Dan Feldman

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Rumor: Gordon Hayward, if he leaves Jazz, could join Heat

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The plucky Heat have made a playoff push behind their point guard (Goran Dragic) and center (Hassan Whiteside).But even if they reach the postseason, the Heat could use long-term upgrades between.

With Chris Bosh likely coming off the cap, for one offseason at least, this summer is the time for Miami to spend.

So, with that circumstantial evidence pointing toward the Heat pursuing Gordon Hayward if he opts out this summer, here’s a little more.

Frank Isola of the New York Daily News:

There are already whispers that if Utah can’t re-sign Gordon Hayward he could end up in Miami.

 

The Jazz can offer Hayward more money and a better team. If he makes an All-NBA team, he might not hit the market at all.

But Hayward has never picked Utah. The Jazz drafted him then matched his offer sheet from Charlotte once he hit restricted free agency.

That’s part of the reason his name pops up in so many rumors — some more likely than others. Where does Miami fall on the spectrum? Its quality organizational culture, warm weather, night life and lack of a state income tax always open doors.

My guess is still Hayward staying in Utah. After all, Isola mentions the Heat only if the Jazz don’t re-sign him.

 

Hornets’ Briante Weber kicks one fan’s beer into another fan’s face (video)

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The Hornets signed Briante Weber to make hustle plays.

These fans sitting courtside might wish Charlotte hadn’t.

Giannis Antetokounmpo: I told Thon Maker, ‘If you hesitate, I’m going to punch you’

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Bucks rookie Thon Maker scored a career-high 23 points on 9-of-12 shooting, including making a couple big shots in overtime of Milwaukee’s win over the Pistons last night.

Giannis Antetokounmpo on Maker:

He brings energy. Rebound the ball. He runs the floor. He does a little bit of everything.

But the most important thing is listening, and he’s learning. And I told him, “To play in this game, you don’t have to hesitate. If you hesitate” – I told him, actually in the overtime, I told him – “If you hesitate, I’m going to punch you. So, shoot the ball whenever you get it.”

Leadership!

Cody Zeller just keeps rising over Nikola Jokic to dunk on him (video)

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Nuggets center Nikola Jokic is one of the NBA’s best young players, and he showed why against the Hornets with a triple-double (26 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists).http://nba.nbcsports.com/2017/02/26/briante-weber-charlotte-hornets-10-day-contract-warriors/

Jokic is also a unimposing rim protector. And he showed that against Charlotte, too.

Don’t underestimate Cody Zeller, either. He helped the Hornets to a 122-114 win. They’re now 32-24 with him and 3-17 without him.

Kyrie Irving stands up for pushed-down, dunked-on LeBron James (videos)

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Remember the reports of friction between Kyrie Irving and LeBron James last season?

Even with the Cavaliers’ recent struggles wearing on everyone in Cleveland, Irving couldn’t have looked more loyal to LeBron in the Cavs’ win over the 76ers last night.

In the first quarter, Justin Anderson bumped LeBron, who fell. I’m not sure Anderson did anything egregious to knock over LeBron, but the first chance he got, Irving flagrantly fouled the Philadelphia forward:

Then, in the third quarter, Shawn Long dunked on LeBron and yelled in celebration. “Hey, you’re down by 27, bruh!” Irving shot back:

Beating the 76ers by 17 means little. But this type of camaraderie suggests the Cavaliers might be ready for the pressure of the playoffs.

Whether their defense is ready is another question.