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Follow Live: Latest NBA trades, rumors all in one place as deadline nears

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The NBA’s trade deadline is at 3 p.m. ET on Thursday (Feb. 18), and that means a tsunami of rumors will wash over twitter. And in that maybe a few trades will happen (maybe more than a few trades, who knows?). We understand you’re a busy person with a life and a job/school to tend to and don’t have time just to sit around and follow trade rumors all day (well, unless you go to Arizona State). So we’ve compiled them all in one place, which will be updated as news breaks, and we will link to PBT’s longer stories on some of this news.

• 3:21 PM ET: There was a good one that just beat the trade deadline: The Clippers have traded Lance Stephenson to the Memphis Grizzlies for Jeff Green, a trade broken by Zach Lowe and Marc Stein of ESPN. I like this trade for the Clippers in that Green is erratic but that’s better than Stephenson, who had fallen out of Rivers’ rotation. This is an upgrade for the Clippers (does not vault them to contender, but an upgrade), but it came at a price. The Grizzlies take on the enigmatic Stephenson — who also has moments of strong play — plus they get a protected first-round pick from the Clippers (heavily protected 2019 first round pick). That’s a good haul for the Grizzlies.

• 3:10 PM ET:  We have one of those late trades — Kirk Hinrich is going from Chicago to Atlanta for a second round pick.

• 3:02 PM ET: The big names did not move: Dwight Howard is still with the Rockets, who were also unable to move Ty Lawson. Ryan Anderson is still with the Pelicans. Al Horford and Jeff Teague are still Rockets.

• 3:00 PM ET: The trade deadline has passed, although a few deals will still trickle in (they don’t get announced immediately).

• 2:44 PM ET: The Phoenix Suns have traded disgruntled power forward Markieff Morris to the Washington Wizards, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports. The Wizards want to get more athletic and add shooting to play better off John Wall, and good Morris does that. However disgruntled Morris is not a help, the Wizards are rolling the dice. But after a 23-28 start that has them three games out of the playoffs, they need to roll the dice. Phoenix got a good haul back: The serviceable Kris Humphries, DeJuan Blair, and a protected 2016 first round pick (protected top nine).

• 2:29 PM ET: If you’re looking for a deal that does go down in the final half-hour, keep an eye on Ben McLemore out of Sacramento. They want to make a roster upgrade and a playoff push and he is their best asset to dangle. The Bulls were in the mix among other, but Chris Haynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer says Dallas has moved into the discussions for McLemore.

• 2:22 PM ET: We have another minor deal, the Miami Heat have traded Brian Roberts to the Portland Trail Blazers for a second round pick. Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports broke the news. Why did the teams do this? For Miami, this move (combined with others earlier in the day) gets them below the luxury tax line, saving $6 million. For Portland, they had a lot of cap space, now they are up to the salary floor, and in getting there they stockpiled picks. Neil Olshey in Portland remains one of the smartest GMs out there.

• 2:18 PM ET: Things have gotten quiet on the trade front, and part of the reason is a lot of executives are on their way to Oklahoma City for the memorial for Monty Williams’ beloved wife, Ramona Shelburne notes. Which is far more important.

• 2:10 PM ET: If there was one thing I was certain would happen at the deadline, it was Toronto getting an upgrade at the power forward spot (sorry Luis Scola). Nothing yet. They are offering the Knicks’ first round pick this season (which is the worse pick of the Nuggets or Knicks) and Patrick Patterson. That’s not a bad package, but nobody’s biting, according to Ken Berger at CBSSports.com.

• 1:56 PM ET: With just more than an hour to go until the trade deadline, a lot of deals seem to be falling apart. The Knicks had talked to the Timberwolves about Kevin Martin but that deal collapsed, reports Marc Stein of ESPN. Also, Minnesota and Milwaukee resumed Ricky Rubio trade talks, but nothing has come of them, reports Stein.

• 1:51 PM ET: With Channing Frye going to Cleveland, that is one less suitor for Ryan Anderson in New Orleans. With a good chance they lose him in free agency most expected the Pelicans to deal Anderson, but he could be around through the end of the season in the Big Easy.

• 1:45 PM ET: Randy Foye to Oklahoma City is a done deal, and now we have the details. Denver will get point guard D.J. Augustin, Steve Novak and two second-round picks. The Nuggets will try to flip Novak before the deadline.

• 1:40 PM ET: As had been rumored for a while, the Atlanta Hawks have shut down talks on Jeff Teague. They are going to stand pat with Teague and Al Horford, try to re-sign Horford this summer and re-consider trading one of their key point guards during the summer.

• 12:58 PM ET: Oklahoma City may be getting some help at the two guard that they desperately need. The Thuder are in “advanced talks” with Denver for Randy Foye. That would be a solid upgrade for OKC, considering Dion Waiters and Andre Roberson get the minutes now.

• 12:55 PM ET: Looking for a little point guard depth, the Chicago Bulls are talking to the Orlando about a trade for Shabazz Napier. This would be a pretty minor deal. Adrian Wojnarowski had the news.

• 12:50 PM ET: The Cleveland Cavaliers are acquiring Channing Frye from Orlando in a three-team deal that will ultimately send long-time Cav big man Anderson Varejao to Portland. Sam Amick of the USA Today broke the story. A lot of details still to follow in this one — Portland is going to have to get a heck of a sweetener to use their free cap space on Varejao — but the details are still coming. Remember the Clippers were in the front of the line for Channing Frye, but decided today to pull out of the deal (that could mean Lance Stephenson is headed elsewhere, although the buzz is the Clippers stand pat).

• 12:30 PM ET: The deal is done — Donatas Motiejunas and Marcus Thornton are headed to Detroit, in exchange the Rockets get little used (and with back issues) Joel Anthony and a protected 2016 first round pick. Adrian Wojnarowski broke the news. I like that move for Detroit, Stan Van Gundy has had a fantastic trade deadline. The Rockets free up salary cap space — they are now $1.2 million below the hard cap they brought on themselves — and have a roster spot, plus get a pick (it is top eight protected, which makes it highly unlikely the Pistons pick does not go to the Rockets this June).

• 12:16 PM ET: The Pistons have proposed a Joel Anthony for Donatas Motiejunas trade with the Rockets, according to Marc Stein of ESPN. No way the Rockets do that straight up, so there are going to have to be other picks/players to sweeten the deal. The Pistons have coveted Motiejunas for a while, he is the kind of stretch four needed next to Andre Drummond in Stan Van Gundy’s system.

• 12:12 PM ET: A number of teams are calling the Nuggets about solid veteran guard Randy Foye, the Nuggets are listening but may not move him (unless they get an offer they genuinely like).

• 12:05 PM ET: We have a trade! Not a big one, not a thrilling one, but a trade. The Miami Heat have moved Jarnell Stokes to the New Orleans Pelicans, something first reported by Zach Lowe of ESPN. Stokes, a 6’9 power forward/center, has bounced between Memphis and Miami this season and has played a total of 18 minutes for these teams. He’s not a game-changer for the Pelicans, who also are getting $700,000 in cash in this trade. Why do the Heat do it? Because it saves them nearly $3 million in luxury tax.

• 11:50 ET: The Jazz still would like an upgrade or some depth at the point, now that they are out of the Lawson talks (see the next note below), so they are looking at other options. One of them as a fallback is Shelvin Mack, the rarely used third point guard of the Atlanta Hawks.

• 11:28 ET: The Rockets trading Ty Lawson to the Jazz deal appears to be DOA, according to Adrian Wojnarowski. The Jazz were hesitant from the start about Lawson, will look for another point guard to bring in, Trey Burke is still on the trade block. Houston is having trouble finding takers for Lawson or Dwight Howard, even at reduced prices. Also, the Rockets do not plan to buy Lawson out.

• 11:25 ET: Atlanta tested the trade market for current All-Star Al Horford and former All-Star Jeff Teague, but the asking price was ridiculously high, as percieved by other teams. The Hawks never backed off much from that asking price (particularly for Horford). Now as the deadline nears, the Hawks are telling teams no deal, they are keeping the team together. The Hawks want to re-sign Horford this summer and stand a good chance of landing him.

• 11:12 ET: And already teams are calling brand new Nets GM Sean Marks to see if he wants to move Thaddeus Young, according to Adrian Wojnarowski. Not a shock, the Raptors and a few other teams are interested in Young.

• 11:01 ET: The Kevin Love to Boston in three-way trade that includes Ryan Anderson to Cleveland idea is not totally dead yet. It may take Miracle Max to save it, the Cavs are very hesitant to move Love as they are in a win-now place and need an upgrade, not a lateral move (and Anderson is not an upgrade, there needs to be more) but the talks are not dead.

• 10:24 ET: Interesting note on the Ty Lawson to Utah rumors via the well-connected Steve Kyler of BasketballInsiders.com: When Lawson dropped the guarantee on the final year of his contract to facilitate his trade to Houston, there was a gentlemen’s agreement that the Rockets would let Lawson become a free agent regardless of how he plays. Utah is not bound by that and if Lawson plays well for them may want to keep him for that next season. Lawson would like the cash that comes with free agency. It may not change the deal, but it’s an interesting wrinkle. Basically, Utah doesn’t want Lawson unless Lawson wants to be there, and in the past Lawson has publicly slammed Utah as “boring.”

• 10:20 ET: The Brooklyn Nets have hired Sean Marks away from the San Antonio front office to be their General Manager. Yes, the guy owner Mikhail Prokhorov said he didn’t know less than 24 hours ago. The Nets had to back up the Brinks truck, but they got their man. Marks could be a fantastic GM in Brooklyn — if Prokhorov and company give him space and let him do his job. This is not going to be quick rebuild, can the Russians be patient?

• 10:07 ET: Boston wants to add a true No. 1 option to their rotation, but they are not giving up their numerous assets for rentals of free agents to be Dwight Howard or Al Horford (according to Adrian Wojnarowski). The issue with Howard is about re-signing him — who wants to pay him a max over multiple years? — and with Horford the Hawks have not backed off requests for the moon.

• 10:02 ET: The Phoenix Suns are considering trading Mirza Teletovic to the Milwaukee Bucks.

• 10:00 ET: The Suns and Toronto are still talking about a potential P.J. Tucker trade. Expect the Raptors to make some kind of move today to bring in an upgrade at the power forward spot, Luis Scola isn’t cutting it. The Suns would like the Raptors to take Markieff Morris, the Raptors have no interest in him. Phoenix continues to shop Morris.

• RUMORS, TRADES LEADING INTO DEADLINE DAY

• The Sacramento Kings have made a strong push to land Pau Gasol in a trade with Chicago (because Kings’ owner Vivek Ranadive wants to make the playoffs this year, and his constant meddling has always helped with that… oh, wait). The proposal on the table is Gasol and Tony Snell Sacramento for Kosta Koufos, Ben McLemore and a lessening of restrictions on a pick the Sixers owe the Bulls for the 2016 draft. For his part, Gasol wants to stay with the Bulls. The Kings also fired an assistant coach and close confidant of George Karl’s on Wednesday.

The Cleveland Cavaliers would like a stretch four, are talking to New Orleans about Ryan Anderson and Orlando about Channing Frye.

The Rockets and Jazz are in serious talks about a deal that would send struggling point guard Ty Lawson to Utah. Because Lawson’s contract is unguaranteed for next season, this is a low-risk gamble for the Jazz, who would send Trey Burke back as the centerpiece.

• The Bucks are not trading Greg Monroe. Michael Carter-Williams, on the other hand, still may be available (even though he’s been told he’s not being moved).

• Doc Rivers said the Clippers are not trading Blake Griffin. (At least not at the deadline, but that could be revisited this summer. The Clippers certainly listened to offers to gauge Griffin’s value in the marketplace.)

• Memphis sent Courtney Lee to the Charlotte Hornets in a three-team deal that also included the Miami Heat.

• Detroit acquired Tobias Harris in a trade that sent Brandon Jennings and Ersan Ilyasova to Orlando. I love this move long-term for the Pistons, and it is a good deal for Orlando as well if Scott Skiles has moved on from Harris.

Report: LeBron James won’t take discount from max salary

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In 2014, LeBron James made clear he’d accept no less than a max salary.

Ramona Shelburne and Brian Windhorst of ESPN:

James’ position on maximum contracts hasn’t changed, sources said.

Are we sure LeBron will even opt out next summer? If he opts in, he’ll earn $35,607,968 next season. If he opts out, his max starting salary projects to be $35,350,000.

Those numbers are obviously close, but LeBron will be working with imperfect information. He must decide on his player option by June 29. The salary cap, from which max salaries are derived, won’t be released until July 1.

But I doubt LeBron is fretting a few hundred thousand dollars. I don’t think he’s worried directly about the monetary difference between a max and near-max contract at all. He’s set financially, regardless.

I think this is about power. LeBron can demand a team give him as much money as allowed, and whichever one he picks will. That’s appealing from an ego standpoint, which is why I expect LeBron to opt out (or at least wield his player option to get where he wants, but more on that later).

Demanding a max salary also fits LeBron as player-union vice president. It sets a precedent teams must spend to acquire talent. That’s healthy for players as a collective.

It’s easy to say LeBron can afford to take a small discount to help his team win a championship, because that’s the paradigm. Instead, he’s challenging teams to think smartly and creatively to find a way to max him out and still build a strong supporting cast.

That doesn’t preclude LeBron from eventually relenting and taking a discount if it’s advantageous. After all, LeBron once said he’d take a discount to play with Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade and Chris Paul. But he’s setting a far harder line than before.

LeBron, Wade and Chris Bosh took discounts to join Miami in 2010. Heat owner Micky Arison delighted in the championships and recognition those stars provided – then cut corners on the rest of the roster to save money. LeBron noticed then left. He’s clearly not accepting that anymore.

So, every team is on notice – which is why it’s overly simplistic to say every team wants to sign LeBron. Of course, every team wants to sign LeBron. But not every team is willing to take the steps necessary to seriously pursue LeBron.

In 2014, the Cavaliers made a salary-dump trade before securing a commitment from LeBron. That paid off, but they could have just been frittering away assets if he signed elsewhere. Worse, if they didn’t make the trade, LeBron might not have returned.

The 76ers won’t necessarily have max cap space next summer, but they’re reportedly expected to chase LeBron. That suggests they’ll make proactive moves if necessary to have a chance. The Lakers should have max cap space, regardless.

And what about the Rockets? They’re another team linked to LeBron, but they’ll be hard-pressed to clear max space for him. They already have nearly $76 million committed to just five players (James Harden, Ryan Anderson, Eric Gordon, P.J. Tucker and Nene) plus three starters (Paul, Clint Capela and Trevor Ariza) headed into free agency.

But they could trade for LeBron if he opts in on condition of a deal, a la Paul last summer. How about Anderson and either Gordon or a signed-and-traded Ariza plus picks to the Cavs if they’re convinced LeBron would leave in free agency otherwise? Houston would have to send a load of picks, but it’s at least feasible.

That way, LeBron might earn more next season and re-sign for a larger max contract in 2019 – a projected $219 million over five years. That’s more than he projects to get if he re-signs with Cleveland long-term this summer ($205 million over five years).

However, that’s based on salary-cap projections that could change. And the Rockets might balk at spending so much. Of course, LeBron could also always execute the opt-in/re-sign-in-2019 plan with the Cavaliers. A trade to Houston won’t change how much money he can command from his team.

But it’s the type of no-settling thinking that might appeal to him.

Kevin Durant coming up ‘big’ for Warriors

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DETROIT – Soft. Scared. Cupcake.

Kevin Durant can’t help but hear his detractors.

“They’re trying psychoanalyze me when they don’t know me,” Durant said. “So, it’s like you have more information about the game of basketball than you do me as a person. So, ‘you’re soft,’ ‘cupcake,’ all that stuff comes from trying figure me out as a person, not worrying about my basketball skills. But if you watch me on the basketball court, then you come up with your own observation.”

That on-court observation no longer jibes with the unflattering perception of his mindset.

Durant’s height has long been a fascination. He’s listed at 6-foot-9, but he’s almost certainly taller. Durant once said he’s 7-foot when he talks to women. “He’s 7 feet,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr says plainly.

Durant just didn’t play like it.

He entered the NBA as a finesse player. He couldn’t bench press 185 pounds a single time his pre-draft combine, and he spent his rookie year in Seattle playing shooting guard – as far from the paint as a player so tall could get.

Never mind that Durant improved greatly with the Thunder as a defender and rebounder, skills that require physicality. And never mind that he was a superstar on the perimeter, giving little reason to alter his style.

When he left Oklahoma City – where he settled in at small forward – for Golden State, Durant’s on- and off-court reputations merged to form a single image. Afraid of contact, afraid of competition.

Durant is making it much harder for his critics to paint him that way. He’s playing more like a traditional big than ever.

His 2.1 blocks per game are the most by a non-center, non-power forward since Andrei Kirilenko and Josh Smith more than a decade ago (minimum: two games). His 5.3 post touches per game are the most by a non-center, non-power forward in the NBA.com database (which dates back to 2013-14).

“Getting in the mix with the bigs a little bit, I think that’s one role that I always wanted to play and always appreciated about my teammates in the past – from Kendrick Perkins to Thabo Sefolosha to Draymond to David West to Serge Ibaka,” Durant said. “I appreciated those guys for doing the dirty work and allowing me to be the player that I am on the offensive end.”

The Warriors are spoiled to have Durant assume this responsibility.

Many of his post touches come on split cuts, an action Kerr popularized in Golden State. A player – often Andrew Bogut when Kerr first implemented the play – posts up while a teammate screens for another teammate on the perimeter. Most teams would kill to have a shooter like Durant set or receive the screen. But the Warriors have Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green to do that. So, Durant serves as the post man, surveying the screen carnage and occasionally just taking matters into his own hands. This video from Eric Apricot of Golden State of Mind excellently shows a few variations:

Defensively, Durant has become more comfortable defending power forwards and centers. Sometimes, he blocks their shots:

Other times, guarding a big just positions Durant to protect the basket:

“He’s just being active,” Kerr said. “When he’s active on the weak side of the play, he’s a devastating defender.”

Durant still just bottles up an opponent in a traditional wing matchup for him and blocks a jumper. He also blocks shots in transition.

But he leads non-centers, non-power forwards with 4.8 shots defended at the rim per game (minimum: two games). His block numbers aren’t telling a misleading story. Durant is doing work in the paint.

It helps that the league has shifted toward small-ball. When the slender Durant matches up against fours and fives, his opponents aren’t as big as they would have been a few years ago.

The Warriors played Durant at center to great effect in last year’s Finals, and it’d be a shock if they didn’t turn to him there again in high-leverage situations.

Make no mistake, though: Durant remains a generational perimeter player. He’s a dead-eye shooter with tight handles and jaw-dropping fluidity. Whatever time Durant spends moonlighting as an interior player, he can always switch into the style that made him a future Hall of Famer in the first place.

His ability to play both ways just makes him even more dangerous.

Still, Durant has made his name as a small forward. He says he has always played the role coaches gave him, but it’s tough to look past the fears of Kevin Garnett, another skilled tall player who worried when he was younger he’d get pigeonholed inside if he were listed as a 7-footer. As we talked, Durant picked up on my line of questioning and interjected.

“You trying to turn me into a four guy?” Durant said.

“Maybe even a five,” I said.

“Maybe,” Durant. “I don’t know. Maybe. That’s the way the league is going.”

Listen to what LeBron James told Lonzo Ball on court (video)

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LeBron Jameson-court conversation with Lonzo Ball after the Cavaliers beat the Lakers last night quickly became a fascination.

With LeBron-to-the-Lakers rumorsfueled by Ball himself – swirling, did LeBron tip his plans for free agency?

Here’s what LeBron said after the game:

LeBron:

I don’t see the reaction, because I don’t get involved in it. I don’t do it to get a reaction.

I do it because he’s said over and over since he was growing up and who he modeled his game after. And who was his favorite player? And it was me, and I was humbled by that. So me wishing him a happy birthday was kind of a salute back to him.

I see all the stupid noise that happens, and I can’t buy a place in L.A. I can’t live in L.A. It’s funny noise. But I don’t get involved in it, because when I post things, I don’t look at comments. I’m so far removed of the white noise and the noise doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter to me.

Were you mentoring Ball or giving him advice? LeBron:

None of y’all business.

Unfortunately for LeBron, a microphone picked up most of the conversation (hat tip: reddit user IT-3):

LeBron, best I can tell:

Find your zone and just stay f—ing locked in. The media is going to ask you what I told you right now. Tell them nothing. Just be aggressive every single day.

It’s white noise to you. That’s all it is. Alright? Let’s go.

LeBron was never going to say something controversial in front of all those cameras. He knows better, especially after attention drawn by his on-court conversation with Dwyane Wade a few years ago.

Unsurprisingly, LeBron’s words directly to Ball mirror what he told the media after the game. There’s no secret plot here – just someone who has been in the spotlight for years trying to help someone going through it now.

Who needs good form? Hawks fan nails halfcourt shot for $10k (video)

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Former Hawks owner Bruce Levenson didn’t want guys like this shooting this shot.

I’m so glad this fan got the opportunity. This was Atlanta’s biggest highlight while losing to the Pistons — and John Collins had a nice dunk over Luke Kennard: