Dan Feldman

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Marcin Gortat sees writing on the wall about trade from Wizards

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The Wizards’ with the highest salaries for next season – if they re-sign Otto Porter, as they’ve repeatedly said they will – are slated to be:

That’s a point guard, a shooting guard, a small forward, a power forward and three centers.

Even Washington’s starting center, Gortat, can see where the bloat is.

Candace Buckner of The Washington Post:

Gortat, via J. Michael of CSN Mid-Atlantic:

I’m the oldest guy on the team,” Gortat said during exit interviews. “I know how the business works. I’m the oldest guy on the team. They signed Ian also. He’s younger than me and he got a longer contract. I just know how the business works so I’m prepared for everything just in case. We’re going to talk. I’m going to talk to Ernie (Grunfeld). I’m going to talk to managment and we’re going to figure it out.”

Keeping Porter, who could command a max salary in restricted free agency, would push the Wizards near the luxury-tax line. Dumping the 33-year-old Gortat this summer to dodge the tax might have been the intended plan.

Gortat has two years and more than $26 million left on his contract, and he’s likely to decline. This could be the right time to sell.

But his replacement would be Mahinmi, who’s 30 and spent most of the year injured. He doesn’t look ready to assume a major role on a team knocking on the door of the conference finals.

Potential trade partners also understand Gortat’s aging curve. There also isn’t much demand for centers in a league where size has been deemphasized and most teams already have at least one starting-caliber center.

Gortat is still Washington’s best player at the position. Keeping him might not be ideal, but unless Mahinmi looks much more physically capable by next fall, it might be the Wizards’ best option, though they’d be forced to duck the tax with other moves.

Moses Malone Jr. suing James Harden over alleged robbery orchestration

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Four men were charged last year with robbing Moses Malone Jr. Malone said James Harden directed the theft, but the Rockets star was not charged.

Now, Malone is suing Harden.

Isiah Carey of Fox 26:

That suit was filed by Moses Malone Jr today according to his attorney George Farah.  It alleges Harden paid a group of people $20,000 in cash to attack and rob Malone at V-Live strip club last year. The lawsuit says Harden was angry because Malone wrote a Facebook post criticizing the star player for charging children for his basketball camp.

Harden’s attorney, Rusty Hardin, issued a statement via Carey:

I have previously discussed Mose’s allegations with James and others,  and I am totally comfortable that the allegations are untrue. Unfortunately,  I am afraid this is just another example of people shopping for a deep pocket when they find that the people actually responsible have no money.

An important reminder: There is no burden of proof for filing a lawsuit. Harden has not been charged with a crime.

Pistons unveil new logo (photo)

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The Trail Blazers unveiled a new logo that looked awfully similar to their previous logo.

The Pistons are changing even less, though they’re drawing from an older logo:

 

primary

Pistons release:

The Detroit Pistons unveiled a newly updated primary logo today which brings together the past and future of one of the National Basketball Association’s longest tenured franchises.  The new look will be officially unveiled on the Detroit Pistons podium at tonight’s NBA Draft Lottery.

 

The Pistons’ new primary logo debuts as a new chapter of the franchise’s history is forming in downtown Detroit.  The red, white and blue basketball is symbolic of the Pistons’ brand and this modern version introduces sleek, accurate groove lines, a bold team uniform font and the addition of a chrome outline – providing a nod to the region’s Motor City roots.

Look familiar? Here’s the Pistons’ logo from the 80s:

I like the new logo, but I also liked the 80s logo. The Pistons could’ve just kept that (especially if it meant skipping the ugly teal era).

The biggest differences are font and a gray chrome outline – negligible changes.

Have you talked to Kobe Bryant about joining Lakers? Paul George: ‘Not yet’

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Magic Johnson went on Jimmy Kimmel Live and literally winked about bringing Paul George to the Lakers.

The Pacers star took his turn on the show, and Kimmel kept turning the conversation to the Lakers.

Did Johnson’s comments affect him? George:

Nah, man. I love Magic. I love Magic. Great dude.

I know I’m always going to get those ties. I’m an L.A. kid. Actually, at my home, Kobe is the biggest person in my house – not even me.

Have you talked to Kobe Bryant about joining the Lakers? George:

Not yet. I plan on working out with him. Pick his brain a little bit.

Are you nervous about working out with Kobe? George:

Absolutely. Absolutely. I’m training now to get ready to work out with him.

This is the worst-case scenario for people in Indiana, right? George:

It is. I love Indy, though. It’s really a hard –

George didn’t say anything incendiary. He very well could stay with the Pacers – especially if he makes an All-NBA team, announced Thursday, which would allow him to sign a designated-veteran-player extension for a higher max.

But George’s interest in the Lakers is well-known, and it seemed he was planting the seeds for an Indiana exit during the season. It’s hard to see him appearing on a Hollywood show where he knew he’d be asked about the Lakers as anything other than a continuation of his Lakers flirtation.

Will that lead to him actually joining the Lakers? That’s a much more difficult question to answer.

Russell Westbrook likes Instagram posts about Gregg Popovich’s Zaza Pachulia rant

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Gregg Popovich ranted about Zaza Pachulia, who injured Kawhi Leonard during Warriors-Spurs Game 1.

Know who liked that?

Russell Westbrook, who got laid out by a Pachulia flagrant foul in the regular season.

The Thunder star liked these Instagram posts:

Pop went OFF when asked about Zaza’s closeout on Kawhi 😳 (via JabariJYoung/Twitter)

A post shared by Bleacher Report (@bleacherreport) on

(🔊⬆️) Gregg Popovich sounds off on Zaza Pachulia.

A post shared by SportsCenter (@sportscenter) on

 

The logical interpretation: Just because Instagram calls its tagging system “likes” doesn’t mean Westbrook actually likes Popovich’s message. Westbrook could be saving those posts for any reason, including accidently.

The illogical, but far more fun, interpretation: Russell Westbrook to the Spurs in 2018 confirmed.