Wednesday And-1 links: Cuban is still spending on something

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Welcome to our look around the NBA — links to stories worth reading and notes to check out (stuff that did not get its own post here at PBT).

Mark Cuban is going to spend about $1.4 million on Mavericks championship rings. He’ll do it without blinking. He’d gladly do it again next year, but that appears not to be a concern.

When Dwyane Wade is out, LeBron James and Chris Bosh put up bigger numbers (as they did against the Spurs Tuesday). Don’t confuse that with the Heat being better.

Expect Gregg Popovich to sit Tim Duncan for a game soon. To rest him.

Boston Celtics ticket prices are suddenly much more affordable.

Rumor is the Knicks want to get J.R. Smith when the Chinese season ends. I bet they would. But they are over the salary cap and are very limited in what they can offer, so unless Smith isn’t concerned about the money it’s a tough sell.

Just a reminder, the post Carmelo Anthony trade Knicks are a below .500 team.

Richard Hamilton returned to the Bulls lineup Tuesday and had 11 points.

Martell Webster is back in the Timberwolves’ practices. He may return to games soon.

Al Horford’s surgery was successful on Tuesday, but he is pretty much lost for the season to the Hawks.

Vince Carter will be out Wednesday against the Clippers with what is described as a sprained foot (suffered on that final play against the Lakers, a missed three to tie the game). Expect him to miss a couple more.

The NBA is going to celebrate the Chinese New Year with special events this year. Globalization, baby!

The Hornets hope to get Eric Gordon back on the court next week.

Memphis officials were “encouraged” by the results of Zach Randolph’s latest MRI. Take that with a grain of salt, but it’s a good sign.

Kevin Love says all the right things about his potential contract extension with the Timberwolves.

Jeff Foster will be out a couple weeks for the Pacers.

Lakers rookie Darius Morris has looked decent after being forced into action. He’s way more athletic than anyone else in their backcourt not named Kobe.

The Nets waived Dennis Horner to clear a roster spot for Larry Owens.

The Knicks have sent center Jerome Jordan and guard Jeremy Lin to the Erie BayHawks of the D-League.

The Nets have sent Jordan Williams to the Springfield Armor of the D-League.

The latest State of Nate video, chronicling the life of Nate Robinson.

Rumor: Lakers hired Jason Kidd to lure Giannis Antetokounmpo

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New Lakers coach Frank Vogel said he wanted Jason Kidd because Kidd is a good coach.

Steve Popper of Newsday:

the person familiar with the Lakers process said something else: that Kidd was brought to Los Angeles to attract Giannis Antetokounmpo to the Lakers when he becomes a free agent in two years when the Bucks star could become an unrestricted free agent.

Things I believe:

1. This plan probably wouldn’t work. Not only does Antetokounmpo appear happy in Milwaukee, he has specifically said he could never see himself playing for Los Angeles. And though I believe Antetokounmpo respected Kidd while Kidd coached him, look at the Bucks now. They’re so much better under Mike Budenholzer. You think Antetokounmpo is itching to play for Kidd again after seeing the other side?

2. The Lakers might just try this wild plan anyway. Remember when they were waiting to hire a coach in 2014 so free agent LeBron James could pick? Aside from signing LeBron last year, who seemingly had his eye on Los Angeles for years and for reasons other than basketball, the Lakers have struck out on star free agents. The franchise is getting desperate.

3. People want to believe the Lakers would do something crazy like this, and that makes the rumor spread faster – whether or not it’s true. The Lakers, because of their stature, tactics and general manager have made many enemies around the league. Plenty of folks are enjoying piling on.

Drake says Raptors ‘are like a college sports team’ (VIDEO)

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The Toronto Raptors are just one win away from their first ever NBA Finals appearance. Kawhi Leonard helped Toronto beat the Milwaukee Bucks, 105-99, on Thursday night in game 5. That gave the Raptors a 3-2 Series lead over the Bucs as they head back to Canada on Saturday.

Meanwhile, rapper Drake and a bunch of fans watched the victory over Giannis Antetokounmpo in the Jurassic Park outside of Air Canada Centre. Elated with the win, Drake of course made statements to local television and to the crowd itself, saying the Raptors were “like a college team”.

Via Twitter:

Game 6 is on Saturday in Ontario at 5:30 p.m. PST.

Kendrick Perkins says not to sleep on Clippers signing Kevin Durant (VIDEO)

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We don’t know what to think about Kevin Durant and his plans for the offseason right now. Reports have him choosing between the Los Angeles Clippers and New York Knicks. Others think he might just stay with the Golden State Warriors. At the very least, some have suggested that nobody really knows where he’s going to go, and Durant’s own business partner says he’s undecided.

So take this with a huge, giant, rough-edged grain of salt.

According to former Oklahoma City Thunder teammate Kendrick Perkins, he would not be surprised if Durant decided to signed with the Clippers this summer.

Via Twitter:

It’s not even the end of May yet and I’m already tired of talking about Durant. He’s not even playing and he’s tiring. Durant is perhaps the league’s best player, but the next time this story will be interesting will be when he finally signs somewhere in early July.

In the meantime, talking about what the mercurial Durant wants is a lost cause. Nobody knows what he wants — maybe not even Durant. That is, until he decides to furiously tweet it at a media member. That’s not out of the realm of possibility, either.

Durant won’t be back for the start of the NBA Finals, which is the real story of interest. Golden State looks great against the Portland Trail Blazers without their former two-time Finals MVP, and if the Warriors win a championship without Durant actively participating in that series, it will make his legacy that much more compex.

Mallory Edens wears shirt with Pusha T as a dig against Drake (PHOTO)

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There has been sort of a weird back-and-forth happening during this Eastern Conference Finals matchup between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Toronto Raptors. Ontario native Drake has been seen courtside during games in Toronto, and his interaction with Raptors head coach Nick Nurse during Game 4 drew the attention of many around the league.

Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said that he didn’t believe Drake should be standing where he was, nor touching Nurse during the course of a game. That caused the Raptors fan base — and Drake — to fire back at Budenholzer via Instagram, berthing one of the weirdest beefs in playoff memory.

Adding to that rivalry on Thursday night was Mallory Edens, the daughter of Bucks owner Wes Edens. Sitting next to Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, Edens could be seen wearing a t-shirt with rapper Pusha T on the front of it.

Pusha T and Drake have had a back-and-forth beef for years.

Via Twitter:

Let’s see what Drake comes up with for Game 6 back in The 6. The Raptors are looking to close the Bucks on Saturday and head to the NBA Finals, and it appears that ol’ Aubrey is ready to go:

Toronto beat the Bucks in Game 5, 105-99.