Shane Battier to Memphis for Thabeet trade becomes official

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UPDATE 4:10 pm: After everyone spent hours looking for a better deal, at the last second these two decided to hook up and make this deal a reality.

Battier replaces O.J. Mayo as the guy on the wing with Rudy Gay (Memphis traded Mayo to Indiana, they get Josh McRoberts back to provide front line depth). Like we said below, this deal makes the Grizzlies better this season. With all the trouble both Memphis and Battier have given the Lakers over the years, you can bet they’d like to avoid them in the first round.

11:47 am: The Memphis Grizzlies as trade deadline buyers? Rockets GM Daryl Morey trading for draft bust Hasheem Thabeet? You all are crazy or selling something.  Next thing you’re going to tell me somebody was willing to take Baron Davis off the Clippers… What? Okay, I’m not sure I understand anything any more.

But it’s true, there is proposed deal that would send Shane Battier to the Memphis Grizzlies in exchange for Hasheem Thabeeet and a first round pick, according to the Commercial Appeal.

There were questions about whether the Grizzlies would include the pick, but recent reports suggest this deal is picking up steam and may well happen.

With the recent moves by Denver and Utah, the Grizzlies see the chance to move up in the standings. As of Thursday morning they are eight seed in the West, half a game back of Portland, one game back of Denver and two back of New Orleans for the five spot. The Jazz are half a game behind Memphis.

If the Grizzlies get all the way to the six seed they could see the Lakers in the first round — a team they match up well against and traditionally give trouble to. If they can get the five seed they would face Oklahoma City in the first round.

Houston, they are looking to the future, this has to be about the pick. This would be a 2013 pick, most likely, because the Jazz already own the Grizzlies pick for 2011 and teams cannot trade first-round picks in consecutive drafts. But we still think this is about the pick because Thabeet has a long way to go to show he should stick in the NBA.

Couldn’t the Rockets get more for Battier?

Russell Westbrook has beef with Joel Embiid after hard foul (VIDEO)

Associated Press
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Russell Westbrook is always looking for something — real or imagined — to use as motivational fuel.

He found something real Saturday in Joel Embiid.

With 1:46 left in a close game on national television, Westbrook was off to the races in transition with just Embiid back and the result was a hard foul.

Westbrook was pissed after the game thinking this was not just a hard foul (warning, NSFW language):

Embiid essentially shrugged.

The actual foul was hard but a bit of a fluke. Embiid went up to block the layup/dunk but Westbrook lost his dribble for a second, and the result was an airborne Embiid crashing into Westbrook. Hard. Was there a little bit extra in there? Depends on if you’re on Team Westbrook or Team Embiid.

But the NBA could use more feuds, so bring it on.

The Thunder went on to beat the 76ers on a Paul George game-winner.

Celtics’ Marcus Smart goes after Hawks’ Deandre Bembry, gets ejected

Associated Press
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Marcus Smart will be lucky if all he has to do is write a check to the league office. This is the kind of thing that can lead to a suspension.

Midway through the third quarter in Atlanta Saturday, Boston’s Smart picked up his second technical foul jawing with Atlanta’s DeAndre Bembry before a jump ball. That got him ejected. But it was when it charged back after Bembry rather than leaving the floor that the real trouble started.

Predicting the league office on fines/suspensions is like predicting a roulette table, but that looks like it could cost Smart a game. Smart had picked up his earlier technical arguing calls.

Boston came from behind to win Saturday in Atlanta, with Kyrie Irving leading the way scoring 32.

Bucks to retire jersey Marcus Johnson’s number

via NBA.com
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Marcus Johnson is a Milwaukee legend. He averaged 21 points a game in his seven seasons with the Bucks and is sixth on the all-time franchise list in points (10,980), is its all-time leader in offensive rebounds (1,468), is third in total rebounds (3,923), and made 4,546 during his time in Milwaukee. He is now a color commenter for the team.

Now, the team is going to retire his No. 8.

The ceremony will be March 24, a story broken by the Journal-Sentinel.

Johnson will be the ninth Bucks player to have his number retired and the first since the team’s move to its new home Fiserv Forum.

Current Bucks legend Giannis Antetokounmpo told the Journal-Sentinel he was happy. Antetokounmpo turned to Johnson at points for help with footwork, post moves, and more.

“I’m really happy for him, I think he deserves to have his jersey retired,” Antetokounmpo said. “It’s amazing. He’s just sitting down there like a normal person, but this guy was one of the best players in the league when he was playing. … He’s a legend.”

Johnson won an NCAA national championship at UCLA under the legendary John Wooden before going on to an NBA career that included five All-Star appearances and three All-NBA teams.

Paul George hits game winner, lifts Thunder past 76ers 117-115

Associated Press
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PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Paul George converted a four-point play with 5.1 seconds left, sending Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder to a wild 117-115 victory over Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday.

George’s clutch shot capped a wild finish that included another memorable exchange with Westbrook and Embiid. Westbrook hit the floor out of bounds under the basket after a foul by Embiid late in the game, and Westbrook fouled out with 14.9 seconds remaining after he got Embiid while shooting a 3-pointer.

Embiid made all three foul shots, tying it at 113, and Jimmy Butler‘s driving layup put Philadelphia in front with 6.9 seconds to go. But George drained a 3 while being fouled by Butler and made the foul shot.

Philadelphia had one last chance, but Butler missed a 3-point attempt in the final seconds. The 76ers have lost 19 in a row to the Thunder.

George finished with 31 points, six rebounds, five assists and three steals. Westbrook had 21 points, 10 rebounds and six assists for Oklahoma City, and reserve Dennis Schroder also scored 21 points.

The Thunder had dropped five of six, including a 138-128 overtime loss against the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday night.

Embiid, who was a game-time decision because of back tightness, had 31 points, eight rebounds and six assists. JJ Redick scored 22 points for Philadelphia, and Ben Simmons finished with 20 points, 15 rebounds and nine assists.

Oklahoma City led by as many as 16 points in the first quarter, but Philadelphia rallied in the second and trailed 59-56 at the break.