Kurt Helin

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban reacts to a call during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Philadelphia 76ers, Monday, Nov. 16, 2015, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Associated Press

Mark Cuban on trade deadline: “nothing is really tempting to us”

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Dallas has been a surprise success this season, at 27-22 they are the six seed in the West currently and seem playoff bound, something not expected this season.

Are the Mavericks going to double down on that at the trade deadline in a few weeks?

Don’t bet on it. Mark Cuban said as much speaking to Earl K. Sneed of Mavs.com.

This is the right play. Unless there is a “Godfather offer” the Mavericks have to realize that they are not going to compete with the Warriors or Spurs at the top of the conference, so why move future assets to get a little better now? That’s not the smart play.

The Mavericks are far from the only team in that boat.

Clippers blow out Bulls 120-93 for 4th straight victory

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Jamal Crawford scored 12 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter, leading a dominant bench effort for the second straight game, and the Los Angeles Clippers defeated the Chicago Bulls 120-93 on Sunday for their fourth consecutive victory.

J.J. Redick added 21 points and DeAndre Jordan had 17 points and 20 rebounds for the Clippers, who improved to 15-3 without Blake Griffin. Their four-game streak has coincided with Griffin being out at least a month after breaking his right hand while punching the team’s assistant equipment manager.

Jimmy Butler scored 23 points, Derrick Rose added 20 and Pau Gasol had 15 points and 14 rebounds for the Bulls. They’ve lost four of six and dropped to 10-11 on the road.

Crawford scored the Clippers’ first eight points of the fourth, pushing their lead to 92-75.

Rose and Butler were held to four points each in the third.

The Clippers had three double-digit scorers off the bench a game after their reserves scored 56 points in a 105-93 win over the Lakers. Austin Rivers added 16 and Wesley Johnson had 11, with the duo combining for five 3-pointers.

Los Angeles pulled away in the third after clinging to a four-point lead at the start of the quarter. Led by Redick’s 11 points, the Clippers built the game’s first double-digit lead. In one stretch, they outscored the Bulls 15-9 despite going nearly 2 1/2 minutes without a field goal to take an 84-73 lead. During that spurt, the Clippers made 7 of 8 free throws and got defensive stops.

TIP-INS

Bulls: Butler’s first basket of the game pushed him over 4,000 career points. … G Kirk Hinrich was scoreless on two shots in his return after missing six games with a left quad contusion. … G-F Mike Dunleavy is getting closer to playing after back surgery that has kept him out since the season began. He has resumed practicing and will likely return after the All-Star break.

Clippers: Griffin wasn’t at Staples Center for the second straight game and neither was staff member Matias Testi, the team’s way of minimizing distractions surrounding their altercation in Toronto last weekend. … F Jeff Ayres, who has had two points and two blocks in two games since his debut last weekend, will be signed to another 10-day contract. … The series is even at 1-1 after the Clippers lost 83-80 on the road Dec. 10.

Don’t expect Memphis to trade Mike Conley at the deadline. Or ever.

Memphis Grizzlies guard Mike Conley (11) controls the ball against Sacramento Kings guard Ben McLemore (23) in the second half of an NBA basketball game Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Brandon Dill)
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Memphis as an organization values continuity; they are not an organization that shakes things up willy-nilly.

Meaning it’s hard to imagine the Grizzlies trading their point guard Mike Conley at the trade deadline. Courtney Lee or Matt Barnes on the wing? That’s a possibility. But a core piece like Conley? Nope. Doesn’t matter that Conley can be a free agent this summer.

Still, the rumor is out there, and Matt Moore of CBSSports.com dealt with it well.

…there’s a natural push from folks to start talking about the Grizzlies needing to trade Conley prior to a forced rebuild, “so they don’t lose him and get nothing in return.”

This, at least according to every single person I’ve queried on the subject, is not the plan. Plans change and things shift very quickly in the NBA, but it’s at least not where Memphis intends to be….

“If you look back at the five years since the tide has turned for this franchise (since the 2011 playoff berth and the start of the “Grit-Grind” era),” (Grizzlies’ General Manager Chris) Wallace told CBS Sports this week, “we have re-signed every core player for the Memphis Grizzlies.”

Meaning, they intend to re-sign Mike Conley next summer. The Knicks among a number of other teams will make a run at Conley, but Moore reminds us that Conley spent last summer trying to recruit Marc Gasol to get him to stay in Memphis — it would be pretty cold to turn and bolt.

Conley is going to get max offers (which for him start at $18.9 million next season); the money isn’t the question. He may be tempted to look for potentially greener pastures. But in the end, Wallace is right that the Grizzlies don’t lose their own free agents if they want to keep them.

Danny Crawford, Joey Crawford named best referees in anonymous player poll

Toronto Raptors v Charlotte Hornets
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There are 30 fan bases in the NBA convinced that Joey Crawford has it in for them — he hates their team and makes calls to spite them.

NBA players don’t see it that way — they think he’s one of the best referees in the game.

The Los Angeles Times’ Broderick Turner interviewed nearly 40 NBA players, coaches, and assistant coaches to compile a list of the best and worst referees. The top three best?

1. Danny Crawford
2. Joey Crawford (not related)
3. Monty McCutchen

Here’s what players had to say, including about Joey Crawford who his walking away from the game after this season.

“Danny is good because he’ll talk to you,” another player said. “He doesn’t take it personal if you question him, as long as you’re not tripping or your tone is not all messed up. If you’re asking a question, even if you’re questioning his call, he doesn’t take it like it’s an affront to his manhood. He might tell you some stuff like, ‘You’re wrong.’ But he’ll treat you like a man, like a human being.”

“Once upon a time, you couldn’t talk to Joey,” an NBA head coach said. “He’s cleaned that up — big time. He runs it when he’s on the floor now. For me, that’s big. I don’t care if it’s at home or on the road, he’s not going to get intimidated by the crowd. To me, that’s big with officials. You have guys that are homers, where the home crowd can sway them. But not Joey.”

The three worst officials in the poll?

1. Scott Foster
2. Lauren Holtkamp
3. Marc Davis

Comments on those three:

“You can’t talk to him. He’s never wrong,” one player complained about Foster. “I like refs where they say, ‘You know what, I made a mistake. I saw it at halftime. You were right.’ But Scott Foster thinks he never makes a mistake. The players see the stats of how he is on the road. He always helps the road team out. He loves to stick it to teams.”

“Take the female part aside, she’s just new,” a player said. “But with her, I thought she took it a little bit personal, thinking players talk to her the wrong way. When you’re young, like an NBA player or a ref, you’ve got to come in seeking knowledge. You can’t come in blowing the whistle. She came in like, ‘I’m a female and you’re not going to talk a certain way to me.’ No one called her a bad name. No one disrespected her. It’s her terrible calls.”

The NBA does have a referee evaluation and training program — these officials are scrutinized and told what they did right and wrong. But just like at your job, some people deal with criticism well and adjust, others not so much.

But if you notice it’s not simply the quality of calls the players care about, it’s do they feel heard — can they talk to you about a bad call and not get run for it. Part of that is tone and how players approach it — whine like Blake Griffin and referees are more likely to tune you out — but some officials don’t even want that. They want the control, and that’s bad for the game.

Hoiberg says Bulls likely to stand pat at trade deadline

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A few weeks back, it was expected that the Chicago Bulls were going to be sellers at the trade deadline. They had a deep frontcourt with the emergence of Bobby Portis alongside Pau Gasol, Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson, and Nikola Mirotic.

But now Noah is gone for the season with shoulder surgery while Mirotic is out until after the All-Star break following an appendectomy. With that, the Bulls need all that depth they have.

So don’t expect the Bulls to be making moves at the trade deadline next month, according to coach Fred Hoiberg, via KC Johnson of the Chicago Tribune.

The Bulls see the impending return of Mike Dunleavy — who has gone to the Santa Cruz D-League team to work out at full speed — as like an addition via trade. His shooting helps open the floor for the drives of Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler, plus he’s a good passer and high IQ player.

That’s not going to be enough to knock off the Cavaliers (or maybe even the Raptors), but the Bulls aren’t going to mortgage the future for a slightly better shot at this season. Nor should they.