Kurt Helin

Report: Chase Budinger to sign with Suns once he clears waivers

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This has been the rumor ever since reports came out that the Indiana Pacers would waive Chase Budinger to clear space for Ty Lawson to join the team for the playoffs.

Budinger is headed to Phoenix, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.

Budinger played his college ball at Arizona and has a comfort level in the state. With T.J. Warren out injured (not to mention Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight in the backcourt injured) the Suns could use all the help they can get. Over the course of a career beset by injuries, Budinger has averaged 8.1 points a game, showed off impressive athleticism, and shot 35.4 percent from three. But those numbers were way down in Indiana this season as he struggled to find a role with the team. He should have more freedom in Phoenix.

Because he was waived after March 1, he cannot join a team’s playoff roster. That is moot in Phoenix.

Lakers rookie Anthony Brown out month with stress reaction in foot

Associated Press
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The Lakers snapped up Anthony Brown out of Stanford in the second round of the 2015 draft and thought they might have a future “3&D” rotation guy. Brown has shown flashes this season, but is shooting 28 percent from three and has not found a steady spot in the rotation. He’s another one of those guys the Lakers need to develop, and he likely would have gotten a lot of run through the end of the season to do just that.

Now it looks like Brown will be out the rest of the season.

With just five weeks left in the regular season, it’s hard to imagine him getting back on the court before Summer League. This leaves the Lakers thin on the wing, with Kobe Bryant out with a sore shoulder and Lou Williams also banged up.

The Lakers have Brown on a three-year contract that caps out at $1 million the third year, so they will bring him back and see if their next coach can develop him.

It’s official, Pacers waive Chase Budinger; Phoenix considered frontrunner.

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We told you a few days ago that the Indiana Pacers were going to waive Chase Budinger to clear out a roster spot to add Ty Lawson, it was just a matter of waiting until after Friday night’s game.

Saturday it became official, Indiana announced it has waived Budinger. He simply never found a role where he was comfortable in Indiana, it was a move this summer where the Pacers gave up shooting to get him and in the end could have used that shooting more.

The rumor is that he is bound for Phoenix. Leaving the arena Friday night, Budinger told Adi Joseph of the Sporting News that he doesn’t know what is next.

Budinger’s next step? “I have no idea,” he told Sporting News after the game. “I’m just going to go with the flow and have faith. That’s about it….

“You see it a lot,” he said. “I’ve been around the NBA for long enough where, when you’ve been in locker rooms, you see situations like I’m in right now. You just have to be professional about it.”

Because he was waived after March 1, he is not eligible to join another team’s playoff roster. If he goes to Phoenix, that won’t be an issue.

Report: Expect Wizards to match any Bradley Beal offer, coaching change could happen

Associated Press
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None of this is new — we covered this ground when we had J. Michael of CSNMidAtlantic.com on NBC’s PBT Podcast — but it is worth mentioning again:

The Wizards plan to keep Bradley Beal this summer regardless of the cost, but they don’t plan to keep Randy Wittman as coach.

J. Michael was on SiriusXM NBA Radio Saturday and talked about the future of the 30-31 Wizards, who remain a game out of the playoffs in the East.

The concern with Beal isn’t production — he’s averaging 18 points a game, is shooting 38.1 percent from three, and he pairs well with John Wall — rather it’s health. He has had a stress reaction in his leg three years in a row and is now on a serious minutes limit (he comes off the bench) to forestall that happening again.

But in a summer where 20 teams will have max salary slots, someone is going to come in over the top with Beal and try to poach him. If an average NBA starter will make $12 million a year in the new financial world order, is Beal worth $15 million? More? The Wizards are going to say they will match — and they very well may — to drive off potential bidders for Beal.

Wittman may have saved his job when the Wizards went small with Paul Pierce at the four and played well in the playoffs last season. However, that’s not his preferred style and as the Wizards tried to adjust to that this season the results have been inconsistent, at best. Injuries certainly have played a big part in that, but this is not in Wittman’s wheelhouse, and after a rough season, it’s unlikely he returns.

It’s going to be an interesting summer in our nation’s capital.

Austin Rivers: We need to keep moving the ball when Blake Griffin returns

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No date has been set, and he still has to sit out a four-game suspension, but Blake Griffin is getting close to a return to the Los Angeles Clippers.

The Clippers have gone 23-7 without Griffin, playing improved defense and with a spread pick-and-roll off that has unleashed Chris Paul and improved the Clippers offensive flow. The ball is moving, and Austin Rivers told Steve Gorman on Fox Sports Radio that has to continue when Griffin returns.

“You’ve got to understand, because we haven’t played with Blake, our ball movement has been a lot better. I think we learned a mutual thing that’s like ‘alright, listen Blake, since you’ve been out, we’ve learned to move the ball better, so when you come back, we’re still going to play like that. But now we have you back, we’re still going to play through you at the same time.’ So I think we’ve both have learned things.  There’s times when it’s obvious we need Blake, so I think it’s a learning experience for both of us.  There’s no way we could be worse with Blake Griffin back on our team. It’s not possible. He’s one of the best players in the NBA, so we can’t wait to have him back.”

The Clippers are not better without Griffin, and anyone who says they are is selling something. The offense they have run in his absence works well during the regular season, when teams don’t have time to prepare outside of a film session, and they don’t dramatically adjust their game plans. That will change in the playoffs, and that is where Griffin’s immense skills and offensive options will give the Clippers options to attack a defense. Griffin can knock down jumpers and is a beast in the post. Remember he was a force of nature in the playoffs last year.

But Rivers is right about the ball movement, and if Griffin comes back and buys in the Clippers become a very dangerous 3/4 seed (wherever they land in the West). Whether that’s enough to get them even to the Conference Finals remains to be seen.