Weekend NBA rumors and deals (constantly updated)

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Just because you didn’t go to work today — you’re at home trying to hang Christmas lights, like that’s not work — doesn’t mean the wheels of NBA free agency and trades stopped. Not in the least.

This post is your one-stop shop for up-to-date, breaking info on what is happening around the league. (If you want a great wrap of what has happened up through Saturday morning, check out Matt’s post about how the league has gone nuts.)

8:47 pm: Eddie House recently had surgery on his left knee and will be out a couple weeks, possibly missing the start of the season for the Heat. With Battier and Miller and a versatile lineup, it will be interesting to see how much run House gets this season.

8:40 pm: The Boston Celtics have inked Jeff Green to a one-year deal worth $9 million. That is wildly overpaying for a nice player, which maybe is what they had to do to get him to take a one-year contract. There is a lot of potential in Green, he’s athletic, but in the end he is just average at everything — shooting, rebounding, defending, you name it. He’s not a bad player but the Celtics have given him a contract and will be giving him a role that is going to require him to grow a lot to fill. At least it’s just one year.

8:34 pm: Jason Richardson has agreed to a four-year deal to stay with the Orlando Magic, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo. He was maybe the top swingman out there, but Caron Butler is headed to the Clippers and Rip Hamilton likely is headed to the Bulls, so the two prime landing spots are gone. Orlando may be rebuilding but J-Rich gives them a solid player and fan favorite on the court.

6:30 pm: J.J. Barea is not going back to the Mavericks — after his playoffs he was rightly ticked about getting a one-year offer — and it looks like it is down to the Knicks and Timberwolves are leading for his services.

6:09 pm: Dwight Howard has told the Magic that he wants to be traded. There is no uncertainty now.

That trade may be to the Nets, which is what Howard wants, according to Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo. The Magic have said they will trade him where they can get the best deal going forward for the team.

4:23 pm: Jeremy Pargo — the brother of Jannero — has signed a two-year deal with the Memphis Grizzlies. Pargo has played the last couple years for European powerhouse Maccabi Tel Aviv.

4:04 pm: Mike Bibby has reached a one-year deal to join the New York Knicks, reports Sam Amick of SI. Knicks fans, if you think this is a good thing you have not watched Bibby play since 2005. You would rather have Toney Douglas on the court. Bibby is not going to solve any problems.

3:55 pm: Reports are that the Milwaukee Bucks will match the four-year offer Denver made to Luc Richard Mbah a Moute. As they should have, this is less than $5 million a year for one of the elite perimeter defenders in the league.

3:50 pm: It’s official, Mike Dunleavy is a member of the Milwaukee Bucks. Two years, $7.5 million deal. That’s nice and all, but they had better keep Mbah a Moute, that matters a whole lot more. (and they are.)

3:18 p.m. Yahoo reports Spencer Hawes will sign a one-year deal with Philadelphia. Philadelphia is very big on bringing back the same team that lost in five games to Miami in the first round last year. No, we don’t know why either.

1:41 p.m.: The Nuggets have tendered a four-year, $19 million offer sheet to Luc Richard Mbah a Moute. Mbah a Moute is a restricted free agent, so Milwaukee has three-days to match the offer. You’d think they’d match, but Milwaukee’s done some weird things with their frontcourt in the past two years .

Brandan Wright is a Maverick. Good luck to all parties. 

Utah has reportedly made an offer for Josh Howard, which makes zero sense and a half.

1:26 p.m.: Aaron Gray has agreed to a deal with the Raptors, via Woj. The Raptors are going to be terrible, just a heads up.

12:05 pm: What are the Mavericks going to do with that massive $11 million trade exception from the Chandler to the Knicks deal? Rumor is try to get Samuel Dalembert in a sign-and-trade with the Kings, according to Marc Stein at ESPN. However, if the Kings renounced their rights to Dalembert (which Tom Ziller says they did) then this would only be able to be a four-year deal.

12:02 pm: Rasual Butler is about to sign with the Toronto Raptors, according to Yahoo.

12:00 pm: T.J. Ford is officially a member of the Spurs, backing up Tony Parker.

11:56 am: The Tyson Chandler to the Knicks deal is all-but done. There is a press conference where things get formalized later today. It’s a sign-and-trade that sends Andy Rautins and an $11 million trade exception back to the Mavericks (something they will use to try and land Dwight Howard or some other star).

This means Ronny Turiaf is officially a member of the Washington Wizards, where he can show Andray Blatche what hustling every night looks like.

11:26 am: The New Jersey Nets offered Nene a four year, $70 million deal, according to the New York Daily News (other sources say the offer is more like $64 million). That is a lot of money for a team that already has Brook Lopez at center, and a lot of money for a guy who has had a history of injuries. Make no mistake, Nene is the best big on the market right now, but that is overpaying. He is not Dwight.

11:13 am: The Hawks have signed Jerry Stackhouse to a deal. Feel pretty “meh” about that, but like it better than the Vladimir Radmanovic signing for them.

11:10 am: Brad Miller just had knee surgery and is slated to return to the Timberwolves the second half of January. He’s the guy with the old-man game who will spell Kevin Love and his old-man game.

11:00 am: A whole bunch of things happened while you were sleeping. Here is a quick rundown of the highlights:

• Dwight Howard’s agent Dan Fegan was given permission by the Magic to try and work a trade with either the Nets, Lakers or Mavericks.

• The Lakers, Hornets and Rockets are still trying to swing a three-team deal that gets Paul moved.

• Chicago is targeting Richard Hamilton — you call him Rip — after Detroit bought him out yesterday, reports our man Aggrey Sam with CSNChicago.com.

• Looks like the Celtics are going to land Delonte West.

• Grant Hill might have gone to the Knicks if they didn’t lowball him.

• Antonio McDyess is still trying to decide whether to retire or play another season. Didn’t he enter the league when George Mikan was still playing?

• The Spurs have not yet dropped the amnesty hammer on Richard Jefferson’s head.

• The Magic got Von Wafer as part of the Glen Davis/Brandon Bass trade. He was thrown in to soak up a trade exception. He got a three-year deal but only the first year is guaranteed.

• The Hawks have signed Vladimir Radmanovic. Yea, that is going to go well.

LeBron James drops 31, leads Lakers comeback to beat Rockets

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HOUSTON (AP) — LeBron James had 31 points and 12 assists and the Los Angeles Lakers rode a big third quarter to a a 124-115 win over the Houston Rockets on Saturday night.

The Lakers bounced back after a loss to Orlando on Wednesday night that snapped their nine-game winning streak. The loss was the third straight for the Rockets, which ties a season high, and they have dropped four of five.

Kyle Kuzma scored 23 points, and Danny Green and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope each had 20 for the Lakers.

Russell Westbrook scored 35 points for his fourth straight 30-point game and James Harden had 34 for the Rockets, who also lost three in a row in late November.

Los Angeles didn’t lead in the first half but used a 32-point third quarter to take a nine-point lead into the fourth.

Houston used a 6-0 run to cut the lead to 10 with about seven minutes left, but the Lakers scored the next six points to extend it to 110-94 midway through the quarter. That sent many Rockets fans streaming for the exits and caused a large contingent of Lakers fans to start chanting, “Let’s go Lakers.”

The Rockets did not get closer than seven points the rest of the way.

The Lakers opened the second half with a 10-3 run to take their first lead of the game, 69-68, with about eight minutes left in the third quarter. James capped that run by making a basket and then added another one seconds later after JaVale McGee blocked a dunk attempt by Clint Capela. McGee beat his chest and screamed after in Capela’s direction after the play and received a technical foul for taunting.

There were about seven minutes left in the third when Westbrook and Anthony Davis, who missed the game with an injury, both received technical fouls for jawing at each other.

The Lakers led by three later in the third when Kuzma scored the first four points of a 9-2 run that stretched the lead to 85-75.

Houston had a chance to cut the deficit at the end of the third quarter, but Westbrook missed two free throws to leave the Lakers up 91-82 entering the fourth.

 

Watch Kawhi Leonard’s 39 points spark Clippers rally past Pelicans 133-130

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NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Kawhi Leonard scored 39 points and the Los Angeles Clippers rallied to beat the New Orleans Pelicans 133-130 on Saturday.

Lou Williams scored 14 of his 32 points during a dominant fourth quarter for Los Angeles, which outscored the Pelicans 31-20 in the final 12 minutes.

Williams’ 3 with 31.6 seconds left, after Patrick Beverley had rebounded Leonard’s miss, gave the Clippers a 133-127 lead and sent numerous fans toward the exits.

But JJ Redick hit a quick 3, and after Leonard ran down the shot clock and missed a 3, New Orleans had 2.4 seconds to attempt a tying 3 that Redick missed off the back rim.

Montrezl Harrell scored 24 points for the Clippers, who trailed by 10 in the final seconds of the third quarter, but turned a steal into two free throws and then opened the fourth with an 8-0 run to tie it at 110.

After shooting 58.5% (38 of 65) in the first three quarters, the Pelicans made just 8 of 21 shots in the fourth as the game slipped away from them.

Lonzo Ball had 18 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds for the Pelicans, who were seeking their 11th victory in 15 games despite the recent absence of guard Jrue Holiday, who has missed seven games with an elbow injury.

Derrick Favors had 22 points and 11 rebounds for New Orleans, while Brandon Ingram had 21 points and Redick scored 19.

The teams combined for 152 points in a fast-paced first half, during which New Orleans tied a franchise record with 80 points.

Favors made his first seven shots and had 15 of his points in the opening 24 minutes, when the Pelicans shot 63.6%, including 11-of-21 shooting from 3-point range.

Ball hit three 3s in the first half, his last giving the Pelicans an 80-72 lead that stood at halftime.

Leonard has scored at least 30 points in each of his last five games.

Giannis Antetokounmpo: NBA system wants you to flop, but ‘that’s not who I am’

Giannis Antetokounmpo and James Harden
Stacy Revere/Getty Images
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Giannis Antetokounmpo scores inside unlike anyone since Shaq.

Like with Shaquille O’Neal, Antetokounmpo has sparked a conversation about how much contacts he absorbs.

Antetokounmpo, via Eric Woodyard of ESPN:

“It’s kind of hard because in the NBA, the way it’s built, they want you to flop,” Antetokounmpo said of playing physically. “It wants you to be weak, kind of, because sometimes I think when you’re strong and you’re going through contact, they don’t call the foul. But when you’re flopping and kind of going into the contact and throwing the ball out, they’re just going to call foul, but that’s not who I am, that’s not what I’m gonna do.

“I’m just gonna try to power through contact. It’s going to be … where if a guy grabs me or pushes me, I’ve got to show it more, but I think I’ve done a better job of showing it more so the refs can see that the guys are holding me, pushing me and just being physical.”

James Harden and Antetokounmpo have traded barbs since last year’s MVP vote, which Antetokounmpo won over Harden. Was this another shot across Harden’s bow?

Harden isn’t the only player who flops. But Harden has earned a reputation as the NBA’s foremost flopper.

Antetokounmpo could do a better job of selling contact. But his tenaciousness sets a tone for the Bucks. His teammates see his determination and follow his lead. There’s a real positive effect to Antetokounmpo’s style.

Also, Antetokounmpo already averages 10.4 free throws per game. How many more fouls would he draw by flopping? Officials could be reluctant to give him even more whistles. Though each call should be evaluated independently, there can be a tendency not to call too many fouls.

Report: LeBron James views Jason Kidd as only living peer for basketball intelligence

LeBron James and Jason Kidd
Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images
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LeBron James is a basketball genius.

That somewhat explains why, since becoming a superstar, he has clashed with all previous his coaches – Mike Brown, Erik Spoelstra, David Blatt, Tyronn Lue and Luke Walton. Traditional roles make coaches the brains behind the operation. But what happens when LeBron is the smartest person in the room? At best, it creates complications.

So, of course there were questions about how LeBron would take to new Lakers coach Frank Vogel. Vogel is a coach. That’s enough.

But LeBron also previously spread word of his desire to be coached by a former player. Vogel never played professionally. However, one of his assistants was a Hall of Fame player with previous head-coaching experience – Jason Kidd.

Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN:

One of those primary assistants would be Hall of Fame point guard Jason Kidd, whom two sources have independently said James regards as the only person alive who sees the game of basketball with his level of clarity.

This is probably hyperbolic. But Kidd was an incredibly smart player. His court vision, defensive recognition and ability to find ways to contribute all over the floor were elite. I can see why LeBron would enjoy talking basketball with Kidd.

But that alone doesn’t make Kidd a good coach. Playing ability doesn’t always translate to coaching ability. His record with the Bucks and Nets leaves a lot to be desired. Interpersonal issues were glaring. Dated thinking became even more apparent when Mike Budenholzer succeeded Kidd and immediately guided Milwaukee to the next level. Kidd’s record of player development is mixed.

Still, that level of endorsement from LeBron carries major weight.

Kidd has been trying to become an NBA head coach again. He lobbied for the Lakers job while Luke Walton held it and interviewed for it before Vogel got it.

Vogel said he wasn’t worried about Kidd undermining him and acted as if he truly isn’t. The Lakers are 33-8, and Vogel is endearing himself in Los Angeles. To better understand how he’s doing it, I highly recommend reading Arnovitz’s article.