Kurt Helin

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Report: Pacers, Chase Budinger agree to buyout. He may be headed to Phoenix.

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Most of the buyouts that were going to happen in the NBA already did — if the deal wasn’t complete by Monday midnight the waived player couldn’t join the playoff roster of another team.

But there is still a buyout happening — Chase Budinger will be bought out in Indy to make room for Ty Lawson, and Budinger is likely headed to Phoenix, according to reports. The two sides have agreed to a buyout, but it has not yet been executed because the Pacers are waiting for C.J. Miles (strained calf) to get healthy and provide depth before they let Budinger loose.

Sean Deveney of the Sporting News broke the story.

With the Pacers set to bring in guard Ty Lawson, who was waived by the Rockets two days ago, sources indicated to Sporting News that swingman Chase Budinger will be bought out before the start of the weekend, likely after Friday’s game….

Budinger went to the Pacers in a trade before the season, and played in 48 games, averaging 4.5 points. But when Paul George moved back from power forward to small forward, Budinger’s playing opportunity dried up. Indiana was unable to move him at the trading deadline, and because of injuries, could not complete a buyout.

Candace Buckner of the Indy Star confirms the story and has more details.

Maybe Budinger can get a little run in the Valley of the Sun and try to prove he deserves another NBA contract.

PBT Podcast: NBA Draft talk with Rob Dauster of CollegeBasketballTalk

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LSU’s Ben Simmons is going No. 1, but is a guy who doesn’t have a jumper a franchise-transforming player?

Is Duke’s Brandon Ingram better?

Who should be drafted third? Kurt Helin of NBC’s ProBasketballTalk asks Rob Dauster of NBC’s CollegeBasketballTalk talk about the top of the 2016 NBA draft, sleepers worth watching in the second round, the rise of the upper classman, plus some Big West basketball and even a little beer talk.

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

Sixers’ Jerami Grant fined $10,000 for throwing a water bottle into stands

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As a general rule of thumb, the NBA frowns on players throwing things at fans.

The Sixers’ Jerami Grant has been reminded of that the hard way — the league has fined him $10,000 for “throwing a water bottle into the spectator stands” Sunday against the Wizards at the Verizon Center.

Grant went down trying to score in transition after a hard foul, and he was frustrated. If you watch the video above, you can see the incident. The NBA just is not going to permit that.

This will hit Grant harder than most guys getting fined, as he is making just $845,059 this season (relative to the rest of the NBA, that minimum deal isn’t much). The second-year player out of Syracuse is averaging 9.2 points in 26 minutes a night, having played solid basketball most of the season.


Five Takeaways from NBA Wednesday: Thunder blow 22-point lead to Clippers

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It was a full night around the NBA, here’s what you need to know from around the Association:

1) LOS ANGELES —Clippers close out game on 26-5 run, come from behind to upset Thunder. OKC had been in control since the opening tip; they were up 16 with just more than seven minutes left in the game, and it looked like the Thunder were going to remind the Clippers that they do need Blake Griffin to complete with the elite teams. Then everything changed.

“I went out (of the game) to start the fourth quarter and Jamal Crawford looked at me and said ‘we are going to get us back in this thing by the time you get back in,’” Chris Paul said. “I don’t know if he’s a fortune teller, but he did it.”

“We just let up and got comfortable with the lead,” Russell Westbrook said.

The Thunder’s shot selection didn’t impress, either. (I’m not including Westbrook’s late three in that mix, although it wasn’t a great shot the Thunder, down three, expected the Clippers to foul and he was trying to draw the three shots.) OKC settled for too many contested jumpers, which became transition/early offense opportunities for the Clippers going the other way (the Thunder didn’t get back on defense). The Clipper bench took advantage of it by attacking, and then their stars sealed the deal — DeAndre Jordan hit a couple of key and-ones on his way to 20 points and 18 rebounds, and Paul added 21 points and 13 assists.

2) Another year, another Spurs trip to the playoffs (that’s 19 straight). The last time the San Antonio Spurs didn’t make the playoffs, Princess Diana was still alive. So were Biggie and Tupac.

Wednesday night the Spurs took care of business against the Pistons 97-81 and that, combined with Utah’s loss to Toronto, clinched a playoff spot for the Spurs. Again. For the 19th season in a row. Let’s acknowledge just how amazing that is as an organization. You can expect the rest of Spurs stars to begin in earnest in a couple of weeks.

3) Chicago suffers an ugly loss to Orlando. There are a lot of questions to ask about what is going on in Chicago, but we need to remind ourselves that this is a very banged-up team. Wednesday night they were without Jimmy Butler, Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson, and Nikola Mirotic — four key rotation players. Still, losses like the one to Orlando Tuesday hurts them dearly in the playoff chase. The Bulls once again played matador defense against a lesser opponent and lost because of it (the Magic didn’t hurt them like the Heat the night before, but it wasn’t because of improved defense). Derrick Rose played well in the first half (16 points on 7-of-9 shooting), but when he was off in the third the Bulls put up just 17 points and got throttled.

The Bulls are just half a game back of eight-seed Detroit. But at 30-30 the Bulls are now tied with the Wizards, who have a much easier schedule the rest of the way. Chicago has a lot of work to do if they are going to make the postseason.

4) Vince Carter turns back the clock with reverse dunk. He’s not winning-the-dunk-contest Vince Carter anymore, but he can still throw one down occasionally.

5) James Harden‘s 39 points bails out ugly shooting night from Rockets. Houston could not throw a pea in the ocean (to borrow an old Chick Hearn line) — Houston was 3-of-34 from three. That’s 8.9 percent. The lowest percentage ever in an NBA game for a team that took 30 or more threes. But James Harden had 12 of his 39 in the fourth quarter, and the Rockets went on a late 13-2 run to beat the Pelicans 100-95, holding on to the eight seed in the West for now.

Doc Rivers says Blake Griffin close to return to Clippers

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LOS ANGELES — Tuesday, Blake Griffin told reporters he was very close to returning from the broken hand that has had him sidelined for five weeks.

Doc Rivers agrees.

“Blake’s close. He’s looking good,” Rivers said without much hesitation before his team took on the Oklahoma City Thunder. “Honestly, watching him today (at shootaround), I was like, in my mind I was thinking ‘we could use some of that tonight.’ I don’t get involved in (the injury) part of it, I know there’s a reason he’s not activated. Honestly, today, watching him I said ‘Can he play tonight?’”

He can’t. For one, he hasn’t yet been cleared by doctors for contact.

“Watching him today I thought that had to be the only reason, that they’re worried it’s not healed properly yet,” Rivers said.

The other reason is that once cleared Griffin will have to serve a four-game suspension for the league from the incident where he broke his hand punching a Clipper employee during a dinner in Toronto. That broken hand required surgery. Griffin has since apologized.

Doc Rivers said that both for chemistry reasons and that the Clippers have a tough schedule down the stretch, he would like to get his starting power forward back in the rotation (and his 23.2 points and 8.7 rebounds a night). The Clippers have done well with a small ball, spread pick-and-roll style offense in Griffin’s absence, but while that has worked in the regular season, it will not be as effective in the playoffs when teams could drill down on it defensively. Rivers knows for his team to have a chance at even getting out of the second round, he needs Griffin.

And he could have him fairly soon.