Report: Paul Pierce to sign two-year deal to join Wizards

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If LeBron James choosing to leave Miami and return to Cleveland was the biggest surprise of NBA free agency, this has to be a close second.

Paul Pierce is reportedly set to join the Washington Wizards.

From Marc Stein of ESPN.com:

Paul Pierce is on the verge of joining the Washington Wizards in a free-agent deal, ESPN has learned

ESPN has learned that Pierce will sign a two-year deal with the Wizards at the mid-level exception with a player option entering Year 2

This is a stunning development — not necessarily because Pierce was so attached to being in Brooklyn, but after playing the first 15 years of his career with the Boston Celtics, he’ll now be joining his second team in as many seasons.

It’s also a sign that a very expensive gamble by the Nets to become immediately relevant by trading for Pierce and Kevin Garnett failed pretty miserably, especially when considering the overall cost. Brooklyn is hamstrung in terms of its ability to rebuild traditionally because of the three first round draft picks (2014, 2016 and 2018) it gave up to complete the deal, along with giving Boston the right to swap first round picks with the Nets in 2017.

Pierce’s numbers dipped significantly with the Nets, due to a combination of playing less minutes and having a reduction in responsibility with Joe Johnson taking on the role of the team’s primary offensive option. He averaged 13.5 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.4 assists in 28 minutes per contest, and started in 68 of his 75 regular season appearances.

The Nets reportedly had the opportunity to re-sign Pierce, but passed in part due to the fact that his deal would have cost the team north of $20 million in luxury taxes, reports Tim Bontemps of the New York Post.

The Wizards wasted little time in replacing Trevor Ariza, who agreed to a four-year, $32 million deal to join the Houston Rockets.

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich on resting players: “It’s complicated … kind of like healthcare”

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San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, along with LeBron James, has been at the center of the discussion about resting players in the NBA. The legendary coach has been credited with the idea to rest star players en masse during the season to save them for the playoffs. Meanwhile, after the Cavaliers sat LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Love during a primetime matchup on ESPN, the team received a call from the league.

Commissioner Adam Silver has been active in talking about the issue as of late, and has even issued a memo to team owners to be considerate about resting players.

Popovich, meanwhile, thinks the issue isn’t quite as easy to clear up. Speaking with ESPN, the Spurs coach noted that each party in an NBA team has a different role and goal, and that sometimes those goals pull opposite each other.

Additionally, Popovich said asking owners to step in to make a decision over a coach or GM could be a serious issue.

Via ESPN:

But we all have different roles, different jobs, and different goals. We can’t satisfy everybody. But I think that every owner’s gonna be different. I think it’s a slippery slope, and makes it difficult to keep trust, and camaraderie to the degree that I think you have to have to be successful in this league if owners get too involved in what coaches and GMs are doing.”

“I think keeping owners informed about what’s going on is mandatory, and having input is fine,” Popovich said. “But I think there has to be an understanding that coaches and GMs have brains also, and we know who pays the bills. It’s a slippery slope, I think, if owners got too involved in that process. That trust relationship in those three areas is really important in creating a culture and making something that can be long-lasting.

What Popovich is basically pointing out is that GMs and coaches are hired to be the basketball minds for a reason. Having owners meddle in day-to-day decisions like resting players could muddy that relationship.

The San Antonio coach did concede that the best idea might be to rest players when they are at home, in front of home crowds who are more likely to have already seen their top players that season simply due to repetition. But Popovich isn’t in favor of broad, sweeping mandates on resting players from the league since that wouldn’t always be prudent.

“That’s why no basic rule has been written, so to speak,” said Popovich. “Because you can’t write a rule that covers everything. It’s complicated … kind of like healthcare.”

Chicago does humor with “Beauty and the Bull” snapchat musical

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The Beauty and the Beast movie is both a hit and ripe for satire. Or just amusing spinoffs.

Enter the Chicago Bulls, with Benny the Bull mascot and Robin Lopez pitching in on a musical takeoff of the film promoting the team.

Well played Bulls.

LeBron James drives through Wizards defense, dunks on

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Even when they are getting beat — and the Cavaliers have some issues to shake out before the playoffs start — there are a couple times a game that LeBron James makes a play that is stunning.

For example, splitting defenders out high with his dribble then going in and dunking on Ian Mahinmi. LeBron did that Saturday night.

The Wizards beat the Cavaliers and Cleveland has issues that are bigger than LeBron’s goggles (Boston can tie Cleveland for the top spot in the East with a win Sunday), but never doubt LeBron’s explosiveness.

Raptors’ Patrick Patterson taunts Mavericks’ bench after three, Rick Carlisle talks back (VIDEO)

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Toronto handed Dallas its 41st loss of the season Saturday night, which means with the Mavericks’ next loss their streak of winning seasons will come to an end at 16.

Toronto was talking a lot of smack while getting that win. At least Patrick Patterson was when he was draining corner threes in front of the Mavericks’ bench. On the one above, Patterson chirps and coach Rick Carlisle goes back at him verbally. They both pick up technical fouls for their trouble.

I’m surprised this doesn’t happen a little more during games, there’s a lot of talking down there