Wesley Matthews

Nets guard Garrett Temple
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Nets’ Garrett Temple studying for LSAT during coronavirus hiatus

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Since going undrafted out of LSU in 2009, Garrett Temple has carved out a decade-long NBA career with the Rockets, Kings, Spurs, Bucks, Bobcats, Wizards, Kings again, Grizzlies, Clippers and now Nets. Just five other active undrafted players – Udonis Haslem, J.J. Barea, Anthony Tolliver, Wesley Matthews and Ish Smith – have played so long in the NBA. It’s impressive perseverance.

But Temple is 33. His playing career won’t last forever.

So, he’s spending the NBA’s coronavirus hiatus preparing for his next step.

YES Network:

Temple:

I’ve actually started practicing for the LSAT prep. I’m a person that’s thought about going to law school when I’m finished playing, and what’s a better time than now to be able to put in three, four hours a day of studying for a test that allows me to get into law school? So, that’s what I’m doing right now.

Honestly, I’ve thought about it over the past three years, probably. My dad kind of put a seed in my head. I was thinking more MBA. I have my undergrad degree in business, so I was thinking more MBA. And my dad was telling me law school is something that’s pretty prestigious, having a law degree and just teaches you to think in a different way. And I’ve always been a pretty big-time debater. I’m very literal. So, when I get into arguments, I’m a type of person that you probably just want to stop arguing with me, because I’m going to nitpick every single thing that you said. And then getting into the space of watching that movie “Just Mercy” and talking to Bryan Stevenson and having a conversation with him and a few other lawyers that I admire, just understanding how much of an impact you can with a law degree in a lot of different ways. You don’t even necessarily have to practice law. But just having that knowledge is something that intrigues me.

How persuasive is Temple? He was a finalist for Teammate of the Year in the same season he got into a locker-room fight with a teammate.

Mock NBA expansion draft: Bulls, Cavaliers, Pistons, Pacers, Bucks

Mock NBA expansion draft
(Photo by Chris Schwegler/NBAE via Getty Images)
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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). Players are listed with their 2020-21 salary. Up now, the Central:

Chicago Bulls

Protected – 8

Unprotected – 7

Ineligible – 0

Analysis: Chicago keeps their young building blocks, as well as the veterans they acquired to support them. In the end, the Bulls hope that this group can finally get healthy and make a playoff push. That means protecting all of them.

Chandler Hutchison was the toughest decision among the unprotected players. He’s still on his rookie scale contract, but he hasn’t been healthy during his first two seasons. That means the Bulls prioritize a veteran or two over him. Kris Dunn is another tough player to leave unprotected, but as a free agent, there is no guarantee he’d be back anyway.

Cleveland Cavaliers

Protected – 8

Unprotected – 2

Ineligible – 3

Analysis: The Cavaliers are in a spot to really clean up their cap sheet if either Kevin Love or Larry Nance Jr. are selected. That made the protection decisions pretty easy. Keep all the young guys and the guys on decent contracts. Andre Drummond doesn’t really fit either description there, but Cleveland did just trade for him.

Detroit Pistons

Protected – 8

Unprotected – 1

Ineligible – 5

Analysis: This one has some gamesmanship involved. Because the Pistons have five free agents, they only need to leave the minimum of one player unprotected. It’s that one player that makes the eight protected players easy decisions. Sure, there are young guys in that group Detroit wants to keep. But a handful are players the Pistons wouldn’t lose sleep over seeing get drafted.

On the flip side, by leaving only Blake Griffin unprotected, Detroit opens the possibility of getting that albatross salary off their books. The Pistons don’t have any extra first-round picks, but could be open to moving one of their own to entice and expansion team to take on the remaining $77.8 million in salary over the next two seasons.

Indiana Pacers

Protected – 8

Unprotected – 5

Ineligible – 2

Analysis: The Pacers protection decisions were fairly easy. Every player they are protecting is a key rotation player or a recent draftee.

It was a little difficult to leave Jeremy Lamb and T.J. McConnell unprotected, but Lamb is coming off a major injury. An expansion team may not want to deal with that. While McConnell has been good for Indiana, he’s a little expendable with Aaron Holiday on the roster.

Milwaukee Bucks

Protected – 8

Unprotected – 4

Ineligible – 3

Analysis: The Bucks deep roster works against them a little bit here. Seven of the protected players were fairly easy decisions. The only one that was tricky was Wesley Matthews. He’s a veteran with a player option, but Milwaukee isn’t taking chances with one of their starters.

On the unprotected front, it came down to Matthews vs D.J. Wilson and Sterling Brown. Ultimately, neither young player has cracked the rotation on a regular basis. That makes it a little more palatable to leave them exposed in the expansion draft.

Heat forward Duncan Robinson: I don’t have hickey

Heat forward Duncan Robinson
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Duncan Robinson made seven 3-pointers in the first half and finished with 27 points in the Heat’s win over the Magic last night.

He also went viral for this photo:

But Robinson clarified that gritty Bucks shooting guard Wesley Matthews caused the mark in Miami’s win over the Bucks on Monday.

Five Reasons Sports Network:

Thank you Duncan for this very important update.

Giannis Antetokounmpo helped recruit Wesley Matthews, Kyle Korver to Bucks

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Players recruiting players is part of the free agency process now. LeBron James had dinner with Anthony Davis not long before AD’s trade demand. Draymond Green was texting Kevin Durant after the 2016 Finals. Spencer Dinwiddie was chatting up Kyrie Irving around a marketing class they took together.

That was not a game Giannis Antetokounmpo wanted to play, the reigning MVP told Eric Nehm of The Athletic.

“I don’t like doing that stuff,” Antetokounmpo said. “I don’t get an extra paycheck for doing Jon’s job or Coach Bud’s job or whoever’s job it is. … If you asked me one year ago, two years ago, I’d say, ‘Coach, just take care of it.’ ”

However, with Malcolm Brogdon heading to Indiana this summer (in a sign-and-trade), the Greek Freak knew he needed to get some help on the roster. So, he took to recruiting.

First up was Wesley Matthews, and the pitch was that he was a great player who deserved to win a ring, and that could happen in Milwaukee.

“It meant a lot,” Matthews said. “Not even just as an athlete, but just as anyone who is working, the admiration of your peers is what holds the most weight. Not writers, not blogs, not media and all that kind of stuff. It’s the guys you’re going to compete with and against to have the respect for you that means the world.”

Next up was Kyle Korver, but the sharpshooter required more coaxing. The two spoke on the phone but Antetokounmpo felt like he had not gotten through. Antetokounmpo went on with his training, where he was scheduled to go to the Peak Performance Project (P3), a legendary sports science company in Santa Barbara, Calif. It was there Antetokounmpo ran into Korver — Antetokounmpo says by accident, he didn’t know they would both be there — and it allowed him to recruit in person.

“And we start the workout and I’m like, ‘OK. Kyle, look, this is how I can get you open shots,’ ” Antetokounmpo said. ‘We can run this. We can do this. I know Al Horford is your best friend. I know you’d love playing with Al Horford in Philly, but look, I can (get you shots). I can find you easier.’ He loved it.”

Korver eventually signed with the Bucks.

During the regular season that has paid off — Matthews starts and plays an important defensive role — with the Bucks in charge of the East and on pace to win 70 games. Those things, however, are not the goal. Matthews and Korver need to make some plays on the bigger stages coming in May (and, they hope, June).

Whatever happens, expect Antetokounmpo to pick up the phone and make some calls in the future, too. This is how business gets done in today’s NBA.

Watch Giannis Antetokounmpo go off for 32 points, 13 boards, lead Bucks rout of Thunder

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MILWAUKEE — Giannis Antetokounmpo had 32 points and 13 rebounds and the Milwaukee Bucks surged to a 24-point lead in the second quarter in a 133-86 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday night.

The 47-point loss was the Thunder’s worst of the season.

Chris Paul scored 18 points for Oklahoma City.

Both teams were without their second-leading scorers. Bucks All-Star Khris Middleton was a late scratch with a sore neck. An ankle injury kept Thunder forward Danilo Gallinari out.

The Bucks had won four in a row and the Thunder had won five straight.

The Bucks built their second-quarter lead behind 14 second-quarter points from Antetokounmpo, seven from Donte DiVincenzo, who started in place of Middleton, and back-to-back 3-pointers from Wesley Matthews.

A key moment occurred late in the second period.

With Milwaukee leading, 54-43, Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer got a technical foul after approaching a referee during a timeout with 3:43 left in the quarter. That was moments after Eric Bledsoe was called for a charging foul that irked Budenholzer. After that, the Bucks went on a 17-4 run and led 71-47 at halftime.

Milwaukee outrebounded Oklahoma City, 67-36.

The Bucks made a season-high 21 3-pointers. The Thunder were 6 for 35 on 3-pointers.