Report: Andre Iguodala, Elton Brand unlikely to be traded

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The Philadelphia 76ers are a better team than you think.

Back 16 games into the season, when the Sixers were 3-13, there was a lot of talk about roster shakeups. Remember Andre Iguodala getting dragged into the Carmelo Anthony trade morass? There were calls (and maybe plans) to get Iguodala and Elton Brand out of town and really start rebuilding.

That’s not the case now. No, they’ll not be scaring the likes of Boston or Miami, they keep finding ways to lose close games and blow late leads, but they are 19-25 and frankly better than their record shows. They have the point differential of a .500 team. Right now they are the seven seed in the East and climbing.

With that, the team is not making any major trades at the deadline, according to the Sporting News.

The playoff push has clearly lifted the Sixers’ outlook. According sources around the league, Philadelphia is not eager to make major roster changes now, and both Iguodala and Brand are all but certain to be with the team throughout this season.

That’s just fine with the players. “In the beginning of the year, we had new guys, we had a new coach, we weren’t really playing up to our ability,” said Brand, who is having his best season as a Sixer with averages of 15.0 points, 8.7 rebounds and 51.4 percent shooting from the field. “But we knew we were a better team than that. I think everyone here wanted a chance to show what we can do.”

There is a long, long way to go with this Sixers team. But they are not in a position where they need to be hasty with decisions, either.

Luka Doncic fined $10k for kicking ball into stands (video)

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Mavericks rookie Luka Doncic got ejected a few days ago for kicking the ball into the crowd, his second technical foul of the game.

That outburst also got him fined.

NBA release:

Dallas Mavericks guard-forward Luka Dončić has been fined $10,000 for kicking the game ball into the spectator stands, it was announced today by Kiki VanDeWeghe, Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations.

The incident, for which Dončić was assessed his second technical foul and ejected, occurred with 3:00 remaining in the third quarter of the Mavericks’ 111-99 loss to the Indiana Pacers on Jan. 19

Players usually get fined $25,000 for throwing something into the stands. But sometimes, they get just a $10,000 fine for that, seemingly if it appears they didn’t intend for the object to reach the crowd.

Did Doncic mean to kick the ball as far as he did?

Who knows? But it seems he got the benefit of the doubt here.

Mike D’Antoni: Not right NBA wouldn’t allow Rockets to trade Carmelo Anthony yesterday

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The Rockets signed Kenneth Faried, importantly to them, before their game against the 76ers yesterday. With Clint Capela injured, Houston needed another big against Joel Embiid.

But the Rockets had to open a roster spot for Faried. Their clear preference was trading Carmelo Anthony. Failing that, they’d release James Nunnally.

Houston agreed to deal Anthony to the Bulls but couldn’t complete the trade because the league office was closed, as is the norm on weekends and holidays (in this case, Martin Luther King Day). So, the Rockets dropped Nunnally, eating the remaining salary on his 10-day contract, increasing their luxury-tax bill and costing him the opportunity to play for a team that could use him.

Houston coach Mike D’Antoni, via Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

“I don’t think it’s right,” Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni said of having to terminate Nunnally. “There’s ways (the league) could have facilitated it.”

What happened to the Rockets was fair in that the rules were clear and applied equally to each team.

But I agree with D’Antoni. Games don’t stop for weekends and holidays. The league office shouldn’t, either.

Teams should have more ability to change their rosters on the fly, because games come so quickly. Halting business for weekends and holidays is antiquated. This is a global, multi-billion-dollar operation now.

The NBA can afford to employ enough people who review trades not to overwork any of them. It’d create a better product and make the sport operate more smoothly.

Stephen Curry slips and falls on wide-open fastbreak, gets ball back, air-balls 3-pointer (video)

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See, the Warriors are fallible.

Though Stephen Curry‘s mishaps coming during a blowout win undercuts the point.

Jaren Jackson Jr. bullies Nikola Mirotic with dunk on him (video)

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Yes, the Grizzlies lost to the Anthony Davis-less Pelicans by 20 last night. Results like that are why there’s thought Marc Gasol could leave Memphis.

But at least plays like this Jaren Jackson Jr. dunk on Nikola Mirotic provide hope for the Grizzlies’ future.

Jackson is a skilled 3-point shooter and rim-protector. Add a mean streak inside offensively, and the rookie could really take off.