Report: Warriors, Bogut talking contract extension

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Last season in the playoffs the Warriors defense was 7.8 points per 100 possessions better when Bogut was on the court and was the anchor in the paint. Look at it this way: When Bogut was on the court the Warriors defense was close to the Bulls regular season defensive numbers, when he sat they were close to the Hornets. While Stephen Curry was basking in the deserved spotlight, Golden State doesn’t get to the second round without Bogut.

Warriors management knows that, and this is a franchise that values the center position — remember they made the crazy offer to DeAndre Jordan that the Clippers had to match. They went after Dwight Howard this summer.

Now they are talking to Andrew Bogut about sticking around past this season, reports Scott Howard Cooper of NBA.com. Bogut is in the last year of his current deal at $14 million a year, and while he wants to stay he also wants his pound of flesh — or cash, in this case — for the team going after Howard.

The Warriors and Andrew Bogut have opened negotiations on a contract extension designed to keep him off the free-agent market in July, he told NBA.com, with Bogut willing to make major concessions to stay but also looking for payback from management for pursuing Dwight Howard last offseason….

Bogut said the initial numbers from the Warriors, “weren’t insulting. But they weren’t what I’m looking for. Nothing concrete has been actually formally written up. We’ve just been going back and forth, but nothing too crazy.”

Two thoughts. First, it sounds like the two sides are starting the same ballpark, and that’s a good sign. For initial negotiations, that the numbers “weren’t insulting” is actually a positive. Bogut said he expects talks to heat up once the Warriors return from China this weekend, things could get done by the start of the season.

Second… how many years are the Warriors willing to give Bogut? The max they can add with an extension is three years. He will turn 29 this season, not old for a big man at all, but he has had a history of injuries keeping him in suits on the bench. Yes, they were fluky (especially the elbow injury) not chronic things, and Bogut worked hard to get back on the court, but you have to think about those future years or possible incentives in the deal. Bogut said in the story he’s not okay with an “Andrew Bynum” contract but would be open to incentives once he hits a certain number of games in a season.

Basically, it sounds like Bogut is going to get a deal worked out. It’s not a lock, but it sounds likely. It’s a gamble by the Warriors, but they made a gamble on Curry being able to stay healthy and that has paid off handsomely so far. Sounds like they will roll the dice again.

Derrick Favors, Mason Plumlee ejected after scuffle during Jazz, Nuggets game (VIDEO)

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The most pressing question out of this is not even the fight itself.

In the first quarter of Utah’s eventual win over Denver, Jazz big man Derrick Favors got tangled up with Denver’s center Mason Plumlee. Favors pulled Plumlee’s arm, at which point Plumlee came back and got in his face, then Favors shoves Plumlee and a little scuffle breaks out.

Both Favors and Plumlee were ejected for the incident. Utah’s Royce O’Neale and Denver’s Will Barton picked up technicals.

None of that is what people are talking about.

Watch the video again: Denver’s Nikola Jokic leaves the bench during the fight and heads down the baseline — by the rule that should lead to a suspension. Jokic never steps on to the court (he stays along the baseline) and never engages with the combatants. Still, guys have been suspended for less.

Jokic went on to score 28 points, grab 21 rebounds, and he dished out 6 assists. It wasn’t enough as Rudy Gobert had 15 points and three blocks, and Donovan Mitchell had 35 points in a 114-108 Jazz win, one of their best in the season in what was a highly entertaining game.

James Harden scores 61, ties Kobe Bryant’s Madison Square Garden visitor’s record (VIDEO)

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James Harden has been on a Wilt Chamberlain-level streak the past few weeks, it’s unlike anything we have seen in the modern NBA.

Wednesday night he topped himself.

James Harden scored 61 points against the Knicks. That would be:

• Harden’s career high.
• Tied with Kobe Bryant for most points scored by an opponent in Madison Square Garden (Carmelo Anthony holds the overall record at 62).
• A Rockets’ franchise record.
• His 21st consecutive 30-point game, tying Chamberlain for fourth-longest such streak in league history.

Oh, and Harden had the seal and dunk that sealed the win.

Harden also had 15 rebounds in the game. The last player to have 60+ points and 15+ rebounds in a game? Some guy named Shaquille O’Neal back on March 6, 2000, with the Lakers.

Harden is playing like an MVP — and the banged-up Rockets need him to if they are to have a chance to win every night.

Report: Wizards not trading Bradley Beal, but if team slips Otto Porter could be available

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The Washington Wizards have won 7-of-10 and have climbed up to the nine seed, just a couple of games out of the playoffs in the East. Without John Wall, the Wizards are making a push to get into the postseason.

Which impacts whether they are willing to trade players at the deadline.

The Wizards are not trading Bradley Beal — the most coveted of their stars — but might be open to Otto Porter trades if the team slides back, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Wizards star guard Bradley Beal is not going anywhere, which Washington has made adamantly clear, league sources told The Athletic. Depending on how the next week to two weeks shape up, the Wizards could look more aggressively toward moving Otto Porter. The Utah Jazz have been an interested suitor for Porter, league sources said.

History suggests the Wizards will not be sellers. The pattern for owner Ted Leonsis and GM Ernie Grunfeld has always been to think short term and make the playoff push, even when it was not the smart thing to do. We should expect that again. Maybe Washington crawls into one of the final playoff slots in the East, but is that the smart play?

Don’t expect the Wizards to move Porter, even if they wanted to finding a team to take on his $26 million for 13 points a game this season would be difficult (although Utah would be a good fit), plus Porter is owed $27.3 million next season and has a player option he very likely will pick up for $28.5 million two seasons from now.

Pacers’ Victor Oladipo stretchered off court after scary knee injury (VIDEO)

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Let’s hope this is not as scary as it looks.

Pacers’ All-NBA, All-Star guard Victor Oladipo was trying to defend a length-of-the-court pass to Pascal Siakam when Oladipo went down with a brutal knee injury were his kneecap was clearly not in the right place. Oladipo had to be taken off the court on a stretcher. The video is below, but be warned this is not pretty.

The team’s official announcement called the injry “serious.”

Oladipo is the Pacers’ best player and was a lock to be an All-Star reserve averaging 19.2 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 5.2 assists a game this season in Indiana. His efficiency had dropped his season as teams game planned more for him. Beyond that, you’d be hard pressed to find a kinder, more genuine person around the NBA than Oladipo.

Quickly the NBA community rallied on social media to Oladipo.