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7-foot-3 Walter Tavares could join NBA next season

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The deepest draft in a decade has plenty of talent, but its lacking size.

Only one 7-foot center cracks the DraftExpress top 30: Joel Embiid. And Embiid, though listed at 7 feet by Kansas, wasn’t even officially measured at the combine.

But big-man reinforcements could be on the way for the 2014 NBA draft class’ first round.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

Walter Tavares, one of the best 7-foot prospects in the world, is working on a contract buyout with his team in the Spanish ACB League and will travel soon to the United States to work out for several NBA teams, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

Several NBA executives believe that Tavares, who is 7-foot-3, has a strong chance to work himself into the first round of June’s NBA draft and several teams choosing in the range of the 20s plan to bring him to town for closer inspections, sources said.

If Tavares is actually 7-foot-3, that could immediately make him the tallest player in the NBA. Currently, just Roy Hibbert (7-foot-2) and Hasheem Thabeet (7-foot-3) are listed taller than 7-foot-1. (Obviously, Tavares and Thabeet would be splitting hairs – if Thabeet even sticks in the league next season).

That type of size alone makes Tavares intriguing. Add his raw ability – he didn’t start playing until he turned 17 – and huge hands – Wojnarowski quotes an official saying Tavares possesses the biggest mitts he’d ever seen – and it’s easy to see why Tavares could climb into the first round.

Teams will want to mold him, and if they can get him to the NBA sooner, that should help also his draft stock (though some teams might prefer to stash him).

Tavares is too old to withdraw from the draft. At 22, he’s an automatic qualifier into the pool, not an early entrant.

But he’s still young – and unpolished – enough to become the type of project teams love undertaking.

Andre Drummond hits buzzer-beating heave from beyond halfcourt (VIDEO)

ATLANTA, GA - OCTOBER 27:  Andre Drummond #0 of the Detroit Pistons reacts in the final seconds of their 106-94 win over the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena on October 27, 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia.  NOTE TO USER User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading andor using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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Andre Drummond is a terrible free-throw shooter…except, apparently, when he’s shooting from the other free-throw line. Monday night against the Raptors, Drummond cut Detroit’s deficit to five at the end of the third quarter with this three-quarter-court heave at the buzzer:

Now, if only he could work on his accuracy from his own free-throw line.

Joe Johnson banks in three to give Nets win over Nuggets (VIDEO)

NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 03:  Joe Johnson #7 of the Brooklyn Nets dribbles against the Indiana Pacers during their game at the Barclays Center on February 3, 2016 in New York City.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
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Not a lot has gone right for the Nets this season, but an impressive clutch shot by seven-time All-Star Joe Johnson gave them their 14th win of the season on Monday. With time expiring, Johnson banked in a long three-pointer to put Brooklyn up 105-104 over Denver and secure the victory:

Johnson had 12 points on the night.

Report: Kings plan to fire George Karl in coming days

SACRAMENTO, CA - JANUARY 09:  Head coach George Karl of the Sacramento Kings stands on the side of the court during their game against the Golden State Warriors at Sleep Train Arena on January 9, 2016 in Sacramento, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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For about a week, word has circulated throughout the NBA that George Karl’s days in Sacramento were numbered. They’ve lost eight of their last 10 games, and players have more or less checked out on him. Remember, it’s only been a year since the Kings unceremoniously ousted interim head coach Ty Corbin to bring Karl in, which came on the heels of their puzzling dismissal of Mike Malone in December 2014.

Now, ESPN.com’s Marc Stein reports that the Kings have made the decision to let Karl go:

The decision itself isn’t surprising—it always seemed to be a matter of “when,” not “if” Karl would be fired. But the optics here are not good. If everybody knows it’s coming, it makes no sense to leak that the change is going to happen hours or even days before it’s made official.

The report of the Kings’ decision on Karl comes on the heels of a concerning bombshell Rajon Rondo dropped following Sacramento’s 120-100 loss to the Cavaliers on Monday night.

Via the Sacramento Bee‘s Jason Jones:

Sports Illustrated‘s Jake Fischer further reported that only three players indeed showed up on Monday morning:

That’s a bad look for everybody involved. An optional shootaround is more or less unheard of in the NBA, and if only three players bothered to come, that’s an unignorable sign that the team has quit on Karl.

Karl-Anthony Towns fakes out Luke Babbitt with spin move (VIDEO)

ATLANTA, GA - NOVEMBER 09:  Karl-Anthony Towns #32 of the Minnesota Timberwolves reacts after hitting a basket against the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena on November 9, 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia.  NOTE TO USER User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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Since he came into the league, Karl-Anthony Towns‘ offensive footwork has been unusually advanced for a rookie. He showed off his impressive moves again on Monday night, getting to the basket around Luke Babbitt with this spin: