Dan Feldman

DeAndre Liggins
AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki

Report: Cavaliers sign DeAndre Liggins

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The Cavaliers’ starting small forward (LeBron James) and shooting guard (J.R. Smith) remain unsigned.

LeBron has already committed to re-signing, and Cleveland will likely take of Smith. After all, Smith is represented by LeBron’s agent, Rich Paul.

In the meantime, the Cavs are adding another wing – DeAndre Liggins.

RealGM:

DeAndre Liggins has signed a camp deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

No matter what happens with LeBron, Smith and likely-to-be-signed second-rounder Kay Felder, Liggins could make the team. Liggins’ D-League rights are already held by the Sioux Falls Skyforce. So this isn’t about the Cavaliers waiving him to assign his rights to their affiliate. They presumably want to give him a tryout for the regular-season roster.

Liggins is a standout defender, winning D-League Defensive Player of the Year last year and in 2014. That’ll be his ticket back to the NBA.

After being drafted by Orlando No. 53 in 2011, Liggins has played for the Magic, Thunder and Heat.

Liggins faced particularly ugly domestic-violence charges in 2013, but the felony charges were dropped when the alleged victim refused to cooperate. Oklahoma City waived him when he was arrested. Miami signed him after the incident.

Report: NBA finalizing New Orleans as host of 2017 All-Star game

NEW ORLEANS, LA - FEBRUARY 16:  Western Conference Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors moves the ball across mid court during 2014 NBA All-Star game against the Eastern Conference at the Smoothie King Center on February 16, 2014 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The East defeated the West 163-155.  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)
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After the NBA moved the 2017 All-Star game from Charlotte, New Orleans quickly became favored to host the event.

New York, Chicago and Las Vegas also emerged as contenders, but it seems nowhere eclipsed the Big Easy.

Scott Kushner and Brett Dawson of The New Orleans Advocate:

New Orleans officials are closing in on a deal with the NBA to host the 2017 All Star Game and are in the process of ironing out details, multiple league sources told The Advocate on Tuesday.

If everything goes to plan, there is a formal announcement expected to take place early next week, sources said.

I’m all for it. New Orleans is a great city with desirable February weather.

Wizards coach Scott Brooks: John Wall and Bradley Beal could comprise NBA’s best ‘two-way backcourt’

ATLANTA, GA - MARCH 21:  John Wall #2 and Bradley Beal #3 of the Washington Wizards look on during free throws against the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena on March 21, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia.  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 Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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Scott Brooks is no longer coaching Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, but he has a pretty good tandem with the Wizards in John Wall and Bradley Beal.

And because Wall and Beal both play guard, Brooks can make grand proclamations about them that aren’t as easily applied to a point guard-small forward combination.

Brooks on Wall and Beal, via Chris Mannix of Yahoo Sports:

I think they could be the top two-way backcourt in basketball. They both defend. They both can obviously score, and Bradley is one of the purest shooters I’ve seen in this league. And they can also help their teammates score. They’re very dynamic in their play. But I think the good thing about it: one’s 25, and one just turned 23. So, their best basketball is ahead of them.

Could be? Wall might not like that assessment.

But it’s reasonable.

Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson are, bar none, the NBA’s best backcourt. They also play enough defense where the “two-way” descriptor doesn’t twist the argument. Curry and Thompson are just flat better.

Wall and Beal also fall behind Chris Paul and J.J. Redick, Russell Westbrook and Victor Oladipo, Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan, Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum (though the Trail Blazers’ defense isn’t up to snuff).

Brooks’ best point is Wall and Beal are younger than every backcourt ahead of them. Does that mean they’re destined to ascend to the top spot? Of course not. But it gives them a fighting chance.

Enes Kanter trolls Russell Westbrook-wanting Lakers with Crying Jordan

SAN ANTONIO,TX - MAY 10:  Russell Westbrook #0 of the Oklahoma City Thunder celebrates with Enes Kanter #11 after a win against the San Antonio Spurs in game Five of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2016 NBA Playoffs at AT&T Center on May 10, 2016 in San Antonio, Texas.  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 Ronald Cortes/Getty Images)
Ronald Cortes/Getty Images
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The Lakers reportedly thought they could sign Russell Westbrook.

Well, Westbrook is reportedly inking an extension with the Thunder.

Oklahoma City center Enes Kanter rubbed that in a bit:

Westbrook’s extension might actually make it MORE likely he signs with the Lakers.

He’ll hit free agency now in 2018 rather than 2017. By then, the Lakers’ young core – D'Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson, Brandon Ingram and Julius Randle – should be better-equipped to win. Of the four, only Randle will have finished his low-paying rookie-scale contract. As long as they don’t extend him, they can leverage his low cap hold, use their cap space then use his Bird Rights to re-sign him.

With only moderate planning, the Lakers should have cap room to give Westbrook a max deal in 2018.

Westbrook to the Lakers in 2018 is unlikely, but it would have been unlikely in 2017, too. If the Lakers get a better chance in 2018, they probably won’t mind waiting a year to make their pitch.

Report: Russell Westbrook to sign new deal with Thunder on Thursday

Russell Westbrook
AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki
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That sure didn’t take long.

Russell Westbrook and the Thunder have apparently agreed on a renegotiation-and-extension.

Ramona Shelburne of ESPN:

Russell Westbrook has agreed in principle to a new deal with the Oklahoma City Thunder. It will be signed Thursday, per sources.

Technically this is a renegotiation (of this year’s contract) and a 1+1 extension for Westbrook. Total value $85.7 million and change.

Westbrook – who was slated to earn $17,769,374 next season – will seemingly receive his max of:

  • 2016-17: $26,540,100
  • 2017-18: $28,530,608
  • 2018-19: $30,670,403 (player option)
  • Total: $85,741,111

That’ll get him more than an $8 million raise this year and allow him to hit free agency in 2018, when he’ll have 10 years of experience and be eligible for a higher max tier based on the current Collective Bargaining Agreement.

The Thunder gain greater control of their remaining superstar after Kevin Durant‘s departure. Undoubtedly, their primary goal will be to win with Westbrook. Because Westbrook will be locked up next summer, they could even chase another star – maybe Blake Griffin – in 2017 free agency to complement an emerging core that already includes Steven Adams and Blake Griffin.

And if the plan goes south, Oklahoma City can still trade Westbrook after six months. If he signs the extension Thursday, that’d make eligible to be dealt Feb. 4 – 12 days before the presumptive trade deadline. With more than a single season left on his deal, the Thunder could probably get a better return then than they could’ve now without an extension.

Whether it’s Plan A or Plan B, Oklahoma City is in much better shape now. This is a huge victory for the franchise, which lost plenty of luster with Durant’s departure.

Westbrook, for his part, gets a nice raise for committing.