Kurt Helin

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Guys waived Friday: Ryan Kelly, Alonzo Gee, Pierre Jackson, John Jenkins; more to come

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Expect a rash of guys to be waived in the next 24 hours. The reason is simple: Players on non-guaranteed contracts still on the roster by Jan. 10 see their contracts guaranteed for the full season, and to get them off the roster by then they need to be waived on Saturday at the latest.

There was a rash of guys let go on Friday to get ahead of the curve, and Marc Stein of ESPN summed it up.

None of these guys will get snapped up off waivers. Most of these guys will get picked up in the D-League, others may get 10-days soon with other NBA squads. Ryan Kelly and Alonzo Gee are the kind of fringe NBA players who will get other chances in the Association, they have valuable NBA skills. Some team may take a chance on Pierre Jackson and John Jenkins.

There will be more waived guys on Saturday.

PBT Extra: Three big takeaways from Kyle Korver trade

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Kyle Korver is headed to Cleveland, as part of the arms race for the NBA Finals.

What are the big takeaways from this deal? It’s good news if you’re a Cavaliers’ fan, and if you’re a Hawks fan I hope you like rebuilding. Those are at the heart of the big takeaways from the trade covered in this latest PBT Extra video.

NBA official report: Jerami Grant did foul Nene on final shot

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Thunder fans were angry after their two-point loss to Houston — they thought the referees got it wrong. On the final play that mattered, James Harden got a screen from Nene, and both defenders Andre Roberson and Steven Adams stick with Harden, who then hits the rolling Nene with the pass. Jerami Grant comes in and blocks Nene’s shot but gets called for the foul.

Grant got ball, but the NBA’s Last Two-Minute official report says the call on Grant was the right one. From the report:

Grant (OKC) makes body contact with Nene (HOU) that affects his SQBR on the play at the basket.

SQBR stands for speed, quickness, balance, rhythm — knock a player off those, and it’s a foul.

The only call the report says the referees missed was Houston’s Montrezl Harrell grabbed the net while tipping a rebound with :44 seconds left.

Thunder fans don’t have to like the NBA’s interpretation. Wouldn’t have mattered anyway, even if they called it a foul nothing changes.

Trail Blazers, Cavaliers complete swap for 2017 first-round pick; clears way for Korver trade

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The only thing holding up the finalizing of the Kyle Korver to Cleveland trade was the first-round pick involved. The Cavaliers had already traded the rights to their 2018 first rounder to Portland (for taking on the Anderson Varejao contract at the last trade deadline), which meant Cleveland couldn’t send one to the Hawks until 2020 (teams cannot trade first round picks in consecutive years, thank you Ted Stepien).

So Cleveland started talking to Portland about getting their 2018 pick back, handing over the Cavs 2017 pick — which works for Portland, this is considered a deep draft coming up. The deal has now been finalized, the Blazers confirmed. Here is the quote from the press release.

The Portland Trail Blazers have acquired an unprotected first round draft pick from the Cleveland Cavaliers in exchange for a 2018 first round pick, it was announced today by president of basketball operations Neil Olshey. 

Portland now has two first-round picks in the coming draft.

This clears the way for the Korver trade to be finalized. Cleveland gets Korver, Atlanta gets a 2019 first round pick (with protections, but the Cavs should still be winning a lot of games then), Mike Dunleavy (who will be moved to a third team), and the dead-money contract of Mo Williams (he didn’t report to camp, but the Cavaliers kept his salary on the books for just this reason).

Watch Russell Westbrook, James Harden duel again (VIDEO)

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Lost a little in the discussion of the Cleveland/Golden State arms race Thursday night — Russell Westbrook and James Harden put on a show.

Westbrook had 49 points, hit a career-best eight threes in a game, and still lost to Harden’s 26 points and 12 assists because Harden’s got a little more help around him (especially help that fits the system). These are the top two guys in the race for the MVP as we near the halfway point in the season, and this game summed that race up — Westbrook had the better stat line, but Harden got his team the win (by giving up the rock to Nene with the game on the line).

Sit back and watch these two go at it again. You’re going to be hard-pressed to find a better way to spend your time today. That report can wait for a few more minutes.