Masai Ujiri won’t fire Dwane Casey – at least not right now

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The will he?/won’t he? saga about returning to coach his Atlantic Division team has ended.

No new information on Doc Rivers, but Dwane Casey will be back with the Raptors.

Raptors press release:

Toronto Raptors President and General Manager, Basketball Operations Masai Ujiri announced Wednesday that Head Coach Dwane Casey will return for the 2013-14 season.

“I’m excited about moving forward and growing this team with Coach Casey,” said Ujiri.

Casey is in the final year of a contract extension signed following the 2011-12 campaign.

An announcement will be made in the future regarding the club’s assistant coaching staff.

That last line seems pretty telling. There have been many rumors Ujiri wants to shake up Toronto’s assistants, and his blatant omission of giving them the same support he gave Casey is probably a strong sign they don’t have it.

The Raptors had an above-average defense in Casey’s first season and an above-average offense in his second. There are signs Casey will be a good coach for the Raptors, but they haven’t put it all together yet. Maybe new assistants will help them get there, but that’s not all they need.

A roster that features shooters Rudy Gay, DeMar DeRozan and Andrea Bargnani isn’t the easiest to coach. Those players overlap skills more than they complement each other. More than help with the coaching staff, Casey needs someone to upgrade Toronto’s players, and that’s where Ujiri comes in.

Casey deserves this third year and a chance to prove himself while Ujiri builds a potentially winning roster. In time, Ujiri will have a better idea how well Casey can coach the players the new general manager wants, and then Ujiri can make a more informed decision on his coach.

Report: Dewayne Dedmon opts in for $6.3 million with Hawks

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The Hawks’ rebuild got going with big John Collins. Though they’re reportedly eying Luka Doncic with the No. 3 pick, they could easily draft another big – Jaren Jackson Jr., Mohamed Bamba, Marvin Bagley or Wendell Carter.

And then there’s veteran center Dewayne Dedmon.

He no longer fits in Atlanta (never did, really). But he’s not bypassing a chance to earn $6.3 million.

Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:

There just wasn’t going to be that much money for the 28-year-old Dedmon in a tight market this summer.

Dedmon is a good defender, and he developed his ball skills – as a 3-point shooter and passer – in Atlanta last season. The Hawks could look to trade him. Maybe, in a deal primarily about his expiring contract, he adds extra value to the other team due to his playing ability.

If Atlanta doesn’t move him, Dedmon will be a fine player on a likely tanking team. At least he’s not good enough to subvert the Hawks’ tank, especially with the new lottery format.

Nick Young says ‘everybody needs to do cocaine,’ later insists he was joking

AP Photo/Mary Altaffer
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Nick Young will say and do nearly anything for attention.

Empowered by the Warriors’ championship, he swung for the fences when asked about Canada passing marijuana legalization.

Young, via TMZ:

“I want people to pass cocaine,” the NBA star told TMZ Sports outside 1 OAK on Tuesday night … “Everybody needs to do cocaine!”

Predictably, that caused a bit of an uproar. Then, Young backtracked:

Chill. You know I was just joking

A post shared by Nick Young (@swaggyp1) on

Too late, Nick. People are already asking questions you don’t want asked.

Report: 76ers trade No. 39 pick to Lakers

AP Photo/Chris Szagola
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The 76ers have too many 2018 draft picks – Nos. 10, 26, 38, 39, 56 and 60.

Philadelphia already has 11 players under contract for next season. Plus, the 76ers have the space to add premier players. There just isn’t room for everyone on the roster.

So, Philadelphia unloaded one of those selections.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

This is good return for the 76ers, who everyone knew had to trade a draft pick. The rebuilding Bulls could easily land a higher second-round pick than No. 39 next year.

Why do the Lakers want an extra second-rounder this year? Second-round picks don’t count against the cap until signed, and they can always slightly sweeten a trade offer. They’re helpful for a team with big plans and little wiggle room.

Kyle O’Quinn opts out of Knicks contract

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The Knicks have the No. 8 pick, and tomorrow’s draft will be the most important part of their offseason.

Will they also have cap space to add talent in free agency? That hinges on Enes Kanter‘s player option.

If Kanter opts out, New York will have even more room to operate thanks to Kyle O'Quinn declining his $4,256,250 player option.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

The Knicks expected this for a while, and they’re probably not disappointed. Steve Mills and Scott Perry want to put their stamp on the franchise. O’Quinn is a leftover from the Phil Jackson era and a reminder of the recent tumult in New York.

O’Quinn’s combination of block percentage (6.1) and defensive-rebounding percentage (27.8) was unmatched last season. He just really struck a nice balance between contesting shots and remaining in position on the glass. He’s also a smooth mid-range shooter with an improved ability to distribute.

How much is that player worth?

It’ll be a tight market, especially for bigs. For his sake, I hope the 28-year-old O’Quinn already has assurances from other teams. He might get a similar salary or, more likely, a larger overall guarantee on a multi-year deal. But it’s also possible he comes out behind by testing free agency.