<span class="vcard">Kurt Helin</span>

Detroit Pistons guard Brandon Jennings (7) shoots over New Orleans Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday (11) during the second half of an NBA basketball game Thursday, Jan. 21, 2016, in New Orleans. The Pelicans won 115-99. (AP Photo/Jonathan Bachman)
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Rumor: Brooklyn Nets talking with Pistons about Brandon Jennings trade

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With Jarrett Jack out for the season following knee surgery, the Brooklyn Nets are starting Donald Sloan at the point and bringing Shane Larkin off the bench behind him. They could use some help at the point?

How about Detroit’s Brandon Jennings?

One day after Pistons coach/GM/Big Kahuna Stan Van Gundy said they were not seriously considering any deals, Chris Sheridan of Sheridanhoops.com posted just that rumor.

Brandon Jennings could very well end up in Brooklyn two weeks from now in a trade that would send Thaddeus Young to the Detroit Pistons, sources tell SheridanHoops.com.

There are several teams looking to acquire Jennings, who has been a starter most of his career but is currently stuck behind Reggie Jackson on Detroit’s depth chart. He will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season.

There is an internal logic to this: Brooklyn needs help at the point, while the Pistons would like to upgrade from Ersan Ilyasova at the four next to Andre Drummond. Plus Jennings is a free agent this summer so there has long been a buzz around the league that Detroit would want to move him and get something for him before he walks.

But there are a few problems here, starting with Brooklyn does not currently have a GM. This is the kind of move that is made because the rebuild is starting and the new GM/front office has picked a direction. That has not yet happened in Brooklyn.

Plus, that price seems steep, especially considering Brooklyn would have to throw in another player (Shane Larkin?) just to make the salaries balance. Jennings is coming off a ruptured Achilles and is not near back all the way — 6.6 points per game on 35 percent shooting this season — so any team with him is betting on his long-term recovery.

Finally, this only works for Brooklyn if it has assurances it can re-sign the free agent Jennings this summer — as a free agent in a thin market he will have multiple offers and likely get overpaid. Does Brooklyn want to do that and pair him with Brook Lopez long term?

All of which is to say, don’t bet on it.

Quote of the Day: Chandler Parsons wishes he was “one-trick pony” like Nowitzki

Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki (41), of Germany, shoots over Boston Celtics guard Avery Bradly (0) during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Monday, Jan. 18, 2016, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Sharon Ellman)
Associated Press
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“Carried franchise for almost 20 years, Finals MVP, regular season MVP, 6th all-time? Wish I was a 1-trick pony.”

—Dallas forward Chandler Parsons, coming to the defense of Dirk Nowitzki.

In case you missed it, NBA Hall-of-Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar called Nowitzki a “one-trick pony” and questioned his dominance. Here is the full quote.

Dirk Nowitzki’s shot is very hard to block, but I don’t think that he was able to have a dominant career because he couldn’t do other things. If he could have shot like that and rebounded and played defense and blocked shots, then he would have been all-around, and he would have gotten more credit. He was like a one-trick pony. You want guys that can shoot like that on your team. I’m not saying that he lacked value, but he would have been considered at a higher level if he had done more on the court other than just shoot the ball.

I appreciate Abdul-Jabbar as one of the games all-time greats. I love that he has become more vocal recently on social issues. But I think he misses the mark on this one.

This is a more than the usual “my era plays such better basketball than today” crap that so many veterans trying to hang onto their glory spout. It just sells Nowitzki short. First off, this was not just Ray Allen spacing the floor at the end of his career, Nowitzki’s value came in his ahead-of-his-time ability to get that space at the elbow out to the arc, then help teammates take advantage of it. He isn’t just a shooter, he’s the best shooting big man ever. Also, Nowitzki was a better rebounder, a better passer, a defender than he gets credit for — and for stretches he was a dominant player.

Does he have Kareem’s resume? No. Nobody does. On paper KAJ has a better resume than Jordan. But we should not sell Dirk’s dominance short.

Report: Mike Dunleavy to return to Bulls lineup Saturday

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Last season, Mike Dunleavy was key for the Bulls — they were 3.9 points per 100 possessions better when he was on the court because his shooting spaced the floor and opened up lanes for drives. He was going to be even a bigger part of Fred Hoiberg’s new Bulls’ offense because he could space the floor.

However, off-season back surgery turned out to be more challenging (and with more setbacks) than expected and he has yet to set foot on an NBA court this season.

That changes Saturday, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.com.

Chicago Bulls forward Mike Dunleavy Jr. is set to make his season debut against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday, league sources told The Vertical.

The plan for Dunleavy to play on Saturday is dependent on him not suffering any physical setbacks between now and then. Dunleavy will travel with the Bulls to Denver for Friday’s game against the Nuggets.

The Bulls could just use the depth up front, with Joakim Noah and Nikola Mirotic out. But Dunleavy’s shooting — 40.7 percent from three last season — opens things up and is what Chicago needs on offense. Getting him back in the lineup will be a big boost as Chicago starts to make its playoff push.

Five Takeaways from NBA Monday: Stephen Curry drops 51 points, 11 threes on Wizards

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I know you didn’t have time to watch a full slate of NBA games Wednesday, instead choosing to go wild boar curling. We’ve got you covered, here’s what you need to know from Wednesday around the NBA:

1) Stephen Curry show comes to Nation’s Capital: 25 points in first quarter, 11 threes in the game and 51 points. I’ve run out of descriptions for Stephen Curry on the court. He’s simply fun to watch. Even if you’re a Washington Wizards fan — and if so, you should be proud of how well your team played — all you can do is marvel at the what Curry does, and tip your cap. In the first quarter, Curry had 25 points on 9-of-10 shooting overall and 7-of-8 from three (and that one miss was his cleanest look of the lot). Curry set a personal record with 36 first half points, and he finished with 51 on 28 shots, knocking down 11 threes. He’s a basketball magician. The Wizards played one of their better games I’ve seen — John Wall had 41 points and 10 assists — but on a night when Curry is shooting like this and Draymond Green racks up another triple-double (10th this season) there’s nothing you can do. Final score 134-121 Golden State.


2) Kevin Durant from three for the win? There’s nothing Orlando could do to stop it.
The Magic had their chance, Victor Oladipo drove the lane and looked to put a feisty Magic team up on OKC on the Thunder’s home court — Serge Ibaka would have none of that. His length and athleticism let him track Oladipo down and reject the shot. Then smart move by Billy Donovan — if you have Kevin Durant on your team don’t call a timeout and let the defense get set. KD got the ball, created a little space, and the ball touches nothing but nylon. The Magic played well, but the Thunder get the 117-114 win.

3) No Kemba, no problem: Charlotte beats Cleveland. The Charlotte Hornets had a 23-game losing streak to LeBron James led teams, and with Kemba Walker out with a sore knee it seemed like that streak might continue. Especially after the first 24 minutes. Instead, it ended on Wednesday night with a dramatic second-half comeback in Charlotte, 106-97.

In the first half Cleveland seemed to get whatever shot it wanted, putting up 58 points, finishing the half on a 13-1 run, and even getting good defensive play out of Kevin Love. They were steamrolling the Hornets as LeBron was passing out of drives behind his head to Love in the corner. But in the third quarter Jeremy Lin attacked (he had 11 in the quarter and 24 for the game), the Cavaliers took their foot off the gas and coasted, while Charlotte decided to run right at them, off both makes and misses. It put Cleveland back on their heels — often LeBron seemed the only guy back defending the breaks. In a sign of the effort level on the night, Charlotte won the battle on the glass by 21. Cleveland looked like a team still learning, and the Hornets got the kind of win they need to get past Detroit and back in the playoff mix.

4) Andrew Wiggins drops 31, Timberwolves break 14-game losing streak to Clippers. The night before, Andrew Wiggins dropped 30 on the Lakers, but was overshadowed by vintage Kobe Bryant. Wednesday there would be nobody to overshadow him — Wiggins put up 31 points on the Clippers, and the Timberwolves got the win. In the second half Wiggins got help — Karl-Anthony Towns had 17, Ricky Rubio was diving into the crowd to save balls — but Wiggins was the guy the Clippers did not have an answer for and Minnesota won 106-97. Los Angeles looked like a team that missed Blake Griffin.

There was one controversial play — late in the game the Clippers were down two and decided to trap rather than foul immediately — Chris Paul and J.J. Redick trap Rubio just over half court. Redick gets called for the foul, and while it was close you can see a foul there, he bumps him. CP3, frustrated, turns and walks away, and claps his hands — and gets called for a technical foul by Lauren Holtkamp. It was a bad tech, there was no reason to give it, CP3 was not showing up the referee and with :20 seconds left in a close game you want the players showing a little emotion. But Holtkamp has a reputation of taking any perceived slight too personally, and she has a history with Paul — last year after she gave him a technical he got a $10,000 fine saying that maybe this job wasn’t for her. She T’d him up. That’s not why the Clippers lost, but it’s going to be talked about, and Holtkamp was in the wrong.

5) LaMarcus Aldridge scored 36, and the Spurs remained undefeated at home. Why does home court matter so much in the West? Because the Spurs are 27-0 at home now — after a 110-97 win over New Orleans Wednesday — and the Warriors are 22-0. When those teams meet in the conference finals, home court is going to matter. The Spurs stayed perfect at the AT&T Center thanks to a big night from Aldridge, who went up against a good defender in Anthony Davis for chunks of the night.

 

Wolves beat Clippers 108-102, snapping 14-game skid

Los Angeles Lakers guard Louis Williams, right, falls while trying to guard Minnesota Timberwolves guard Andrew Wiggins during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2016, in Los Angeles. The Lakers won 119-115. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Andrew Wiggins scored 31 points, Zach LaVine added 17 and the Minnesota Timberwolves defeated the Clippers 108-102 on Wednesday night, snapping a 14-game skid with their first win over Los Angeles at Staples Center in nearly four years.

Karl-Anthony Towns had 17 points and 12 rebounds, and Gorgui Dieng had 12 points and 10 rebounds for the Wolves, who also ended two other streaks: five straight losses and 12 in a row on the road.

Chris Paul scored 22 points and Jamal Crawford added 21 off the bench for the Clippers. Their four-game winning streak ended and they fell to 15-4 without injured Blake Griffin. Their streak against the Wolves was the Clippers’ longest active winning streak against any opponent.

The teams traded runs in the fourth, when the Wolves led by nine points before the Clippers briefly regained a one-point lead. Twice the Clippers tied the game in the final two minutes, but the Wolves scored to regain the lead.

Trailing 102-100, Paul hit Ricky Rubio on the head and knocked him down while trying desperately for a foul, resulting in a technical. Rubio hit the free throw and the Wolves scored four in a row for a 106-100 lead to put the game out of reach.

The Clippers closed within one early in the fourth before Minnesota went on an 8-0 run to extend its lead, 85-76. Dieng and Andre Miller each had 3-point plays and Shabazz Muhammad added a pair of free throws.

Los Angeles answered with a 12-2 spurt, including six by Crawford, for its first lead since early in the third, 88-87.

DeAndre Jordan had 18 points and 15 rebounds for the Clippers. Crawford made all 10 of his free throws.

Minnesota ran off 14 unanswered points for its largest lead of the game, 69-59, in the third. Towns had 11 points in the period after missing his first six shots of the game.

The Clippers rallied from 3-point range, hitting four treys, as part of a 15-7 run to trail 76-74 heading into the fourth. They started the quarter with 1 of 12 shooting.

The teams were nearly even in the first half, when the Clippers led 55-53 at the break. Both shot 53 percent, had 19 rebounds apiece and five turnovers each, and the Clippers’ reserves outscored the Wolves’ bench 21-20.

TIP-INS

Timberwolves: They improved to 1-2 against the Clippers this season. … F Kevin Garnett missed his sixth straight game with a sore right knee. … G Kevin Martin sat out his sixth in a row with a sore right wrist. … C Nikola Pekovic was out for the second game in a row with a sore right foot.

Clippers: Jordan had three blocks to reach 1,000 for his career. … G Austin Rivers was ejected after receiving back-to-back technicals in the second quarter. … With still no word from the NBA on its investigation of Griffin punching a team staff member, the forward remained away from the team. Coach Doc Rivers said Griffin won’t be on the upcoming four-game trip because of his broken hand from the punch-out and a partially torn tendon he already had. Rivers wasn’t sure whether assistant equipment manager Matias Testi would re-join the team pending the outcome of the league’s inquiry. … Paul’s young son, Chris Jr., presented his dad with his All-Star jersey before the game.