Report: Cavaliers testing trade market for Luol Deng

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Cleveland brought in Luol Deng because owner Dan Gilbert laid down a “playoffs or bust” mandate and then GM Chris Grant realized they were more bust — even in the lowly East — so he tried to add an All-Star level player at their weakest spot.

That likely will not work (Cleveland is three games out of the last playoff spot in the East, and it didn’t save Grant’s job as he was canned anyway) but it creates another issue — after looking around the situation in Cleveland Deng reportedly plans to leave as a free agent this summer. He doesn’t want to stick around.

Which means Cleveland is considering trading him again, reports Brian Windhorst of ESPN.

Ken Berger of CBSSports.com confirmed this as well.

Under the rules of the CBA Cleveland can trade Deng however they cannot package him with anyone else in a trade. Also, he can’t go back to Chicago.

Because of the situation any offers the Cavs get are likely lowball ones — if a team is really interested in Deng they can wait until this summer and try to sign him as a free agent and not have to surrender a player or picks to get him.

However, teams feeling they need a boost to make a playoff push this season (Golden State? Minnesota?) could be willing to rent him, especially if they feel it gives them a leg up on re-signing him this summer.

I’d personally bet against a deal getting done, but it’s something to watch the next couple days.

A couple of Lonzo Ball’s triple-double assists look dubious (video)

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Lonzo Ball draws outsized attention because his father, LaVar Ball, lures onlookers and because the rookie plays for the high-profile Los Angeles Lakers.

So, when Lonzo gets a triple-double – like his 11-points, 16-rebound, 11-assists game against the Nuggets yesterday – it draws scrutiny.

Mo Dakhil of The Jump Ball:

The NBA defines an assist as a “pass that directly leads to a basket. … An assist can be awarded for a basket scored after the ball has been dribbled if the player’s pass led to the field goal being made.”

I wouldn’t describe either of those passing as leading directly to a basket. Ball’s teammates each hold the ball for a moment after receiving the pass then take two dribbles against set defenses.

But assists are subjective, and the Lakers aren’t alone in offering a home-court scorekeeping advantage.

Kyle Neubeck of Philly Voice

So, criticize/laugh at the Lakers. But your favorite team probably manipulates assists in its favor, too.

Robin Lopez and T.J. Warren exchange contact, heated words (video)

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Robin Lopez whacked T.J. Warren in the head while chasing an offensive rebound. Warren didn’t like that, so he ran to the opposite end of the court and shoved Lopez to the floor. A heated confrontation ensued, though it didn’t escalate beyond yelling.

Warren received a flagrant foul, and Lopez was hit with a technical in the Suns’ 113-105 win over the Bulls.

Lakers blow 5-on-1 fastbreak (video)

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Corey Brewer is better at finishing fastbreaks than leading them.

Nice defense by Emmanuel Mudiay, too.

But at least the Lakers won.

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.