Dan Feldman

ORLANDO, FL - DECEMBER 11:  Andrew Nicholson #44 of the Orlando Magic is gaurded by Kevin Love #0 of the Cleveland Cavaliers during the game at Amway Center on December 11, 2015 in Orlando, Florida.  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 Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
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Report: Magic won’t extend Andrew Nicholson a qualifying offer

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Andrew Nicholson just had a career year.

He stopped taking so many inefficient long 2s, moving his shot selection beyond the arc. The power forward made 41 3-pointers (as many as he made in his first three seasons combined) and shot 36% on 3s. He hit the glass harder. The Magic allowed 7.6 fewer points per 100 possessions with him on the floor than off.

Yet, Orlando seems ready to move on.

Nicholson fell from the rotation, and the Magic tried to trade him before the deadline.

Now comes the surest sign Nicholson will exit Orlando.

Zach Lowe of ESPN:

Nicholson – the No. 19 pick in the 2012 draft – would’ve received a qualifying offer worth $3,394,726. He might not get that on the open market – but he might. It takes just one team to like him, and nearly everyone will have money to spend.

The 26-year-old Nicholson is old for his experience level, but he’d provide decent depth.

The Magic open a little more cap room, and they project to have nearly $44 million in space (counting qualifying offers for Evan Fournier and Dewayne Dedmon). They can use that to chase a wing – like Chandler Parsons – who’d allow Serge Ibaka and Aaron Gordon to spend more time together as bigs.

Ryan McDonough: Suns tried to hire Brad Stevens before Celtics did

PHOENIX, AZ - FEBRUARY 23:  Head coach Brad Stevens of the Boston Celtics talks with Isaiah Thomas #4 during the second half of the NBA game against the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center on February 23, 2015 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Celtics defeated the Suns 115-110. 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 Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
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When the Celtics hired Brad Stevens in 2013, it came out of nowhere.

There were no reports, no leaks – just a press release announcing the hire as complete.

But Boston wasn’t the only team trying to lure Stevens from Butler.

Suns general manager Ryan McDonough on The Vertical Podcast with Woj, as transcribed by Jay King of MassLive:

“So yeah, we were at his kitchen table,” McDonough explained on the podcast. “We were meeting with him about potentially coaching the Suns. Ultimately he decided at that time to stay at Butler, and then a month or two later he chose to go to the Celtics. But as far as how close it was or what his decision-making process was, you’d have to ask him about that. But we were sitting around his kitchen table discussing him potentially coaching the Suns in May of 2013.”

Stevens has quickly become one of the NBA’s best coaches. The Suns, meanwhile, are giving Earl Watson a shot after Jeff Hornacek’s up-and-down tenure.

McDonough went to Phoenix from the Celtics’ front office. So, I wonder how long the idea of Stevens was kicked around in Boston before he was actually hired.

Report: Jim Buss told people Lakers would sign Dwight Howard in 2013, Carmelo Anthony in 2014, Kevin Durant in 2016, Russell Westbrook in 2017…

Jim Buss
AP Photo/Alex Gallardo
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Jim Buss promised to resign as executive vice president of basketball operations if the Lakers weren’t “contending for the Western Conference, contending for a championship … in three to four years.”

What gave him the idea he can build a team that meets even the loosest interpretation of his pledge?

Apparently, blind optimism.

Kevin Ding of Bleacher Report:

Jim told people that Carmelo Anthony was coming the next summer. He told people that Howard was staying the previous year.

He told people as soon as the Lakers’ recent season was winding down that Kevin Durant was coming this summer…with Russell Westbrook the next.

he has assured people the Lakers will make the playoffs before each of the past three worst seasons in franchise history.

he treats the concept of stepping down so cavalierly that he told someone before this season he would step down after it if the team didn’t make the playoffs…which he hasn’t after they didn’t.

Dwight Howard left the Lakers for the Rockets. Anthony re-signed with the Knicks. Durant won’t even meet with the Lakers. Westbrook… there’s still technically a chance Buss could be right about that.

The Lakers’ powerful brand and market gives them a chance at elite free agents, and they should leverage their opportunity. But they can’t be so convinced of luring those top free agents that they have no backup plan. Accidentally tanking isn’t a long-term recipe for success.

Maybe Buss has learned some lessons. Pursuing Hassan Whiteside is a logical plan, and he’s attainable. Whiteside isn’t the biggest star, but he’d fit with the rest of the young core (D'Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson, Brandon Ingram and Julius Randle) and upgrade the team’s talent.

But a young group wouldn’t match Buss’ stated timeline. Would he resign if the Lakers aren’t contending soon?

Telling people he’d resign with this year’s lottery appearance and then not is a strong sign to the contrary.

DeMarcus Cousins: ‘Lord give me the strength’ tweet about yoga, not Kings’ draft

Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins walks up court during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the San Antonio Spurs, Saturday, March 5, 2016, in San Antonio. San Antonio won 104-94. (AP Photo/Darren Abate)
AP Photo/Darren Abate
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Shortly after the Kings drafted Georgios Papagiannis at No. 13, DeMarcus Cousins tweeted:

Ian Begley of ESPN:

Cousins is right. It does sound ridiculous. But sometimes ridiculous things are true.

Report: Wizards give up Kevin Durant chase

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 07: Kevin Durant #35 of the Oklahoma City Thunder puts up a shot in front of the Washington Wizards during the first half at Verizon Center on January 7, 2013 in Washington, DC. 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 Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images
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Kevin Durant called Wizards fans “disrespectful” for cheering him when the Thunder visited Washington last fall. He reportedly eliminated the Wizards in free agency, and he won’t even meet with them.

Unlike the similarly situated Knicks, Washington is throwing in the towel.

J. Michael of CSN Washington:

While it’s evident that the Wizards aren’t in Kevin Durant’s plans for free agency, they aren’t holding out hope to make a pitch just for appearance sake. They’ve moved on, and league sources tell CSNmidatlantic.com on Monday that the idea of returning home just “doesn’t resonate” with the NBA’s hottest unrestricted free agent.

Chasing Durant was a good plan. The upside was sky high, and Washington could offer something no other team could. Turns out Durant wasn’t interested in going home, but at least that differentiated the Wizards from other suitors. Otherwise, Washington would have had no chance from the jump.

But now it’s probably time to move on, the Wizards avoiding missing out on other free agents while Durant deliberates.