Thursday And-1 links: Dirk Nowitzki thinks Popovich is the best

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Here is our daily 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) — done in bullet point form. Because bloggers love bullet points.

• Tradition says you say your coach is the best in the league, but Dirk Nowitzki thinks it is Gregg Popovich. He’s right. And I doubt Rick Carlisle has a problem with that.

• Dirk Nowitzki says he would love to team up with Deron Williams. Yea, ya think?

• What is the most dominant NBA champion of all time? Neil Paine crunched the numbers at Basketball Prospectus and… yea, it’s who you’re thinking.

• Kobe Bryant was named to the All-NBA First Team for the 10th time, the record is 11.

• Fantastic post: “What I learned from Stan Van Gundy.”

• A fan was arrested trying to run on the court in Miami last night wearing a shirt but no pants? Why? Because Rick Ross has offered $10,000 to anyone who streaks at a Heat game to promote his new record.

• Chris Kaman’s livingroom is very Chris Kaman.

• There had been rumors he was, but Chris Mullin is not in the running for the Trail Blazers GM job. And neither is Shaq.

• North Carolina’s Kendall Marshall is a bubble lottery player in this draft, but is not fully recovered from wrist surgery and may not work out for teams before the draft.

• The Clippers do not expect to have Kenyon Martin back next year.

• However, the Clippers are going to make a push to bring back Nick Young.

• The Lakers are not expected to bring Troy Murphy back.

• As if you expected otherwise, Beno Udrih has now formally picked up his $7.8 million player option with the Bucks for next season.

• Detroit management is ticked that Greg Monroe was left off of the USA Select Team (the young team that works out with the Olympic team). Sorry, but I’d take Hibbert over him, too.

Good stuff on the deterioration of the Kobe Bryant/Pau Gasol relationship.

• Metta World Peace wishes he could have done more for the Lakers in the playoffs. So do Lakers fans.

• Lakers coach Mike Brown says he could have done a better job this season. Honestly, I think he did a solid job considering the top-heavy roster and no training camp. What I will lay at his feet is the rough patches for Pau Gasol — Brown’s offense pushed him out of the paint, asked him to space the floor and made him less effective.

• The Wizards Jan Vesely admits that adjusting to life in the NBA was hard.

• Golden State’s plans to leave Oracle Arena in five years move to a stadium on the San Francisco Bay is not sitting well with the team’s fan base in Oakland.

One last look back: Best dunks of All-Star Weekend (VIDEO)

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Defense? That’s one thing that rarely makes an appearance All-Star weekend.

Combine that with the game’s best athletes and what you get are three days of insane dunks.

The NBA put this together, the best dunks of All-Star weekend in Charlotte. Enjoy.

Wizards’ Bradley Beal: ‘Recruiting process is really going alright…I’m trying’

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LeBron James went out of his way to say he was not recruiting guys on his free-agent heavy All-Star Team.

Bradley Beal had no such hesitation, he tried to recruit guys, as he told Chase Huges of NBC Sports Washington.

“The recruiting process is really going alright. It’s going alright. I’m trying,” Beal said. “This is new for me. I’m definitely getting some ears and seeing what guys are looking for.”

Beal was too smart to name names — that would have brought a fine from the league — but he said some guys asked if he was happy where he was, while other guys he talked to about the possibilities in Washington.

The problem is while the Wizards will have some cap space after trading Otto Porter and Markieff Morris (and assuming they don’t pick up the option on Jabari Parker) but they will be nowhere near the max cap space needed to land the elite free agents at the All-Star Game (Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, etc.). Even the second-tier All-Star free agents such as Khris Middleton will get max offers. Same with players who just missed the game, such as Tobias Harris.

If the Wizards renounce free agents they can get to $9 million in cap space, stretch and waive Ian Mahinmi and they can get to $18 million. That’s the top end. Meaning the Wizards will have room to make moves for good rotation players, but with John Wall‘s supermax extension kicking in at $38 million next season flexibility is limited. Genuine upgrades will be hard to come by.

Predicting what Washington GM Ernie Grunfeld will do next summer is a fool’s errand, but Beal is doing his part to try and bring more talent into Washington.

Kevin Garnett says 2000 Olympic team had $1 million bounty to dunk on Yao Ming

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Team USA earned a Gold Medal in the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, led by Vince Carter, Kevin Garnett, and Alonzo Mourning. Lithuania made the Americans work that year, losing by just nine in pool play then by two points in the semi-finals.

That’s not what anyone remembers from those Olympics, they remember Vince Carter doing this to 7-footer Fredric Weiss of France.

Recently Garnett sat down with Dwyane Wade for an interview (which airs on NBA TV today) and he told a fantastic story about that dunk. (Hat tip to Yahoo Sports)

Everything just paused. First of all, people didn’t know, we had a bounty out on Yao Ming. The whole USA team had a bet. We had a million dollar bet on who was going to be the first person to dunk on Yao Ming. None of us did. We all tried to dunk on Yao, but he would block it or we would miss. So, the first thing I thought of when I saw Vince dunk over Frederic was oh s***, you won the million dollars. But then I realized it obviously wasn’t Yao. I pushed Vince, and if you look at the clip, he almost punches me in the face by accident. But my first thought was, oh s***, you won, you got the million.

KG has the best stories.

MSG denies rumor James Dolan looking to sell Knicks

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Rumors that James Dolan is considering selling the Knicks — which elicits a “Hallelujah” chorus from Knicks fans — have been cropping up for a couple of years now. There were rumors he wanted to spin off the Knicks and Rangers into their own company to be sold. That’s just one, there are others — he confirmed he got a feeler $5 billion, but never a firm offer, for the Knicks — and each time he has shot them down.

This is no different.

On his latest Podcast, the Ringer’s Bill Simmons said he had heard that Dolan wanted to focus more on concerts/in-game experiences in Madison Square Garden and that the Knicks were “available.”

The Madison Square Garden Company released this statement (hat tip New York Daily News).

“The story is 100% false. There has been nothing. No discussions. No plans to have discussions – nothing.”

That’s pretty unequivocal.

While Dolan may entertain the idea on some level of selling the Knicks, until he takes concrete steps to do so — not rumors, but actual, documented moves — I’m not buying it. He’s sitting on a gold mine that keeps going up in value, despite how he manages it, so why sell now? Knicks fans that buy this rumor will likely end up like Charlie Brown trying to kick the football.