Kurt Helin

WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 23: Courtney Lee #5 of the Memphis Grizzlies looks on against the Washington Wizards in the second half at Verizon Center on December 23, 2015 in Washington, DC. The Washington Wizards won, 100-91. 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 Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
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Report: Charlotte trades for Courtney Lee in three-team deal

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The Charlotte Hornets are the eight seed in the East but have lost their best wing player in Michael Kidd-Gilchrist for the rest of the season following another shoulder surgery.

Enter Courtney Lee.

The Hornets have acquired Lee in a three-team deal still being finalized, a trade first broken by Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.

Let’s break this down by team.

Charlotte gets a guy in Lee who can help them make a push into the playoffs — he is a 3-and-D guy who will fit well next to Kemba Walker and Nicolas Batum on the perimeter. What they gave up is not something they felt was a critical part of the future.

Miami lands a veteran backup guard in Brian Roberts but mostly gets Chris Andersen off their books to save some money (it lowers Miami’s luxury tax hit by more than $2 million).

Memphis has me wondering: is this the first of several moves as sellers? Maybe not, there are certainly justifiable things in this deal for Memphis. Landing Andersen makes sense in that it gives them another big with Marc Gasol now out with a broken foot. They don’t have their first-round pick this season (top five protected), so they are not tanking. They get a project in P.J. Hairston and a couple of picks. This is a small step back, but Lee was going to be a free agent this summer. On the other hand, if the Grizzlies are going to make big changes this would seem the first step.

Probably not, the Grizzlies like their core and want to keep Mike Conley this summer, but it’s something to watch.

Report: Chris Bosh has returned to taking blood thinners, hopes to play this season

NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 26:  Chris Bosh #1 of the Miami Heat looks on against the Brooklyn Nets during their game at the Barclays Center on January 26, 2016 in New York City.   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 Al Bello/Getty Images)
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Chris Bosh admitted he was a little down, having to pull out of the All-Star Game in Toronto. He had been looking forward to the weekend in the city where his NBA started to grow, even laughing about still getting booed at times.

But when he pulled out due to a strained calf, there was concern from the beginning that this could be part of the return of the blood clot issue that last season got to his lungs, threatened his life, and kept him out of the team’s final 30 games.

It is blood clots, and doctors are on it quickly this time, reports Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press.

Bosh was asked about the potential for the return of clots on Saturday in Toronto and tried to play it down to those of us pressing on the topic.

“I tried to treat it and all these things, but it’s just one of those funny things where if you feel like it’s not really turning a corner, you know calves can turn into really major, major problems,” Bosh said of his decision to pull out. “Any other circumstance, I’d try to push through it, but it just didn’t make any sense to do it.”

He added he wanted to get team doctors and specialists to look at it. They did, and that’s why he’s back on medication.

He hopes to return to the court this season; it’s unclear if he will be healthy enough to do so.

This throws a blanket of uncertainty over the Heat — both in the short term running up to the trade deadline, and long term with how the franchise is built. Pat Riley has a lot on his plate now.

But that pales in importance to the health of Bosh, one of the kinder and more thoughtful players in the NBA. We wish he and his family nothing but the best.

Orlando trades Tobias Harris to Detroit for Brandon Jennings, Ersan Ilyasova

ORLANDO, FL - JANUARY 22:  Tobias Harris #12 of the Orlando Magic looks toward the bench during the game against the Charlotte Hornets at Amway Center on January 22, 2016 in Orlando, Florida. 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 Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
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Stan Van Gundy has wanted to put together an athletic “four-out” Pistons team — Andre Drummond dominating the paint and four athletic guys who can shoot the rock and defend on the wings.

He got a whole lot closer to that ideal with a deadline trade with Orlando that should help both teams. It was broken by Michael Scotto of SheridanHoops.com and the Associated Press (and since confirmed by the teams).

I love this move for Detroit — it may help them make the playoffs this season, but even if it doesn’t it helps them become a dangerous team down the line. It’s a good one for the Magic, too, as Scott Skiles gets guys he trusts while opening the door for more Aaron Gordon minutes.

The Pistons can start Reggie Jackson at the point, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Tobias Harris, and Stanley Johnson at the two, three, and four, allowing them to switch almost anything on defense, plus get out and run some in transition. Harris’ scoring is down (13.7 points per game this season) and he is struggling from three (31.1 percent) but shot better last season (36.4 percent). I am in the camp that part of his regression was he just didn’t fit or feel comfortable in Skiles offense, that given better spacing and a chance to attack gaps in a defense he can return to form. To be fair, not everyone sees it that way, plenty think Harris played over his head in a contract year — he signed a four-year, $64 million contract extension last summer — and that he isn’t that good. We shall see, but I believe Harris is a great fit in SVG’s system.

More than that, I think that as this young Pistons core grows together over the next few seasons, they become very dangerous and very interesting. This was like a July free agent move (because of Harris’ contract) at the deadline. They still have depth and other questions to answer down the line, but this team has the potential to be scary.

For Orlando, this is a trade that frees up a lot of money — Brandon Jennings is a free agent this summer and only $400,000 of Ersan Ilyasova‘s contract is guaranteed. Skiles coached both of those players in Milwaukee, and the pair can stabilize the Magic bench while Skiles plays Elfrid Payton (they are not sold he is the future at the point, Jennings could win the spot), Gordon, and other young players heavy developmental minutes. It’s a solid trade for Orlando with an eye to the future.

Report: Bulls, Raptors talked Taj Gibson for Patrick Patterson trade

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The Toronto Raptors believe with a serious upgrade at power forward they can challenge Cleveland atop the East. The Chicago Bulls need to start reshaping their roster, especially in the frontcourt.

That had the two sides considering a trade, reported by Zach Lowe of ESPN, but those talks stalled. He goes on to discuss the challenges Toronto faces in making that upgrade they want to see at the four.

Chicago and Toronto had initial discussions on a Taj GibsonPatrick Patterson swap that would give Chicago yet another stretch power forward and trim its tax bill, but those discussions appear to have led nowhere so far….

You can understand why (Raptors GM Masai) Ujiri might be wary of trading a first-round pick for Ryan Anderson, Thaddeus Young, Gibson, Kenneth Faried or Markieff Morris. None of those guys changes your life as a franchise…. Horford is a different story. It would take almost everything in the Toronto’s arsenal to get him, but if they manage it, the Raps would have a good chance of re-signing him, sources say. Still, such a bold move is unlikely.

But even those non-Horford guys are better than what Toronto has, and that incremental improvement might be the difference in a quarter, a game, or a series for a team with ugly postseason demons.

The fan base in Toronto wants a move — and it is time. This is a team that, with an All-Star level four can push Cleveland. With a lesser upgrade at the four Toronto should see the Conference Finals (although an Anderson trade creates the same defensive questions that the Luis Scola/Jonas Valanciunas has now). They are not going after Morris, but any of those other guys is an improvement.

I think Toronto makes a deadline move, and Gibson would be a rock-solid upgrade for them. He defends, he boards, he scores efficiently, and he plays hard every time out. To use a baseball analogy, Gibson is not a home run, but he’s a solid single they could stretch into a double. Having Scola is more like hoping for a walk. That’s not going to do it for a team that needs a playoff series win or two.

Report: Hawks only dealing Al Horford, Jeff Teague in “Godfather offers”

ATLANTA, GA - MAY 22:  Jeff Teague #0 and Al Horford #15 of the Atlanta Hawks react in the second quarter against the Cleveland Cavaliers during Game Two of the Eastern Conference Finals of the 2015 NBA Playoffs at Philips Arena on May 22, 2015 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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The Atlanta Hawks are looking for an offer they can’t refuse.

Otherwise, expect Al Horford and Jeff Teague to remain in Atlanta past Thursday’s trade deadline.

The buzz in league circles for weeks has been the Hawks were testing the trade market for Horford and Teague, but the asking price was ridiculous. The theory was that as things got closer to the trade deadline, the Hawks would become more realistic. That’s not the case, according to Chris Mannix of Yahoo Sports on his Vertical podcast.

According to a couple of executives, Atlanta is not really serious about trading Teague or Horford. They’re just looking for one of those Godfather-type of deals.

Horford tried to play down trade speculation while in Toronto for the All-Star Game (he was called to replace Chris Bosh on the East).

For me right now my focus is take things day by day…” Horford said. “I’m going to keep doing the things that I do. I can’t control the level of things that are happening and speculations that are going on….

“Yeah, I mean, for me I asked (Hawks management) for guidance, but at the end of the day I understand the
business of everything. I know how everything works, and for me I just need to stay diligent, keep doing what I do, and whatever happens will happen.”

There are teams very interested in Horford, including right there in Toronto (they need a four and with Horford could challenge Cleveland), but he is also a free agent this summer so teams are hesitant to give up too much without knowing if they can retain him (those conversations happen through back channels, teams have an idea).

My guess is Horford stays, and probably re-signs with the Hawks this summer.

Teague is the guy more likely to be moved, but that also could be this summer. The Hawks can hold on to him, make their playoff run, then dangle him in July to teams who missed out on their free agency targets and see if they can extract a high price.