Kurt Helin

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Paul Millsap says his heart is in Atlanta, wants to stay with Hawks


Did anyone expect Paul Millsap to say anything else? I don’t doubt that he means it.

Over the weekend, trade rumors surfaced that the Hawks were starting to listen to trade offers for All-Stars Paul Millsap and Kyle Korver, plus Thabo Sefolosha. The rumor goes that the Hawks were burned by Al Horford leaving for nothing last summer, and they don’t want to be similarly burned by their current stars. There is logic there — if you believe Millsap is going to leave. Millsap is too smart to commit to anything right now, but he said exactly what was expected — he doesn’t want to go anywhere.

Of course, it’s going to come down to money. Millsap will be a 10-year NBA veteran demanding a max contract next summer (likely starting at $36 million a season). The concern isn’t is he worth it right now — he’s a certain max player, a guy who can score around the basket, knock down threes, and is a smart defender — but what about the end of the contract? Millsap will be 32 when he signs that deal, do the Hawks want to lock him in for four or five years at the max?

That’s just one of the questions the Hawks as an organization needs to answer. Another is: How badly do we want to make the playoffs this season? Because if they move Millsap, they will be trading their best player and not getting equal value back (at least in the short term). They will miss the postseason.

Atlanta should see what the market is for these players — which is why they are listening now. But moving Millsap is another thing entirely. Not sure the Hawks are there yet, or that they will ever get there.

It’s official: Pelicans sign Donatas Motiejunas


For the Pelicans, it’s a smart roll of the dice as they look for bigs to pair with Anthony Davis.

For Donatas Motiejunas, it’s a lot less money than he was hoping to get — much less than the contracts he had agreed to then didn’t get to sign — but it’s a foot in the door and a chance to prove he can play.

What had been reported more than a week ago became official: The Pelicans have officially signed Motiejunas.

He signed a veteran minimum deal through the end of this season. Just a few weeks back, the Nets had signed him to a four-year, $37 million offer sheet — a contract that was incentive heavy. Then the Rockets matched the $31 million of the deal they had to (only this season was guaranteed). After that Motiejunas’ agent and the Rockets worked out a $35 million deal that gave Houston more time to opt out next summer, but that deal fell apart when Houston saw the results of his physical. They released him and made him a free agent.

The 7-foot Lithuanian big man has skills as a stretch four — two seasons ago he shot 36.8 percent from three, he can be physical inside, he’s got enough of a post game to make smaller players pay (and he’s okay against bigs), he can be physical on the boards, and you can see how he might pair well with Davis in an uptempo system for Alvin Gentry.

That is, if he’s healthy — he’s missed a lot of time with back issues, there has been surgery, and the Rockets clearly were concerned enough after his physical they were willing to let him walk rather than keep him on even through the end of this season. We may never get to see Motiejunas’ potential.

But for the Pelicans, it’s a low-risk gamble.


Kevin Love eats bad fish, gets sick, drops 10 pounds, still puts up 12 points, 11 boards

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Kevin Love sounds like he was in a scene out of the movie “Airplane” — he shouldn’t have had the fish.

It all came to light Monday night he went out and played but wasn’t terribly energetic, shooting 5-of-19 and missing all his threes. He still had 12 points and 11 boards, which after we found out why he was off made that performance far more impressive.

Not that you want or need them, but here are more details via Dave McMenamin at ESPN.

“When I got the call from [Cavs head athletic trainer] Steve [Spiro], he said [Love] had lost 10 pounds and he was throwing up and whatever else I can’t say,” Lue said.

Love wasn’t the only person spending Sunday in the bathroom a lot, he was wasn’t there because of how he spent New Year’s Eve. LeBron James also was not feeling well during the Cavaliers win Tuesday, but he still dropped 26 points.

Report: Hornets will waive guard Aaron Harrison

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There seemed to be hope that Aaron Harrison would develop a catch-and-shoot game that could make him more of a “3&D” guard off the bench in Charlotte. He was a solid defender, and he could drive and score/draw contact, but he needed more offensive versatility to make it work.

He also needed time on the court to develop his game, and he wasn’t getting that from a Hornets team chasing a playoff spot. On Wednesday, the Hornets will waive him, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.

Harrison, 22, has seen limited minutes behind veterans Marco Belinelli and Jeremy Lamb. With both signed through the 2017-18 season, there was little opportunity for Harrison’s role to grow in Charlotte.

He will be one of a number of players waived on Tuesday — players with non-guaranteed contracts need to clear waivers by Jan. 10 or their contract becomes guaranteed for the season. It takes 48 hours to clear waivers, so the releases will happen today.

The Hornets roster is at 14.

Harrison has played well in the D-League this season — 20.6 points, 5.4 rebounds a game for the Greensboro Swarm — and he likely will latch on there looking for another call up and chance.

Aaron’s brother Andrew Harrison is having an impressive season for the Grizzlies.

Nets former second-round pick arrested for alleged kidnapping, robbery, assault

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Jordan Williams, a second-round pick who spent one season with the Nets, has been arrested for allegedly being part of an attack on a juvenile male in Tennessee on Thanksgiving night.

Here are the details, via the Register Citizen (hat tip Yahoo Sports):

Four people were arrested Friday in connection with a Thanksgiving incident in which a juvenile male was kidnapped, robbed and assaulted, according to a press release from police.

A juvenile was kidnapped at knifepoint on the night of Nov. 24 and robbed of his clothes and belongings, then forced into a Torrington residence where he was assaulted, the release said. He was later able to flee from the house and find help, police said.

The police Detective Bureau carried out a lengthy investigation and alleges the incident may have been related to a bad drug deal and resultant revenge, the release said.

Williams has been charged with charged assault, breach of peace, strangulation, and risk of injury to a minor. He is being held on $300,000 bail.

The Nets took Williams in the second round of the 2011 draft out of Maryland, and he played 43 games for them the next season. Williams started that season slowly but due to injuries got more run as the season wore on. He showed potential playing strong on the boards and within himself, but he needed to develop on the offensive end. He was traded to Atlanta as part of the Joe Johnson deal, but the Hawks waived him before the season started. He did play some overseas in Spain after that but seemed to fall out of the game.