James Harden, three Hawks players lead list of NBA All-Star Game reserves

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The coaches made good choices.

The problem is, you can also make a case for almost another team of guys left off.

The NBA All-Star Game reserves were officially announced Thursday night. The starters were voted in by the fans and announced a week ago, then this past week the coaches around the league filled out the rosters.

Here’s who they selected:

Eastern Conference

• Jeff Teague (Atlanta Hawks)
• Jimmy Butler (Chicago Bulls)
• Kyrie Irving (Cleveland Cavaliers)
• Dwyane Wade (Miami Heat)
• Paul Millsap (Atlanta Hawks)
• Chris Bosh (Miami Heat)
• Al Horford (Atlanta Hawks)

(Starters: John Wall, Kyle Lowry, LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Pau Gasol)

Western Conference

• James Harden (Houston Rockets)
• Klay Thompson (Golden State Warriors)
• Chris Paul (Los Angeles Clippers)
• Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City Thunder)
• Tim Duncan (San Antonio Spurs)
• Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City Thunder)
• LaMarcus Aldridge (Portland Trail Blazers)

(Starters: Stephen Curry, Kobe Bryant, Blake Griffin, Anthony Davis, Marc Gasol)

There are going to be changes to the rosters in each conference — both Kobe Bryant and Dwyane Wade are out injured, Kobe certainly will not play and Wade is not expected to.

Meaning at least a couple of the deserving guys left off the roster will get on. (NBA Commissioner Adam Silver picks the replacements, in the case of the West it will be up to coach Steve Kerry to decide who will take Kobe’s starter spot.)

And there are a lot of deserving guys left off these lists.

Starting with DeMarcus Cousins — averaging 23.8 points and 12.3 rebounds a game — and Damian Lillarrd out West. Lillard is averaging 21.7 points and 6.1 rebounds a game. Both of these guys deserved to make the team (both were among my picks) and only one will.

Other deserving guys left off in the West are Mike Conley and Zach Randolph of the Memphis Grizzlies, Monta Ellis and Dirk Nowitzki of the Dallas Mavericks, Dwight Howard of the Houston Rockets, Eric Bledsoe of the Phoenix Suns. And that list could go on and on.

In the Eastern Conference, if I had to best who gets Wade’s spot, watch out for Kyle Korver of the Hawks. That would mean four Hawks, which seems fair for the best team in the conference. Other guys who out East who missed out include Nikola Vucevic of the Orlando Magic, Kevin Love of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Brandon Knight of the Bucks, and Andre Drummond of the Pistons. Again, there are others who could stake a claim as well.

Report: Nets interested in signing Kevin Durant’s friend, DeAndre Jordan

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The Nets are hot on the heels of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.

What could put Brooklyn over the top to land those star free agents?

Maybe DeAndre Jordan.

Marc Stein of The New York Times:

If Jordan would help the Nets attract Durant and Irving, great. Sign Jordan.

But Jordan would also fit well at center if Brooklyn signs Durant and Irving.

The Nets need another center with Jarrett Allen, as Ed Davis hits free agency. They could ideally use someone bigger, like Jordan. Though Allen has positioned himself well as Brooklyn’s long-term center, Jordan could even start – if he comes motivated.

Jordan has drifted lately. He fell out of favor with the Clippers, never meshed with the Mavericks then finished last season with the losing Knicks rather than taking a buyout. Jordan has ability as a finisher and rim-protector, but he’s not as active as used to be, and energy is important for playing that style.

The Nets’ room exception, which projects to be worth nearly $5 million, might be the right amount for him.

Andre Iguodala’s exit line on CNBC: “Nobody’s going to the Knicks. Sorry.”

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Andre Iguodala is a smart businessman who is heavily invested in tech startups (as are several Golden State Warriors players). That — and the fact he’s a famous NBA player — made him a good guest on CNBC’s Power Lunch show Monday.

Iguodala also has a few good connections to the thinking of the Golden State Warriors’ free agents Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson. Here is his response when asked about free agency and the Warriors on the show.

Of course, he said he expects Durant and Thompson to come back to the Warriors, what did you expect him to say? However, it was the exit line that got noticed:

“Nobody’s going to the Knicks. Sorry.”

More and more it’s looking like that.

Sources have said Thompson is staying with the Warriors since the start, he was never in play. Durant and the Knicks have been linked all season, but suddenly rumors of him going to Brooklyn with Kyrie Irving (and maybe Durant’s good friend DeAndre Jordan) have gotten a lot louder around the league. Brooklyn may be the frontrunner, with the Clipper still on the fringes of the conversation. The Warriors may be on the outside looking in.

The Knicks want a meeting with Kawhi Leonard, but that is a two-team race between the Raptors and Clippers, with Toronto seeming to have the edge after winning a title.

The smart play by the Knicks, if this happens, is not to spend wildly on the next tier of free agents but rather to sit on their cap space, develop and add to their young core, and wait for another star. That seems to be the plan, but how long before James Dolan gets impatient and forces something stupid to happen. For the Knicks, that’s always a concern.

Report: Atlanta trades Kent Bazemore to Portland for Evan Turner

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Portland is always on the search for some quality play and shot creation at the forward spots (something that is a long-running weak spot), and with this trade the Trail Blazers get a little better.

Atlanta is sending Kent Bazemore to Portland in exchange for Evan Turner in a straight up, two-player trade, a story broken by Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

Both players are in the final year of their somewhat overpaid contracts, Bazemore will make $19.3 million while Turner will pull down $18.6 million. Atlanta does save about $640,000.

This trade makes a lot of sense for Portland. Bazemore is a quality wing rotation player who averaged 11.6 points per game, is athletic and can create shots. Last season Bazemore was on his way to a career year until a mid-season ankle injury, and while he did come back to the court he was never healthy and the same player. He’s not a knock-down three-point shooter but he has usually been at around 35 percent or a little higher five of the past six seasons (he was down to 32 percent last season because of the ankle injury). This is more than just Rodney Hood insurance, this is an upgrade.

Turner was the guy Portland counted on as another shot creator, but he could not do that consistently or under pressure. He averaged 6.8 points per game last season, shot 21.2 percent from three, and is not a great defender. He is a popular teammate and good in the locker room (something useful with a young Hawks squad), but this is not an upgrade for the Hawks.

Then why did Atlanta make this trade? Good question. The franchise does save $640,000, which is helpful but not earth-shattering. Maybe it’s a favor to Bazemore to get him on a team that went to the Western Conference Finals a season ago and is a threat going forward. However, the best reason may be the Hawks have three young players they like — Kevin Huerter, plus just-drafted DeAndre Hunter and Cam Reddish — at the same spot and this frees up minutes for them to play.

Whatever the reason, the deal can get done soon, before free agency opens.

Knicks fined $50K for violating NBA’s media rules

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Knicks owner James Dolan escalates fight after fight after fight after fight after fight after fight after…

One of his latest battles has been with the New York Daily News, the newspaper that urged him to sell the team. The Knicks have repeatedly denied Daily News reporters access. Barring the Daily News from a recent press conference apparently crossed a line.

NBA:

The NBA announced today that the New York Knicks have been fined $50,000 for violating the NBA’s rules regarding equal access for media.

The Knicks did not allow the New York Daily News access to their post-draft press conference on Friday, June 21 while allowing all other credentialed media who cover the team to attend.

The organization has agreed to comply with NBA Media Access Rules moving forward.

The Knicks released this statement:

“The Knicks acknowledge that we did not comply with the NBA’s media policy, and made an error in interpreting Friday’s announcement as an invite only event.  As we do throughout the year, we have and will continue to provide access to credentialed media as per the League’s policy.” <

This has been a dumb plan by the Knicks. Even executed as designed, it makes them look bad.

The Knicks should be trying to generate enthusiasm around No. 3 pick R.J. Barrett and double-max cap space (which could turn into Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving). Instead, the Knicks are drawing attention to their thin skin and pettiness. And they’re not stopping the Daily News from writing about the team, anyway.

For Dolan, a $50,000 fine is small. But it’s larger than my confidence his franchise will abide by the league’s media rules – which are designed to ensure fans receive information – going forward.