The Heat want to make a run at Greg Oden. I want to make a run at Isla Fisher. Both have equal odds.

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The Heat are cash strapped. That tends to happen when you have three superstars playing on one team (or former superstars in the case of Chris Bosh — sorry, Chris). They need to improve their team and yet they don’t have much room and only one exception to use. So what’s the plan? Apparently it’s to go after one of the players who remains a high-priced commodity despite his inability to stay on the floor due to repeated injuries. That’s right. The Heat want to pursue Greg Oden.

From the WWL:

The Heat are considering making a run at restricted free agent Greg Oden, league sources said. Oden, who hasn’t played in nearly two years after suffering two different knee injuries, has a key doctor’s examination this week when he could be cleared to resume contact practices.

Oden has a one-year qualifying offer from the Portland Trail Blazers for $8.9 million on his plate at the moment. The most the Heat could offer is the bulk of the $5 million mid-level exception.

via Portland Trail Blazers’ Greg Oden drawing interest from Miami Heat, sources say – ESPN.

Yeah, let me go out on a limb here and say there is zero chance of this happening. It’s not just the $8.9 million qualifying offer from Oden. There’s a better than decent chance that the Blazers, backed by Paul Allen who did a Batman impression at the CBA talks in the forms of intimidation over wanting to reset salary offers, will make a ridiculous extension offer. And if they don’t, some team will. That’s the punchline of the lockout. Teams are still going to make a ridiculous offer for a guy who has had three knee surgeries. Because he’s tall, and bulky, and for some reason people still insist on saying he has “bad luck” with “freak injuries.” I’m sympathetic towards Oden. I hope his days of injury are over. It’s terrible for not just the basketball, financial, and emotional reasons for Oden, but because injuries diminish quality of life, and Oden as suffered a lot with them. But he’s still going to get that offer, and his injuries are a pattern.

Essentially the Heat are hoping that he elects to turn down the qualifying offer from Portland, all other offers (or that those teams have the restraint not to go overboard with an offer – hahahahahahaah that’s good, I needed that), and that he wants to play with the Heat. The last part isn’t tricky. Everything else is.

See, I think Isla Fisher is insanely beautiful and she’s the single funniest female I’ve ever seen outside of Gilda Radner and Tina Fey. But if you’re going to look at my odds of landing her, outside of the fact that I’m happily married with a kid, well, they’re not great. See she’s happily to Sasha Baron Cohen with two daughters. Other than that, well, um, she’s Isla Fisher and er, I… well, you get the point. Even if she didn’t have the qualifying offer (continued marriage with one of the funniest people on earth and a wonderful family), she’d still have to take less money despite better offers (from everyone else on the planet). So no, my odds are not great, and neither are the Heat’s.

I ran this by my wife. She laughed for twenty seconds then told me to take the garbage out. She doesn’t think the Heat have a great shot either.

If Pat Riley manages to pull this off, it will be his second offseason of creating sheer magic.

Report: Markelle Fultz was available in trade packages on draft night

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The Philadelphia 76ers are saying all the right things about Markelle Fultz — they are patient, they believe in his work with his new trainer to rebuild his jump shot, and they see him as part of the future. Plus, his handles look sharp.

That doesn’t mean the Sixers are not willing to trade him in their pursuit of a star player. In fact, he was available on draft night in packages, reports Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

The Sixers say they aren’t shopping him. However, there was a report that they had internal discussions about packing him with Nos. 10 and 26 picks to move up into the Top 5 in Thursday’s draft. And multiple league sources have said that Fultz was available to be traded.

But it’s hard to get equal value in return for trading someone relearning how to shoot. The Sixers know that. They also know that if things do come together, Fultz will be a special player. He has the potential to become the type of player they would regret trading away.

Outside of a handful of superstars, every player in the NBA is available in a trade, at least in theory. Fultz is no different. The question in his case is what do they see as an upgrade vs. his potential?

Kawhi Leonard would be an upgrade, unquestionably. Fultz could be part of a package to land Leonard in a trade (Fultz, Robert Covington, the Miami 2021 first rounder, and probably more picks would be a starting point). Once the Spurs get serious about a potential Leonard trade (they are not there yet) how enticing that offer might be comes down to what they think of Fultz and his potential.

The Sixers are not shy about their desire to land an established All-Star to pair with Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. If they don’t get Leonard, they will be looking at the next All-Star who becomes available, and Fultz could be part of those deals, too.

Fultz is not playing in Summer League for the Sixers, but if he comes back this fall trusting his jumper and starting to look like the player who was drafted No. 1 that trade value goes way up (and the Sixers may be less inclined to move him).  It may be then before the Sixers can get a respectable return on any Fultz trade.

Report: Indiana to retain Bojan Bogdanovic, he could start again next season

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Bojan Bogdanovic is the kind of floor spacing shooter the Pacers need next to the attacking Victor Oladipo. He started 80 games for the team, scored 14.3 points per game and shot 40.2 percent from three.

Bogdanovic is due $10.5 million next season, but the Pacers can buy him out before next Friday (June 29) for $1.5 million.

They’re not going to do that, the Pacers are going to retain Bogdanovic, reports Ben Gibson at the Pacers site 8points9seconds.com.

The Indiana Pacers currently plan to retain Bojan Bogdanovic — whose contract is only partially guaranteed for next season — and would be comfortable going into next season with him as a starter, according to a source familiar with the Pacers offseason plans.

There’s no surprise here, it was expected. Bogdanovic provides genuine value to the team — they need him on the court as a shooter, he averaged the second most threes per game on the squad. And, as an expiring contract, he could be used in any potential trades for another star.

The Pacers also have a decision to make on Darren Collison, who is owed $10 million next season but has a $2 million buyout by July 1. They will probably keep him around.

Al Jefferson is owed $10 million next season but can be bought out for $4 million before next January 10. Expect the Pacers to exercise that option and buy him out well before that date.

Carmelo Anthony sends message to haters: ‘Take A Step Back… And Enjoy Life’

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When the expected became official and Carmelo Anthony opted to take the $27.8 million contractually owed him next season, there were groans from the Thunder faithful.

It was Anthony’s right — and everyone knew he was going to take the cash (we all would have done the same) — but his value on the court has shrunk and that’s what eats at the OKC faithful. Anthony’s response on Instagram was, essentially, “relax, it’s just basketball.”

It will be interesting to see if Anthony is back with the Thunder next season, or if he gets bought out. If he does return, how do they better fit him in the offense?

Anthony’s defense has long been a concern, but his offense used to be efficient enough, and his ability to create shots important enough, that teams lived with the defense. However, his efficiency has slid in recent years and, as we saw in the playoffs in April, it’s not enough anymore. The Thunder played better with other lineups. To which Anthony responded he has to get back to his old style of play more.

It’s going to be a wild summer in OKC. Whatever happens.

Suns to sign French point guard Elie Okobo to first-round style contract

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The Suns have an impressive young core four: Devin Booker at the two, Mikal Bridges at the three, Josh Jackson at the four, and Deandre Ayton at center.

The hole: Who will be the point guard?

The Suns like Elie Okobo of France a lot. They drafted him 31st overall, the top pick of the second round, but they will give him a first-round style contract with two guaranteed seasons and two team options after that, reports Shams Charania of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.

The Suns hinted they were going to do this, and it’s a smart move at a fair price if they can develop Okobo (even as a backup).

Okobo has potential. Last season, at the highest level of the athletic French league he averaged 13.2 points on 57 percent shooting (38 percent from three) plus 4.4 assists per game. Okobo is an NBA level athlete who has all the tools to be a good NBA point guard — and he already knows how to score (he had 44 points in a playoff game this season). He’s going to have to round out his game and adapt to the NBA style, but the Suns think they have something.

And they are betting they have with a nice sized contract.