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Rumor: Clippers, not Lakers, top Kawhi Leonard’s destination list


Nobody really knows what Kawhi Leonard is thinking about next summer because he doesn’t express it. Combine that with an inexperienced management team around him now, and you get a vacuum, and that vacuum will get filled with speculation.

That said, ESPN’s well-connected Ramona Shelburne went on the popular Mason and Ireland radio show on ESPN LA and there said something that has been floating around parts of the NBA for a while now — the Lakers are not on top of Leonard’s destination list. Hat tip Farbod Ensaashari of Sports Daily.

Other sources I have spoken to still think the Lakers are in front, but that this is far from decided. Why? Well, there are a couple of reasons, such as the shadow of LeBron James. Also, there is simply fit: Leonard is not a person who seeks out the spotlight, is not a social media guy, doesn’t want to talk to TMZ outside a restaurant/bar or be part of the celebrity culture, and most of all Leonard does not like a lot of drama around him. Especially in the locker room. Sign with the Lakers and all those things come with it, it’s part of the package. The Clippers are in Los Angeles, too, and some of those same factors come with them, but the Clipper brand isn’t as strong and the spotlight isn’t as bright, especially since the Lakers have LeBron.

This is all why Toronto has a chance. Leonard says he’s keeping an open mind, and Toronto is making its play (having already hired one of his good friends into the staff), and the franchise believes it has some things going for it that can win Leonard over. Maybe. Winning big would be part of that.

However, all season long you will see rumors of Leonard coming to Los Angeles, which is still the most likely scenario, just don’t bet on it being the Lakers.

Luka Doncic fined $10k for kicking ball into stands (video)

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Mavericks rookie Luka Doncic got ejected a few days ago for kicking the ball into the crowd, his second technical foul of the game.

That outburst also got him fined.

NBA release:

Dallas Mavericks guard-forward Luka Dončić has been fined $10,000 for kicking the game ball into the spectator stands, it was announced today by Kiki VanDeWeghe, Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations.

The incident, for which Dončić was assessed his second technical foul and ejected, occurred with 3:00 remaining in the third quarter of the Mavericks’ 111-99 loss to the Indiana Pacers on Jan. 19

Players usually get fined $25,000 for throwing something into the stands. But sometimes, they get just a $10,000 fine for that, seemingly if it appears they didn’t intend for the object to reach the crowd.

Did Doncic mean to kick the ball as far as he did?

Who knows? But it seems he got the benefit of the doubt here.

Mike D’Antoni: Not right NBA wouldn’t allow Rockets to trade Carmelo Anthony yesterday

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The Rockets signed Kenneth Faried, importantly to them, before their game against the 76ers yesterday. With Clint Capela injured, Houston needed another big against Joel Embiid.

But the Rockets had to open a roster spot for Faried. Their clear preference was trading Carmelo Anthony. Failing that, they’d release James Nunnally.

Houston agreed to deal Anthony to the Bulls but couldn’t complete the trade because the league office was closed, as is the norm on weekends and holidays (in this case, Martin Luther King Day). So, the Rockets dropped Nunnally, eating the remaining salary on his 10-day contract, increasing their luxury-tax bill and costing him the opportunity to play for a team that could use him.

Houston coach Mike D’Antoni, via Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

“I don’t think it’s right,” Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni said of having to terminate Nunnally. “There’s ways (the league) could have facilitated it.”

What happened to the Rockets was fair in that the rules were clear and applied equally to each team.

But I agree with D’Antoni. Games don’t stop for weekends and holidays. The league office shouldn’t, either.

Teams should have more ability to change their rosters on the fly, because games come so quickly. Halting business for weekends and holidays is antiquated. This is a global, multi-billion-dollar operation now.

The NBA can afford to employ enough people who review trades not to overwork any of them. It’d create a better product and make the sport operate more smoothly.

Stephen Curry slips and falls on wide-open fastbreak, gets ball back, air-balls 3-pointer (video)


See, the Warriors are fallible.

Though Stephen Curry‘s mishaps coming during a blowout win undercuts the point.

Jaren Jackson Jr. bullies Nikola Mirotic with dunk on him (video)

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Yes, the Grizzlies lost to the Anthony Davis-less Pelicans by 20 last night. Results like that are why there’s thought Marc Gasol could leave Memphis.

But at least plays like this Jaren Jackson Jr. dunk on Nikola Mirotic provide hope for the Grizzlies’ future.

Jackson is a skilled 3-point shooter and rim-protector. Add a mean streak inside offensively, and the rookie could really take off.