Tuesday And-1 links: Plenty of small free agency updates (plus Spencer Hawes wants Blake Griffin’s number)

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Here is our regular look around the NBA — links to stories worth reading and notes to check out (stuff that did not get its own post here at PBT) — done in bullet point form. Because bloggers love bullet points more than German strikers like to score goals….

• Maybe the best thing I’ve read about the “trade rumor era” in the NBA. If you read one thing today it should be Bryan Curtis’ piece at Grantland.

• Andre Drummond wants Greg Monroe back with the Pistons. More importantly, so does Stan Van Gundy. That said nobody has made him a max offer yet, but that’s part of the dam that could break after the LeBron/Carmelo bottleneck shakes loose.

• In case you missed it, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade had dinner at LAVO restaurant in the Palazzo in Las Vegas Monday. What you think that means says more about what you want to happen than what they actually talked about, because we don’t know. Here is what I do know: If you’re going to it Italian at the Palazzo B&B is the better option.

• Also in case you missed it, Pau Gasol met with OKC coach Scott Brooks on Monday. The Thunder have made a big push for him with both Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook making personal pitches. But Gasol has a lot of options and there are questions if the urbane Gasol wants to move to Oklahoma City.

• Spencer Hawes is going to be so much fun on the Clippers.

• The Hornets had a big meeting Monday with Gordon Hayward. Hayward is trying to get someone to give him a big offer… one the Jazz likely match, which is why teams are hesitant to make the offer.

• Derrick Rose update:

• Among the players waiting on LeBron James to make a decision? Garrett Temple. He was reportedly going to get an offer from Miami but he doesn’t want to go to Miami if LeBron is not there, so he is being patient. The Wizards also are in the mix.

• Jordan Farmar talks about his decision to move down the hall at Staples Center to the Los Angeles Clippers.

• At Grantland Zach Lowe nailed the complexities of the idea players should sacrifice money to win.

• In case you missed it, San Antonio agreed to a two-year deal with guard Bryce Cotton, but it is only partially guaranteed.

• Utah hopes to retain free agent  John Lucas III, mostly as a mentor for Trey Burke and Dante Exum.

• Former Raptor and Spur Nando De Colo decided rather than ride another NBA bench he is going to take $2 million from CSKA-Moscow. Can’t blame him.

• LeBron James’ jersey from Game 1 of the NBA Finals this year — the “cramp game” — sold for $50,000 at a charity auction.

• Tony Wroten showed up at the Seattle pro-am and dropped 53, and made one defender look very, very, bad.

Royce O’Neale agrees to four-year, $36 million contract extension to stay in Utah

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Royce O'Neale is a name casual NBA fans may not recognize.

However, GMs around the league recognize him is the kind of role player teams need to win. O’Neale is asked to guard the opposing team’s best wing player nightly, while on the other end of the court he’s shooting 44.3 percent from three. He’s become a critical part of Utah’s rotation.

So the Jazz have locked him up with a contract extension, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

The Jazz — who have won 16-of-18 — just got Mike Conley back in the rotation, and have jumped up to a top-four seed in the West (as of this writing). Things are looking up, and also they have set themselves up well financially for the future.

Bigger bills are coming in Utah, in the summer of 2021 the Jazz will need to max out Donovan Mitchell with an extension plus re-sign Rudy Gobert. Which is why locking in a quality role player like O’Neale at a fair price now is a smart move.

Watch Marcus Smart set Celtics’ record with 11 threes, still not enough to beat Suns

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BOSTON (AP) — Devin Booker had 39 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists and the Phoenix Suns overcame a franchise-record 11 3-pointers by Boston’s Marcus Smart and beat the Celtics 123-119 on Saturday night.

Smart shot 11 for 22 from 3-point range and finished with a career-best 37 points. His performance marked the first time in NBA history that a player made 11 or more 3-points in a losing effort, according to Stats.

Deandre Ayton had 26 points and 15 rebounds and Mikal Bridges added a career-best 26 points for the Suns, who have won four of their last five games.

Jayson Tatum scored 26 points and Gordon Hayward added 22 for Boston, which has lost three straight and six of eight.

Three years ago, Booker scored 70 points in a loss to the Celtics in TD Garden. He finished an assist shy of his first career triple-double.

The Celtics were missing two of their top three leading scorers – Kemba Walker (team-best 22.1 per game), out with left knee soreness, and Jaylen Brown (20.0), sidelined for the second straight game with a sprained right thumb.

Boston cut its deficit to 90-85 early in the fourth, but Dario Saric and Bridges answered with consecutive 3s. The Celtics had it down to 114-111 on Daniel Theis‘ breakaway dunk with about a minute left, but Bridges hit a jumper in the lane with 37 seconds to play.

Booker’s two free throws sealed it with 4.8 seconds left.

The Suns led 60-51 at halftime and answered – mainly behind Booker and Ayton – any surge by Boston. The lead never fell below seven in the quarter, with Booker scoring nine points and Ayton getting eight.

The loss of two key players showed for the Celtics in the first quarter when the Suns broke in front 26-10 before Boston’s bench helped spark a 15-0 run.

 

LeBron James gets ‘M-V-P’ chants in Houston

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Laker fans are everywhere.

Decades of stars and success — from Magic Johnson through Kobe Bryant — turned the Lakers into the biggest franchise brand in the NBA, the only thing that might rival it is LeBron James‘ brand. Combine those two and there seem to be loud, at points obnoxious, Lakers fans in every arena.

Case in point: LeBron James got “M-V-P” chants in Houston while the Lakers beat the Rockets.

LeBron called it humbling.

LeBron’s play this season — 25.5 points and a career-high 10.9 assists a game, playing his best defense in years and leading the Lakers to a West best 34-8 record — has him in the hunt for a fifth MVP award (although he’s not who we would vote for right now).

Expect to hear these chants in a lot more buildings this season.

Check out Stephen Curry the sideline reporter (VIDEO)

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Stephen Curry, the most overpaid sideline reporter in the NBA.”

That’s how Curry was introduced on the Warriors broadcast Saturday night as he took over some sideline reporting duties while still out after fracturing his hand four games into the season. What else has he got to do?

Above you can see the best of Curry’s reactions, or check out his walk-off interview with Eric Paschall:

I’d say he shouldn’t quit his day job, but that job also pays a little better.

By the way, the Warriors ended their losing streak with a 109-95 victory over Orlando. D'Angelo Russell led the way with 26 points.