Kurt Helin

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Report: Kings trade Marco Belinelli to Charlotte for 22nd pick in 2016 NBA Draft

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Pretty much every team with a pick in the second half of the first round of the 2016 NBA Draft is trying to get out of it. There are interesting projects there, some guys will eventually develop into quality NBA rotation players, but a lot of teams are not sold.

Charlotte was able to move theirs in a deal with the Sacramento Kings, as reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.

There had been word the Hornets wanted to move either Spencer Hawes or Jeremy Lamb as part of this deal, although we have not heard if either of them are involved with the trade. It feels like there needs to be more pieces in this deal.

Belinelli struggled with the Kings last season, averaging 10.2 points a game but hitting 30.6 percent from three. He could bounce back in a better environment in Charlotte, providing he gets put in better positions to succeed than with the Kings and George Karl.

Graphic look at NBA Draft history

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When Kobe Bryant was asked about his most memorable moment of his career, he came back to the draft and the night he heard his name called to join the NBA. The buzz from that was right there for him with the championships, the MVP award and the rest of it.

The NBA Draft is here and it will be an unforgettable night for the 60 men who hear their named called. Here is a graphic look at NBA Draft history.

LeBron James tells USA Basketball he will skip Rio Olympics

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You can’t blame LeBron James for this decision. (Although some will, welcome to the World Wide Web.)

After going to six straight NBA Finals — and you can throw the London Olympics in that run — LeBron James has told USA Basketball he will not take part in the Rio Olympics, something first reported by Joe Varden at Cleveland.com.

LeBron James informed USA Basketball that he would not participate in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in August, citing the glut of court time he’s logged through six consecutive trips to the Finals. James’ agent Rich Paul informed Team USA managing director Jerry Colangelo Thursday of James’ decision.

“I could use the rest,” James told cleveland.com.

This is not a surprise, LeBron said he was leaning this way. He’s also not the only guy to make this call today, with Kawhi Leonard, Damian Lillard, and now Gordon Hayward walking away from the games.

Gordon soon after released a statement:

Two thoughts here:

First, the guys are saying no to this because of legitimate health concerns — the Zika virus plus malaria and other outbreaks in Brazil. Look at a lot of the guys stepping away — LeBron, Hayward, Chris Paul and on down the line — and you see family guys, people who wanted to bring their family to Brazil for the experience, and now think better of it because of health concerns.

Second, LeBron has played in three Olympics, as many as any American basketball player. He’s not shorted his country. Also, if you are arguing “there are people fighting and dying for this country and he won’t play basketball,” then your inability to discern between national security and your entertainment is incredibly disturbing. That’s an apples and elephants comparison.

The USA’s roster as we know it now is: Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant, Indiana’s Paul George, Golden State’s Draymond Green and Klay Thompson, Sacramento’s DeMarcus Cousins, Chicago’s Jimmy Butler, LA Clippers’ DeAndre Jordan, Toronto’s Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan, and New York’s Carmelo Anthony. Cleveland’s Kyrie Irving is expected to take one of the two final spots, but no decision has been made.

Report: Phil Jackson told Derrick Rose they would go after Kevin Durant. Shocking, I know.

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It will only be surprising if a team says, “We are not going to chase Kevin Durant if he’s a free agent. We don’t see how he could help our roster.”

If Durant opens the door to teams other than the Thunder, 29 of them will want an interview. He is one of the five best players in the world, a true franchise changing talent, and those do not come available very often.

So yes, Phil Jackson told Derrick Rose the Knicks want to go after Durant, as reported by Frank Isola of the New York Daily News.

But Phil Jackson believes that by acquiring the former MVP point guard for one starter, a rookie and a veteran with an expiring contract the Knicks enhanced their bid to land the biggest free agent on the market, Kevin Durant….

The difference now, however, is that the Knicks are not only selling Durant on Madison Square Garden and Madison Avenue, but also a roster that features a triangle we can all understand; Carmelo Anthony, Kristaps Porzingis and Rose, who turns 28 in October.

Previously, Durant has reportedly said he has no interest in the Knicks. Would the hiring of Jeff Hornacek and the addition of Rose be enough to change that sentiment? I wouldn’t bet on it.

Especially considering the Warriors, Heat, Spurs, Lakers, and Clippers are likely in line if front of the Knicks.

Talk to teams around the league and they think the Thunder are in the best position by far and likely retain Durant, but if he leaves the Golden State rumors are real. After that, the odds get longer and longer. Even for Phil Jackson and his 11 rings.

Report: Oklahoma City Thunder testing trade market for Serge Ibaka

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This is surprising, and a little bit odd unless you think you-know-who is not coming back.

However, according to the very well connected Marc Spears of The Undefeated, Serge Ibaka could be had in the right deal.

The Thunder is shopping big man Serge Ibaka on this draft day, a source said.

Here’s why I think nothing happens, at least not on draft night.

Mainly, there is no way they are doing this to get draft picks in this draft (The Thunder’s first-round pick belongs to the Sixers, the second rounder to Denver). Ibaka is arguably the best two-way four in the NBA, averaging 12.6 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks per game last season.

The Thunder are a win-now team and there is nobody in this draft — even if they got one of the top two picks — who would be better than Ibaka next season. Now, the Thunder may be thinking bigger targets.

After the trade of Derrick Rose, the Bulls are not moving Butler. The Thunder would have to offer more than Ibaka to get Butler in the first place.

The Thunder were the third best team in the NBA last season by the time the playoffs were done, and a serious title contender. As long as Kevin Durant comes back (even if on a one-year deal), they will keep this group’s core together to go after a title. If Durant does leave there could be a number of trades, but that’s not happening before KD makes anything official.