Report: Nuggets offered draft pick for Doc Rivers, will settle for Lionel Hollins or Brian Shaw

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Haven’t experienced enough twists with the Doc Rivers saga? Well you’re in luck.

The NBA’s latest soap opera has a new guest star: the Nuggets.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports:

Shortly after firing George Karl, the Denver Nuggets offered the Boston Celtics a first-round draft pick as compensation to pry coach Doc Rivers out of his contract, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.Nuggets CEO Josh Kroenke made a bid for Rivers approximately 10 days ago, informing general manager Danny Ainge of his willingness to part with a pick if the Nuggets were able to procure Rivers.Nevertheless, Boston wasn’t prepared to start the process of letting Rivers leave and discussions never went beyond one brief conversation between Kroenke and Ainge, league sources said.

I wonder whether Ainge regrets not exploring this offer at the time. Like all teams coming off a successful run and considering rebuilding, the Celtics are looking at trading the assets that won’t be around during the next window of contention in exchange for younger and cheaper pieces. The Celtics are a little different, though, because they’re also in position to gain helpful players and/or picks in exchange for their coach.But if David Stern blocks an arrangement with the Clippers, Boston could be left getting no return for Rivers.Unfortunately for the Celtics, it sounds like it’s too late to run back to the Nuggets – even if Denver clears the necessary step of being a desirable destination to Rivers – because the Nuggets have gone a different route. Wojnarowski:

Denver quickly moved onto its current two finalists for the job: Lionel Hollins and Brian Shaw. Both candidates made strong impressions on Kroenke and new Denver GM Tim Connelly in interviews this week, sources said.

Hollins and Shaw are both good candidates, and although Rivers might have the edge in coaching ability, I don’t believe Rivers is a first-round pick better. Why give up a valuable draft choice just to get a coach who might be better and would definitely cost a lot more?Actually, there is one answer to that question: Chris Paul. The Clippers can wisely make moves that appear foolish in a vacuum if it means re-signing Paul. They, like any team would be, are just that desperate to please their free agent superstar.And that’s why it’s in the Celtics’ best interest to find some deal that works for Los Angeles and Stern. Otherwise, they’re not getting any return for Rivers.

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.