Report: Jazz expected to buy out Kendrick Perkins; Cavs, Bulls and Clippers interested

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Now that the trade deadline is done, buyout season begins in earnest. One of the strongest candidates to get bought out and join a contender is former Thunder center Kendrick Perkins, who was traded to the Jazz as part of a three-way deal that sent Enes Kanter to Oklahoma City and Reggie Jackson to Detroit. The rebuilding Jazz don’t have much use for Perkins, even as an expiring, but Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski is hearing that a couple of other teams do.

It’s tough to see where Perkins would get minutes in Cleveland. They just traded for the much younger and better Timofey Mozgov and already have a frontcourt rotation that includes Mozgov, Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson, plus some smaller lineups that feature LeBron James at the four. Even Brendan Haywood is probably more useful than Perkins at this point.

The Bulls are also not a logical fit, even though head coach Tom Thibodeau was an assistant on the Celtics team that won the title with Perkins in 2008. They already have a crowded frontcourt rotation with Joakim Noah, Pau Gasol, Taj Gibson and Nikola Mirotic. Adding someone else to that mix doesn’t make any sense, especially with Perkins’ limited skill set replicating Nazr Mohammed, the end-of-bench big the Bulls already have. If they are looking at the buyout market, a wing like Gary Neal would be a better move. Plus, Perkins and Noah don’t like each other.

The Clippers pursuing Perkins, meanwhile, is the most obvious thing in the world. Doc Rivers and Perkins go back to the Celtics’ 2008 title run, and Rivers still hasn’t gotten over his fixation with players who were valuable in the late 2000s. This is a roster that already features Glen Davis (also a member of that 2008 championship team), Hedo Turkoglu and Dahntay Jones. Perkins doesn’t have much value in 2015 beyond setting some hard screens and picking up some hard fouls, but Rivers loves his veterans. Don’t be surprised if this happens.

As limited as Perkins is as a player now, he was a beloved teammate in Boston and Oklahoma City, and contenders looking for veteran experience could do worse than adding him to the locker room. But that’s about it.

How a single computer folder and dogged HR official exposed former Kings executive’s $13.4M embezzlement scheme

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Just how close did Jeff David come to getting away with embezzling $13.4 million from the Kings while working for them? He already secured a new job with the Heat and was in the process of moving from Sacramento to Miami.

Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN:

On this Monday, walking through the Davids’ new front door is a dizzying procession of cable guys, utility workers and movers. Amid all of this, Jeff receives a phone call from a former co-worker with the Kings. Her name is Stacy Wegzyn, and she works in HR. Jeff last remembers sitting in her office in Sacramento just months earlier, being told that the Kings were going to eliminate his position. After a few pleasantries, she gets down to business. She tells Jeff she’s been going through his old files, and in doing so she found one labeled “TurboTax” that references an entity called Sacramento Sports Partners.

“I was just curious what that is and if those are documents that should go to somebody else,” Wegzyn says.

It’s a seemingly innocuous inquiry from an HR lifer. But it’s one that will dictate the rest of Jeff David’s life. If he knows that — or senses it — he doesn’t let on.

“No, no, no,” Jeff responds. “That was a … man, this is taking me back. Maybe 2015?”

Wegzyn presses on. She asks Jeff whether the documents contain anything that anyone with the Kings needs to see. Jeff assures her they can trash them because the entity isn’t around anymore. A few minutes after he hangs up, his mother-in-law, Nancy, is standing at the front door when an FBI investigator appears, asking to speak to Jeff.

If you like the NBA or true crime – let alone both – I HIGHLY recommend reading Arnovitz’s full piece. It’s riveting!

Warriors Kevon Looney cleared for on-court basketball work, will return soon

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At least someone on the Warriors is getting healthy.

Big man Kevon Looney, who played opening night and has since been sidelined with a sore hamstring and neuropathy (what the team described as “nerve-related symptoms”), has been cleared to return to on-court basketball activities, the team announced Tuesday. From the official press release:

He will participate in select practice sessions with the Santa Cruz Warriors this week and will re-join the Golden State Warriors over the weekend. We will continue to monitor his progress and will provide another update on his status on Sunday.

Looney has already been officially assigned to Santa Cruz.

This is good news for the Warriors, who have been starting Willie Cauley-Stein but desperately need more shot blocking and depth up front.

Anyone getting healthy is good news for a Warriors team that is 2-12 and has the worst net rating in the NBA (-10.4).

Carmelo Anthony to start first game for Portland, apparently thinks he’s wearing number infinity

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Carmelo Anthony will wear No. 00 with the Trail Blazers.

Why?

Apparently because 00 kind of looks like ∞.

Anthony:

Somewhere, Kyrie Irving is nodding in support.

In terms of numbers that make sense…

Marc J. Spears of ESPN:

That’s a sizable role for a 35-year-old in his first game in more than a year. But Portland needs scoring with Damian Lillard sidelined, and – at last check (though, again, a while ago), Anthony was accustomed to big minutes.

Besides, we all want ample opportunity to see Anthony back on the court after his lengthy absence.

David Fizdale: Knicks owner Jim Dolan gives me ‘vote of confidence’ at every game

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Knicks coach David Fizdale is on thin ice.

New York is 4-10. Knicks president Steve Mills is reportedly laying the groundwork to fire Fizdale. Mills and general manager Scott Perry addressed the media after a recent game and sounded as if they were at least partially blaming Fizdale.

But does Fizdale have a key supporter at the very top of the organization?

Fizdale, via Ian Begley of SNY:

“Every game, every game. Jim Dolan comes in and gives me a vote of confidence, a pat on my back and really has just been incredibly encouraging over the last year and a half or whatever it’s been,” Fizdale said. “All we talk about is just sticking to the process of making these guys better and building for a future of sustainable winning.”

A common synonym for “vote of confidence:” “dreaded vote of confidence.” Just how bad are near-nightly votes of confidence?

This will convince nobody that Fizdale’s job is safe. Someone will likely take the fall if the Knicks’ struggles continue. It might be Fizdale. It might be Mills. But Mills – who preceded and succeeded Phil Jackson in running the front office – knows his way around Madison Square Garden. And even if Mills gets demoted or fired, a new lead executive would likely want his own coach.