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Report: James Jones not returning to Cavaliers

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LeBron James and James Jones have played the last seven years together, with the Heat then Cavaliers. LeBron even once said he, Jones and Mike Miller were the real big three.

But it appears LeBron’s run with Jones is ending.

Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com:

A source close to the Cavs said Jones would not be back in 2016-17. Jones’ agent, Joel Bell, said neither the team nor Jones had made a decision about his return.

Jones turns 37, and he’s increasingly less capable of helping on the court. He’s still a good 3-point shooter and locker room presence, but the Cavs already have plenty of both. They’d be better off using his roster spot on someone younger and more defensive-oriented.

Of course, LeBron isn’t required to agree. He’s already displeased how the Cavaliers let go general manager David Griffin and reportedly not recruiting free agents this summer. Los Angeles looms in the distance.

Winning cures all ills, and if the Cavs replace Jones with someone who helps them win a title, LeBron will get over any dissatisfaction. But the expectations are that high, and the Warriors are a behemoth. Even the optimal Jones replacement might still leave Cleveland falling short.

At that point, if Jones wanted to return, might this be another move that pushes LeBron out the door?

Complete NBA award voting results

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The NBA, finally, announced its award winners last night –  Most Valuable Player, Defensive Player of the Year, Rookie of the Year, Most Improved Player, Sixth Man of the Year, Coach of the Year, Executive of the Year, Teammate of the Year and Sportsmanship Award.

How individual media voters will be released later today, but for now, here are the completing voting results for each award:

Most Valuable Player (first-second-third-fourth-fifth-total points)

Russell Westbrook (OKC) 69-19-13-0-0-888

James Harden (HOU) 22-69-10-0-0-753

Kawhi Leonard (SAS) 9-9-52-28-3-500

LeBron James (CLE) 1-4-19-63-11-333

Isaiah Thomas (BOS) 0-0-4-8-37-81

Stephen Curry (GSW) 0-0-3-1-34-52

John Wall (WAS) 0-0-0-1-4-7

Giannis Antetokounmpo (MIL) 0-0-0-0-7-7

Anthony Davis (NOP) 0-0-0-0-2-2

Kevin Durant (GSW) 0-0-0-0-2-2

DeMar DeRozan (TOR) 0-0-0-0-1-1

Defensive Player of the Year (first-second-third-total points)

Draymond Green (GSW) 73-22-3-434

Rudy Gobert (UTA) 16-53-30-269

Kawhi Leonard (SAS) 11-23-58-182

Robert Covington (PHI) 0-1-1-4

LeBron James (CLE) 1-1-0-3

Hassan Whiteside (MIA) 2-0-3-3

Andre Roberson (OKC) 3-0-3-3

Patrick Beverley (HOU) 4-0-1-1

LaMarcus Aldridge (SAS) 5-0-1-1

Rookie of the Year (first-second-third-total points)

Malcolm Brogdon (MIL) 64-30-4-414

Dario Saric (PHI) 13-59-24-266

Joel Embiid (PHI) 23-9-35-177

Buddy Hield (SAC) 0-1-18-21

Jamal Murray (DEN) 0-1-5-8

Willy Hernangomez (NYK) 0-0-8-8

Marquese Chriss (PHO) 0-0-3-3

Rodney McGruder (MIA) 0-0-1-1

Jaylen Brown (BOS) 0-0-1-1

Yogi Ferrell (DAL) 0-0-1-1

Most Improved Player (first-second-third-total points)

Giannis Antetokounmpo (MIL) 80-8-4-428

Nikola Jokic (DEN) 14-26-13-161

Rudy Gobert (UTA) 1-30-18-113

Otto Porter Jr. (WAS) 1-10-8-43

Isaiah Thomas (BOS) 0-7-14-35

James Johnson (MIA) 1-6-11-34

Bradley Beal (WAS) 1-3-5-19

Devin Booker (PHO) 1-3-4-18

Tim Hardaway Jr. (ATL) 0-3-5-14

Mike Conley (MEM) 1-0-0-5

Dion Waiters (MIA) 0-1-1-4

Kristaps Porzingis (NYK) 0-1-0-3

Dennis Schroder (ATL) 0-1-0-3

Jusuf Nurkic (POR) 0-1-0-3

Gordon Hayward (UTA) 0-0-3-3

Seth Curry (DAL) 0-0-2-2

Harrison Barnes (DAL) 0-0-2-2

Myles Turner (IND) 0-0-2-2

Gary Harris (DEN) 0-0-2-2

Hassan Whiteside (MIA) 0-0-1-1

Joe Ingles (UTA) 0-0-1-1

John Wall (WAS) 0-0-1-1

Clint Capela (HOU) 0-0-1-1

Avery Bradley (BOS) 0-0-1-1

DeMar DeRozan (TOR) 0-0-1-1

Sixth Man of the Year (first-second-third-total points)

Eric Gordon (HOU) 46-40-8-358

Andre Iguodala (GSW) 43-34-9-326

Lou Williams (HOU) 5-10-15-70

Zach Randolph (MEM) 2-6-18-46

James Johnson (MIA) 1-3-11-25

Greg Monroe (MIL) 1-1-13-21

Jamal Crawford (LAC) 1-3-6-20

Enes Kanter (OKC) 1-1-6-14

Patty Mills (SAS) 0-1-11-14

Tim Hardaway Jr. (ATL) 0-1-0-3

Vince Carter (MEM) 0-0-1-1

Tyler Johnson (MIA) 0-0-1-1

Malcolm Brogdon (MIL) 0-0-1-1

Coach of the Year (first-second-third-total points)

Mike D’Antoni (HOU) 68-17-9-400

Erik Spoelstra (MIA) 9-28-24-153

Gregg Popovich (SAS) 8-19-18-115

Brad Stevens (BOS) 7-16-13-96

Scott Brooks (WAS) 5-7-17-63

Quin Snyder (UTA) 1-8-8-37

Steve Kerr (GSW) 1-1-6-14

Jason Kidd (MIL) 1-2-2-13

Dwane Casey (TOR) 0-1-2-5

David Fizdale (MEM) 0-1-1-4

Executive of the Year (first-second-third-total points)

Bob Myers (GSW) 9-4-2-59

Daryl Morey (HOU) 7-6-4-57

Dennis Lindsey (UTA) 6-5-4-49

Danny Ainge (BOS) 4-1-6-29

Ernie Grunfeld (WAS) 1-3-1-15

R.C. Buford (SAS) 0-3-1-10

John Hammond (MIL) 1-1-1-9

David Griffin (CLE) 1-1-0-8

Sam Presti (OKC) 0-1-5-8

Tim Connelly (DEN) 0-2-0-6

Gar Forman (CHI) 1-0-0-5

Neil Olshey (POR) 0-1-2-5

Jeff Bower (DET) 0-1-0-3

Dell Demps (NOP) 0-1-0-3

Masai Ujiri (TOR) 0-0-2-2

Sean Marks (BRK) 0-0-1-1

Pat Riley (MIA) 0-0-1-1

Teammate of the Year (first-second-third-fourth-fifth-total points)

Dirk Nowitzki (DAL) 41-51-31-35-30-1057

Tyson Chandler (PHO) 50-29-38-27-28-1002

Udonis Haslem (MIA) 27-41-37-25-33-850

Jason Terry (MIL) 33-19-45-42-23-837

Mike Miller (DEN) 36-29-28-31-31-827

Manu Ginobili (SAS) 16-39-35-42-22-756

Kyle Korver (CLE) 24-25-25-32-27-663

Kyle Lowry (TOR) 31-22-22-17-35-660

Boris Diaw (UTA) 21-22-28-27-45-630

Shaun Livingston (GSW) 19-23-18-20-18-519

Al Jefferson (IND) 24-15-15-22-19-505

C.J. Watson (ORL) 9-16-9-11-20-300

Sportsmanship Award (first-second-third-fourth-fifth-sixth-total points)

Kemba Walker (CHA) 88-63-78-46-31-20-2424

Kyrie Irving (CLE) 52-88-38-43-46-59-2042

Shaun Livingston (GSW) 70-43-54-48-38-73-1962

Anthony Davis (NOP) 28-57-68-53-89-32-1861

Andrew Wiggins (MIN) 32-47-49-87-62-48-1787

DeMarre Carroll (TOR) 56-28-39-49-60-94-1660

Quick look at the six other times the No. 1 pick was traded

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The Boston Celtics are deep in discussions to move the No. 1 pick, swapping it with Philadelphia for the No. 3 pick plus future first rounders. The details on those other picks are not yet known, but that hasn’t stopped Celtics fans from freaking out online — they would rather draft Markelle Fultz No. 1. (There are rumors about the Bulls getting in this as a third team, but I have heard nothing serious or substantial along those lines, just speculation.)

This would not be the first time in NBA history the No. 1 overall pick was traded. Actually, it has happened six times.

Here’s a quick look at those trades, in order from most recent to oldest.

2014: Cavaliers draft Andrew Wiggins, trade him to Minnesota for Kevin Love. We all remember this one, once it was clear LeBron James was returning to Cleveland, the Cavaliers went instantly from young and rebuilding to win now mode. Wiggins had potential (he averaged 23.6 points per game last season for the Timberwolves) but the Cavaliers didn’t have time to wait and see if and when he would pan out. Plus they needed a big who could space the floor. Plenty of fans love to pile on Love online, but the fact is he’s been good for them and was key to them winning a ring in 2016. This trade has worked out pretty well for both sides.

1993: Orlando drafts Chris Webber, trades him to Golden State for a series of picks. Chris Webber was the Rookie of the Year and had a strong career, but the Magic got a lot of picks in this deal and made a haul. In this deal they got the No. 3 pick in 1993 (Penny Hardaway), a 1996 first rounder (Todd Fuller), a 1998 first rounder (Vince Carter), and a 2000 first rounder (Mike Miller). The Magic are not the Magic during the late 1990s without these deals to put players around Shaq, so it worked well for them.

1986: Philadelphia drafts Brad Daugherty, trades him to Cleveland for Roy Hinson. Cleveland made out here, Daugherty went on to be a five-time All-Star who anchored the Cleveland teams that were as much a threat to Jordan’s Bulls in the early 1990s as anyone. Philly traded Hinson within two years.

1980: Boston drafts Joe Barry Carroll, trades him to Golden State for Kevin McHale and Robert Parish. This trade set up key parts of the 1980s Celtics core that won three titles, so chalk this up to being a massive win for the Celtics. Boston sent out Carroll and the No. 13 pick, Rickey Brown, in that deal. Carroll averaged at least 17 points a game for the Warriors for seven seasons and was an All-Star, he was a quality player, but not on the level of the two other guys now in the Hall of Fame.

1957: Rochester Royals draft Hot Rod Hundley, trade him to (the then Minneapolis) Lakers for Clyde Lovellette and Jim Paxson. There were a number of other players in this deal, the Royals also sent the Lakers Bob Burrow, Ed Fleming, Monk Meineke and Art Spoelstra. Lovellette, now a Hall of Famer, played one season for the Royals then they traded him. Hundley was a two-time All-Star for the Lakers.

1950: Boston drafts Chuck Share, traded him to Fort Wayne Pistons for Bill Sharman. Share went on to have a solid nine-season NBA career. Sharman played 10 seasons for the Celtics, made seven All-NBA teams, and helped Boston to four titles. Sharman is in the Hall of Fame, so we can safely say Boston won here.

Nuggets’ Nikola Jokic leaves game with injury, Nuggets still beat Suns

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DENVER (AP) — Nikola Jokic is the biggest reason for Denver Nuggets’ rise, so when he went down hard Thursday night there was deep concern.

When the news came back that the 21-year-old center had only a left hip strain there was audible relief.

“I’m glad it wasn’t anything serious,” Darrell Arthur said. “He’s probably going to sit a couple of games so we can get him back. We’re definitely going to miss him out there.”

They were happy Jokic was around for most of the game against Phoenix. The Serb had 29 points, 14 rebounds and eight assists before leaving late in Denver’s 127-120 victory over the Suns.

Jokic went down without contact under the Phoenix basket with 1:47 left. He was on the floor for a while with the entire Nuggets team surrounding him. He finally stood and limped to the locker room as the Nuggets closed out their fifth straight home win.

General manager Tim Connelly and veteran Mike Miller stood outside the exam room, and when Jokic came out with his older brothers he walked to the locker room on his own.

X-rays after the game were negative and he was sitting at his locker with ice on his left hip. The team said he will have an MRI done on Friday morning.

“It’s mixed emotions in the locker room,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone said. “Nikola is truly beloved by all of his teammates. He has no ego, he’s a young kid, he likes to have fun, he’s a little bit goofy, and the guys love him for that. For all the success that he’s having he’s still the same kid, and that’s why everybody cares about him and respects him.”

Danilo Gallinari added 23 points, and Will Barton had 16 for Denver. The Nuggets have won six of eight.

Eric Bledsoe led Phoenix with 28 points, Devin Booker had 24 and T.J. Warren added 21 points and eight rebounds.

Down by nine in the third quarter, Denver closed the period with a 14-5 run to take a 96-92 lead.

The lead changed hands a couple of times, with Bledsoe leading the way for Phoenix with 14 fourth-quarter points. Jokic kept pace with nine points in the period. His last basket, a short jumper in the lane, gave the Nuggets a 125-118 lead.

“They made some plays and we couldn’t get no stops,” Bledsoe said.

The Nuggets hit 21 of 25 free throws in the second half and outscored the Suns 30-14 from the line. Denver also held a 46-28 advantage on the glass.

“Rebounds, minus-18 for the game; minus-18 at the free-throw line,” Phoenix coach Earl Watson said. “Those are numbers you can’t overcome, but we still had a chance to win.”

TIP-INS

Suns: G Dragan Bender was inactive with right ankle soreness. The rookie missed Tuesday’s game against Minnesota as well. … Jared Dudley was back in the lineup after sitting out Tuesday.

Nuggets: G Emmanuel Mudiay sat out his third straight game with lower back soreness. Coach Michael Malone said before the game that he didn’t think Mudiay would miss many more games. … The Nuggets signed F Johnny O’Bryant to a 10-day contract.

MARQUESE TALENT

Watson didn’t need long to decide he wanted Phoenix to get Marquese Chriss last summer in the draft after watching his pre-draft workout.

“The type of things he did athletically above the rim I hadn’t seen done before,” Watson said. “I wanted to shut the workout down after the first 10 minutes. To me it was a no-brainer.”

The 19-year-old Chriss has been solid for the Suns while learning on the job. His demeanor on and off the court reminds Watson of his former teammate, Russell Westbrook.

“Russ had this demeanor off the court of just the nicest person in the world but you get him on the court and you think he can’t be a nice person in real life,” Watson said. “Marquese kind of has that same thing.”

Chriss was in foul trouble Thursday and was held to five points in eight minutes.

 

Danilo Gallinari disagrees with Michael Malone’s leadership criticism, Nuggets coach apologizes

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Nuggets coach Mike Malone bemoaned his team’s lack of veteran leadership – a strong public indictment of Mike Miller, Jameer Nelson, Wilson Chandler, Darrell Arthur and Danilo Gallinari.

Gallinari, via Harrison Wind of BSN Denver:

I don’t agree with that. That’s definitely not the problem of this team. Every veteran on this team can agree with me. So, I don’t agree with that.

Malone, via Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post:

“The only thing I’ll say regarding that – and I apologize to our veterans – anything that’s going on in our locker room should be left in the locker room,” he said prior to the Nuggets’ game against San Antonio Thursday night. “So I failed in that regard the other night. I let my frustrations after that loss get the best of me.”

“We have a great group of guys,” Malone said. “I’ve talked to guys one-on-one. We have so many young players on this team, I want to make sure our young guys are staying positive, staying in the right direction. And we do have good leadership. Last game I was frustrated with that, but as I mentioned, that shouldn’t have come out in the media. I think our locker room is tied together.”

If this is an isolated incident, the Nuggets can probably move on with Malone’s apology. The loss to the Kings was frustrating, and players can likely relate to Malone reacting in the heat of the moment after a tough loss.

But if there were already fissures between Malone and his players, this could exasperate those problems.

Most of all, Denver – which has lost four straight – just needs a win for everyone to feel better.