Report: Nets, Warriors Rockets leaders in Tyson Chander sweepstakes

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It starts here: Tyson Chandler wants to get paid. A lot. This is likely his last big contract and the man wants his money (reportedly he asked the Mavericks for a $20 million deal and wants max money from others).

Dallas has balked at the cost and that is why Chandler has said he expects to be on another team next season. I wouldn’t be shocked if in the end he comes back to the Mavericks, but right now he is going to play the field.

Who is in that field? New Jersey, Golden State and Houston, Marc Stein at ESPN reports.

With little movement in the talks in the days since, sources say that Golden State, Houston and New Jersey have emerged as the most serious suitors for Chandler, who is widely credited with changing the defensive culture in Dallas and combining with Mavs mainstay Dirk Nowitzki to spark the franchise to its first-ever championship.

The Rockets and Nets also remain at the forefront of the chase for Denver Nuggets free agent Nene — along with the Indiana Pacers and Nuggets themselves — and are likely to meet with the Brazilian big man as well in the coming week. Sources stressed that the Mavericks, meanwhile, continue to keep an open dialogue with Chandler in hopes that a deal can still be struck.

Golden State is interesting. It’s a team where the owners are working hard to change the culture, starting with a bigger focus on defense as they try to wash the remainder of the Don Nelson era away. They have scorers with Monta Ellis, Stephen Curry and even David Lee. Put Chandler in the middle and that is a much better team that could make Mark Jackson look good.

Houston is sort of similar, but maybe not as good. They could use the defender in the middle and they have Kevin Martin and others to do the scoring. They also have a known, stable franchise that will build quality around its stars. But Chandler is another role player in Houston on a team of good ones. With the Nets, he shares the paint with Brook Lopez on a team and franchise trying to build something fast. Chandler in New Jersey is really Nets ownership saying, “Look how hard we are trying, Deron Williams, please sign with us.”

In the end, Chandler is going to get a big payday, maybe not as big a one as he wants but a big one. And after having won a title, will he want to go to another team that is rebuilding for a few more bucks? Is that really worth it at this point in his career.

NBA makes it official, moves up free agency six hours to 6 p.m. June 30 (Eastern)

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I’d like to think this means we’ll all be able to go to bed at a reasonable hour on June 30. I also know better.

There is a frenzy of activity right as free agency opens (Tampering? There is no tampering in the NBA…), which traditionally has been as the clock turns to July 1 in New York, right at midnight. Things got so active that a lot of agents and players made sure they were in Los Angeles, even if they didn’t live there in the offseason, just so things started at the more reasonable hour of 9 p.m.

Now the NBA has made the rumors official: Free agency will begin at 6 p.m. Eastern on June 30. Six hours earlier than before.

This was done as an agreement between the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association.

This is going to be a wild July with a lot of big-name free agents — Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Klay Thompson, Jimmy Butler — and maybe a third of the players in the league on the market, plus there are a lot more teams with cap space to spend this season. It’s going to be a frenzy.

Now we know what time the wild times start.

Why does Kevin Durant respond on social media? “I’m qualified to talk about basketball”

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Every NBA player gets ripped on social media, even the guys who are not on social media. Most of the time players just ignore it, the way they ignore fans yelling stuff courtside or distant family asking them for money.

Kevin Durant, however, gets into it sometimes, even with national media members (and even had a burner account). Which always becomes a thing.

Why? Why not just ignore it? From Durant himself at practice Friday, via NBC Sports Bay Area.

“Because I have social media,” Durant said Friday… “I mean, I’m a human being with a social media account. I could see if I ventured off into like politics, culinary arts or music and gave my input, but I’m sticking to something that I know. You know what I’m saying? This is all I know. I’m actually talking about stuff that I know. I’m qualified to talk about basketball.

“So when I respond to something, especially if it’s about me personally, of course I’m going to tell you if you wrong about it. When I’m on the training table getting treatment on my calf and I see a tweet that come by and I disagree — I don’t talk to people because I’m worried about what they say, it’s just that I’m interested. So if you talking about in-game or the NBA Finals, they’re the same to me, you know what I’m saying?”

Durant seems to have more time on hands to get into these spats while he is out injured. Which likely will last into the start of the NBA Finals.

Does this mean the Drake/Durant beef is inevitable?

LeBron likes Instagram of Kyrie Irving in Lakers jersey, Internet goes berserk

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The Lakers landing Kyrie Irving in free agency this summer might be their best realistic option. It’s far, far from a lock — the Knicks, and yes Celtics, will make their pitch, too — but reuniting the pair that won a title in Cleveland is on the Lakers’ radar. (Insert your own, “you know who should coach this team” Tyronn Lue joke here.)

Fueling the speculation, LeBron James and Irving were seen hanging out together at a club in Los Angeles recently. Then Friday, this happened: Cuffthelegend posted this on Instagram and LeBron liked it.

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I like how this feels

A post shared by Savage Season 365 (@cuffsthelegend) on

(For the record, Cuffthelegend gets some stuff right, he’s not a guy who posts stuff out of nowhere.)

Of course, NBA Twitter and the web responded to this in its usual measured, thoughtful way. Some Lakers fans think the deal is done, others mock the idea altogether.

Two thoughts on Irving and the Lakers:

• Multiple reports say Irving is open to it. Irving also has a strong relationship with Kevin Durant, and Boston still plans to trade for Anthony Davis and then try to re-sign Irving (even if Boston fans are done with Kyrie). The only person who knows which way Irving is leaning right now is Irving, and there’s a good chance he changes his mind in the next five weeks anyway.

• If the Lakers are going to land a star free agent this summer, it will be because LeBron was an active recruiter. These elite players have options, and the Laker front office is not inspiring confidence of late, it will be on LeBron to win guys over.

 

Jeremy Lin: Milwaukee security guard asked for my pass to Raptors team bus

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Jeremy Lin has discussed people not believing he plays in the NBA.

It apparently still happens.

Lin, whose Raptors are playing the Bucks in the Eastern Conference finals, via Bill Michaels Sports Talk Network:

After Game 2 in Milwaukee, I was trying to get to the team bus and one of the dudes in the Milwaukee arena just screams at me. He’s like, “Where do you think you’re going?!” And I’m like, “Uh, I’m trying to get to the team bus.” He’s like, “What?! Where’s your pass?” I was like, “I don’t have a pass. I don’t know what you’re talking about. I don’t have a pass.”

This happens in a lot of arenas, so I just kind of go with the flow.

It’s a fine line. Lin shouldn’t be profiled as a non-athlete because he’s Asian-American. Arena staffers should keep everyone safe by stopping unauthorized people.