Goran Dragic gets Eric Bledsoe updates by following Bledsoe on Twitter

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Eric Bledsoe remains unsigned, and the situation isn’t getting prettier.

The Suns and the restricted free agent have sparred through the media, leaving Bledsoe’s teammates caught in the middle. I bet they realize how valuable Bledsoe is to the team, but they’re also loyal to an organization that has already signed them.

So, how does Goran Dragic – Phoenix’s top player – stay informed? He gets some news from Suns coach Jeff Hornacek. As for the other side…

Dragic in a Q&A with Erildas Budraitis of RealGM (hat tip: Jeffrey Sanders of Valley of the Suns):

RealGM: Do you stay in touch with Eric Bledsoe? Do you receive information about his situation and do you pay attention to it?

Dragic: I follow him on Twitter. I talked with Jeff couple of weeks ago and they still didn’t know if they are going to offer him a contract. We are waiting for his decision. But I think he is a big part of this team. He was great last year and we played together well. I hope he will sign for the next year.

First of all, Dragic saying he follows Bledsoe on Twitter doesn’t mean that’s his only way of communicating with Bledsoe. Dragic easily could have additional ways of staying in touch with Bledsoe.

But let’s say this is Dragic’s only pipeline to Bledsoe (and it’s not a good one considering the lack of free agency news Bledsoe tweets). That’s probably for the best.

It’s in Bledsoe’s best interest to convince the Suns he’d leave after next season if he signs the qualifying offer. Their only reason to offer him a larger contract is believing he’d walk, and to convince them of that, he might have to criticize the situation in Phoenix.

Would Bledsoe really mean it? Maybe, maybe not. It’s a negotiating tactic, but one that could mean hurting teammates’ feelings.

Though a sign-and-trade or unmatched offer sheet from Philadelphia is possible, Bledsoe will most likely – either on the qualifying offer or larger contract – play for the Suns next season. At that point, he and Dragic will need to work together.

This way, they give themselves the best chance of meshing – and that’s great for fans who really enjoyed the dynamic backcourt last season.

Tyronn Lue says he has secret plan to fix Cavaliers’ defense for playoffs

AP Photo/Phil Long
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Only one team that ranked outside the top 12 in points allowed per possession during the regular season won an NBA title. The 2000-01 Lakers, who were 21st in defensive rating, are the lone outlier.

The Cavaliers rank 22nd in defensive rating this season and have been even worse lately.

But Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue says he has a plan. He just won’t reveal it yet.

Lue, via Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com:

“We’ve got to hold back. We can’t show our hand early because … these are some good teams and we don’t want them to be able to come into a series and be able to adjust to what we do. We just have to be able to play our normal defense until we get there and then we will see what happens.”

Also:

“I think the rebounding hurt us. Rebounding. But it will be different once some other things happen. … Their two-guards, their threes, they still crashed the boards. But we have something to fix that. Just not right now.”

What precisely those plans are, Lue wouldn’t tell us. And here’s the other part — he’s not exactly sure they’ll work.

“I’m not confident, but we’ve got to” get the defense fixed, Lue said. “We have to.”

The Cavs ranked just 10th in defensive rating last season, among the worst marks for an eventual champion. But they cranked up their defense in the playoffs, especially late. Cleveland held the Raptors 4.8 points per 100 possessions below their regular-season scoring rate and the Warriors 7.8 below theirs.

Lue also unleashed a 3-point-heavy attack in the playoffs last year after sitting on the strategy through the regular season.

So, I have some faith Lue will implement a better defensive gameplan when it counts. It also helps to have LeBron James, who can still play elite defense when not in the slog of a long regular season.

But the Cavaliers’ defensive deficiencies right now are glaring. This roster appears to lack defensive potential, and their many miscues keep them well below whatever that potential is.

The challenge in elevating this defense to championship-caliber will be immense, maybe even unprecedented.

Mavericks’ Salah Mejri dunks while getting shoved in the gut (video)

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The Mavericks built a 13-point lead over the Thunder with 3:30left thanks to plays like this Salah Mejri dunk on Nick Collison.

Unfortunately for Dallas, Russell Westbrook happened.

Willy Hernangomez dunks on Andre Drummond, Pistons’ playoff chances (video)

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Andre Drummond and the Pistons couldn’t slow down anything.

Not Willy Hernangomez. Not the Knicks. Not Detroit’s plummeting playoff hopes.

After a 109-95 loss to the Knicks last night, the Pistons — who’ve lost four straight and seven of eight — are 1.5 games and two teams out of playoff position.

Terrence Ross 360 dunks his way back into Raptors fans’ hearts (video)

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In his first appearance in Toronto since the Raptors traded him to the Magic, Terrence Ross did what he has done best throughout his career: Delight Toronto fans with a dunk.

And of course the fans appreciated it, because their Raptors cruised to a 131-112 win.