Report: Charlotte Bobcats have inquired about Evan Turner

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One of the most obvious trade candidates around the NBA is Evan Turner.

Both a talented young player on an expiring contract and not so good and so cheap that his current team wants to keep him, Tuner would fit in a variety of potential deals.

There’s only one hitch. The Philadelphia 76ers have yet to find any takers.

Well, how about the Charlotte Bobcats?

Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer:

The Philadelphia 76ers are open to trading forward Evan Turner and the Charlotte Bobcats have looked into acquiring him, an NBA source confirmed to the Observer Monday.

Nothing about the Bobcats’ interest appears imminent to making a deal.

Especially with Jeff Taylor out for the season, Turner would upgrade Charlotte’s wing depth. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is still a bit of a project, and Chris Douglas-Roberts is a good replacement-level player, but still a replacement-level player.

Consider the Bobcats are in playoff position – by only one game over the Detroit Pistons for the No. 8 seed – they might want to sacrifice the future for the immediate upgrade Tuner could provide.

Here are a couple trades that might make sense for both sides:

1. Turner for Ben Gordon and the Trail Blazers’ first-round pick

Charlotte could have three first-round picks this summer – its own (though it goes to the Bulls if it’s outside the top 10), Detroit’s (top-eight protected) and Portland’s (top-12 protected). The Bobcats’ own first-round pick is likely too valuable to surrender for Turner, as is the Pistons’. The Trail Blazers’ pick, which will almost certainly fall in the 20s and be conveyed this year, seems to be a fair price.

Because the 76ers are under the salary cap, they could take back Gordon’s larger expiring contract in a trade. Perhaps, the Bobcats would have to send Philadelphia cash to neutralize the real-dollar costs of the swap, but Gordon would at least be off the books following this season.

2. Turner and Jason Richardson for Gordon

Richardson, who’s 33 and has missed the entire season due to injury, has a $6,601,125 player option for next season that he’ll almost certainly accept. That’s negative value for any team, especially a rebuilding one like Philadelphia.

Paying Richardson next season would be Charlotte’s tax for getting Turner. The 76ers wouldn’t get any future assets other than a cleaner slate from which to work.

There’s a good chance Philadelphia just lets Turner walk this summer to get that clean slate, anyway. But there’s certainly a team – maybe Charlotte – that value a half-season of production from Turner. The 76ers should cash in on that and get value before losing Turner.

Spencer Dinwiddie signs three-year, $34 million extension to stay with Nets

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There were a lot of general managers eyeing Spencer Dinwiddie as a quality point guard they could grab on the free agent market this summer at a fair price. The hardworking point guard out of the University of Colorado has averaged 16.9 points and 4.8 assists for the Nets this season, is shooting 36.8 percent from three, knows how to be a good floor general, and while a lot of fans may not know his name smart front offices around the league saw an above-average point guard that would fit their system.

Which is why the Nets decided to lock him up and not let him leave Brooklyn. The team announced the deal, Dinwiddie himself confirmed it, and Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN had the details.

That’s an above the league average but low starter money, and it’s a good deal for Dinwiddie, who is making $1.6 million this year and that’s the largest payday of his career.

If you don’t know what Dinwiddie can do on the court, go ask the Sixers — he dropped 39 on them last night.

The Nets are trying to build a culture and have a core of smart, solid players to put stars around, and Dinwiddie fits right into this model. They could have tried to lowball him and save some money, but that came with the risk of losing him this summer. The Nets decided to take care of their own instead, a good sign for the franchise.

Raptors’ Jonas Valanciunas undergoes surgery on dislocated thumb, out a month

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It was clear it was bad when it happened. Not because of the violence of the play by Draymond Green — no foul was called, and the hand is part of the ball by rule in these cases — but because of Jonas Valanciunas‘ reaction. The man was in a lot of pain.

With 8 minutes to go in the second quarter of the Raptors win Wednesday night, Valanciunas got the ball with Green on him and decided to back down the smaller player, Green reached in and swiped down knocking the ball away but getting Valanciunas’ hand in the process.

Thursday the Raptors announced that Valanciunas had surgery on his dislocated left thumb and will be out at least a month.

This is a blow to the Raptors’ frontline depth, although they still have plenty of talent up front. Serge Ibaka starts most nights at center, and at times the Raptors go small and put breakout player Pascal Siakam at the five. However, Valanciunas is their matchup for other bigger, more traditional centers, or sometimes coach Nick Nurse tries him to force a mismatch. Valanciunas is averaging 12.8 points and 7.2 rebounds a night playing nearly 19 minutes a night, the Raptors defense is 3 points per 100 possessions better, and the Raptors outscore opponents by 5.4 per 100 when he is on the court. It will not be easy to fill his minutes.

The Raptors are 23-7 and the team in first place in the East having just knocked off the Clippers and Warriors in back-to-back nights on the road. They look like contenders, but they could use Valanciunas to help them get through the regular season (he’s harder to play in the postseason, but we’re not there yet).

 

Hornets owner Michael Jordan: Smacking Malik Monk was ‘tap of endearment’

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Hornets owner Michael Jordan smacked guard Malik Monk on the back head of the head, because Monk prematurely ran on the court to celebrate Jeremy Lamb‘s game-winner against the Pistons last night. Charlotte received a technical foul for having too many men on the court, but held on for the victory.

Zach Aldridge of WCCB:

Some people took affront to Jordan putting his hands on Monk – to the point Jordan explained himself.

Associated Press:

Hornets owner Michael Jordan says lightly smacking the back of second-year guard Malik Monk’s head in closing seconds of Wednesday night’s win against the Pistons was a “tap of endearment.”

The Hornets owner, says “It was like a big brother and little brother tap. No negative intent. Only love!”

I doubt any other NBA owner could have gotten away with that.

But Jordan isn’t any other NBA owner.

He’s a former player, widely respected as the greatest of all-time. He’s black. He’s just 55, younger than most of his owner peers.

Jordan and Monk can relate in a way other owners and players can’t.

The power dynamic still isn’t balanced. Jordan is Monk’s boss. When initially watching the exchange, I worried Jordan crossed a line.

But both Jordan and Monk laughed it off. I believe this truly was acceptable in the context of their relationship.

LeBron James on consideration given to signing with Rockets: ‘Not much’

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For a while, it seemed LeBron Jamesfinalists in free agency last summer were the Lakers, Cavaliers, 76ers and Rockets.

LeBron obviously signed with the Lakers. Cleveland remains special to him. His agent met with Philadelphia.

And then there’s Houston.

Dave McMenamin of ESPN:

The Rockets – led by Chris Paul – reportedly recruited LeBron hard.

But LeBron reportedly previously said he didn’t like Houston as a city, and at this point, it’s impossible escape lifestyle as a key consideration for the superstar. He clearly enjoys Los Angeles.

I doubt LeBron regrets dropping the Rockets from consideration early. The main appeal would have been their direction path to championship contention, but they’ve been the NBA’s most disappointing team this season.

Which makes it even easier for LeBron to dismiss his Houston consideration.