Report: NBA Finalists Heat and Spurs court Pau Gasol

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Pau Gasol has plenty of potential suitors. The most-mentioned teams – Lakers, Knicks and Mavericks – just aren’t going anywhere quickly.

Maybe – maybe – Dallas could win a playoff series next year. After all, the Mavericks will still have Dirk Nowitzki. But reaching the second round is unlikely, and the Lakers and Knicks face much steeper climbs.

So, Gasol – who played in the 2008, 2009 and 2010 NBA Finals – must at least listen when the two participants in the 2014 NBA Finals call.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

Free-agent center Pau Gasol had a telephone conversation with Miami Heat president Pat Riley on Tuesday and could talk again with the franchise in the near future, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

So far, Gasol is still pushing for a $10 million-$12 million annual salary, league sources said.

The NBA champion San Antonio Spurs have inquired with Gasol’s agent Arn Tellem, expressing an interest, sources said

The Heat could use Gasol’s size, allowing Chris Bosh to play more power forward and LeBron James more small forward. But that would really alter Miami’s small-ball identity. Then again, at some point, it’s worth adding talent when you can and crafting an identity around what’s in place.

If Bosh and Dwyane Wade are willing to take as small of contracts as reported, the Heat could give Gasol his desired salary. I’m not totally convinced Bosh and Wade would go that low, but it’s at least out there.

The skilled Gasol would be an excellent fit for the Spurs, but they can offer only a three-year, $23,650,910 contract based on my projections. To do that, they would have to renounce Boris Diaw, Matt Bonner, Patty Mills and Aron Baynes. In that scenario, San Antonio could still re-sign those players, but it would have just the room exception ($2,732,000) and minimum-salary deals to offer.

I get that Gasol wants more money, but I doubt he gets $10 million per year. Maybe the Lakers offer it. Maybe The Mavericks do. The Knicks certainly can’t, and I doubt the Heat can either.

Once Gasol explores his options, he might find San Antonio and Miami tempting destinations with decent-enough salary offers.

Miami Heat suspend Dion Waiters. Again.

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Miami suspended Dion Waiters for the first game of the season due to conduct detrimental to the team (to which he responded by taking a shot at Erik Spoelstra on Instagram).

The second time was for “conduct detrimental to the team” for his behavior, and not too coincidentally right after first responders had to be called to the Celtics’ team plane because Waiters took too many “edible” gummy bears and had a panic attack.

For the third time this season, the Miami Heat have suspended Waiters, the team announced. This time it is for “failure to adhere to team policies, violation of team rules and continued insubordination.” He can return to the team after the game against Utah on Dec. 23 (six games).

All these suspensions are hitting Waiter hard in the pocketbook.

Waiters has yet to set foot on the court for the Heat this season — they haven’t needed him. With the emergence of Kendrick Nunn, Tyler Herro, and Duncan Robinson, Miami’s guard rotation has been impressive. That allows Miami to take a hard line with Waiters and not pay a price on the court.

Waiters is making $12.1 million this season and $12.65 million next season. Miami would love to trade Waiters but no team is going to take him and that contract on without some serious sweeteners (which Pat Riley and company are not about to do).

Three Things to Know: Joel Embiid is having fun again, which was bad news for Boston

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Every day in the NBA there is a lot to unpack, so every weekday morning throughout the season we will give you the three things you need to know from the last 24 hours in the NBA.

1) Joel Embiid is having fun again, which was bad news for Boston. This is how special a player Joel Embiid is: After dropping 22 and 10 on Nikola Jokic and the Nuggets on Tuesday night in a Sixers win, Shaq and Charles Barkley (on TNT’s Inside the NBA) ripped Embiid for not being dominant enough.

This is how special a player Joel Embiid was Thursday night: Boston’s Enes Kanter had probably his best game as a Celtics’ big man, and he couldn’t even slow Embiid, who had 38 points, 13 rebounds, and six assists. Embiid was the best player on the floor and was having fun in a 115-109 Philadelphia win on the road.

Shaq and Barkley are right to a degree, and Embiid even admitted as much after the game — he can be more dominant than he has shown this season. “Maybe. I do think they are right. I do need to be more aggressive. Look to impose myself. Look to dominate,” Embiid said, via Noah Levine at NBC Sports Philadelphia. “I think the whole season I haven’t done that and you can see the ways it’s affecting my efficiency and my stats. I guess I need to go back to having fun and just dominate. I get what they are saying. I think they are right and I gotta make a change.”

Of course, Shaq won his rings when he didn’t have to be that dominant every night because he had someone else who could step up and take over (Kobe, Dwyane Wade). Nobody is sure who that would be on the Sixers. Tobias Harris stepped up with 23 points in this game, but Ben Simmons just has not been the guy the Sixers need. He finished the night with 7 points on 2-of-6 shooting. Josh Richardson seems to have more pick-and-roll chemistry with Embiid than Simmons. Still, Simmons makes a few plays every game that shows what he can be.

Philly also won this game because their defense was impressive in the second half. Their length bothered Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, who shot a combined 8-of-27.

When the Sixers defend like they did in the second half, and when Embiid is dominant like he was, Philadelphia looks like the second-best team in the East and a threat to Milwaukee. We just haven’t seen it consistently this season.

Boston has now lost back-to-back games to good East teams — Indiana and Philadelphia — and while it’s just December and far too early to panic, it also shows why Boston may want to be active around the trade deadline if they can find a good deal (but stop with the Kevin Love talk, that’s not happening).

2) Former NBA Commissioner David Stern suffers brain hemorrhage, has to undergo emergency surgery. David Stern collapsed at a Manhattan restaurant on Thursday and was raced to a hospital where he underwent emergency surgery for a brain hemorrhage. That means bleeding in or around the brain, and that is as bad and life-threatening as it sounds.

The NBA released this statement.

“NBA Commissioner Emeritus David Stern suffered a sudden brain hemorrhage earlier today for which he underwent emergency surgery.  Our thoughts and prayers are with David and his family.”

The reaction around the NBA was immediate.

Stern, 77, took over as NBA commissioner back when Finals games were shown on tape delay after midnight on major networks. Stern came along at the right time — first the Magic/Bird era and rivalry, then Michael Jordan — but he understood what an opportunity this was for the league and changed how it marketed itself, it became a league of stars. That remains to this day. He grew the NBA into one of the most dominant sports leagues on the planet.

Our thoughts are with him and his family.

3) Luka Doncic muy impresionante in Mexico City. There were “M-V-P! M-V-P!” chants in the Arena Ciudad de Mexico Thursday night — Mexico City loves Luka Doncic.

Doesn’t everyone right now?

Doncic did everything right Thursday, from addressing the crowd pregame in fluent Spanish (he played for Real Madrid in Spain before coming to the NBA) to dropping a 41-point triple-double on the Pistons to get the Mavericks another win, 122-111. Doncic finished the night with 41 points, 12 rebounds, and 11 assists.

Seth Curry added 30 as the Pistons found out just how good that Dallas offense is. Kristaps Porzingis scored 16 of his 20 points in the second half and got Andre Drummond’s attention.

Dallas is 17-7 on the season and looks like a team that could have home court for the first round of the playoffs.

Former NBA Commissioner David Stern undergoes emergency surgery following brain hemorrhage

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Let’s hope this is not as serious as it sounds.

David Stern, the man at the helm of the NBA through its explosion of popularity in the 1980s and 1990s, collapsed in a New York restaurant Thursday and had to be rushed to a local hospital, where brain surgery was required.

Here is the NBA’s statement on the matter.

“NBA Commissioner Emeritus David Stern suffered a sudden brain hemorrhage earlier today for which he underwent emergency surgery.  Our thoughts and prayers are with David and his family.”

The call to NYFD came in around 2 p.m., and he was taken from a restaurant straight to the hospital, according to reports.

Stern, 77, was a strong-willed leader when the NBA needed a direction. When he took over NBA Finals games were shown on tape delay after midnight on major networks. Stern oversaw the growth in the league’s popularity through the Magic/Bird era of the 1980s and into the Michael Jordan era of the 1990s. He grew the game and the league not only within domestic borders but internationally, branding the NBA as the best basketball played on the planet.

Our thoughts are with him and his family, hoping for a speedy recovery.

Glen “Big Baby” Davis pleads no contest to assault outside L.A. nightclub

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Former NBA player Ronald Glen Davis avoided jail time after pleading no contest to a charge that he attacked a man outside a Los Angeles-area nightclub last year, prosecutors said Thursday.

Davis, 33, was accused of throwing the victim into a wall during an altercation in West Hollywood on April 8, 2018.

He entered his plea Wednesday to one felony count of battery with serious bodily injury, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said.

As part of a plea agreement, Davis is required to complete 320 hours of community labor over the next year. If he meets that condition and breaks no other laws, the battery count will be reduced to a misdemeanor, prosecutors said.

Davis also paid $104,479 in restitution.

Known by the nickname “Big Baby,” Davis played for the Boston Celtics, the Orlando Magic and the Los Angeles Clippers. Since retiring from the NBA he played in the Big3, where his team the Power won the 2018 title.