Deron Williams signs with new agent, Jeff Schwartz

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It’s been a year of changes for Deron Williams. He had a baby girl, he got traded from the Jazz to the Nets, he had wrist surgery; it was a whirlwind year. And now another change has come. Williams has signed with a new agent, Jeff Schwartz. It’s almost as big of a deal for who he didn’t sign with as who he did.

Williams was rumored to be leaning towards Leon Rose. You know, that Leon Rose, part architect of The Decision, CAA representative, member of that shadowy collective that everyone hates that includes the Miami Big 3. Williams being under CAA threatened to resurrect nightmares of the 2010 free agency period with both Williams and Chris Paul under their belt.

Instead, Williams has chosen Schwartz, who already has a diverse and intriguing collection of clients, including Blake Griffin, Paul Pierce, Tyson Chandler, Lamar Odom, Kevin Love, Kemba Walker, and of course, Ricky Davis. But there’s one other star that raises an eyebrow in the selection of Schwartz: Jason Kidd. Kidd and Williams have grown tight through USA Basketball, where Kidd mentored Williams in tricks to become a veteran point guard. It’s also the third current or former Maverick in Schwartz’ stable.

After Game 4 of the Finals, a baseball-hat clad Deron Williams quietly slipped into the locker room while most of the media was preoccupied with the press conference room, and hugged and shook hands with various members of the Mavericks, spending the most time with Jason Kidd.

Now, before you go bonkers on how massively incomplete and rumor-monger-esque this seems, throttle down a bit. Williams is from Dallas, he lives in Dallas. Popping into a locker room to see an old friend during his Finals run is nothing of note. Not like he was hanging out with Cuban getting liquored up in advance of the 2012 free agency period a year away. Additionally, Schwartz also represents three current or former Timberwolves (Love, Al Jefferson, and Mike Beasley) and two Pistons (Chris Wilcox and Charlie Villanueva). And Williams sure isn’t winding up either one of those places. It’s just anecdotal information.

However, it is a coup for Schwartz, who will get the fun of soliciting offers in 2012 (presuming Williams opts out), with a great number of teams clearing space to make a run for him, including the team looking to sign him to an extension to avoid looking like complete idiots, the Nets.

PBT Podcast: Former Cavs/Suns GM David Griffin; breaking down East playoff chase

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David Griffin is a hot commodity — any time a general manager opening comes up in the NBA, so does his name (most recently New Orleans).

Griffin joins us to talk about what he wants in a job if he returns to an NBA front office. He also discusses what he learned from his experiences at the helm of a LeBron James team, as well as how that applies to what the Lakers went through at the trade deadline.

Also on the agenda — his new show on NBA TV, “GM School,” which debuts on tonight (Feb. 20) at 8pm ET.

After that, we bring in Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports to help break down the Eastern Conference playoff race at the top and the four powerhouse teams. Which one has the best chance of advancing? And who will make it in the final two playoffs spots in the East?

As always, you can check out the podcast below, listen and subscribe via iTunes at ApplePodcasts.com/PBTonNBC, subscribe via the fantastic Stitcher app, check us out on Google play, or check out the NBC Sports Podcast homepage and archive at Art19.

We want your questions for future podcasts, and your comments, so please email us at PBTpodcast@gmail.com.

Joel Embiid says Michael Jordan isn’t the GOAT (VIDEO)

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Joel Embiid is a big man like we haven’t seen in some time. He’s both an interior force and a range shooter, and is one of the more talented 7-footers in recent NBA memory.

So it makes sense that the Philadelphia 76ers star leans toward former big men when it comes to discussing the greatest players in league history. While most are obsessed with the back-and-forth between Michael Jordan and LeBron James, Embiid told Jason Concepcion of the Ringer this week that he didn’t think either were the best player ever.

To Embiid, Wilt Chamberlain is the true GOAT.

Via Twitter:

“He’s not the GOAT. To me, you got Wilt Chamberlain. I mean he has all the records. They’re never gonna be beaten. I don’t see anybody getting 100 points in a game. That’s it, he’s the GOAT.”

Chamberlain doesn’t seem to be brought up in the GOAT conversation much anymore, but his prowess was legendary and it’s mistaken to say that he only played against smaller, less athletic white players.

It’s sort of cool that Embiid decided to choose a different player as is greatest of all time. Whether or not that’s true — or whether Embiid truly believes in his choice — is another thing altogether.

LeBron James confirmed ‘Space Jam 2’ begins filming this summer (VIDEO)

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I’m not sure how excited I am to watch “Space Jam 2”. I think LeBron James is a slightly better actor than Michael Jordan, and the original “Space Jam” was nothing to shake a stick at. I’m the perfect age for Space Jam to have meant something to me, but having watched the film as an adult I can tell you it’s largely underwhelming.

Still, Space Jam 2 is set to film this summer and we finally have a confirmation of that fact from LeBron himself.

Speaking at All-Star Weekend, James told a crowd in Charlotte that they are indeed going to film once the season is over.

Via Twitter:

I think filmmaking has evolved, particularly animated filmmaking in the wake of things like Toy Story, Shrek, and other big franchises. There is no doubt that Space Jam 2 will be a better movie than the original. The director of the film certainly thinks so.

Kids will love it, and it’s exactly the kind of thing that James want to get involved in when he moved to the Los Angeles Lakers this summer.

I’m sure that basketball Twitter will have a steady stream of opinions when it comes out in theaters. Maybe I will catch it when it’s on at Netflix a month later.

Report: Celtics aren’t long-term destination for Anthony Davis

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Anthony Davis recently made mention that all 29 NBA teams other than the New Orleans Pelicans are on his list to land when he becomes trade eligible again this summer. Teams like the Boston Celtics, New York Knicks, Los Angeles Lakers, Milwaukee Bucks, and Los Angeles Clippers will vie for his services with the best packages they have the to offer.

But which of these teams will be long-term solutions for Davis, whose current contract runs out in the summer of 2020?

That is likely to be where the conversation around Davis shifts as we move into the spring. In fact, according to Shams Charania, at least one interested team isn’t on Davis’ radar long term.

Via Twitter:

Davis and agent Rich Paul severely overplayed their hand when it came to negotiating a trade request with the Pelicans as they tried to steer Davis to the Lakers before the deadline.

New Orleans remains firmly in control of Davis and any offers for him, although it’s possible the player could retain some additional influence by making it known that he would not re-sign anywhere outside of his preferred destinations. According to Charania, that’s the Lakers, Clippers, Knicks, and Bucks.

Still, a player’s status as a potential risk in free agency is affected by how good he is and how close to a championship the receiving team thinks they are. We saw a Toronto Raptors take a chance with Kawhi Leonard, who could very well leave this summer.

Might a team trade for Davis without the guarantee that he could leave in 2020? That seems possible, and I wouldn’t rule out anything wild happening in trade market come summer.