Report: Nets want to flip Kendrick Perkins (if acquired in Brook Lopez trade) for Thaddeus Young

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The Nets and Thunder are negotiating a trade that would send Brook Lopez to Oklahoma City.

To make salaries match, the Thunder would certainly ship out Kendrick Perkins.

But Brooklyn doesn’t actually want Perkins. The Nets just want his expiring contract to help facilitate the deal.

That’s why Perkins might not be long for Brooklyn (if he gets there at all).

Marc Stein of ESPN:

The Nets apparently aren’t in complete cost-cutting mode in preparation for a sale. Thaddeus Young, who makes slightly more than Perkins this season, also has a $9,971,739 player option for next season. With the salary cap set to skyrocket in 2016, there’s a good chance he opts in, which would increase Brooklyn’s expenditures.

But the Nets would get something in return – a player who could help them now. Young’s numbers are down in Minnesota (13.3 points and 4.5 rebounds per game), but he’s a solid option at power forward who can score a number of ways.

The Timberwolves essentially surrendered a Heat first rounder (via the Cavaliers) to get Young in the Kevin Love trade. It was a misguided attempt at trying to make a playoff push this season, and Flip Saunders deserves blame for it. But also give him a little credit for realizing it’s time to cut bait on that plan and focus on rebuilding around Andrew Wiggins, Ricky Rubio, Shabazz Muhammad, Zach LaVine and Gorgui Dieng. Whatever draft pick or younger player Minnesota would get for Young would only help.

As for Perkins, there’s a decent chance the Nets would buy him out if they can’t flip him before the trade deadline. The Timberwolves would almost certainly buy him out if he winds up in Minnesota. That’d give him a chance to sign with a contender for the rest of the season. If this winds up a three-way trade, Perkins could not re-join the Thunder. However, if Perkins is traded in two distinct deals – to Brooklyn then to Minnesota – and then waived, the rules would prevent him re-joining only the Nets. The NBA might step in and block his return to Oklahoma City anyway, but it would be an interesting test case if Perkins wanted to sign with the Thunder.

Knicks’ Obi Toppin out at least 2-3 weeks with knee fracture

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Obi Toppin is a fan favorite and Knicks faithful were hoping to see more of him as the season progresses.

However, they are not going to see any of him for at least the next 2-3 weeks due to a fractured knee, the team announced.

Toppin suffered the injury in New York’s win Wednesday over Atlanta, the same game that saw Dejounte Murray sprain his ankle leading him to be out for a few weeks.

Toppin — the reigning All-Star Weekend Slam Dunk contest champion — is averaging 7.7 points in 25 games off the bench. With him out, coach Tom Thibodeau suggested he could lean more on RJ Barrett, asking him to play up at the four.

Report: Zach LaVine not available for trade from Bulls

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Front offices of potential contenders from Los Angeles to Philadelphia have their eyes on the Chicago Bulls — will the struggling Bulls pivot to chase Victor Wembanyama and the top of the lottery, making them sellers at the trade deadline? Teams have interest in Chicago’s three stars: Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan, and Nikola Vucevic.

Except just-extended LaVine isn’t currently available, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said Wednesday on his network’s pregame show discussing the Knicks.

“The Knicks will be watching Chicago. Is Zach LaVine a player who before the deadline possibly can become available? He certainly isn’t now.”

Chicago is not yet ready to pivot to tanking, so none of its stars are truly available. That said, the Bulls don’t look like a playoff team, they miss Lonzo Ball, and even if things do come together where do they stand in the East hierarchy? If the Bulls do become sellers, they aren’t going to tear this team down to the studs, it would likely be trading just one star. Possibly a second if the offer was strong enough.

LaVine — who signed a five-year, $215 million extension this past summer — is the least likely to be available, league sources have told NBC Sports. The expectation is that Vucevic would be the Bull first made available if the Bulls decide to start seriously listening to offers. And that remains an “if.”

That said, front offices around the league have their eyes trained on Chicago.

Dejounte Murray added to growing Hawks injury report, out 2-3 weeks with sprained ankle

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John Collins is out for at least another week with a sprained ankle. DeAndre Hunter has been out with a strained hip flexor.

Now you can add Dejounte Murray to the Hawks’ growing injury report, he is out at least 2-3 weeks with a sprained ankle, Shams Charania and Sam Amick of The Athletic report.

The injury happened on a closeout from RJ Barrett of the Knicks.

The Hawks have already had chemistry and fit issues this season, and missing key players for an extended period only exacerbates the problem. Atlanta looked flat getting their doors blown off by the Knicks Wednesday night, 113-89, a game that added to a string where they have lost 5-of-7. Now they will have to find a way to right the ship without their second-best playmaker.

There also is an update on the Hawks’ play-by-play announcer Bob Rathbun.

NBA, WNBA players react to news Brittney Griner coming home

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Brittney Griner is finally coming home.

The WNBA and USA Basketball star has spent 10 months in Russian prisons — including being convicted and sent to a Russian penal colony — for having vape canisters with small amounts of cannabis oil in her luggage as she went through Russian airport security back in February. She became a political pawn in the tensions between the United States and Russia, mostly surrounding Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine, and was freed via a prisoner swap announced Thursday.

The basketball world — WNBA players in particular — had worked to keep her name front and not let Griner be forgotten during this ordeal, pushing President Joe Biden and the government to reach a deal. With the news Griner was freed, NBA and WNBA players took to social media to react.

“Brittney has had to endure an unimaginable situation and we’re thrilled that she is on her way home to her family and friends,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said. “We thank the members of the NBA and WNBA community who never wavered in their efforts to raise awareness of Brittney’s unjust circumstances.”

“We are overwhelmed with relief and gratitude that our sister Brittney Griner is finally coming home,” the NBPA said in a statement. “Her strength and courage throughout this last year have been truly remarkable, as have the efforts of her wife Cherelle, our WNBPA sisters, Terri Jackson and the WNBPA staff, who have been relentless in their call to bring Brittney home. We know this homecoming would not have been possible without their unwavering support and continued work to keep BG always top of mind, and our players are honored to have contributed to those efforts. While this is a celebratory moment for our sisters and us, we must not forget the other political prisoners who remain in dire circumstances all over the world. These individuals must be remembered and fought for every single day as BG was so that they too can have this moment. Welcome home Brittney, we are so happy to have you back! #WeAreBG”