Kurt Helin

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PBT Podcast: Twitter questions trade talk, starting in Cleveland

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You the listeners got to program the latest ProBasketballTalk podcast. I reached out on Twitter and Facebook asking for topics — and you wanted to talk trades. So PBT’s Dan Feldman and I obliged.

That starts in Cleveland, where we talk about the firing of David Blatt and hiring of Tyronn Lue, and how that may impact their trade decisions at the deadline. If you’re one of those Cavaliers fans rooting for a Kevin Love trade, you’re going to be disappointed.

We also discuss what the Bulls might try to do, if Brandon Jennings will get moved from the Pistons (maybe, but not likely to the Knicks, who have little to offer), what may happen in Orlando, and if Ryan Anderson is on the move in New Orleans.

As always, you can listen to the podcast below, or listen and subscribe via iTunesdownload it directly here, or you can check out our new PBT Podcast homepage, which has the most recent episodes available. If you have the Stitcher app, you can listen there as well.

Report: Two new names join Colangelo, Ferry in front of Nets’ GM search

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 25:  The Brooklyn Nets logo adorns center court prior to the game against the Portland Trail Blazers at the Barclays Center on November 25, 2012 in the Brooklyn borough of 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 Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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Some of the best GM prospects out there are not names known by hoops fans, but are people well respected inside NBA circles.

It seems the Brooklyn Nets are considering some of those men — in addition to the already-known big names of Bryan Colangelo and Danny Ferry — in the search for their new GM, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports. And so far, the biggest name on the rumor mill seems to be on the outside looking in.

Denver Nuggets assistant GM Arturas Karnisovas and Houston Rockets executive VP of basketball operations Gersson Rosas have emerged as serious candidates in the process, league sources told Yahoo Sports…

So far, ownership has balked at the idea of paying Kentucky coach John Calipari the $120 million package he’s seeking for a return to the NBA, league sources said.

First things first, that’s smart on Calipari — he’s not worth that to Brooklyn.

Look for the Nets to move sooner rather than later, getting a GM in place before the Feb. 18 trade deadline (where the Nets could be active).

The Nets are doing their due diligence on Karnisovas and Rosas, calling around the league for information. Karnisovas comes with the advantage of being Lithuanian, speaking Russian, and having ties to people Mikhail Prokhorov knows in hoops circles, Wojnarowski reports. Rosas has been the right hand of Rockets GM Daryl Morey and helped build the current roster.

The Nets also continue to consider former Suns GM Colangelo and former Hawks GM Ferry, both of whom have more established track records building teams.

The question is will Prokhorov let the new GM build the team his way. He has indicated he wants to turn things around sooner rather than later, but the new GM has to fight any effort to move even one more future asset to get better now — the Nets don’t control their own first-round draft pick until 2019. This rebuilding process is going to take years because of that. The new GM has to push back against any effort to move a future asset to get marginally better in the short term. This is a team that needs to take the long view, and be patient.

Three takeaways from NBA Sunday: Some days Durant, Westbrook not enough

Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant (35) slaps hands with Russell Westbrook (0) following a basket during the third quarter of an NBA basketball game against the Memphis Grizzlies in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2016. Oklahoma City won 112-94. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
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While you were watching Peyton Manning and Cam Newton set up a generational showdown, the NBA kept on playing with four games. If you chose not to watch, we understand, so here is what you need to know from a Sunday around the Association.

1) Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook combine for 59, not enough to keep Thunder win streak going. Coming in having won seven straight, the Thunder just didn’t seem to have their heart in this one. Blame the snowstorm that battered the East Coast and delayed the start time of this game four hours if you want. Blame the fact Steven Adams sprained his elbow and missed this game (and will miss the next couple) which meant more Nick Collison and Enes Kanter. Blame the fact Andre Roberson had to leave the game after banging knees with Russell Westbrook. Blame Donald Trump. Whatever the reason, the Thunder defense was disinterested and the Nets took advantage scoring a season-high 116. Brook Lopez scored 31, grabbed 10 boards, and led a Nets team that dominated the paint in winning 116-106.

OKC relied offensively on its usual heavy dose of isolation plays, but the shots were not falling (Durant was 2-of-10 from three and missed some clean looks). Durant still put up 32, and Westbrook added 27, but they were not their usual, efficient selves. Combine that with a Thunder defense late on rotations and slow on closeouts, and you get a comfortable Brooklyn win.

I don’t imagine we’ll see that version of the Thunder team again for a while.

2) James Harden drops triple-double, but it’s Josh Smith that sparks Rockets win. Josh Smith had no steady place in Doc Rivers’ rotation in Los Angeles. He was sitting, and Cole Aldrich was getting more and more run. But back in Houston, a couple of games and Smith feels like a new man.

Dallas was up by 11 and in control when Smith entered in the third quarter, he brought energy and defense, and quickly the Rockets went on a 15-4 run to make it a ballgame. It was the role players that won the game in the fourth quarter — Smith had 8 of his 16 in the quarter, Trevor Ariza had 8 in the final frame and 29 on the night (on 15 shots), and Ty Lawson had 7. James Harden had a triple-double on the night but didn’t score in the fourth. Houston got the 115-104 win and continue to show flashes of better play, the trick now is sustaining that level for an extended period.

3) Brett Brown is a frustrated man in Philly. For all the losing in Philly this season — from the rough start to the season through the improved-but-not-good play of late under Ish Smith — one thing has remained true: Philadelphia played hard for coach Brett Brown. They lost games because they were not talented enough, but the effort was there. Not Saturday against Boston. The Sixers were flat; the Celtics are a quality team, and the result was a 20-point win for Boston that could have been much more.

After the game, Brett Brown had little to say and was biting his tongue, trying not to completely rip his team to the media.

Brook Lopez scores 31, Nets end Thunder’s seven-game win streak

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NEW YORK (AP) — Brook Lopez scored a season-high 31 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, and the Brooklyn Nets snapped the Oklahoma City Thunder’s seven-game winning streak with a 116-106 victory Sunday night.

Kevin Durant had 32 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists, but Oklahoma City never led in the game that was delayed four hours by the blizzard that dumped more than 2 feet of snow on New York on Saturday.

Russell Westbrook finished with 27 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists as the Thunder lost for just the fifth time in 27 games.

Taking advantage of a Thunder team missing starting center Steven Adams, Lopez shot 11 for 19 from the field in bouncing back from one of his worst performances of the season. He had been limited to just eight points Friday in a loss to Utah.

Lopez, who the Nets nearly dealt to the Thunder last season before Oklahoma City acquired Enes Kanter, averaged 28.5 points in the two meetings this season.

Bojan Bogdanovic added 18 points off the bench and Thaddeus Young had 14 points and 14 rebounds for the Nets, who snapped their five-game losing streak.

The Nets shot 57 percent in the first quarter, matched their best half of the season in taking a 60-52 lead at the break, and extended it to 13 in the third quarter.

The Thunder got within five points midway through the third quarter, but Young and Lopez combined for six straight points as the Nets quickly restored their double-digit lead.

TIP-INS

Thunder: The Thunder lost for the first time in 10 games this season when both Durant and Westbrook have double-doubles. … Starting guard Anthony Roberson missed the second half because of a sprained right knee. He was hurt in the second quarter when Westbrook missed a reverse layup and fell into Roberson’s knee.

Nets: Joe Johnson became the 31st player in NBA history to reach 40,000 minutes. He is eighth among active players, behind Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, Dirk Nowitzki, Paul Pierce, Vince Carter and Andre Miller. Johnson finished with 13 points.

NEW YORK STATE OF MIND

The Thunder arrived at their hotel about 4 a.m. Saturday, not long after the storm had started, and with all the snow and travel restrictions, Durant said he didn’t leave it again until getting on the team bus about 4 p.m. Sunday. “Doesn’t feel like we’re in New York City,” he said. He still has time to enjoy it. The Thunder will be in the city a couple more days before visiting the Knicks on Tuesday.

ABOUT ADAMS

Adams had an MRI that revealed a sprained right elbow. Coach Billy Donovan said he believed the injury happened when Adams dunked in pregame warmups Friday and that Adams was in a lot of pain. He will probably miss the final two games of the road trip and there is no timetable for his return, though Donovan said they don’t believe surgery will be necessary.

 

Sixers’ coach Brett Brown: “I don’t even know what team I coached tonight”

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Philadelphia is 3-7 in their last 10, they’ve played better since Ish Smith was brought in to give it a reasonable NBA point guard running the show. But before and after that there is one hallmark of this young team — they played hard for coach Brett Brown. The talent was lacking, but the effort was there.

Except for Sunday.

The Sixers put up little resistance in a 112-92 loss to the Celtics. That left Brett Brown stunned, as reported by Jessica Camerato at CSNPhilly.com.

“I don’t have much to say,” he said. “That was a bad NBA game tonight from our standpoint….

“I don’t even know what team I coached tonight,” Brown said. “That’s not who we are. Fortunately we got a few wins on the board previous to this game where you can say, ‘Yeah, I agree, we see what you saw.’ I’m not going to be out of control with my comment, that’s what we saw. We were poor.”

Brown cut his presser short, not wanting to say much more.

This game had been on the schedule for Saturday but was postponed a day due to the storm that dumped a couple of feet of snow up and down the Eastern seaboard. That’s not an excuse, just spitballing reasons the Sixers didn’t put out the expected effort. Whatever it was, expect Brown to address it with a few more choice words than he used in this presser in discussing with the team at practice Monday.