Report: Blake Griffin to meet with Phoenix July 1; Suns also to meet with Paul Millsap

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With Chris Paul having been traded so he’s closer to Killen’s BBQ — and to play with James Harden — the Los Angeles Clippers are making re-signing Blake Griffin their top priority. Expect them to call him up at 12:01 Eastern on July 1 and offer him a big contract to stay in L.A (whether it is a full max is not known, there are rumors the Clippers don’t want to do a full five-year max).

The question is, does Griffin still want to stay?

He’s going to at least talk to other teams, and that will start with the Phoenix Suns, reports Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times.

To be more specific, the Suns have the cap space to offer Griffin a four-year max deal which starts at $29.7 million and will be worth almost $128 million over four years, although there are rumors that the Suns want to offer the max over fewer years (three years deal). The Clippers’ offer would start at the same base number but have larger raises (eight percent as opposed to five percent) and would total out at five years and $172 million if they maxed it out. Griffin also could ask for options after three years with either team.

According to reports out of Arizona, the Suns also are scheduled to meet with Paul Millsap as they try to land a four and speed up their rebuilding. Millsap would be in the same boat with max or near max offers.

For Griffin, both Miami and Boston also want to talk to him, but an offer would be forthcoming only if they strike out with Gordon Hayward. Other teams will call as well.

The question in Phoenix is exactly what kind of team are they building, and with what goal? They have drafted well in recent years and have Devin Booker, Josh Jackson, Dragan Bender, and Marquese Chriss on the roster, suggesting they may want to develop those guys and take some time rebuilding. But owner Robert Sarver doesn’t like missing out on playoff cash giving the loyal Suns fans a chance to see their team in the postseason, so if they bring in Griffin and keep Eric Bledsoe they have a shot at the playoffs. (Although the bottom spots in the West could be tough to get next year with teams such as Denver, Minnesota, and Portland among others all scrapping for spots.)

Does Griffin want to be part of a Suns team? Is it better than the Clippers even without Paul? Or will he be patient and see what other offers come his way? He is one of the big dominoes now in free agency, and if he takes his time it could bottleneck the process.

Warriors first team to win five straight conference titles

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Presenting the Western Conference-championship trophy in 2015, former Warriors coach Al Attles worried about dropping it. He told Stephen Curry to pick it up directly, avoiding a potentially troublesome lift and handoff. Curry raised the trophy to a jubilant Oakland crowd.

Golden State hasn’t lost control of the trophy since.

The Warriors won their fifth straight conference title – the longest streak of all-time – with a 119-117 Game 4 win over the Trail Blazers in the Western Conference finals Monday. Only the Boston Celtics, who won 10 straight division titles 1957-1966 before the NBA adopted conference in 1971, have gone to so many consecutive NBA Finals.

Here are the longest streaks of NBA Finals appearances:

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Blazers start hot, again. Warriors come back, again, win in OT to eliminate Portland

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Monday night saw the third film in the Portland/Golden State movie franchise. We had seen this same plot in the last two games— Portland races out to an early lead thanks to unexpected hero, Golden State comes back and executes better down the stretch, then Golden State wins

Monday night was just more dramatic.

It was almost the Meyers Leonard game — he had a career-best 25 points before the half and finished with 30 points on 12-of-16 shooting.

Adding to the drama, the Warriors delayed their comeback to the fourth quarter, but comeback they did.

Stephen Curry — who had a triple-double on the night and had 37 points to lead all scorers — sparked the comeback but was almost remembered for traveling with an exaggerated Harden step back rather than taking a potential game-winning two (and his brother Seth Curry was all over the travel call).

In the end, none of that mattered.

It was Draymond Green — who also had a triple-double with 18 points, 14 rebounds, and 11 assists — that hit a dagger three in OT off a Curry assist, and that proved to be too much for the Trail Blazers to overcome.

Golden State win 119-117 in a game of little defense, and with that takes the series 4-0.

The Warriors will now have nine days off to get Andre Iguodala, Kevin Durant, and DeMarcus Cousins healthy — all three sat out this game — before taking on either the Bucks or Toronto in the Finals (which will start in the East city).

Portland is done for the season, but they should look back with pride on the growth this team has shown. They found a third star in Jusuf Nurkic, and then without him still made it all the way to the Western Conference Finals. This season was a step forward for Portland, something to build on.

Portland just did not have the matchups or answers for Golden State.

Steve Kerr, without three guys who started Game 1 of the playoffs against the Clippers, threw out the kind of rotations usually seen on the second night of a back-to-back in January, but the Warriors depth came through. Kevon Looney had a strong game with 12 points and 14 rebounds. Shaun Livingston had eight points, Jordan Bell started and had 7.

More than depth, what separated the teams in this series was Golden State could crank up the defense when it needed it. The Warriors played with more defensive intensity in the fourth, holding the Trail Blazers to 6-of-23 shooting. In overtime, Portland shot 3-of-10.

The Warriors shot just 3-of-12 in the fourth, but had five offensive rebounds and Green’s dagger three, and that was enough. They won a tough game without their stars.

It’s a movie we have seen before.

Unstoppable Meyers Leonard drops 25 on Warriors in first half (VIDEO)

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Stephen Curry had an I-don’t-want-to-play-Game-5 kind of first half for Golden State, scoring 25 points and hitting 5-of-7 from three.

However, he was the second best player on the court because Meyers Leonard held that crown.

Yes, Meyers Leonard.

He had 25 points of his own on 10-of-12 shooting.

Fans broke out a “Mey-ers Leon-ard” chant.

All that had Portland up 69-65 at the half in a defense-optional Game 4 where it is win-or-go-home for the Trail Blazers.

Knicks Frank Ntilikina reportedly wants to be traded, switches agents

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When the Knicks acquired Emmanuel Mudiay last season — a player Denver just released outright — Mudiay instantly jumped past Frank Ntilikina on the point guard depth chart. Then, when the Knicks traded for Dennis Smith Jr. at the deadline (part of the Kristaps Porzingis deal), the future of Ntilikina in New York was thrown into uncertainty.

Ntilikina sees that, wants out, and is getting a new agent as well, reports Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News.

Knicks guard Frank Ntilikina dropped CAA as his agency last season and planned to sign with French agent Bouna Ndiaye, the Daily News has learned.

Ntilikina, who was drafted eighth overall by Knicks in 2017, is on the trading block and desires a relocation, a source told the News. The Knicks declined offers to move Ntilikina at the trade deadline in February, acquired another point guard in Dennis Smith Jr., and Ntilikina quickly decided to change agents.

Ndiaye represents several French players in the NBA, including Rudy Gobert and Evan Fournier.

The Knicks are expected to try to trade Ntilikina, either at the draft or next summer. Mostly other teams will view him as a way to save money — if teams do not pick up his 2020-21 option by Oct. 31 he comes off the books after this next season — but also Ntilikina played good defense and other teams may try to take a flier on him.