Sam Hinkie

Sixers GM says he never had conversations about acquiring Anthony Bennett

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The Sixers were a late addition to the trade between the Cavaliers and the Timberwolves that sent Kevin Love to Cleveland, but like so many of the team’s moves over the past two seasons, they weren’t looking to get anything in return that might help their chances of winning in the upcoming season.

Philadelphia ended up sending Thaddeus Young, its last remaining veteran talent on the roster, to Minnesota in exchange for Alexey Shved and Luc Mbah a Moute — two players that are expected to remain, but won’t do much in the way of increasing the team’s competitive chances.

It’s worth wondering if the Sixers might have been able to land Anthony Bennett in the deal, the top overall pick in the 2013 draft who underwhelmed in his rookie season, but looked much sharper during this year’s Summer League in Las Vegas. But GM Sam Hinkie said acquiring Bennett wasn’t something that was ever discussed.

From Tom Moore of The Intelligencer:

“I can tell you unequivocally we didn’t have any conversations about (Bennett),” the Sixers’ general manager said during a 30-minute conference call Tuesday.

The Sixers ended up trading veteran forward Thaddeus Young to Minnesota on Saturday for the expiring contracts of Luc Mbah a Moute and Alexey Shved, as well as the Heat’s top-10 protected 2015 first-round pick. A deal for Bennett, as well as the Sixers’ interest in him, had been reported earlier this month.

Hinkie called it “a move we think moves our program forward. One (thing) that matters is a first-round pick in the ‘15 draft. That’s important. You don’t see a lot of first-rounders trading hands.”

Essentially, Hinkie valued a future first round pick more than what he believes a previous one in Bennett will ultimately become, and given the team’s current strategy, that makes a significant amount of sense.

While the pick they received is top-10 protected, the Heat should easily be good enough next season to avoid finishing the year as a lottery team. If all goes as planned, this gives the Sixers have another opportunity to swing for the fences in the draft, in hopes of landing a superstar talent that will change the course of the franchise.

Kobe Bryant with spin move around LeBron James (VIDEO)

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The game itself went about how you’d expect one between a title contender and a high lottery team to go — the Cavaliers 120-111 win over the Lakers was never really in doubt.

But the fans in Cleveland wanted to see some vintage Kobe Bryant, and they got it late when he spun around LeBron James and hit the reverse lay-up.

LeBron had 29 points on the night, and Kyrie Irving had 35. Kobe finished with 17 and got a standing ovation from the Cleveland crowd.

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.