Kurt Helin

Dunks, blocks, Hassan Whiteside putting on show against Hornets

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This is why Hassan Whiteside is going to become a very wealthy man this summer.

He’s a big with ridiculous athleticism and hops, and while he doesn’t have a lot of offensive moves he can finish the alley-oop with the best of them.

And of course, he can block shots, just ask Frank Kaminsky. The Hornets’ rookie had backed down Justice Winslow and went up for the shot, but Whiteside marked it return it to sender.

It wasn’t enough, Charlotte beat Miami 109-106, in a battle of teams that could climb to the three seed.

AP Source: NBA free agent moratorium to be 5 days shorter this summer

Associated Press
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MIAMI (AP) — A person with knowledge of the decision says the NBA and its players have agreed to shorten this summer’s free-agent moratorium by five days.

The moratorium will run from July 1-6. Teams were alerted to the change on Thursday, according to the person who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because neither side discussed the move publicly.

Until now, the moratorium was scheduled to run through July 11, with players and teams able to execute new deals at 12:01 a.m. on July 12. The moratorium exists in large part to allow the league time to calculate the exact amount of the salary cap and luxury-tax figure for the coming season.

Players and teams can agree to deals during the moratorium, but they cannot be signed.

Last season, DeAndre Jordan verbally agreed to play for Dallas early in the moratorium, but changed his mind by the end and re-signed with the Clippers.

Kevin Durant on Oklahoma City: “It’s been great so far. I love the city.”

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The most likely outcome next fall is that Kevin Durant is pulling an Oklahoma City Thunder jersey over his head.

We know he likes the city of Boston. And that his people have done their due diligence on Golden State (many around the league think that could happen). We know that Miami, San Antonio, Washington, New York, the LA Lakers, and every other team in the NBA would like to make their pitch to Durant.

But Oklahoma City has always been the shortest odds. Both because Durant likes it and is comfortable there, and because it is already an elite team with another Top 5 player.

After days of being asked about other destinations, Durant was honest about loving OKC in an interview with Bloomberg, (as transcribed by Erik Horne of the Oklahoman).

“It’s been great so far. I love the city. As far as being marketable, with social media and how things are going nowadays, you can be marketable anywhere. I’ve gotten everything that I’ve wanted to get while being in Oklahoma City; that’s never the problem. I just enjoy playing the game of basketball.”

But could he make more money in marketing and endorsements in a big city?

“It’s easy to think like that when you hear it a lot, but like I said it comes back to loving the game for what I started it for as a kid, which was just to have fun. I’m blessed enough that if I work hard enough I can make the money that I want to make, but I’ve made so much in my career already that I can take care of my family, and it’s all about having fun playing with great people and being around great people every single day. That’s more important to me.”

Durant is thinking about his legacy — he wants to win. Now. That’s part of what drives the idea of Golden State and nixes ideas like the Lakers or Knicks. Durant can make more money in salary in Oklahoma City, but if it’s about the money he’ll sign a two-year contract with the Thunder, with an opt-out after one (the same kind LeBron James signed this summer), then he can use that opt-out and the summer of 2017 Durant can get a larger slice of an even higher salary cap.

If Durant is going to open up the door and listen to pitches from other teams question he’s going to ask himself is this: Where do I stand a better chance of winning a ring than Oklahoma City? And that’s going to eliminate a lot of places that think they are in the hunt.

Ultimately, the answer may be “there’s no place like home.” And we don’t mean Washington D.C.

What feud? Dwight Howard to hire Shaquille O’Neal’s agent

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Don’t think you need to get your hearing checked when during the playoffs Shaquille O’Neal starts saying nice things about Dwight Howard.

Players are careful not to criticize other players with the same agent — and that’s going to be Shaq and Howard now, reports Shams Charania of the Vertical at Yahoo Sports.

Howard plans to hire O’Neal’s agent, Perry Rogers, for his new representation, multiple sources told The Vertical. Rogers could file official paperwork with the National Basketball Players Association as soon as Friday, sources said. Rogers doesn’t have any other NBA clients and established his reputation as tennis legend Andre Agassi’s longtime agent.

O’Neal, a longtime public nemesis of Howard’s, had extensive conversations with the Houston center and sold him on the marketing of “Superman” and the representation of Rogers, sources said. The potential of marketing Howard and O’Neal in advertisements together played a role, too, sources said.

Shaq + Dwight = BFF.

Shaq has said before, “A lot of people may think I’m picking on him. I’m not picking on him. I have to stay on the big man like the forefathers stayed on me.” See, it was all just tough love. Not not ego, not a silly battle over the Superman moniker, or a big man coming in challenging Shaq’s legacy (potentially, that never actually worked out).

Nope, it was always love.

Now that they share an agent.

Carmelo Anthony denies he’ll waive no-trade clause, but rumors that may change abound

Associated Press
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Carmelo Anthony has never wavered — he is not waiving his no-trade clause. He wants to stay and win with the Knicks. He didn’t just re-sign there for the money, he signed there because this is where he wanted to be.

That sentiment continues in an interview with Marc Spears of Yahoo Sports— but with an “as of now” qualifier. Anthony admits he has the power but doesn’t want to use it.

“I guess I have all the power. If I really wanted to get out of this situation I could have waived that no-trade clause. But I’ve stuck with it and I’m still sticking with it. I don’t know, maybe my loyalty has come back to bite me in the ass. As of right now, I am sticking to it.”

Anthony said in there he wants this team to build quickly toward a title, that he knows he needs to win sooner rather than later.

Which leads to speculation that if the Knicks don’t have an impressive offseason — a real possibility — he might be willing to waive that no-trade clause. From Ian Begley of ESPN.

But there are some in the organization who believe Anthony may change his stance — and look into his options on the trade market — if the Knicks fail to add talent in free agency, according to league sources with knowledge of the situation.

Here’s another reason to think Anthony might change his mind: Money. Anthony has a 15 percent trade kicker, but that kicker can’t take him above the max salary (set by his number of years in the league). So far, that hasn’t been much of a bump because Anthony just signed a near-max extension. But with the salary cap about to spike, Anthony would get the full 15 percent of his salary bump if traded.

If the Knicks want to move on from Anthony and can find a destination he likes — where he can contend and play with friends — then Jackson might be able to sell him on the idea. And the extra cash. Then both sides could move on.

But if I were going to bet, those handful of teams are not going to give up core pieces for Anthony, and next season he will be back in a Knicks uniform at Madison Square Garden.