Washington Wizards reportedly tried hard to trade for Jameer Nelson

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It was no secret the Washington Wizards needed point guard help behind John Wall. It’s also no secret the rebuilding Orlando Magic are no longer a great fit for 32-year-old Jameer Nelson.

The two teams would have made sense as trade partners before last week’s deadline.

In fact, the Wizards reportedly really wanted to be trade partners with the Magic.

John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com:

The Wizards settled for Andre Miller, and so far, so good. Washington is 3-0 with Miller, because he’s stabilized their play when John Wall sits.

Before the the trade, the Wizards were outscored by 11.7 points per 100 possessions without Wall. Since, Miller has played all 44 minutes Wall has sat, posting a modest 12 points and nine assists total. But he’s turned the ball over just twice and improved Washington’s net rating to -1.2 without Wall.

I doubt the Wizards have much regret.

But, at the time, I would have narrowly preferred Nelson if I were Washington. So, what were the Magic seeking that prevented the trade from happening?

The Wizards surrendered the Pelicans’ 2015 second rounder for Miller, so Orlando likely wanted more than that. Washington can’t trade any future first-round pick due to its trade for Marcin Gortat, so that limits options. Maybe the Wizards own 2014 second rounder or multiple second rounders? That wouldn’t be totally unreasonable, but if Orlando were willing to accept less and was just playing hardball, it backfired when Washington traded for Miller.

Either way, the Magic took a risk. At 32, Nelson’s production projects to decline further. Their best chance of getting better value for him is trading him after the season for a bigger contract to a team seeking cap relief. Then, that team could buy out Nelson for just $2 million (of an $8 million salary) on or before July 15.

Will that return best the Pelicans’ 2015 second rounder? That’s the bar for Orlando.

Watch Lonzo Ball’s 29 point, 11 rebound, 9 assist game Friday night

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This was more of what fans expected from Lonzo Ball.

After a rough first game against the Clippers — with Patrick Beverley in his face all night — Ball found plenty of room to operate against the soft defense of the Phoenix Suns. With room to operate Ball had 29 points, 11 rebounds, and nine assists — just one assist short of a triple-double. He helped the Lakers pull away to a lead in the third then hold on for a 132-130 win over the Suns.

Ball wasn’t terribly efficient, 12-of-27 shooting, but he was 4-of-9 from three, he played with great pace, he was decisive, and was finding guys with his passes. It was a step forward, even if it was against a sad defense (Eric Bledsoe can be a good defender, but he has seemed disinterested in recent years).

Ball and the Lakers are going to be up and down this season, the goal is for there to be more ups near the end of the season.

LeBron James rejects Giannis Antetokounmpo at the rim

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Through the first couple games of the season, Giannis Antetokounmpo has put up impressive numbers — he dropped 34 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists on the Cavaliers Friday night.

But the Cavaliers still have LeBron James.

He had 24 points and 8 assists, leading Cleveland to the win.

LeBron also reminded the Greek Freak just how good a rim protector he is. Few people can slow Antetokounmpo on the drive, but LeBron is one of them.

Is it too early to root for a Cavs vs. Bucks playoff series?

Hawks’ DeAndre’ Bembry out with fractured wrist

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In their season opener Wednesday, Atlanta second-year man DeAndre’ Bembry came off the bench and played 17:45, scored six points and was +13 on the night. It was a good start to his career.

But now he is going to miss some time with a fractured wrist.

Bembry underwent an MRI, which revealed a fracture in his right wrist, the Hawks announced Friday. He will return to Atlanta with the team (the Hawks lost to the Hornets Friday night) and will meet with team doctors at the Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center on Monday. His status will be updated after that.

“We just may play some other guys more, we may use some of the young guys,” Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer told the AP before Friday night’s game. “We’ll just figure it out tonight and as we move forward. I don’t think there’s anything guaranteed for anybody, it’s unfortunate for DeAndre’ and for us.”

 

Danny Ainge says Celtics will apply for Disabled Player Exception

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It’s not likely Gordon Hayward returns this season. His agent said as much, although a return in March is not out of the question. (It’s better PR wise for the Celtics to say he is out for the season, then if he returns early great, it’s better than setting a deadline he doesn’t meet.)

With that, the Celtics are going to apply for the Disabled Player Exception, which could help them land a replacement player, Danny Ainge told Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe.

President of basketball operations Danny Ainge told the Globe on Friday the club is applying for the Disabled Player Exception, which would provide the Celtics $8.4 million to pursue a player to fill Hayward’s roster spot.

“We’re in the process of doing that,’’ Ainge said. “We have a while to do that. There’s no urgency, but we will apply for that.”

There are limits to what that money can get the Celtics. The money is the same as the mid-level exception, the Celtics can go over the cap to use it, and the player can be obtained via free agency or trade. However, the player must be in the last year of his contract.

It gives the Celtics options. It also does not mean Hayward cannot return, it only means NBA-approved doctors determined he is not likely to return before a mid-June deadline.