Minnesota’s Flip Saunders says strength of draft could dampen trade deadline

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Last season’s trade deadline was a lot of sound and fury signifying nothing — it was a very slow trade deadline, the bigger deals having already happened.

This season seems to be more active and with some bigger names — Pau Gasol could be moved, as potentially could guys like Greg Monroe. Names like Brandon Bass and Arron Afflalo seem more likely to be traded in the next 10 days, before the Feb. 20 deadline hits.

However, the big draft this summer could dampen moves at the trade deadline now, something Minnesota’s decision maker Flip Saunders told the Pioneer Press.

Saunders said there is a reluctance to deal around the league because of the perception that this year’s draft class is strong….

“Either everyone wants to keep their picks or if you want to trade players, people are trying to get your pick and people aren’t as apt to do something like that — not only this year, but next year, too,” Saunders said. “I think it might be a good draft the next couple of years…..

“When you look, I think a lot of time teams make trades to satisfy fans, to make them look like they are really trying to do something to make their team better. And I think sometimes teams make trades to make it look to their owners like they are working. If you want to make a trade to make yourself significantly better right now, then those have to be blockbuster-type trades,” Saunders continued, “and I don’t think there are a lot of teams that are leaning toward doing something like that.”

We saw a little of this already this year — Phoenix was talking with the Lakers about acquiring Pau Gasol but the Lakers were reportedly demanding one of the Suns top picks in this draft (Phoenix has four first rounders this draft, the Lakers wanted one of the top two). Phoenix walked away from the table.

We’ve already seen one All-Star change hands this season with Luol Deng going to Cleveland. Like last season, that could be the biggest move we see.

There will be more small deals this season, like we said there seem some very likely candidates to be moved off rebuilding teams. But with teams hoarding picks, this may not be a blockbuster deadline, either.

Stephen Curry’s 32 lead Warriors over Rockets 113-106

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HOUSTON (AP) Stephen Curry scored 32 points, Klay Thompson had 25 and the Golden State Warriors built a big lead early and held on for a 113-106 win over the Houston Rockets on Tuesday night.

The Warriors scored 37 points in the first quarter and never trailed on the way to their eighth straight victory and 60th this season.

Golden State led by eight after a pair of free throws by Curry with just over three minutes left. Patrick Beverley countered with a tip-in layup for Houston, then was fouled when he was knocked to the ground on a screen by Draymond Green seconds later.

James Harden missed a layup on the next possession before Green added a shot on the other end to put the Warriors up 107-99.

Another layup miss by Harden followed, and Curry made a 3-pointer with 1:46 left to send fans streaming to the exits.

Warriors F James Michael McAdoo leaves game vs. Rockets with head injury (VIDEO)

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There was a scary moment during the matchup between the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets on Tuesday night. During a change of possession, Houston’s Trevor Ariza and and Golden State’s James Michael McAdoo got tangled up and fell together on the floor.

McAdoo was under Ariza and wound up getting his head slammed into the hardwood. He was immediately taken off the floor and sent to the locker room.

Via Twitter:

The NBATV broadcast said McAdoo received stitches but did not test positive for a concussion. He is averaging 8.7 minutes, 2.9 points, and 1.7 rebounds per-game for the Warriors.

Jusuf Nurkic trolls Nuggets, tells former team to enjoy their summer (VIDEO)

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Jusuf Nurkic did not enjoy his time as a member of the Denver Nuggets. His trade to the Portland Trail Blazers in exchange for Mason Plumlee was a welcome change of scenery.

On Tuesday night, Nurkic got to take on his old team with huge playoff implications at stake. Portland beat the Nuggets, 122-113, moving a game ahead of their rivals in the race for the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference and giving them the best tiebreaker between the two.

Nurkic was impressive, blasting his old squad with 33 points on 12-of-15 shooting, adding 16 rebounds, three blocks, and two assists.

Nurkic was interviewed in the arena after the game, and he was obviously happy he helped his team while also sticking it to Denver. Speaking with Portland reporter Brooke Olzendam, Nurkic took one last shot at the Nuggets, telling them to enjoy their summer.

Via Twitter:

Nurkic quite possibly sent the Nuggets packing for the year with the game at the Moda Center on Tuesday, so he might have been the guy who helped start their summer.

Still, that is ice cold.

James Johnson decimates Marcus Morris with huge one-handed dunk (VIDEO)

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Miami Heat forward James Johnson is one of the NBA’s best in-game dunkers. On Tuesday night against the Detroit Pistons, he yammed down a huge one-handed slam that embarrassed Marcus Morris and drew gasps from the crowd at the Palace.

The play came midway through the fourth quarter with Johnson at the top of the key. After a quick pass over to him, Johnson gave a quick hesitation before driving to his left and past his defender.

With the quick step, Johnson’s only remaining opponent at the basket was Morris, who was unfortunate enough to find himself between the high-flying Heat and the rim.

This is what happened next:

Morris was whistled for a foul on the play.