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Report: Spencer Hawes reaches four-year, $23 million deal with Clippers

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On the list of Clippers needs this summer has been depth along the front line. Last season Doc Rivers’ best option for most of the year was Ryan Hollins, at least until they upgraded to Glen Davis when Orlando decided to buy him out. So yes, the Clippers best big off the bench was a guy the Magic wouldn’t play.

The Clippers have upgraded now have upgraded.

Los Angeles has reached a deal to bring in Spencer Hawes, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.

Free-agent 7-footer Spencer Hawes has reached agreement on a four-year, $23 million contract with the Los Angeles Clippers, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

Hawes was determined to sign with a contender and his commitment to the Clippers on Friday becomes a tremendous coup for president and coach Doc Rivers.

Doc Rivers is trying to turn this into a sign-and-trade, which would leave his mid-level exception to chase Paul Pierce for the three (another Clippers need).

The Clippers offered Hawes the full mid-level exception. In a world where Marcin Gortat gets $12 million and big men are routinely overpaid, this is a good value pickup for the Clippers. Hawes will come off the bench behind DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin.

Hawes is a skilled big comfortable at the arc — 35 percent of his shots last year were threes and he knocked down 44.8 percent of them. That said, he can rebound and he is a very good passer. He has a complete offensive game and creates matchup problems if you don’t lean on him to

This is a huge offensive upgrade for the Clippers bench — and the Clippers had the best offense in the NBA last season.

The key for the Clippers is Hawes needs to defend, that is the end of the court where the Clippers need to improve. Hawes will block some shots but the Clips need consistent effort out of him, and Hawes’ middle name has never been consistency.

In addition, this does raise some questions about the Clippers future up front.

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Report: Khris Middleton could return to Bucks before All-Star break

CHARLOTTE, NC - JANUARY 16:  Khris Middleton #22 of the Milwaukee Bucks reacts during their game against the Charlotte Hornets at Time Warner Cable Arena on January 16, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina. 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 Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
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The Bucks projected Khris Middleton to miss about 70 games when he tore his hamstring before the season. That extended absence often leads players just to shut down for the year, but Middleton vowed to return in time for the playoffs.

He might get back far sooner than that.

Marc Stein of ESPN:

Sources told ESPN.com the Bucks think Middleton, who suffered a hamstring tear just days before the season began, “has a chance” to return to the lineup during a three-game homestand next month before the All-Star ‎break.

Whether Middleton ultimately makes his season debut before or after the All-Star Game, he is expected to be kept on a minutes restriction as he eases way his back from the injury, sources said.

The Bucks have started Tony Snell, who has held his own as an outside shooter. But Middleton will upgrade Milwaukee on Snell’s biggest strength and provide massive defensive improvement. After a strong start, the Bucks have really struggled lately on that end.

Giannis Antetokounmpo has led Milwaukee to a 20-21 record, though the team is better than its won-loss mark indicates. The Bucks will be even better with Middleton, who will rival Jabari Parker as their second-best player and fit seamlessly.

Isaiah Thomas nutmegs Knicks center Marshall Plumlee (video)

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Isaiah Thomas usually saves his best play for the fourth quarter, but the Celtics guard showed out early with this pass between Marshall Plumlee‘s legs to get Kelly Olynyk a layup.

Thomas uncharacteristically just didn’t have enough late. Though he scored 39 points, he shot just 2-for-9 in the final period, as the Knicks pulled away for a 117-106 win.

Kevin Durant misses dunk so hard, ball flies past halfcourt (video)

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Kevin Durant played great in the Warriors’ win over the Thunder last night, but – perhaps fueled by excess emotion – he missed this incredibly emphatic dunk attempt.

Later, Russell Westbrook showed his former teammate how to do it (sparking their apparent conversation):

James Harden outduels Giannis Antetokounmpo as they produce fantastic highlight video

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James Harden and Giannis Antetokounmpo met in a battle of two of the NBA’s best point guards. (Still weird to say.) The final lines:

  • Harden: 38 points, 6 rebounds, 8 assists, 2 blocks
  • Antetokounmpo: 32 points, 11 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 blocks

The winner? Harden and the Rockets, who topped the Bucks, 111-92.

But the real winner? Anyone who gets to watch this highlight video. It just gets better as it goes.