A missed call from Suns’ GM day before the deadline had P.J. Tucker worried he was being traded

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The trade deadline is a stressful time not just for front office personnel trusted with making tough decisions that will impact a franchise’s future, but it can be harrowing for many players, as well.

P.J. Tucker of the Phoenix Suns was apparently a bit on edge in the days leading up to Thursday’s deadline, but it likely didn’t have anything to do with his on-court performance.

Tucker’s energy and physical style are perfect compliments to a Suns team that let the deadline come and go without pulling off any trades, but a missed phone call from GM Ryan McDonough 24 hours or so before the deadline had Tucker understandably shaken.

McDonough was calling on Wednesday to inform Tucker that he had been fined by the league for his second flopping offense. But Tucker had no way of knowing what the call was about, hence his apprehension once McDonough finally got him on the phone.

“I called P.J. and it went to voicemail,” McDonough said, in an interview with Greg Esposito of Suns.com. “I didn’t leave a message, I was just about to text him and ask him to call me back. P.J. called me back — it was about one o’clock [Wednesday] afternoon, so we were about 24 hours before the deadline — and I noticed P.J. was a little short of breath, breathing a little heavy. Then the light went on in my head. I said ‘P.J., we’re not trading you. That’s not what this call’s about.’ Then he said ‘Thank goodness, man. I love it here. I was so nervous.’

“I don’t think anybody’s ever been happier to be fined than P.J. Tucker was when I told him, ‘The good news is you’re not being traded, the bad news is that you are getting fined.’ And I think he was glad to pay the fine if he could stay here in Phoenix.”

The story explains Tucker’s somwhat cryptic Twitter message he posted, complimenting the weather in Phoenix once the deadline had passed.

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).