Andrea Bargnani says he would have played “for free” to prove himself with Nets

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It’s hyperbole when someone says “I would do my job for free.” I don’t care how much you love your job — there are chefs that live to cook, but take the money out of the equation and they will become bankers or barristas to pay the bills and cook at home. To use another easy example, I absolutely love my job, but I would not do it for free. I’ve got bills to pay just like everyone else.

So when the Nets new stretch four Andrea Bargnani says he would play for free, we all know that’s not literally true.

But I understand the sentiment that he feels he has a lot to prove after some rough times with the Knicks, where he played just 71 games the last two seasons (after a poor trade to bring him in from Toronto).

Bargnani talked about it with Italian newspaper il Fatto Quotidiano, as translated by Nets Daily.

“I would have done it for free because the money at this time does not matter,” said Bargnani who’s made $72 million in his NBA career…  “I just hope I can have a decent playing time, scoring as many points and exceed goals,” he told interviewer Malcom Pagani . “I do not think I was lucky (last year). Luck is good health that allows you to prove your talent at the right time. The rest is the work. I made risky choices, indeed extremely risky and I intend to continue to take risks. I accept all the criticism, it is living in a beautiful dream, I know myself. “

Bargnani will get his chance to prove himself. The Nets are going to start Thaddeus Young at the four, but behind him is a couple of guys who are looking for another chance to prove themselves — Thomas Robinson and Bargnani. Maybe a little Bojan Bogdanovic gets mixed in, depending on the rotation.

That said, don’t we know who Andrea Bargnani is at this point? What is he going to prove? After nine NBA seasons and with him set to turn 30 next season, he’s pretty much established. He hasn’t played more than 42 games in a season for four years. While he can catch and shoot the three ball (36.6 percent last season) he doesn’t strike fear in teams when he puts the ball on the floor (he often settles for midrange jumpers, more than half his shots were from 10 feet out to the arc last season, and he shot 45 percent on those). His defense is terrible.

We’ll see how much he can contribute in Brooklyn. But it’s safe to say he will not be giving them back any paychecks.

Report: Spurs ‘shut the door’ on Lakers’ Kawhi Leonard trade inquiry

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After shooting down trade inquiries before the trade deadline and brushing off proposals earlier this offseason, the Spurs are reportedly hearing out offers for Kawhi Leonard.

Except from the Lakers.

Ramona Shelburne of ESPN:

The Lakers are reportedly Leonard’s preferred destination. Of course, San Antonio isn’t obligated to send him there. But he can influence the process by stating a plan to sign with only certain team(s) in 2019 unrestricted free agency.

The Celtics and 76ers might have better assets to send the Spurs. But if only the Lakers have a commitment from Leonard to re-sign, they might offer a greater share of their assets than Boston or Philadelphia would (especially if Los Angeles believes acquiring Leonard would be the first domino in also landing LeBron James and Paul George).

Between Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, Josh Hart and future first-round picks, the Lakers could offer roughly commensurate value for Leonard. San Antonio might not like those particular players, but a third team could always get involved. Send some combination of Ball, Ingram, Kuzma and Hart to a team that wants them and have that third team convey players more desirable to the Spurs.

But that takes thoughtful negotiating, and San Antonio doesn’t seem interested.

There’s a belief San Antonio won’t trade Leonard to a Western Conference team, especially another historically strong franchise like the Lakers. That sentiment seems foolish to me, but it didn’t emerge out of thin air. There are real people – and real hurt feelings – involved here. Grudges sometimes trump rationality.

Maybe the Spurs will eventually explore whether the Lakers present the best offer. But this is at least circumstantial evidence San Antonio will handle this crisis stubbornly.

League buzz: Kings will take Marvin Bagley III at No. 2, Luka Doncic gone at three

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It’s hard to see through all the smoke and tell if things around the 2018 NBA Draft are solidifying as we get to fewer than three hours before the Phoenix Suns go on the clock.

The Suns are a lock to take DeAndre Ayton at No. 1.

After that, the Kings more and more seem to be leaning toward taking Marvin Bagley III at No. 2, according to multiple reports of those close to the team.

At three things really open up. Atlanta is listening to trade offers but one way or another is likely to pick Luka Doncic. There are rumors that multiple teams — Dallas, Orlando, others — would then trade their pick plus some other asset (young player/future pick) to the Hawks for Doncic. Who the Hawks reportedly really want is Trae Young, but they can move down to get him.

If the Slovenian is off the board, it’s more likely that Memphis trades the No. 4 pick, according to sources. However, there are questions about whether Memphis can get what it thinks is fair value for selling the No. 4. So maybe they just take Jaren Jackson Jr.

How is it going to shake out?

That follows my final mock draft, which was put together Wednesday for the video above. It has:

1. Phoenix: DeAndre Ayton
2. Sacramento: Marvin Bagley
3. Atlanta: Luka Doncic
4. Memphis: Jaren Jackson
5. Dallas: Mo Bamba
6. Orlando: Trae Young
7. Chicago: Michael Porter Jr.
8. Cleveland: Wendell Carter Jr.
9. New York: Kevin Knox
10. Philadelphia: Mikail Bridges
11. Charlotte: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
12. LA Clippers: Robert Williams
13. LA Clippers: Collin Sexton
14. Denver: Miles Bridges

The problem with any mock draft now is accounting for trades, and those are coming.

Report: Spurs hearing out Kawhi Leonard trade offers, including from Lakers

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The Spurs shot down Kawhi Leonard trade offers before the trade deadline. They brushed off Leonard trade offers earlier this offseason.

Then, the already strained situation got even worse.

Leonard put out word he wanted to leave San Antonio, ideally for the Lakers. He met with Gregg Popovich this week in San Diego, reportedly directly telling the president-coach he wants out.

What are the Spurs doing now?

Chris Mannix of Yahoo Sports:

The Lakers are in that mix.

The Spurs can try to mend their relationship with Leonard. They could even use a super-max contract – projected to be worth $219 million over five years – to aid that process. They don’t have to trade him.

But the clock is ticking toward tonight’s draft, teams using their cap space in other ways and Leonard’s 2019 free agency.

San Antonio has no choice but to get more aggressive in handling Leonard’s future. This is a small step in that direction.

Report: Nets to buy out Dwight Howard

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The Magic, Lakers, Rockets, Hawks and Hornets all grew tired of Dwight Howard.

The Nets did it in record time.

After acquiring Howard in a trade from Charlotte yesterday, Brooklyn is moving toward shedding him.

Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:

In the trade, the Nets dumped Timofey Mozgov‘s $16.72 million salary for 2019-20. Now, they could get a reduction on Howard’s $23,819,725 expiring contract. Brooklyn is doing a great job of unloading bad money.

Next year, the Nets will have their own first-round pick for the first time in six years. Though he has declined considerably from his Hall of Fame peak, Howard can still play some. Brooklyn didn’t need him interfering with its tanking and culture.

Instead, the Nets can focus on developing Jarrett Allen and losing enough to secure the best draft position possible.

It’ll be interesting to see how much Howard surrenders and where he goes. Again, he can still play. But the league is moving away from traditional centers, and he’s high maintenance.