Report: Timberwolves tried to dump J.J. Barea on 76ers in Kevin Love trade

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For the Timberwolves, trading Kevin Love was about both gaining positive assets and shedding negative ones.

Minnesota definitely added positive assets (Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett and Thaddeus Young), and the Timberwolves still dropped negative ones (Luc Mbah a Moute and Alexey Shved).

But Mbah a Moute and Shved weren’t the only veterans Minnesota wanted to dump on the 76ers. The Timberwolves tried – and failed – to unload J.J. Barea.

Jerry Zgoda of the Minneapolis Star Tribune (hat tip: James Herbert of Eye on Basketball):

They’ll try to trade him — they tried to get Sixers to take him with no luck — but if that doesn’t happen, they’ll buy him out, I’d think

Philadelphia could have also taken Barea in the trade either in addition to Mbah a Moute and Shved or in place of one of those players. But it’s a credit to the negotiating ability of Sam Hinkie over Flip Saunders that it didn’t happen that way.

Barea is the least valuable of the trio. Though all three players have expiring contracts, Barea is the oldest and highest-paid. None of the three can be counted on to contribute much on the court.

Mbah a Moute, a mentor of Joel Embiid and fellow Cameroonian, hold particular value to Philadelphia for his ability to help the No. 3 pick. There’s always a chance Shved, 25, reverses his backward career trajectory after a promising rookie year led to a worse second season.

But the best days of Barea, 30, seem behind him.

Still, I’d be a little surprised if the Timberwolves waive him – unless he gives them a deal on his buyout. Minnesota has 15 guaranteed contracts, so the roster limit isn’t a huge concern. Barea’s $4,519,500 expiring contract could facilitate a mid-season trade, but that option is off the table if he’s cut.

The Timberwolves clearly don’t see a use for Barea, but his contract could still be useful in another trade. Waiving him is always an option past the trade deadline.

Jusuf Nurkic trolls Nuggets, tells former team to enjoy their summer (VIDEO)

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Jusuf Nurkic did not enjoy his time as a member of the Denver Nuggets. His trade to the Portland Trail Blazers in exchange for Mason Plumlee was a welcome change of scenery.

On Tuesday night, Nurkic got to take on his old team with huge playoff implications at stake. Portland beat the Nuggets, 122-113, moving a game ahead of their rivals in the race for the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference and giving them the best tiebreaker between the two.

Nurkic was impressive, blasting his old squad with 33 points on 12-of-15 shooting, adding 16 rebounds, three blocks, and two assists.

Nurkic was interviewed in the arena after the game, and he was obviously happy he helped his team while also sticking it to Denver. Speaking with Portland reporter Brooke Olzendam, Nurkic took one last shot at the Nuggets, telling them to enjoy their summer.

Via Twitter:

Nurkic quite possibly sent the Nuggets packing for the year with the game at the Moda Center on Tuesday, so he might have been the guy who helped start their summer.

Still, that is ice cold.

James Johnson decimates Marcus Morris with huge one-handed dunk (VIDEO)

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Miami Heat forward James Johnson is one of the NBA’s best in-game dunkers. On Tuesday night against the Detroit Pistons, he yammed down a huge one-handed slam that embarrassed Marcus Morris and drew gasps from the crowd at the Palace.

The play came midway through the fourth quarter with Johnson at the top of the key. After a quick pass over to him, Johnson gave a quick hesitation before driving to his left and past his defender.

With the quick step, Johnson’s only remaining opponent at the basket was Morris, who was unfortunate enough to find himself between the high-flying Heat and the rim.

This is what happened next:

Morris was whistled for a foul on the play.

Watch Hassan Whiteside beat the Pistons at the buzzer with tip-in (VIDEO)

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The Miami Heat took until the final moments on Tuesday night to beat the Detroit Pistons, but it was worth it. With just a handful of games left to play, the Heat need to stave off the Chicago Bulls for the final spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race. Thanks to a tip at the buzzer by Hassan Whiteside, they’re one step closer to achieving that goal.

The play came with just seconds left in the fourth quarter. James Johnson missed a shot with six seconds to go, and the Heat grabbed the rebound. Goran Dragic then tried his hand, but he couldn’t get it to go, either.

That’s when Whiteside came back with a tip at the buzzer that ended the game.

Via Twitter:

Miami now sits at 36-38, a game above the Bulls for the No. 8 seed.

Whiteside, meanwhile, is never going to wash that hand again:

Kobe Bryant says LeBron James has earned the right to take a rest (VIDEO)

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Former Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant was a pretty consistent player in the NBA. Save for his final injury-laden seasons and the lockout year of 2011-12, Bryant played in no fewer than 65 regular season games in a single season.

Coaches also had no reason or want to ask Bryant — a notorious worker — to sit out in order to rest. That wasn’t really on the menu, and Bryant knew that.

Speaking to ESPN’s First Take, Bryant said no coach really asked him to ever take a rest, “I’ve never been approached by a coach and asked to rest.”

Bryant remarked that he took queues from Michael Jordan during tough stretches of the season — back-to-backs or four games in five night scenarios — where he could switch his game up, floating from perimeter to post, in order to save energy during those matchups.

Bryant also said during the same interview that he understands the complexity of the modern game, and that players like LeBron James deserve to take a rest if they’ve earned it.

“LeBron has done so much for the game. He’s earned the opportunity to take a rest,” said Bryant.

The debate on this subject will continue, it seems.