Dewayne Dedmon

Mock NBA expansion draft
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Mock NBA expansion draft: Hawks, Hornets, Heat, Magic, Wizards

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The NBA season is on hiatus. NBC Sports is not – even if we have to venture into fantasy.

We’re holding a mock NBA expansion draft. Keith Smith is setting protected lists for existing teams. Kurt Helin and Dan Feldman will run two new teams as this project culminates in an expansion draft.

Current teams can protect up to eight players. Each team must make at least one player available. If selected, restricted free agents become unrestricted free agents. Pending options can be decided before or after the expansion draft at the discretion of the option-holder. Anyone selected in the expansion draft can’t return to his prior team for one year. Players entering unrestricted free agency and players on two-way contracts are essentially ignored.

We’re unveiling protected/unprotected lists by division (here is the Atlantic Division, Central Division, Pacific Division and Northwest Division). Players are listed with their 2020-21 salary. Up now, the Southeast:

Atlanta Hawks

Protected – 8

Unprotected – 4

Ineligible – 3

Analysis: The Hawks protections are very straightforward. Every player they are protecting is either a rotation player, under team control for a while or both. No hard decisions here.

That means that Atlanta is leaving their restricted free agents and Brandon Goodwin unprotected. No major concerns over losing any of the four.

Charlotte Hornets

Protected – 8

Unprotected – 3

Ineligible – 2

Analysis: Charlotte’s decisions were fairly easy. Terry Rozier, Devonte’ Graham, Miles Bridges and P.J. Washington are all core pieces. Despite his suspension, Malik Monk still has upside. And the three young forwards (Cody Martin, Caleb Martin and Jalen McDaniels) are locked in on low salaries for a while.

Keeping the three minimum salary forwards meant leaving Dwayne Bacon unprotected. Bacon had been out of the rotation and sent to the G-League, so he’s out of the plans for now. As for Nic Batum or Cody Zeller, the Hornets would welcome getting either big salary off the books.

Miami Heat

Protected – 8

Unprotected – 1

Ineligible – 6

Analysis: Miami was really helped by having six players ineligible because they are unrestricted free agents this summer. That left just this decision point: Andre Iguodala vs KZ Okpala vs Kelly Olynyk.

Okpala is a minimum salary player, so that means he stays. Iguodala was just added and given an extension. He stays. That means Olynyk and his $13 million salary are left exposed.

Orlando Magic

Protected – 8

Unprotected – 5

Ineligible – 2

Analysis: Orlando had seven fairly easy protections. Their five starters, sixth man, and their promising young big man in Mo Bamba.

That left Khem Birch vs Al-Farouq Aminu vs Wesley Iwundu. Aminu was left unprotected due to salary and coming off a knee injury. It’s unlikely he’ll be selected and the Magic will be happy to have him back. That means it came down to Birch vs Iwundu. It’s more likely Birch will be selected, given his low salary and skill as a big man, so Iwundu was left unprotected.

Washington Wizards

Protected – 8

Unprotected – 3

  • John Wall – $41,254,920
  • Isaac Bonga – $1,663,861 (Non-Guaranteed)
  • Anzejs Pasecnicks – $1,517,981 ($250,000 Guaranteed)

Ineligible – 4

Analysis: The Wizards are taking a gamble. Most of the protections were pretty easy. Bradley Beal and Thomas Bryant are key players. Rui Hachimura, Troy Brown, Mo Wagner and Jerome Robinson are all on their rookie scale deals.

Then things get interesting. Leaving John Wall unprotected may seem crazy, given he’s a former All-Star. But Wall is coming off two lost seasons due to injury and will be 30 years old at the start of next season. He’s also owed $133 million over the next three seasons. Ish Smith and Admiral Schofield stay and the Wizards throw caution to the wind. It’s unlikely Wall will be selected, but just the chance of clearing that salary off the books is a gamble worth taking for Washington.

Three Things to Know: Trae Young drops 48, Bojan Bogdanovic drains three to get teams wins

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Every day in the NBA there is a lot to unpack, so every weekday morning throughout the season we will give you the three things you need to know from the last 24 hours in the NBA.

1) Atlanta’s Trae Young drops 48 on Knicks, Utah’s Bojan Bogdanovic drains buzzer-beating three, both help their teams rack up wins. It’s time to talk on-the-court basketball again. For much of the past few weeks, the eyes of the NBA world were on the transaction wire in the run-up to the NBA Trade Deadline — and we got a real show.

Now we can turn our focus back to the games… for like four days, then we get the All-Star break.

The best shot on Sunday looked like it was going to belong to P.J. Tucker draining a corner three with 1.6 seconds left to give Houston a two-point lead over the Jazz. Except then Quin Snyder drew up a play to free up Bojan Bogdanovic, a gutsy move considering he was 1-of-6 shooting on the night prior to that. Bogdanovic rewarded his coach’s faith with this shot over Tucker and James Harden.

Utah gets a needed win (its second straight after dropping five in a row). Jazz fans can thank (or Rockets fans can blame) Jordan Clarkson, who scored 30 points, and Donovan Mitchell who added 24 points, six assists and five rebounds. If the basketball gods want to give us a Utah/Houston series these playoffs, we’re good with that.

• Next, an overlooked game of East bottom feeders ended up being the most entertaining game of the day — not a well-played game, just entertaining — when it took double overtime for the Hawks to knock off the Knicks. Trae Young looked every bit the All-Star starter with 48 points — including six 3-pointers — and 13 assists.

Also of note, Dewayne Dedmon made his return to the Hawks and came off the bench for 10 points (4-of-12 shooing), eight rebounds, and five blocks in 33 minutes, before he fouled out. Also, John Collins had 32 points and 16 rebounds on the game.

• Finally, if you need a laugh, we bring you Marcus Smart‘s epic flop.

2) Spike Lee pays tribute to Kobe Bryant at the Oscars. Los Angeles is an industry town and Kobe Bryant was its best entertainer for nearly two decades. The rich and powerful of the entertainment industry that filled the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood for the Oscars Sunday night are the same people that can be seen in the lower bowl and luxury suites of Lakers’ games, checking their phones.

Not surprisingly, there was a lot of Kobe love at the Oscars.

Most notably, as an Oscar winner — for the animated short movieDear Basketball” — Kobe was part of the In Memorium portion of the show.

Then there was Matthew Cherry, an Oscar winner for the animated short “Hair Love,” dedicating his win to Kobe with the words, “May we all have a second act as great as his was.”

However, what you’re really going to remember is Spike Lee’s tux.

3) Why did Joel Embiid “shush” home crowd after draining a big three? “Just being a good a** h***.” It wasn’t exactly a “the Sixers are breaking out of their slump” performance, but Philly did get a home win over Chicago on Sunday — and Joel Embiid was key.

The All-Star big man had 28 points (on 17 shots), 12 rebounds, four blocks, and he stepped it up with 12 points in the fourth quarter. That included this late three — which was followed by a strange reaction.

Why exactly did Embiid “shush” the home Philly crowd? Boston’s Al Horford had done the same thing to Sixers fans a few days before, but the fans had booed him. Why did Embiid do it? Here’s answer, via Paul Hudrick of NBC Sports Philly:

“Just talking to myself. I have not been playing up to my standards. Even tonight, you look at the night, I didn’t shoot the ball well and I didn’t play well. Just mad at myself. Just frustrated. Just got to keep trying to get better every single day.”

Um… what? You “shushed” the supportive home crowd to fire yourself up? Want to try that explanation again?

“I mean, I don’t care how it looks. I’m just playing basketball. Just getting back to myself, just being a good a–hole. Just playing basketball and just trying to dominate.”

Okay. Sure.

Report: Kings not trading Bogdan Bogdanovic, likely to match any offers in restricted free agency

Kings guard Bogdan Bogdanovic
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Bogdan Bogdanovic is reportedly not content remaining a Kings backup long-term.

Sacramento made him a starter. The next move: Keeping the impending restricted free agent long-term.

James Ham of NBC Sports California:

NBC Sports California has learned through a league source that Bogdan Bogdanovic will remain a King through the deadline and enter the summer as a restricted free agent, where the team is likely to match any offer.

Bogdanovic is a good player. Sacramento should want to keep him.

In their Dewayne Dedmon trade, the Kings cleared $6,833,333 of guaranteed salary next season and $1 million the following season. That’ll make it easier to retain Bogdanovic without facing luxury-tax issues.

But Sacramento also has another good shooting guard in Buddy Hield. He’s locked into a big contract and too established to passively accept a reduced role.

It’s already difficult to play both Bogdanovic and Hield enough minutes without one being forced to defend bigger wings as a nominal small forward. Paying Bogdanovic would introduce another complication – having enough money left to build a complete roster after committing so much to shooting guards.

Something likely must give.

That could still happen during Bogdanovic’s free agency. Whatever they say now, the Kings aren’t committed to anything.

Which leads to another issue.

The Collective Bargaining Agreement says:

No Team or any of its employees or agents will make a public statement that the Team would match any future Offer Sheet for one of the Team’s players

Is Ham’s source a Kings employee? I doubt the NBA would investigate.

Is “likely to match any offer” the same as “would match any future Offer Sheet”? Not quite.

So, Sacramento almost certainly won’t face any repercussions but still achieves its goal of cooling the market. Teams will be less likely to pursue Bogdanovic if they believe their offer sheet would just get matched, anyway.

That’s why this rule was always too toothless to matter unless a team wantonly violated it. Even the Kings aren’t that dumb.

Kings reportedly trade Dewayne Dedmon to Atlanta for Jabari Parker, Alex Len

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Sacramento and Atlanta are swapping centers.

Dewayne Dedmon wanted out of Sacramento so badly he took a $50,000 fine to make sure his wishes were public. He got his wish and is now headed back to Atlanta — where he played last season — in a trade for Jabari Parker and Alex Len, reports Adrian Wojnarowski.

What Atlanta gets is another quality center. Dedmon will back up the just acquired Clint Capela but should get plenty of run. Dedmon had fallen out of Luke Walton’s rotation because he struggled with his shot in Sacramento, hitting just 19.7 percent from three, with a 47.7 true shooting percentage. That was a far cry from the season before in Atlanta, when Dedmon was an above-average center scoring 10.8 points and grabbing 7.5 rebounds a game, plus shooting 38.2 percent from three. Atlanta believes it can resurrect that Dedmon, plus they add a couple of second-round picks.

What the Kings get is financial flexibility. Len is in the last year of his deal, while Parker has a player option for $6.5 million next season (which he will pick up). That’s less than half of the $13.3 million Dedmon is set to make, and the Kings want that money so they can match any offer for Bogdan Bogdanovic this summer.



Report: Tristan Thompson’s camp wants Cavaliers to trade him

Cavaliers big Tristan Thompson
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Remember all the way back two months ago when the Cavaliers wanted to keep Tristan Thompson through the trade deadline then re-sign him next summer?

He looked around and saw a team that’s 13-38, only in the early stages of rebuilding, run by a coach who called players thugs when he intended to call them slugs and said nah.

Joe Vardon of

Thompson’s camp wants him traded by Thursday’s deadline. The people close to him are calling it a “priority.”

Thompson did this the financially prudent way, leaking it with the cover of anonymity. Getting the trade desire attributed to his “camp” further distances Thompson.

Kings center Dewayne Dedmon got fined for saying something similar, because he did it with his name attached.

Sometimes, players want to be traded. The NBA shouldn’t punish them for being honest about it publicly. That’s a disservice to fans who want true information about the teams and players they following.

That rant over…

Thompson’s $18,539,130 salary is an impediment to a trade. He could help plenty of winning teams. But how many of those teams can aggregate enough salary to match his without including a more-valuable player?

The Wizards are reportedly interested.

This report indicates Thompson would leave the Cavs in free agency next summer if they don’t trade him. He might also seek a buyout if not dealt.

If traded this week, Thompson would have full Bird Rights next offseason with whichever team acquired him. So, getting traded now is Thompson’s best hope of joining a team he might want to sign with in the summer and giving that team a path to pay him.