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Mid-Season NBA Award Picks: James Harden edges LeBron for MVP. For now.

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Three-games into the NBA season there were people trying to anoint Giannis Antetokounmpo MVP — end of season award talk cannot start soon enough for some. At NBC, we decided to wait until we were midway into the season — and had a healthy body of work to look at — before we threw our picks out there.

We’ve reached that point.

Nothing is decided yet, this is more like a horse race that is just coming out of the backstretch and starting the sweeping turn towards the finish line — a lot of things can change, and there will be players making late runs at some of these awards.

That’s not going to stop us from making picks for all the major categories — plus the best movie of 2017. Because we can. Below are the picks for Kurt Helin, Dan Feldman, and Dane Carbaugh of NBC Sports.

MOST VALUABLE PLAYER

Kurt Helin: James Harden
Two players have separated themselves from everyone else in this race for me — James Harden and LeBron James. Right now I’d give Harden the edge. The Rockets’ guard’s insane efficiency — not just scoring, but with more assists, fewer turnovers — gives him a slight edge. That said, durability is part of this award and with Harden likely out for a while with a hamstring issue LeBron could (and likely will) take over the top spot before season’s end. I’d have Giannis Antetokounmpo third and then things open up.

Dan Feldman: James Harden
Nobody has ever neared Harden’s combination of usage and efficiency. Like last year, he’s a big-time distributor, but now he has his turnovers under control. His injury absence will hurt his year-end case, making it more likely LeBron James — who’s not far behind — overtakes him. But, so far, Harden is MVP.

Dane Carbaugh: James Harden
I’m not really sure how it can be anyone else. Harden has been magnificent for the Rockets this season as the team has steadily climbed up the ladder in the Western Conference. They look like legitimate contenders this year for a Western Conference Finals run, and Harden has played well both beside Chris Paul and as they take over duties alternating in the rotation for the Rockets.

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR

Kurt Helin: Ben Simmons
From opening night, Ben Simmons has looked every bit the No. 1 pick, a cornerstone player for Philadelphia for the next decade or so. He’s averaging 16.9 points and 7.6 assists per game, shooting 51 percent from the field (mostly without a jumper), and his passing is still the best part of his game. That said, Utah’s hot Donovan Mitchell is a close second, with Jayson Tatum and Kyle Kuzma trying to find a spot in the top three.

Dan Feldman: Donovan Mitchell 
Ben Simmons looked like he’d run away with this award, but his play has slipped enough to leave the door open for someone else. Mitchell has burst right through it with a prolonged stretch of efficient scoring as the Jazz’s go-to player.

Dane Carbaugh: Ben Simmons
Simmons has been excellent this season, with high efficiency marks that offset his lack of shooting ability. In fact, Simmons is shooting better than 50 percent from the field this year, a stark contrast to many who thought his overall shooting abilities might hamper him. Of course, he’s getting many of his own points closer to the rim, while still dishing out assists and grabbing rebounds for Philly. Jayson Tatum is right there too, this race will be interesting down the stretch.

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Kurt Helin: Joel Embiid
This is the most wide-open race on the board — two of the expected frontrunners (Kawhi Leonard and Rudy Gobert) have missed time with injuries, and defending DPOY Draymond Green has been good but not quite his elite self. Embiid has been elite — the Sixers are 7.7 points per 100 possessions better defensively when he is on the floor, allowing less than a point per possession — but I don’t feel good about it because of all the time missed. That said, he is a defensive force. Green, Andre Roberson, and others could easily win this award.

Dan Feldman: Joel Embiid
Presumed candidates Kawhi Leonard and Rudy Gobert have missed too much time with injury, and reigning champion Draymond Green isn’t quite locked in defensively. So, I guess that leaves Embiid, who’s effective protecting the rim and switching onto the perimeter while on the court. His missed games and somewhat limited minutes reduce his defensive impact, but nobody else has jumped into the forefront. Maybe that changes in the second half.

Dane Carbaugh: Draymond Green
Despite what Green says, it’s still not immediately clear that Kevin Durant is more important to the Warriors’ defense than he is. Green had a monster year on defense last season, and is still close to where he was a year ago despite some eye-popping stats from Durant, whose blocks are through the roof. Andre Drummond should get a mention here, too, as he has suddenly become the league leader in defensive rating, defensive box plus/minus, and defensive win shares. If that continues, perhaps we’re talking about Drummond here at the end of the year.

SIXTH MAN OF THE YEAR

Kurt Helin: Lou Williams
Williams made his point Wednesday night dropping 50 on the Warriors (as a starter for a night, but still) — Los Angeles is still in the playoff hunt in the West despite a rash of injuries because of Williams. He has been the classic “gunner off the bench” sixth man. Eric Gordon could get in the mix for this award if the Rockets can ever get healthy and send him back to the bench regularly, he has started too much so far. Tyreke Evans has been good as well.

Dan Feldman: Lou Williams
Williams has provided steady, big scoring for the Clippers, who badly need it amid all their injuries. Given that he’s producing in the way most appreciated by voters — scoring — expect him to run away with the actual honor come spring (or summer if the NBA hasn’t given up on its award show).

Dane Carbaugh: Lou Williams
Williams is still one of the best players off the bench in the NBA and he’s having an even better offensive season this year in LA than he did for Houston in 2016-17. His 3-point shooting and assist percentages are up, and his offensive box plus/minus is strong. Is he a net positive? Yes, barely. But Williams is also extremely important for a hobbled Clippers squad lacking CP3, Blake Griffin, and Danilo Gallinari. That sticks it for me.

COACH OF THE YEAR

Kurt Helin: Brad Stevens
Two coaches have found ways to keep winning despite radically shaken up rosters, Stevens in Boston and Gregg Popovich in San Antonio, and that speaks to both the job they have done this season and the culture both have built with their franchise. Third on my ballot right now would be Dwane Casey in Toronto, but there are other coaches on the fringe of this discussion having strong seasons.

Dan Feldman: Gregg Popovich
LaMarcus Aldridge and Pau Gasol are his primary big men. Kawhi Leonard has barely played. Effective athletes Dewayne Dedmon and Jonathon Simmons left in free agency. Yet, the Spurs still rank second in defense. Popovich has done an incredible job of getting everyone to fill their roles on a low-mistake defense.

Dane Carbaugh: Mike D’Antoni
D’Antoni has found a way to integrate both Chris Paul and James Harden into an offensive and defensive scheme that makes sense for the Houston Rockets. There was some real trepidation from fans and writers alike that Paul and Harden would be too much of a good thing: a duplication of services. That has proven not to be the case, and the man that revolutionized the NBA a decade ago has done it again in a new world order.

MOST IMPROVED PLAYER OF YEAR

Kurt Helin: Victor Oladipo
If there is one run-away winner with an award at the mid-season mark, Oladipo with MIP is it. He spent the offseason putting in the work to improve his body, focused on the weaknesses in his game, then when presented the opportunity in Indiana he has thrived. He will be an All-Star and could make an All-NBA team if he keeps playing like this.

Dan Feldman: Victor Oladipo
Cast as a go-to player for the first time in his career, Oladipo is more efficient than ever. He developed a pull-up 3-pointer that’s dangerous on its own, but also opens up so much more for the Pacers.

Dane Carbaugh: Victor Oladipo
This one feels obvious. Oladipo has been the talk of the first half of the season as the Oklahoma City Thunder have floundered with Paul George, who was swapped in exchange for both Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis. Oladipo looks like a legitimate star after years of uneven development, and he’s made much of the NBA world re-think the value of the PG trade.

BONUS: BEST MOVIE OF 2017

Kurt Helin: The Shape of Water
I still have young children, which means most of my movie-going experiences this year were along the lines of making sure that if I had to sit through “Boss Baby” I at least went to the stylish new theater with a bar. (Not sure I make it through Boss Baby without drinks.) Of the handful of actual movies I saw, I like ones that do a good job creating their own universes, and my two favs were “Baby Driver” and “Shape of Water.”

Dan Feldman: Pitch Perfect 3
I haven’t even seen it yet, but after the first two, I believe it’ll be acca-awesome.

Dane Carbaugh: The Big Sick
2017 wasn’t a great year for movies. Another 38 comic book flicks came out, all with unintelligible titles and the kind of comic relief that plays well with the middle of the bell curve that consumes “The Big Bang Theory” on a nightly basis. Real movies were few and far between, with Get Out, and I, Tonya sticking out of the ones I saw. The Big Sick was solid, but lost some of its striking power in that the true life story felt too unbelievable. It’s packed with a great cast — Holly Hunter and Ray Romano steal the show as the parents — and the result is satisfying. At least it didn’t have Zoe Kazan flying around in space after being blown out of the bridge of a starship.

NBA Power Rankings: Warriors locked on top, Timberwolves slowly climbing

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There’s a lot of stability at the top of the power rankings, with the Warriors and Celtics still in the top two slots. Minnesota keeps on winning, they are defending better, and they climb up to No. 4 — but will the heavy minutes load for the starters catch up to them?

 
Warriors small icon 1. Warriors (33-8 Last Week No. 1). In the five games since his return from a sprained ankle, Stephen Curry has averaged 35.2 points per game, hit 53.2% of the 12 threes he has a game, and averaged a +13 — and with him back the Warriors have averaged 121.7 points per 100 possessions as a team (7 per 100 better than second-place in that span). Remember, Kevin Durant missed a couple of those games. That’s all just a reminder how crucial Curry is to the Warriors success.

 
Celtics small icon 2. Celtics (33-10, LW 2). Boston swept a five-game homestand that included beating the Rockets, Cavaliers, and Timberwolves — all because their defense is locking teams up. In their past six games, the Celtics have allowed just 91.7 points per 100 possessions. Only one game for the Celtics this week as they are in London (Thursday against the Sixers).

 
Raptors small icon 3. Raptors (28-11, LW 3). This season, DeMar DeRozan is assisting on 23% of his teammates’ buckets when he is on the floor, a career high for him by a healthy margin. Combine that with his improved shooting profile — his midrange attempts are down, replaced with threes he confidently knocks down — and you have a guy playing the best ball of his career and leading his team to a five-game win streak (which ended vs. Miami Tuesday). The Raptors don’t get on national television enough (their Canadian audience doesn’t count in US television ratings) but they get a showcase against the Cavaliers Thursday on TNT.

 
4. Timberwolves (26-16, LW 5). Over the past 10 games, Minnesota has been the best team in the NBA statistically, outscoring its opponents by 11 points per 100 possessions — and most importantly their bad defense had been fifth best in the league during that stretch. Karl-Anthony Towns’ defense has improved, but Jimmy Butler is key for the Timberwolves on that end. I’d say they turned the corner, but then I see the minutes for their starters and worry things could fall apart.

 
Rockets small icon 5. Rockets (28-11, LW 4). With James Harden out for a few more weeks, it’s the Chris Paul show in Houston — when he is on the floor the Rockets are still dominating teams, when he sits the team’s defense falls apart (allowing more than 130 points per 100 possessions) and that gets them in trouble. Houston misses Luc Mbah a Moute a lot on defense, but need to find a way to get more consistent stops during the next few weeks until Harden returns.

 
Spurs small icon 6. Spurs (28-14, LW 6). Kawhi Leonard is out again after tweaking his shoulder, but this isn’t expected to keep the forward out for long. That’s good news for the Spurs — their defense is elite with him on the court this season (allowing less than a point per possession). The Spurs have gone 2-3 in a recent strung of road games that heads to Los Angeles (Lakers) on Thursday, then after a game at home against Denver Saturday the Spurs are back on the road for three more.

 
Wizards small icon 7. Wizards (23-17, LW 9). We always talk about John Wall or Bradley Beal, but the guy who doesn’t get enough credit on this team: Otto Porter. He is averaging 14.2 points and 6.5 rebounds a game, both career highs, and is shooting 44.8% from three. ESPN’s Real plus/minus is may not be a perfect stat, but the fact Porter is sixth in the NBA in it this season speaks to his importance as the glue guy in Washington that makes it work. The Wizards seem to have gotten the memo and showed up to play against the last few below .500 teams that they played.

 
Thunder small icon 8. Thunder (22-19 LW 8).. Andre Roberson is missed — if you wondered who the fifth player with the Thunder’s big four would be wonder no longer. In the five games Roberson has been out with a sore knee the OKC defense, once second in the league, has been 24th in the NBA allowing 111.5 points per 100. Consider this a boost for Roberson’s Defensive Player of the Year candidacy. Rookie Terrence Robinson got a few starts and looked like the future (he couldn’t miss in the second half against the Lakers and had 24), but it’s not the same. A fun matchup with the Timberwolves Wednesday, could well be a first-round playoff preview.

 
Cavaliers small icon 9. Cavaliers (26-14 LW 7). Call it an expected mid-season malaise if you want, the Cavaliers continue to look vulnerable to the other top teams in the East. They have lost 5-of-6 on the road recently, giving up 127 points in their last two games (including to Orlando), and now face the Raptors and Pacers in real tests. Then the Warriors next Monday. Kyle Korver has moved into fourth on the all-time three-pointers made list (he moved past Paul Pierce on Monday night).

 
Nuggets small icon 10. Nuggets (21-19, LW 10). Just a reminder: This team is without Paul Millsap, and have gone 12-12 with the star forward (injured wrist). The trade deadline question for Denver: what should it do with Kenneth Faried? Trade him? Play him? The energy bring that doesn’t bring what he once did has racked up 8 DNP-CDs in the last 10 games. Can’t blame coach Mike Malone for that, the Nuggets are 8.9 points per 100 possessions better when the Manimal is sitting this season. Faried isn’t going to bring much of anything on his own, if traded he’s in a package (with Emmanuel Mudiay?).

Bucks small icon 11. Bucks (21-18 LW 12). Toronto is a team that has adapted its game and is now moving the ball, swinging it from strong to weak, and in two recent games they exposed that the Bucks defense can still be ripped apart by teams that do that. The Raptors scored 131 (in OT) and 129 on Milwaukee in those games. The Bucks defense is 23rd in the NBA on the season (25th if you take out garbage time, 21st in the last 10 games) and it’s the end of the floor that will cost them in the playoffs if things don’t change.

 
Heat small icon 12. Heat (23-17, LW 13). Miami has won five straight – all by single digits. Still, a win is a win and as of right now the Heat are tied with the Wizards for the four seed in the East (meaning the first round of the playoffs would be at home). Is Miami poised for a run like the second half of last season? Don’t bet on it. Miami has the point differential of an 18-22 team (according to Cleaning the Glass), they have been the luckiest team in terms of wins in the NBA this season by those numbers.

 
Blazers small icon 13. Trail Blazers (22-18, LW 15). What would help a Portland offense that hasn’t been itself this season? How about some easy buckets in transition — Portland is 29th in the league in percentage of offensive plays that start in transition (11.3%, via Cleaning the Glass). Despite that the Blazers have won of 6 of their last 8, including going into Oklahoma City and getting a win Tuesday at the start of a rough four-game road trip (which includes Houston and Minnesota).

 
Sixers small icon 14. 76ers (19-19, LW 18). Winners of four in a row as they head to London to take on the Celtics. One reason for the win streak is they’ve slowed down the turnovers — on the season the Sixers have coughed the ball up on 17.2% of their possessions, but in the last five games that has dropped to 14.5 percent. Ben Simmons had a solid game against the Spurs, he needs more of those as Donovan Mitchell is closing in on him for Rookie of the Year.

 
Pelicans small icon 15. Pelicans (20-19, LW 14). When they needed a win to help solidify their playoff position, they went in and got it last Wednesday in Utah (thanks to one of their best defensive performances of the season). The Pelicans are the eighth seed in the West, 2.5 games up on the stumbling Clippers, and New Orleans has a soft schedule the next couple of weeks where it can create some cushion in the standings.

Pistons small icon 16. Pistons (21-18, LW 11). The win over the Rockets last week was one of the more inexplicable outcomes of the season — Detroit was without Andre Drummond and on the second night of a back-to-back, yet upset an elite team (the Piston’s only win in their last four). Drummond missed two games last week with a rib injury, he hadn’t missed two games all season in the past five years.

 
Pacers small icon 17. Pacers (21-19, LW 17). Victor Oladipo has been back for two games, and the Pacers are on a two-game winning streak. This is not a coincidence. On the season the Pacers are 13 points per 100 possessions better when Oladipo is on the floor, and in those two wins he was +38 combined (and also scored 38 points). Indiana faces the streaking Heat, Cleveland, then 6-of-7 on the road.

 
Clippers small icon 18. Clippers (18-21 LW 16). Los Angeles keeps lurking around the playoff picture at the bottom of the West and if they can just get healthy… but that’s not going well (Austin Rivers sprained his ankle, Blake Griffin got a concussion, and Millos Teodosic had to miss a few games). The Clippers are also tied for the second easiest schedule in the NBA so far this season (based on opponent records) and things are about to get tougher, starting with Golden State this week.

 
Knicks small icon 19. Knicks (19-21, LW 20). What does Kristaps Porzingis being “so tired” mean? In November, he shot 46.1% overall, so far in January that is down to 33.8%. In November he shot 42.4% on threes, in December that was down to 32.1%. The Knicks are just two games out of the last playoff slot in the East, but they need a lot more Porzingis — and to get Tim Hardaway Jr. back — to make a push.

 
Hornets small icon 20. Hornets (15-23, LW 24). Is Charlotte going to be a seller at the trade deadline? The next few weeks may have a say in that as the Hornets are 5 games out of the last playoffs but have 8-of-9 at home, this is their last chance to make a serious push. Kemba Walker continues to be fantastic but the Hornets need some secondary playmaking form somewhere, and it’s not Nicolas Batum’s nature.

 
Nets small icon 21. Nets (15-253, LW 25). Brooklyn loves to launch threes — they are third in the league in percentage of their shots from three (35.9%, excluding garbage time). The problem is they are hitting 35.8% of them, 28th in the league. The scrappy Nets are also playing their best defense of the season, which is why they were able to push the Celtics twice in recent games.

 
Bulls small icon 22. Bulls (14-27 LW 19).. The emergence of Lauri Markkanen — averaging 17.2 points per game and shooting 50% from three in his last five, continuing the trend of growth we have seen from him all season — makes Nikola Mitotic the guy most likely to be traded at the deadline. Utah and Detroit are the frontrunners, other teams may have interest (watch Portland), but will any give the Bulls the first round pick they want? (The bidding may come down to the protections on the pick.)

 
Jazz small icon 23. Jazz (16-24, LW 21). When Rudy Gobert went down the second time this season with a knee injury, the concern was Utah was heading into a brutal stretch of the schedule. That seems to have done their playoff dreams in — the Jazz are 2-9 during Gobert’s second injury, with their offense and defense in the bottom five in the league. On the bright side, Donovan Mitchell continues to tear it up and is knocking on Ben Simmons’ door in the Rookie of the Year race.

 
Suns small icon 24. Suns (16-26, LW 22). While the Suns are seeing growth — rookie Josh Jackson is looking more comfortable with his shot of late, for example — it’s not likely going to translate into wins as the Suns have the toughest remaining schedule in the NBA. There’s a push in Phoenix to get Devin Booker on the All-Star team, but his biggest obstacle is the conference is LOADED with good guards and it’s tough to crack that group.

 
Mavericks small icon 25. Mavericks (14-28 LW 23). Dallas has become a scrappy team — they pushed the Warriors to the end (and lost on a Curry three) and have been close late in most of their last 10 games. Their most dangerous lineup of late has been Dirk Nowitzki and the bench guys, which is +25.6 points per 100 possessions on the season.

 
Grizzlies small icon 26. Grizzlies (12-27, LW 26). It sounds like Memphis has no interest in moving Marc Gasol at the trade deadline, but what about Tyreke Evans? He is averaging 19.7 points per game and would be in the mix for Sixth Man of the Year if he were coming off the bench more (he’s started half the team’s games so far). In a depressed trading market the Grizzlies would not get a lot back, but maybe a young player or second-round pick who could be part of the future with the Grizzlies.

 
Lakers small icon 27. Lakers (13-27 LW 29). While Lonzo Ball has returned, that didn’t solve the team’s biggest issue o— a severe lack of effort. Especially on defense. What did solve it was playing worse teams (Sacramento and Atlanta, which is who Los Angeles beat on a two-game win streak. The Lakers need more of this play and less of the recent distractions from Lithuania. “We aren’t going to start feeling sorry for ourselves,” Walton said after the loss to the Thunder.

 
Kings small icon 28. Kings (13-27, LW 27). The biggest question for the Kings’ front office during the season should be: How are our young players developing? That’s been up and down, but on the bright side point guard De’Aaron Fox seems to be finding his shot — he shot 37.6% in December and 45.8% so far in January. Also this month his three-point shooting is up to 41.7%. Fox led the Kings’ 25-and-under starting lineup to a win over the Nuggets last Saturday, which is one of those positive signs.

 
Hawks small icon 28. Hawks (10-30, LW 28). Atlanta is reportedly putting Marco Belinelli, Ersan Ilyasova, and Kent Bazemore on the trade block coming up on the Fib. 8 trade deadline, and while there may be some interest, in a depressed trade market don’t expect much of a return despite the quality of players. The Hawks are 0-4 so far on a recent road swing (with Denver still to come on Wednesday), which for the season makes them 3-18 away from home.

 
Magic small icon 30. Magic (12-29, LW 30). Look for Orlando to try and be sellers at the trade deadline as they try to assemble a roster that fits together better. Detroit had interest in Evan Fournier — despite the fact he is owed $17 million a season for three beyond this one — which speaks to the need and value of shooting around the league. The Magic have lost 14-of-15 and have 6-of-8 coming up on the road.

Report: Thunder don’t plan to trade Paul George, Pelicans same with DeMarcus Cousins

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Last year at the trade deadline, New Orleans’ GM Dell Demps went all-in and traded for DeMarcus Cousins to pair with Anthony Davis, going big in a small-ball league.

Last summer, Oklahoma City GM Sam Presti went all-in acquiring Paul George from the Pacers, in a move to get Russell Westbrook to re-sign (it worked) and make the Thunder a contender again (not sure about that one yet).

With the trade deadline approaching, both teams could bail on those plans, trade their stars for pennies on the dollar, and start their next phase building around the star they have locked up.

Neither team plans to do that — the Thunder are keeping George, and the Pelicans are keeping Cousins, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

For now, the Thunder are fully committed to playing out the season with impending free agent Paul George. They still have hope that a strong run in the playoffs could convince him to re-sign in Oklahoma City….

So far, New Orleans is determined to re-sign center DeMarcus Cousins and hasn’t invited trade offers on him.

If you want big names not going anywhere at the deadline, Marc Gasol in Memphis may need an invite to the party.

Teams are curious to study Memphis’ plans with center Marc Gasol, but so far, the Grizzlies say they’re planning to keep him.

For the Thunder, the team’s play has improved of late, guys are accepting their roles (we’re looking at you, Carmelo Anthony), and they look like a team that can make the second round of the playoffs. Then they likely run into the Warriors. Is that enough to keep George? The Pacers and other teams were told last summer he wanted to be a Laker when he was a free agent in 2018, but as George looks at that struggling team and the LaVar-induced circus around it, is the draw of home the same? Oklahoma City is not backing off its plans now, they want to keep him.  Although if George wants to stay (at a max salary) and Carmelo Anthony does the expected and opts into his $28 million (and Russell Westbrook is already maxed out), this is a small market team headed deep into the luxury tax. We’ll see what kind of stomach ownership has for that tax.

The Pelicans want desperately to make the playoffs this season, keeping Cousins — who is having a fantastic year — is the only way they do that. New Orleans is currently the eight seed in the West, 2.5 games up on the L.A. Clippers.

Memphis fired their coach in a futile effort turn their season around, and the injury to Mike Conley (and, I supposed, Chandler Parsons, but we all expected that one) has certainly kept them down. We can debate whether getting the band back together in Memphis is really a good idea, but ownership doesn’t seem ready to trade Gasol and move on yet.

Grizzlies Mike Conley says no timeline for his return (but he does plan to come back)

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The Memphis Grizzlies have gone 5-21 since Mike Conley started missing games due to a sore Achilles (an ongoing issue). There are other factors in that record for sure, but the Grizzlies would have won more games with him (they were 7-6 when he started to sit out).

Conley plans to return this season, but there is no timeline for him to get on the court again, he told members of the media Friday. Here are the highlights, via Michael Wallace of Grizzlies.com.

The Grizzlies coaches and front office have a couple of hard questions coming up.

First, at what point is it time to shut Conley down for the season? At 12-27, the Grizzlies are eight games out of the playoffs and not going to make up that ground, and if they are not headed to the postseason at what point do they decide to just let Conley get healthy and come back next season.

The other question: Is it time to tear this down, trade Marc Gasol, and start the rebuild?

Other teams are calling, but the Grizzlies have yet to move down that road — they fired David Fizdale as coach in an effort to turn the season around and to keep Marc Gasol happy. The ultimate answer to the “blow it up?” question is not an answer that comes from the GM, it’s an ownership answer, and right now there are questions about who will be the Grizzlies owner going forward.

It’s been a rough season in Memphis, one where the first domino may have been the Conley injury. Now the issues are much bigger than him and if he can return this season.

Report: Carmelo Anthony won’t be fined for swearing during post-game interview

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After the Thunder’s win over the Clippers last night, Carmelo Anthony let the expletives fly when Russell Westbrook dumped cold water on him during a televised post-game interview.

Considering Marc Gasol got fined $15,000 for using profanity during a televised post-game interview earlier this season, it seemed likely Anthony would draw similar punishment.

Alas, the NBA showed leniency.

Brett Dawson of The Oklahoman:

Somewhere, Gasol should be furiously dumping water on himself and asking for a refund.