Andre Miller, C.J. Watson

Andre Miller traded to Wizards, who surrender Jan Veseley (to Nuggets) and Eric Maynor (to 76ers)


For any teams passively waiting an Andre Miller buyout, tough luck.

The Wizards swiped in to grab him before he could hit free agency.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports: has now confirmed this trade.

The Wizards remain all in for the 2014 playoffs, and this should help that cause. They desperately needed to upgrade their backup point guard spot. Washington has a net rating of –11.7 when John Wall sits, and Miller should stop the bleeding.

After the season, the Wizards can buy out Miller for $2 million, which is less than Maynor’s 2014-15 player option ($2,106,720). So, the deal clears future flexibility too, though relinquishing two second rounders is a decent cost for a player who probably would have been bought out if not traded today. Then again, what were the chances Miller would have signed with the Wizards? To upgraded, they needed to act, and they did.

The Nuggets unloaded a malcontent for pretty great value. Vesely, in his third year, is an extreme longshot to ever live up to his draft status (No. 6 overall in 2011). He just hasn’t figured out how to play at this level. But he’s athletic enough to still possess a reasonably high upside. Denver can take a stab at developing for half a season and then go from there when Veseley becomes a free agent this summer. That definitely beats paying Miller to go away.

The 76ers’ plan is transparent. In exchange for accepting Maynor, they got two draft choices for their trouble. Sam Hinkie, at this stage in the rebuilding process, is all about acquiring assets. Philadelphia is loading up on picks to either acquire young players for more tanking or parlay them into something. Not a bad plan.

Really, all three teams come out ahead toward their objectives – though the 76ers and Nuggets were aided by the mediocre Wizards being as desperate to win now as a contending team.

Update: Maybe the Wizards fared a little better and the Nuggets a little worse than originally reported:

If the Wizards traded only one second rounder, they certainly look less desperate to win this season. One second rounder is right in line with Miller’s value.

The Nuggets go from having it all in this trade to sacrificing a pick to save money and gain a little flexibility. That’s not necessarily a bad move on their part, but the deal can no longer be viewed as a total win for them.

Report: Suns signing Bryce Cotton

Bryce Cotton
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Eric Bledsoe missed the Suns’ loss to the Spurs on Monday with a knee injury.

So, Phoenix is bringing in a reinforcement – Bryce Cotton.

Marc Stein of ESPN:

The Jazz waived Cotton before the season despite Dante Exum‘s injury leaving them with just two other healthy point guards. That says something about Cotton – but also Utah’s depth.

Cotton – who went undrafted out of Providence last year – is quick, varies his speed well and can leap. There’s reason to believe in his potential at age 23. But his 6-foot-1 frame limits him defensively, and he’s not much of a distributor.

Phoenix will rely on Brandon Knight and Ronnie Price at point guard if Bledsoe is unavailable. The Suns can also use fewer two-point guard lineups – giving more minutes at shooting guard to Devin Booker, Archie Goodwin and Sunny Weems.

Cotton provides insurance while Bledsoe is banged-up with what seems to be a minor injury. But he might have to show something to keep drawing an NBA paycheck once Bledsoe gets healthy.

Jimmy Butler wants Mason Plumlee to pay fine after scuffle (video)


Jimmy Butler and Mason Plumlee got into an altercation in the Bulls’ win over the Trail Blazers last night.

Plumlee lowered his head and tried to barrel through Butler’s chest on a Butler screen. Butler fell and retaliated by putting Plumlee in a leg lock, causing Plumlee to fall.

You might remember a leg lock as what Cavaliers guard Matthew Dellavedova did to Bulls forward Taj Gibson during last year’s playoffs. For all the talk then of Dellavedova being a dirty player, Butler seems particularly aggrieved after getting a technical foul, which comes with a $2,500 fine – the same penalty Dellavedova eventually received. (Plumlee got a flagrant foul.)

Butler, via Vincent Goodwill of CSN Chicago:

“He thought he was playing football for a second there,” Butler said. “Almost had to let the Fort Greene Projects out of me, Brooklyn, you know what I’m saying?”

It was said tongue in cheek considering Gibson was a few feet over and Butler wanted to draw some laughs. Gibson is a Brooklyn native and grew up in the Fort Greene Projects while Butler grew up in Tomball, Texas.

It was no laughing matter when he said he would find a way to approach Plumlee about the fine money, jokingly suggesting he would have his agent email him at “Mr. or something” and made a joke about Mike Dunleavy applauding Plumlee’s act.

Plumlee and Dunleavy are products of Duke University.

“Yeah, he cost me 2,500,” Butler said. “I’m not happy about that. Gonna ask him to pay me back and I’m not playing.”

Is that, or Or is it Dookie?

These are important questions – at least if you’re trying to turn the conversation away from your dirty play and toward your colorful quotes.

Breaking news: Leandro Barbosa dunked


The Warriors became the first team in NBA history to start 16-0.

In the process of getting that record-breaking win over the Lakers, something nearly as historic happened.

Leandro Barbosa dunked.

The 32-year-old Golden State guard last jammed in January 2011.

For a little more perspective, look how Barbosa handled a breakaway layup earlier in the fourth quarter:

You think that man can still slam?

Yes. Yes, he can.

Magic benching Victor Oladipo, starting Channing Frye

Stephen Curry, Victor Oladipo, Channing Frye
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Elfrid Payton, Victor Oladipo, Evan Fournier, Tobias Harris and Nikola Vucevic have started eight of the Magic’s 14 games, including the last three.

But after Orlando dropped two straight, Scott Skiles hinted at lineup changes.

The Magic coach will deliver against the Knicks tonight, swapping Channing Frye for Oladipo.

Skiles, via Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel:

“It’s nothing punitive,” Skiles said after the Magic’s shootaround.

“It’s just we feel like we’ve got to try to find a little bit better balance. I’d like Victor to have some more opportunities like he’s had a little bit in the past where he can be on top of the floor and attack and get a little bit more vertical and not only get to the rim but just be a little bit more on the attack but not necessarily start the game that way.”

Here are the offensive/defensive/net ratings for the

  • Former starting lineup: 94.7/111.2/-16.5
  • New starting lineup: 117.2/90.3/+26.8

The new unit has played just 33 minutes in two games, so major sample-size caveats apply. But I like idea of seeing more of what has worked.

I suspect Skiles also wants to keep his players from becoming content. At 6-8 and coming off three straight seasons outside the playoffs, they should have no reason to feel satisfied, but the hard-driving Skiles will be proactive.

If Oladipo – whose defense Skiles values – can get sent to the bench, anyone can.

At some point, the Magic must determine whether Oladipo and Payton – both below-average 3-point shooters – can share a backcourt. But it’s also worth knowing whether Oladipo can excel as a super sub leading bench players.

This switch might help the Magic win now, but at worse, it’ll give them more information for evaluating their young roster. Seems smart all around.