John Loyer, Greg Monroe

NBA GM says ‘there’s no reason’ to trade for restricted free agents Greg Monroe or Eric Bledsoe

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Greg Monroe and Eric Bledsoe have been linked since the beginning of free agency in July, and not for reasons either of them are pleased with.

Both players are restricted free agents, meaning their respective teams have the right to match any offer they may receive from someone else. But the mere threat of that prevented other teams from tying up their free agent spending power with offer sheets that ultimately may not have resulted in getting the player they desired.

Now, both Bledsoe and Monroe are considering playing with their current teams next season on a one-year qualifying offer, in order to pursue more lucrative deals as unrestricted free agents next summer — a decision which would come with it a fair amount of risk. An injury or sub-par season could lower the amount they would receive on their next long-term deal, and should something horrific happen, there wouldn’t be that huge chunk of guaranteed dollars to fall back on that would provide for a completely secure future.

The last option before playing out next season on a one-year deal would be to try to land somewhere in a sign-and-trade scenario, where theoretically a four-year max contract that their current teams aren’t willing to offer could be secured. But increasingly, that seems like more and more of a long shot.

From Sean Deveney of Sporting News:

“I think any one of us would be wary of getting involved in a trade for either player,” the GM said. “Their teams overvalue them in terms of making trades, they don’t want to give them away for nothing. There’s no reason to give up significant assets for players who probably will be available next summer. That doesn’t mean a deal can’t get done, but it is complicated.” …

Both Monroe and Bledsoe are said to want deals in the range of five years and the maximum, but Bledsoe is being offered four years and $48 million. Monroe denied a report he was offered five years, $60 million by Detroit. Teams are, naturally, not eager to shell out that kind of money while also giving up players.

Teams have all the leverage in the restricted free agency process, but playing for the qualifying offer turns things around to where the players have the advantage. The problem is the amount of risk associated with that decision, but for guys like Bledsoe and Monroe who feel like they deserve contracts at or near the max, they may see it as the only realistic option.

Suns’ Markieff Morris, Archie Goodwin get in scuffle on the bench

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Just another magical day in the Valley of the Sun, where clearly Jeff Hornacek was the problem….

During an early timeout in the Suns’ game at Golden State, Markieff Morris tried to explain something to Archie Goodwin, who is seated. This conversation gets heated quickly, and teammates eventually have to step in and separate the two teammates.

The Suns have shopped Morris around as the trade deadline approaches, this isn’t going to help his value.

We should find out more about what happened after the game ends, although I’m sure both sides will play it down as “nothing.”

Kawhi Leonard drains game winner to beat Orlando (VIDEO)

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This is how much Gregg Popovich trusts Kawhi Leonard on offense now: Tie game with 13.3 seconds remaining, and the play design is a 1-4 flat isolation for Leonard. It’s the kind of play teams will call for LeBron James or Kevin Durant. Popovich just called it for Leonard.

And he was rewarded with a game-winning bucket.

Leonard finished with 29 points, LaMarcus Aldridge had 21, and the Spurs head into the All-Star break with a 45-8 record, on pace to win 70 games this season. And that still would only get them a two seed.

Hornets’ Michael Kidd-Gilchrist suffers shoulder dislocation, leaves game

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
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Michael Kidd-Gilchrist had been back just six games after suffering a torn labrum in the preseason that required surgery. The Hornets had won four of those six, were playing improved defense, and looked like a potential playoff team in the East.

Now this.

He went straight to the locker room and did not return to the game (the Pacers got the win).

You can see the injury above. In a scramble for a loose ball, the Pacers’ Ian Mahinmi falls on MKG’s arm, dislocating his shoulder.

We don’t know the severity of all this and if MKG is going to miss time beyond this game. But it isn’t good.

Wife of former Pelicans coach Monty Williams dies in car accident

NEW ORLEANS, LA - DECEMBER 12:  Ingrid Williams, wife of New Orleans Pelicans head coach Monty Williams and other member of the Pelicans organization feed the homeless on December 12, 2013 at the New Orleans Mission in New Orleans, Louisiana. 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. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2013 NBAE (Photo by Layne Murdoch/NBAE via Getty Images)
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There are no words to describe how sad this is.

Ingrid Williams, the wife of Oklahoma City Thunder assistant coach and former New Orleans Pelicans head coach, Monty Williams, died Wednesday at the age of 44 from injuries suffered in a car accident the day before.

Williams’ car was hit head-on by another vehicle that had crossed over the center divider, according to the Oklahoman.

The Monty and Ingrid had been married more than 20 years and have five children, ranging in age from 17 to 5. Williams is one of the better respected and personally liked coaches around the league, and the tributes have just started to pour in.

Our thoughts are with Williams and his family.