Report: Magic, Nets in talks to send Dwight Howard to Brooklyn

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Twenty-four hours ago it looked like the Nets were moving on from Dwight Howard, but things change fast in free agency. I say change fast because a version of this deal wasn’t good enough for Orlando at last year’s trade deadline and even recently we heard the sides were far apart, but suddenly everything has changed?

Maybe. Chris Broussard of ESPN tweets that they are.

Sources: The Nets & Magic are discussing a trade that would send Dwight Howard to Brooklyn for Brook Lopez, Kris Humphries, MarShon Brooks… and the Nets’ first-round picks in 2013, 2015 and 2017….move would give Nets Big 3 of D-Will, Dwight & Joe Johnson

Would, could, but it’s not that simple.

Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated reports that the Magic want (and the Nets are good with) Hedo Turkoglu and the two years, $23 million left on his contract to be part of the trade. Which I would insist on if I were the Magic because if I’m Orlando and I’m rebuilding I don’t want that anchor of a deal on the books. But adding that contract into the mix complicates the deal immensely.

Already this is a far from simple deal. Both Humphries and Brooks are free agents who would have to agree to a sign-and-trades to the Magic, for example. You may… actually, you will have to overpay both of them to get them to go to Orlando.

To make the deal work a third team has to come in and take on Humphries in a sign-and-trade to keep him off the Magic’s books, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports and the NBC Sports Network. This could actually end up being a complex series of sign-and-trade deals with a lot of moving parts. It is not straight forward. A lot of things could blow it up.

And there are multiple reports this is not the only deal the Magic are currently working on involving Howard — CBSSports.com’s Ken Berger calls it a full court press with the Magic talking to the Lakers, Hawks, Mavericks, Rockets and pretty much anyone else interested. How serious those other talks are is unclear.

What is clear is that this may not happen quickly (certainly not as quickly as Howard and Nets fans hope). No deal could be consummated until July 11, so the Magic are not under any pressure to agree to terms right now.

If  if it works, Nets GM Billy King will have pulled off a trade for the ages. The Nets would have D-Will at the point, Joe Johnson at the two, Gerald Wallace at the three and Howard in the paint. A few days ago that would have seemed impossible. And it’s going to cost Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov a lot of money — just that starting four plus Turkoglu would have the Nets $9 million into the luxury tax without anyone else on the roster. Of course, he can afford it. And he would certainly have a team that could open the new Barclays Center.

Howard saying he would only re-sign in Brooklyn certainly helped the two sides come come together and talk — teams like the Lakers and Clippers reportedly have interest in Howard but only if he agreed to stay with them. The number of trading partners the Magic had has fallen off and they don’t want him back when training camp opens.

So Howard may get his way, he may land in the New York marketplace, in a brand new building on a very competitive team.

Maybe. Things change fast in free agency.

NBA veteran Jason Terry takes job as assistant coach at Arizona

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Jason Terry played four years for the legendary Lute Olsen at Arizona, winning a national championship in 1997 and averaging 21.9 points a game his senior year. The Jet went on from there to play 19 years in the NBA, winning a Sixth Man of the Year award in 2009, and he was part of the 2011 Dallas Mavericks championship team.

Terry had moved into the front office side of the business and was serving as the assistant GM of the Texas Legends, Dallas’ G-League affiliate. Now, however, he is jumping back to his alma mater, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic.

This is a smart hire by Arizona and head coach Sean Miller. High schoolers going to a major D-1 school all have NBA dreams and having a respected NBA veteran who can say “this is what it takes” on staff is a big plus. Besides, Terry was a smart player who knows the game and had a mentality suited to coaching.

For Terry, he’s back in a place he likes, he’s young (42) and has a world of options ahead of him.

Scott Foster says it’s going to be different officiating without fans in building

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The noise from 18,000 people can cover up a lot of sounds in an NBA arena. So when a back-bench assistant coach yells “bulls****” after a call he doesn’t like, the official never hears it and the game moves on.

Not when NBA games restart in fan-less facilities in Orlando in a couple of months. Without those fans, referees are going to get to hear that coach. And a whole lot more.

It’s going to be weird for referees in Orlando, just like for players, veteran official Scott Foster said recently on NBA TV.

I know I don’t want everything that we normally say to each other going out. But normally we’re all in a professional manner out there. But it is going to be different. There’s going to be some assistant coaches that we haven’t really heard from before sitting in the second row that we’ll be able to hear now, so there’s going to be some adjustment there. And then I think we’re going to need to really talk about and analyze what is OK for the public to hear and how we’re going to go about our business.

But it’s definitely going to be a different thing. I’m definitely looking forward to it. I think it’s going to be a really unique experience for the referees, players, coaches, everybody who’s going to go through this.”

It is going to be unique. Everybody is going to hear everything, and that is going to be very different from most nights when coaches have to go to hand signals because it’s too loud just to call out a play. It’s going to lead to some awkward and tense moments.

Everyone is going to have to adjust to the new reality, and that includes the referees, too.

 

Report: NBA group stage could include 24 teams

Wizards guard Bradley Beal and Bulls guard Zach LaVine
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The initial report on the NBA resuming with a group stage presented a 20-team scenario. There’d be four groups with five teams each – one from each tier of the current standings:

  • Tier 1: Bucks, Lakers, Raptors, Clippers
  • Tier 2: Celtics, Nuggets, Jazz, Heat
  • Tier 3: Thunder, Rockets, Pacers, 76ers
  • Tier 4: Mavericks, Grizzlies, Nets, Magic
  • Tier 5: Trail Blazers, Pelicans, Kings, Spurs

Teams would play each other team in its group, and the top two finishers in each group would advance to an eight-team tournament (effectively the second round of the playoffs, though without conference splits).

But that format could apparently include four more teams.

Zach Lowe of ESPN:

In brief, per several sources who have seen the league’s proposal: The NBA could take 20 (or 24) teams and divide them into groups

The simplest way to expand to 24 teams would be adding a sixth tier then forming four groups of six. That’d mean adding:

  • Tier 6: Suns, Wizards, Hornets, Bulls

Bleh.

The more games the NBA holds, the more money the league will make. But the more people involved, the more risk of someone contracting and spreading coronavirus. It’s a fine line, and the league has sought a middle ground.

Phoenix, Washington, Charlotte and Chicago strike me as too lousy to include. Those teams are well outside the normal playoff race, and there’s no good reason to believe they would’ve made a late push.

In this environment, they might have shot, though. Coronavirus increases variability. Players have had differing access to resources and differing motivation to train during the hiatus. Once play resumes, positive tests could be scattered randomly. Would anyone view the Suns, Wizards, Hornets or Bulls as deserving of a berth in the eight-team tournament? If one of those four teams qualified, that’d probably just show the setup was flawed.

The fairest way to set the playoffs is with 20 teams, depending on structure. Resuming with just 16 teams wouldn’t be that far behind. The highest financial upside comes with all 30 teams, but that seems infeasible.

Setting the line at 24 teams seems like the worst of most worlds – including four bad teams that wouldn’t generate much interest but would threaten to disrupt everything else.

Michael Porter Jr.: Pray for both George Floyd’s family and police officers involved in ‘this evil’

Nuggets rookie Michael Porter Jr. and Knicks forward Maurice Harkless
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Several NBA players posted about George Floyd, a black man who died after being pinned to the ground by a Minneapolis police officer for about eight minutes.

Nuggets rookie Michael Porter Jr. struck a different tone than most.

Porter:

Knicks forward Maurice Harkless:

Harkless, whose dismay was shared by many, is a seasoned veteran. Porter has made made rookie gaffes.

But I’m uncomfortable criticizing someone for calling for prayer for anyone. For some, prayer can be effective way to cope amid tragedy. Many believe prayer can change the world.

Porter didn’t say prayer alone should be the solution. In fact, he called the situation “evil” and “murder,” seemingly suggesting the need for criminal justice, too.