Report confirms rumor: Cavaliers to ask for more compensation after Isaiah Thomas physical


This is what we had written about coming, what was rumored about and discussed around the league and the NBA talking world:

After getting a look at the results of Isaiah Thomas‘ physical, the Cleveland Cavaliers are going to ask for more compensation — likely another draft pick — to complete the Kyrie Irving trade, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

After Cleveland’s physical examination of Isaiah Thomas’ injured hip raised concern about the timeline for his return this season, Cavaliers officials are planning to seek an additional trade asset before finalizing a deal to send four-time All-Star guard Kyrie Irving to the Boston Celtics, league sources said…

The Cavaliers’ stance could trigger a standoff between Cleveland and Boston officials, forcing both organizations to weigh the consequences of letting the blockbuster trade implode.

Just as a reminder, the trade sends Kyrie Irving to Boston for Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, and the unprotected Brooklyn pick in the 2018 draft.

Neither side wants the deal to fall apart. Cleveland really wants that Brooklyn pick, and the combination of Thomas and Crowder keep them as the team to beat in the East this season. Boston covets Kyrie Irving and, with Gordon Hayward on the wing and quality players around them (Al Horford, Marcus Smart, etc.) this team is poised to be second best team in the East good this year and very good in a couple of years.

Both sides have some leverage here. Cleveland really wants to move Irving, and the market outside Boston has not been great. Plus, they really want that Brooklyn pick, but if IT is injured more than is being let on then that hurts their chances of contending this year. The Celtics would still be very good if the deal fell apart — if Thomas isn’t that injured (and his and Crowder’s psyches are not too bruised).

The question is how much compensation are we talking about? Would Boston throw in one more second round pick (theirs or others they have access to)? Will Cleveland demand a first rounder, either Boston’s or a future Clipper pick starting in 2019 (I see no way the Celtics would give up the 2018 Laker pick or the 2019 Memphis pick, both of which have protections and future options depending on what happens)? From the outside it seems a second rounder gets the deal done, but who knows.

Meanwhile, the lives and families of Irving, Thomas, Crowder, and Zizic are in limbo.

Utah’s Donovan Mitchell with shot of night to force OT with Spurs


One of the factors to consider in the Rookie of the Year race: clutch plays.

Down three with less than 10 seconds to go Friday night, the Utah Jazz put the ball in the hands of their rookie playmaker Donovan Mitchell — and he made the play, draining a three to force overtime. It’s an impressive play.

In the clutch this season (last five minutes of a game, within five points), Mitchell has averaged 3.2 shots per contest (by far the most of any rookie) and has a true shooting percentage of 51 percent. Philadelphia’s Ben Simmons, the other front-runner in the ROY race, averages less than a shot per game in those clutch situations (0.8) and has a true shooting percentage of 66.7 percent.

Mitchell made the big shot, but the Spurs made plenty too, had 45 points on the night from LaMarcus Aldridge, and got the win.


PBT Extra: Who is coming out of the Eastern Conference?

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The Toronto Raptors will finish with the No. 1 seed and all the best metrics in the East, but they have a history of playoff flameouts. The Boston Celtics’ have been hit hard by injuries. And the Cleveland Cavaliers have LeBron James but also a dreadful defense, this is the most vulnerable a LeBron led team has been since he bolted Cleveland seven years ago.

So what team is coming out of the East?

We get into that in this latest PBT Extra. A poll on Twitter found most of you think the Cavaliers, but personally, I think the Raptors — who have been better defensively all season than the Cavs — may finally have their year.

LaMarcus Aldridge drops career-high 45 points, Spurs beat Jazz in OT

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SAN ANTONIO (AP) — LaMarcus Aldridge had a career-high 45 points, helping San Antonio overcome Donovan Mitchell‘s 35-point performance for Utah in the Spurs’ 124-120 overtime victory over the Jazz on Friday night.

The Spurs won their sixth straight and beat the Jazz for the first time in four meetings this season.

Utah’s 12-game road winning streak came to an end, but only after Mitchell had 14 points in the fourth quarter, including three 3-pointers in the final two minutes to force overtime.

San Antonio remained sixth in the Western Conference with the same record as fifth-place New Orleans, a half-game behind Oklahoma City for fourth. Utah remained eighth in the West.

After free throws by Spurs guards Manu Ginobili and Patty Mills and a dunk by Jazz center Rudy Gobert put San Antonio up 114-111, Mitchell drained his third 3-pointer of the fourth with 3.6 seconds remaining to force overtime.

Mills, who finished with 23 points, had six points in overtime as the Spurs capped an undefeated six-game homestand.

Aldridge averaged 32.2 points and 9.0 rebounds during the winning streak, including two double-doubles.

Aldridge scored 28 points in the first half on 12-for-16 shooting, including a 3-pointer.

Utah missed its first six shots and was 4 for 14 as San Antonio grabbed a 19-8 lead midway through the first quarter. Mitchell settled the Jazz, scoring six points to cut the Spurs lead to 29-21 heading into the second quarter.

Mitchell was 14-for-35 shooting while falling six points shy of his season-high.

Derrick Favors added 22 points for Utah and Ricky Rubio had 20.

Ginobili finished with 18 points for the Spurs.


Stephen Curry leaves game with knee injury


In his first night back from an ankle injury that forced him to miss six games, Stephen Curry limped off the court not to return after in third quarter Friday night after JaVale McGee fell into his knee.

He limped to the bench then eventually to the locker room after the injury.

The severity of the injury is not yet known and should become clear on Saturday after an MRI.

Curry scored 29 points and grabbed seven rebounds before being forced to leave the game, and the Warriors held on to win the game.

Obviously, if Curry is out heading into the playoffs, that changes the dynamic in the West, where the Houston Rockets were already right on the heels of the Warriors.