Author: Dan Feldman

Nikola Jokic throws sweet no-look pass to Kenneth Faried (video)

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Many big men automatically shoot when they grab an offensive rebound. Some kick out the ball to the first teammate they see.

Not many have the vision to dish the no-look assist Nikola Jokic sent Kenneth Faried last night.

J.R. Smith won’t be charged after accusation of fighting high schooler

CLEVELAND, OH - DECEMBER 17: J.R. Smith #5 of the Cleveland Cavaliers cheers against the Oklahoma City Thunder during the second half of their game on December 17, 2015 at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. The Cavaliers defeated the Thunder 104-100. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by David Maxwell/Getty Images)
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A 19-year-old high school student accused J.R. Smith of choking him in New York in November, a response to heckling about the guard’s trade from the Knicks to the Cavaliers.

Chris Haynes of Cleveland.com:

The New York Police Department and the District Attorney’s Office say they have closed the investigation.

“After a thorough investigation of the circumstances surrounding this case, we have concluded that the evidence does not support criminal charges against Mr. Smith,” Patrick Munice, a spokesperson for the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, said in a statement to cleveland.com.

Now, Smith can focus on other issues – like keeping his cool on the court.

Norris Cole dunks on Andre Drummond (video)

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To be fair to Andre Drummond, he didn’t quite get in position to fully contest this Norris Cole dunk.

But that’s probably what has Stan Van Gundy so frustrated.

Report: Clippers trade Josh Smith to Rockets

during Game One of the Western Conference Finals of the 2015 NBA Playoffs at ORACLE Arena on May 19, 2015 in Oakland, California.
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The Rockets reportedly offered Josh Smith the Non-Bird exception ($2,492,400) to re-sign last summer.

Instead, Smith took a minimum contract ($1,499,187) to join the Clippers.

Joke’s on Smith.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

https://twitter.com/WojVerticalNBA/status/690561367917645825

By now, Smith might not mind being sent back to Houston, even if he’s locked into less money than he could’ve gotten by just re-signing with the Rockets in the first place. He argued with a coach, barely played lately and had been on the trade block for a while.

Smith could help Houston, especially with Dwight Howard sidelined. That means more center minutes for Clint Capela, who had been starting at power forward. Smith is a decent power forward when the other options are an erratic Terrence Jones, injured Donatas Motiejunas and rookie Montrezl Harrell.

Rockets general manager Daryl Morey said he wanted to stick with his current group rather than make a trade. By his standards, this accomplishes that. He has made an in-season trade each year he has run the team. This one is pretty minor, and it makes it less likely Houston does something major. The Rockets are now just $612,335 $524,148 below the hard cap.

If the Clippers are covering Houston’s portion of Smith’s remaining salary, that’s $462,494. The NBA covers the other $269,462, because Smith is on a one-year minimum contract and has played more than two years in the league.

That would still leave the Rockets on the hook for an extra $1,420,914 in luxury-tax payments. That’s not a huge price for Smith, especially with the No. 5 seed and a first-round matchup with the Clippers – by far the most vulnerable of the West’s top four teams – in reach.

The Clippers, on the other hand, are now in line to save $2,368,190 in luxury tax. So, paying Smith’s remaining salary is a net win. Of course, the Clippers could cut into that savings by signing someone to fill their now vacant roster spot.

Maarty Leunen, the No. 54 pick in 2008, is 30. Sergei Lishouk, the No. 49 pick in 2004, is 33. It’s unlikely either comes to the NBA, but Leunen has a little more value.

Dennis Schröder throws behind-the-backs pass – that’s right, plural (video)

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Not only did Dennis Schröder throw this kick-out pass behind his back, he threw it behind Willie Cauley-Stein‘s back.

Good thing Mike Scott made the shot to make this a highlight.