contender he will have to play for the minimum, but money has always motivated Bynum more than basketball factors and he could go elsewhere for more.

Still good teams can use him — both the Miami Heat and Los Angeles Clippers are interested and they both are at the top of Bynum’s list, reports Sean Deveney at the Sporting News.

That makes sense as both of those teams could use big men depth up front. The Heat know they need size seeing a looming Eastern Conference Finals showdown with the Pacers. The Clippers are giving a good chunk of minutes nightly to Antawn Jamison and Ryan Hollins — for all of Bynum’s flaws (he has not looked like his vintage self this season, showing slow defensive rotations) he is an upgrade over those guys.

Among the other teams expected to be interested are the Brooklyn Nets, and there are mixed signals about the level of interest from the Knicks. Still, both New York teams could use front line help but both could only offer the league minimum. Dallas has reached out, reports Marc Stein of ESPN, but again they only can offer the minimum.

Wherever he lands there should not be much expected from him in terms of playing time — 15 minutes a night at best, all off the bench. In that setting on a contending team with a strong locker room (guys who can push him to bring his best effort nightly, as much as anyone can) Bynum could be an asset. Not one worth the $6.2 million left on the rest of his contract this season (nobody is claiming him off waivers) but one who has value at a more reasonable price.

TNT to cover NBA games with only former players, no traditional play-by-play men

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 19:  Grant Hill #33 of the Phoenix Suns looks to move the ball as Derek Fisher #2 of the Los Angeles Lakers defends in the first quarter of Game Two of the Western Conference Finals during the 2010 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center on May 19, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. 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 Harry How/Getty Images)
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NEW YORK (AP) — TNT will use broadcast teams featuring only former players and no traditional play-by-play men during five NBA doubleheaders later this season.

The “Players Only” schedule runs Monday nights from Feb. 27 to March 27 and includes matchups such as Golden State-Oklahoma City on March 20 and Cleveland-San Antonio a week later.

Brent Barry will serve as the primary host of one team with Derek Fisher and Grant Hill, while Greg Anthony partners with Kevin McHale and Richard Hamilton on the other.

Lisa Leslie and Dennis Scott will serve as reporters.

Turner Sports says Thursday that Chris Webber will anchor the studio coverage with Isiah Thomas and Baron Davis, and that additional NBA players will contribute to the five-week program.

James Harden presents fan with game ball on her 100th birthday (video)

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HOUSTON (AP) — James Harden took some time out after the Houston Rockets’ win over the visiting Milwaukee Bucks to give a fan a present on a her 100th birthday.

Video shows Harden signing a ball for the woman and spending a few moments sitting next to her in her courtside seat and posing for pictures Wednesday night.

Harden told ESPN’s Doris Burke in an interview that he told the woman how “blessed” he was to be able to have a chance to meet her.

The Houston guard also put on a good show for the fan during the game, scoring 38 points in a 111-92 victory over the Bucks.

Paul George dunks on DeMarcus Cousins while getting whacked in the face (video)

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Kings center DeMarcus Couins appears set to become the first player to sign as a veteran designated player. The Pacers hope Paul George will follow.

But in the Pacers’ win over the Kings yesterday, George beat Cousins.

Not even Cousins thwacking George in the face could stop this dunk.

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.