Report: Suns considering signing Greg Monroe to an offer sheet

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Greg Monroe and Eric Bledsoe are easily the two best remaining free agents.

Both could play for the Suns next year.

Phoenix has the inside track on re-signing Bledsoe, even though they’re far apart in negotiations. Bledsoe, like Monroe, is a restricted free agent – meaning the Suns can match any offer he receives.

As they wait for Bledsoe to sign an offer sheet, they might put the Pistons on the clock with Monroe.

Jordan Schultz of NBC Sports Radio:

How does Monroe, a methodical big man, fit into Phoenix’s up-tempo attack? The same way Isaiah Thomas fit into a point guard rotation that already included Bledsoe, Goran Dragic and Tyler Ennis.

The Suns want value where they can find it. If they can get Monroe at a price they believe falls short of his production, they probably would – and definitely should – sign him and sort out the rest later.

Phoenix has enough cap space to offer Monroe a max contract, which is likely what it would take to sign him. I can’t see him locking himself into anything less at this point, especially if it opens the door for the Pistons to match and put him back on a roster with Josh Smith.

It’s possible Monroe is worth more than his max deal, though his true value is probably a touch shy of that. If the Suns want to make an aggressive push, there’s really no downside. This late in free agency, they won’t risk losing other targets during the the three days Detroit has to match. Besides Bledsoe, there’s nobody left even near Monroe’s level.

If pressed, I think the Pistons would match. Before free agency, Stan Van Gundy said he knew how he’d handle any potential Monroe scenario. Since, though, he’s opened the door for letting Monroe walk – or at least created confusion on that front.

Andre Drummond is the Pistons’ future, and Smith remains in Detroit. Van Gundy would have to shuffle lineups, and maybe even the roster, to make Monroe fit.

But the Suns don’t offer a perfect fit, either. Their style is not conducive to Monroe, though he could work as a change of pace.

Unfortunately for Monroe, there’s no perfect option. Right now, he can just wait to see how much money Phoenix offers and then go from there.

LeBron James finishes reverse alley-oop from Russell Westbrook (VIDEO)

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LOS ANGELES — The new format for the NBA All-Star game brought a little more defense to the first half of the annual showcase, but it didn’t do much to enliven the game. That said, the game has been better than the pre-game “entertainment.”

Midway through the second quarter, his team down 15, LeBron James decided to make it a game again and played with some energy. That included a three, and a couple impressive alley-oop finishes. The best came via Russell Westbrook.

There also was this one courtesy Kemba Walker.

Those may be the two best dunks of the first half.

Anthony Davis opens All-Star game wearing DeMarcus Cousins’ jersey

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LOS ANGELES – Anthony Davis often relies on his Pelicans teammates to set him up.

Tonight, he gave a nod to one of them.

Davis started the All-Star game wearing DeMarcus Cousins‘ No. 0 jersey. Cousins and Davis were both voted starters then drafted by LeBron James, but Cousins can’t play due to injury.

Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated:

Very cool gesture by Davis. He’s an excellent teammate.

No, Joel Embiid didn’t cheat during the NBA Skills Challenge

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The Internet got itself all in a huff on Saturday as they watched the 2018 NBA All-Star Weekend Skills Challenge. In particular, the matchup between Chicago Bulls rookie Lauri Markkanen and Philadelphia 76ers big man Joel Embiid stirred up a bit of controversy.

Specifically, folks accused Embiid of cheating.

During the passing section of the obstacle course, Embiid didn’t actually make any of his passes into the ring. He then proceeded on the next section and was neck-and-neck with Markkanen as they tried to finish out the head-to-head competition. Markkanen won, but that didn’t stop folks from saying the 76ers All-Star had circumvented the rules.

We now know that’s not true.

According to the rules (provided on the NBA media site, page 47 of the 2018 NBA All-Star Media Guide) Embiid was allowed to move onto the next section even though he hadn’t completed any of his passes. A player only has to exhaust the rack, not complete a pass. It appears rules sort of assume that if a player stands there trying to complete a pass three times they’ll fall so far behind they won’t be able to catch up.

Re-watching the video, it appears Embiid knew this rule to the game and figured if he didn’t make the first one he would quickly try to blast the next two passes off the rack so he could then move onto the next section.

Embiid even took to Twitter to head off accusations that he had cheated.

Via Twitter:

Trust. The. Process.

Rumor: Jeff Hornacek shoved Joakim Noah during confrontation

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The saga between the New York Knicks and Joakim Noah has been ongoing for sometime, with the latest story being that there was some kind of verbal altercation between the former All-Star big man and head coach Jeff Hornacek.

Noah has not played for the team since Jan. 23, and he is now separated from the Knicks as they try to find a solution to shed him from their roster.

We now have a better idea of what kind of urgency New York has to make that move.

A report from the New York Daily News has given us more information about the confrontation between Noah and Hornacek. The latest addition to the story is that it was not just words between the Knicks coach and Noah, and that Hornacek actually pushed Noah first during the confrontation.

The two then had to be separated.

Via NYDN:

Noah was banished from the Knicks after an altercation with coach Jeff Hornacek during a practice last month. The disagreement stemmed from Noah’s lack of playing time, and it turned physical the day after he logged only five minutes against the Warriors.

While no punches were thrown, the Daily News learned that Hornacek was the first to shove Noah before they had to be separated.

In our last update on this story, Dan outlined how that could be made possible. No team is going to trade for Noah at this juncture in his career, so the only real option for New York is to waive him.

Here’s how that looks, according to our own Dan Feldman:

If the Knicks waive Noah without a buyout, they’d have two options after paying out the rest of his $17,765,000 salary this season:

Pay Noah $18,530,000 next season and $19,295,000 the following season
Pay Noah $7,565,000 each of the following five years via the stretch provision

It just keeps getting weirder and weirder during a lost season in the Big Apple.