Author: Dan Feldman

Rumor: Kevin Durant could sign with Warriors

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The Warriors are 30-2 and atop the NBA world.

They could get even better next season.

Golden State didn’t extend the contracts of Harrison Barnes and Festus Ezeli, and the salary cap is skyrocketing. Those factors will give the Warriors plenty of flexibility.

They might use it to try signing Kevin Durant.

Chris Broussard of ESPN:

At this point, everything is speculation.

When you talk to some executives, a name that has been thrown will shock people – Golden State.

Now, this is not something coming out Durant’s camp.

There are those around the league that think Golden State is a possibility.

Klay Thompson‘s dad, Mychal Thompson, said last spring the Warriors would pursue Durant. Perhaps, that alone has driven the speculation Durant could sign with Golden State. Or maybe the executives Broussard cites have additional information.

Either way, it certainly seems possible.

The Warriors have eight players under contract for next season: Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, Andrew Bogut,Andre Iguodala,Stephen Curry,Jason Thompson,Shaun Livingston andKevon Looney. Add a first-round pick (which we’ll pencil in at No. 30) and roster charges, and that’s a team salary of $84,501,199.

With a projected salary cap of about $90 million and Durant’s max starting  salary around $30 million, that won’t cut it.

Livingston ($3 million guaranteed) and Jason Thompson ($2.65 million guaranteed) have partially guaranteed contracts. But waiving those two would still leave significant outlays on the books. Golden State would probably need to trade those two and Bogut to clear enough cap space to sign Durant outright.

If they trade Bogut, Livingston, Jason Thompson and their first-round pick without taking any salary in return and renounce all their free agents, the Warriors would likely have about enough cap room to offer Durant the max (though it’s close enough that it depends exactly where the cap lands).

That’d leave a stripped-down roster of Durant, Curry, Green, Klay Thompson and Iguodala, but that’d be an incredible lineup. Golden State would happily start there and figure out the depth and center questions later.

The Warriors could also try swapping Barnes for Durant in a dual sign-and-trade. That’d trigger a hard cap, but that’s the least of the complications. Durant, Barnes and the Thunder would all have to agree. But at least that route could allow Golden State to re-sign Festus Ezeli.

If the Warriors want to keep Barnes while adding Durant, they could ask Oklahoma City how many draft picks they’d have to attach to a sign-and-trade package of Bogut, Jason Thompson and Livingston. Again, that’d leave Golden State hard-capped, but it’d at least be possible – depending on the exact luxury-tax line – to re-sign Barnes.

The Warriors have been down this road before. They made a strong impression on Dwight Howard in 2013, when they didn’t come close to having enough cap space to sign him. They ended up trading substantial salary to the Jazz and signing Andre Iguodala.

Golden State has the ambition necessary to make this happen.

But that’s a long way from saying Durant is interested, and that’s really what matters most.

Report: Jahlil Okafor’s camp didn’t want 76ers to draft him

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There was a rumor D'Angelo Russell didn’t want the 76ers to draft him.

He might not have been the only prospect attempting to avoid Philadelphia.

Jahlil Okafor, whom the 76ers picked No. 3, also might fit the bill.

Keith Pompey of The Inquirer:

Sources say that Okafor’s camp wasn’t in favor of him playing for the Sixers during the draft process.

According to multiple sources, Hinkie wasn’t permitted to interview Kristaps Porzingis during his predraft workout in Las Vegas in June.

Not being able to interview Porzingis, whom the Knicks selected No. 4, certainly made it more difficult for Philadelphia to draft him. Porzingis has acclimated more quickly to the NBA than nearly anyone projected, but we didn’t know at the time he would. Any business would certainly want to speak first-hand with a potential employee who’d be relocating from another continent. That brings a major adjustment.

Plus, Porzingis was more of a dark horse to crack the top range of draft prospects with Karl-Anthony Towns, Russell and Okafor. At No. 3, Okafor was a safe pick. Frequently, a player who doesn’t want to be drafted by a certain team gets over it once it happens. What other choice does he have?

But Okafor’s off-court issues since being drafted will only compound the 76ers’ problem. To some, Okafor has showed the toxicity of Philadelphia – and confirmed any desire to keep Okafor from it.

How many future draft prospects and their agents will try to avoid Philly?

76ers general manager Sam Hinkie’s poor relationship with agents makes his job more difficult. See Okafor and Porzingis. This is one of the reasons hiring Jerry Colangelo was a good idea.

There are plenty of “what ifs?” here. Would Okafor have gotten into trouble if another team drafted him? Would the 76ers have drafted Porzingis if they spoke to him?

But reality is clear: Okafor is in Philadelphia, and Porzingis is in New York.

And the 76ers need to do a better job of developing the interpersonal connections necessary to draft the right players and develop them.

Tim Frazier simultaneously saves ball over backboard, throws alley-oop (video)

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Tim Frazier made an excellent play just to save this ball.

Noah Vonleh made it special by turning it into an incredible alley-oop.

NBA: Magic went ahead of Nets after getting away with foul

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Jimmy Butler getting away with fouling Paul George was the biggest missed call Wednesday, but it wasn’t the only important one.

The Magic also used a key missed call to beat the Nets.

Victor Oladipo should’ve been called for fouling Jarrett Jack with 1:08 left, according to the Last Two Minute Report:

Oladipo (ORL) hooks Jack (BKN) affecting his FOM

FOM means freedom of movement.

The Magic were in the penalty. So, a correct call would’ve given Jack, who’s shooting 89% from the line this season, two free throws.

Instead, Orlando forward Aaron Gordon forced a jump ball and won it. Tobias Harris made the go-ahead layup on the other end, and Jack missed his attempt to re-take the lead. The Magic then added six free throws after intentional fouls and won 100-93.

Like so many of these plays, we don’t know how the game would’ve played out if the call had been made correctly, and the final score doesn’t also accurately reflect how close the game was. So, there’s no certainty.

But the Nets probably would’ve won if that call were made correctly.