Bernard James didn’t want to be the Mavericks’ fourth center again.
He figured either he or DeJuan Blair, Dallas’ No. 3 center last year, would return and fill that role. But Blair heading to the Wizards didn’t clear a direct path for James.
The Mavericks traded for Tyson Chandler, who can fill a larger role than Samuel Dalembert did last season, kept Brandan Wright and traded for Greg Smith.
James could beat Smith for a rotation spot or maybe Wright or Smith would play more power forward. There are minutes up for grabs.
And James is pursuing them.
Marc Stein of ESPN:
Dallas renounced James – and Vince Carter and Shawn Marion – to clear cap space to sign Chandler Parsons. The Mavericks also used the room exception on Jameer Nelson, leaving them nothing but a minimum offer available for James.
Because James would have bird rights after his one-year contract, he can veto any trade next season. So, he will get some security (the same security he received last year on a one-year deal).
The 29-year-old third-year big man from Florida State is a solid defender, especially as a shot-blocker. Despite his limited offensive skills, he can still fill a small role.
The Mavericks now have 17 players under contract – two more than the regular-season limit. Ivan Johnson (just $25,000 guaranteed), Eric Griffin (just $150,000 guaranteed) or maybe even James himself are prime candidates to get waived unless Dallas makes another move. James’ guarantee is not clear, but usually, a non-fully guaranteed contract is reported as such.
This not only changes the Kings dreams of making the playoffs in the West, it also alters the trade deadline and free agency.
Rudy Gay, the Kings wing and second-leading scorer, has been diagnosed with a torn left Achilles tendon, according to the team. During the third quarter of Wednesday night’s game against the Pacers, Gay drove out of the right corner and, untouched, fell to the floor hard. He had to be helped off the court by teammates.
Team doctors made the initial torn Achilles diagnosis, which will need to be confirmed by an MRI scheduled for Thursday. He would be out not only for this season but likely the start of the next one as well.
Without Gay, a lot more will fall on Matt Barnes and, once he returns from his calf injury in a couple of weeks, Omri Casspi. However, those two are a drop off from what Gay brought to the Kings, and the team’s playoff chances have taken a serious hit (they are 1.5 games out of the eight seed after Wednesday’s loss to the Pacers).
Gay was not happy in Sacramento and had said planned to opt out of the $14.3 million final year of his contract to be a free agent next summer, which made him someone potentially traded before the deadline (although the Kings being in the playoff hunt impacted that). Gay averaged 18.7 points and 6.4 rebounds a game for the Kings, and while his game was a little old school — more isolation and midrange shots than teams prefer — he put up points. Enough that he was drawing trade interest heading toward the deadline from Oklahoma City and other squads.
That is all off the table now. At age 30, if Gay does still opt out of his contract for next season this will impact what he would make on the free market.
Kevin Durant playing the Thunder invites extra emotions.
Russell Westbrook felt them – in the form of a flagrant foul by Warriors center Zaza Pachulia, who stood over Westbrook for emphasis.
Pachulia is really embracing his role doing the dirty work for star-studded Golden State.
That rumor No. 1 pick Ben Simmons won’t play this season?
It just won’t die.
Even after Simmons tried to quash it, even after the 76ers’ CEO outright denied it, even after Simmons returned to practice, even in an otherwise optimistic report.
Chris Haynes of ESPN:
76ers rookie forward Ben Simmons could make his much-anticipated NBA debut shortly after the All-Star break, league sources told ESPN.
Barring a setback in his recovery, sources say the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft has a chance to take the hardwood near March. There still remains the possibility Simmons sits the entire season, sources said, but his situation will continue to be thoroughly evaluated throughout his comeback quest.
76ers coach Brett Brown said there’s “no chance” Simmons plays in Philadelphia’s nationally televised game against the Rockets next week. Other than that, there isn’t much clarity.
It mostly sounds as if Simmons is still too far from returning to say something definitive.
The Hornets did so much right in their 107-85 win over the Trail Blazers, even a bad pass went through the hoop.
Roy Hibbert reacted fantastically to blunder/basket (blasket?).