Billups can picture himself staying with Clippers

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Chauncey Billups didn’t want to end up with the Clippers.

He didn’t want to get shipped out of his hometown Denver to New York at the whim of Carmelo Anthony. He didn’t want to get waived by said Knicks to clear the way for their signing of Tyson Chandler. Then he told teams not to bid on him while on waivers, but the Clippers did anyway.

But once he stepped back and looked at the situation, Billups realized things in Los Angeles are not so bad. He could picture himself staying with the Clippers past this season, he told Scott Howard-Cooper at NBA.com.

“I’m not going to worry about that until the summer,” he said after practice at the team’s training facility. “But I want to be in a situation where guys are ready to win. Not just win the regular season, but win in the playoffs. We’ll see how this thing shapes up, but if we continue with the mentality that we have and players keep getting better, this maybe the opportunity that’s best for me.”

But how is that going to work, you ask? Chris Paul is the Clippers point guard and Billups has played the point his entire career. How well Billups adjusts to playing off the ball will be one of the keys to the Clippers season.

Billups doesn’t see the issue.

“Chris and I have been two players that have pretty much dominated and had a lot of success in our careers at that position,” Billups said. “For us now to be here together is a little strange, but at the same is a delight for me to be able to have somebody on the floor that’s the same cerebral player that I am. I’m used to seeing things that most people on my team didn’t see. We’re seeing things together and looking at each other, saying, ‘Yeah.’ ”

Eventually the Clippers are going to have to address the two guard spot for the long term, but if they can keep Billups around a couple seasons and he adapts, that is a guy who can help a young team through the how-to-win-in-the-NBA learning curve.

Magic suspended Mohamed Bamba for being late to walk-through

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Seven of the top eight picks in the 2018 NBA draft are scoring double-digit points per game.

The exception: Magic center Mohamed Bamba.

Bamba certainly hasn’t been bad. He’s just acclimating to the NBA at a more common rate than peers like Luka Doncic, Jaren Jackson Jr. and Deandre Ayton. This is an exceptionally good rookie class.

But this won’t help Bamba catch up. He missed Orlando’s 101-76 loss to the Mavericks last night.

Chris Hays of the Orlando Sentinel:

Bamba, who was suspended for a game for being late for the team walk-through at the hotel in Dallas on Monday

“It was a violation of team rules,” Clifford said. “It’s just a one-game thing. Mo will play again on Thursday, but that’s what it was.”

“It’s just bad on my part and I just need to be better … just gotta be on time,” Bamba said. “It’s very difficult because you want to be out there and impact the game in any way possible and hope for a different outcome.”

I doubt Magic coach Steve Clifford suspended Bamba for a single instance of tardiness. This was likely a culmination.

Orlando (12-15) is eighth in the Eastern Conference, in the thick of the playoff race. If the Magic are going to take advantage of the low bar for making the postseason, they need all hands on deck – including Bamba.

Lonzo Ball bypasses open layup for no-look backward bounce pass, leaves Luke Walton staring into abyss (video)

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Lonzo Ball missed a layup early last night. That might have made him overthink later, when he was ahead of the pack on another fastbreak. Instead of shooting the open layup, Ball bounced the ball behind him without looking, leading to a turnover and open Heat 3-pointer.

On the bright side for the Lakers, they still beat Miami.

On the bright side for us, we got this great Luke Walton reaction GIF:

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LeBron James says he was referring to only arena, not consideration of signing with Knicks

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After the Lakers beat the Heat in LeBron James‘ and Dwyane Wade‘s final game together, the stars shared an eyebrow-raising conversation on the court:

  • Wade: “I appreciate you letting it end here. I appreciate you bringing us here today.”
  • LeBron: “It was either here or at the Garden. That’s it. That’s the only places we could end it at, man.”

That prompted immense speculation about whether LeBron considered signing with the Knicks. After all, how else would he and Wade – who said he’d re-sign with Miami or retire – have played at Madison Square Garden?

Michael Duarte of NBC Los Angeles

This was always the most likely explanation. The arenas in Los Angeles in New York are the NBA’s biggest stages, and LeBron has repeatedly stated his affection for Madison Square Garden. He didn’t have to think through all the implications to say those were the only appropriate locations.

But I’m still a little skeptical.

LeBron sure was speaking up for the cameras with Wade. And that was after an on-court conversation with Wade a few years ago blew up into a big deal. LeBron also got reminded just last year, with Lonzo Ball, about how much attention those on-court talks generate.

Plus, ever since Phil Jackson bothered him with his “posse” comment, LeBron has repeatedly gone out of his way to tease the Knicks.

Ultimately, I believe the given explanation that this was just about the arena’s allure and nothing more. An offhand remark needn’t completely follow the logic that either LeBron or Wade must play for the Knicks for them to meet at Madison Square Garden. But I’m not completely sold this wasn’t a passive-aggressive dig at the Knicks.

Kings player after beating Bulls: ‘Uh-oh, another 2 1/2-hour practice for them tomorrow’

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New coach Jim Boylen has ruled the Bulls with an iron fist. His abnormally frequent and lengthy practices nearly inspired a mutiny by his players.

A 108-89 home loss to the Kings last night likely won’t ease attention in Chicago. Especially with the opponent piling on afterward.

Chicago Sun-Times:

The Bulls are the laughingstock of the NBA right now.

Even the Kings – the Kings!are mocking them.