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Clippers reportedly trading Chris Paul to Rockets

Chris Paul is reportedly set to become a member of the Houston Rockets, but not in the way most envisioned it happening. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports, Paul agreed to not opt out of the final year of his deal with the Los Angeles Clippers and will be traded to Houston. After Chris…Read More

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Clippers reportedly trading Chris Paul to Rockets

Chris Paul

Chris Paul is reportedly set to become a member of the Houston Rockets, but not in the way most envisioned it happening.

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports, Paul agreed to not opt out of the final year of his deal with the Los Angeles Clippers and will be traded to Houston.

Wojnarowski adds that Paul had informed the Clippers he intended to sign with the Rockets in free agency, so the two sides agreed to work out a trade instead.

Paul, who spent the last six seasons with the Clippers, will likely sign a max extension with the Rockets after the season.

On paper, the Rockets may now have the best scoring backcourt in NBA history. James Harden is coming off a career year in his first season under Mike D’Antoni and finished second in the MVP voting. He averaged 29.1 points, 11.2 assists and 8.1 rebounds per game. Paul averaged 18.1 points and 9.2 assists with L.A.

The biggest question now for the Clippers will be where Blake Griffin ends up, as he is also eligible to opt out of his contract and has been linked to several other teams.

Report: Rockets trying to trade for Paul George

Paul George

The Houston Rockets are trying to position themselves to make a major splash this offseason, and one way they could do that is by trading for Indiana Pacers star Paul George.

In addition to reporting that the Rockets have emerged as “serious threats” to sign Chris Paul, ESPN’s Marc Stein cited sources on Tuesday who told him the Rockets remain in the hunt to land George. Although all indications have been that George would not agree to an extension with any team other than the Los Angeles Lakers, Houston is willing to risk adding him even as a one-year rental.

George is being pursued by numerous teams, and the market for him is quite unique. While the 27-year-old is one of the best players in the NBA and a franchise-altering talent, he is planning to opt out of his contract at the end of next season. Teams would be willing to pay a much higher premium for George if he assured them he would sign an extension, but numerous reports have indicated the swingman wants to play for his hometown Lakers.

While another team seems like the early favorite to acquire George, the Rockets obviously can’t be counted out. They’re working on clearing salary cap space to pair one or two more superstars with James Harden, and it sounds like they are committed to contending in the West.

Bryce Harper hints he wants to play with Kris Bryant, sign with Cubs?

Bryce Harper

Bryce Harper has heard the rumblings that he wants to sign with the Chicago Cubs when he becomes a free agent following the 2018 season, and he has downplayed them anytime the subject comes up. However, he did nothing to cool the speculation with a social media post on Tuesday.

With the Cubs visiting the Nationals this week, Harper shared a photo on Instagram of himself with Kris Bryant and the two star players’ better halves. Harper and Bryant both grew up in Las Vegas and were on the same Little League Team. Check out the hashtag:

“Just two Vegas boys living out our dream with the ones we love! This is what it’s all about..What a time to be alive #MLB #702 #Back2BackOneDay,” Harper wrote.

Harper is smart enough to know that the hashtag #Back2BackOneDay is going to get people talking. Granted, that doesn’t necessarily mean Harper wants to sign with the Cubs. He could just be hoping that he and Bryant, who are 24 and 25 respectively, end up on the same team at some point in what should be two very lengthy and successful MLB careers.

It’s human nature for Harper to want to play with his buddy, but even he probably doesn’t know where he’ll end up playing in 2019. With the kind of money he is expected to make if he hits the free agent market, there are only a few teams that could afford signing him. Bryant is under team control with the Cubs through 2021, but he could actually end up being one of the reasons Chicago can’t afford to sign Harper.

H/T Hardball Talk

Knicks announce they have ‘mutually’ parted ways with Phil Jackson

Phil Jackson

Phil Jackson’s unsuccessful tenure as the man in charge of basketball operations for the New York Knicks has officially come to an end.

The Knicks released a statement on Wednesday announcing that they have “mutually agreed to part company” with Jackson, effective immediately.

The Knicks have not won more than 32 games in a season since Jackson took over more than three years ago. His tenure has been marred by a series of bad decisions and controversies, ranging from head coach Derek Fisher’s issues with Matt Barnes, to butting heads with Carmelo Anthony, to players complaining about the triangle, and now to the Porzingis trade rumors.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported on Tuesday that Knicks owner James Dolan has questioned Jackson’s “fitness” to run the team, which could have something to do with Jackson allegedly falling asleep during a pre-draft workout.

The Knicks are said to already have a top candidate in mind as a potential replacement for Jackson.

Knicks reportedly targeting Raptors GM Masai Ujiri to replace Phil Jackson

The New York Knicks announced on Wednesday that they are parting ways Phil Jackson, and team owner James Dolan already has a replacement in mind.

Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical reports that Dolan has his eye on Toronto Raptors GM and president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri.

Ujiri joined the Raptors in 2013 after he was named NBA Executive of the Year with the Denver Nuggets. He signed a contract extension with Toronto last September. Interestingly enough, a former Raptors executive who hired Ujiri in Toronto will be advising the Knicks going forward.

Among the many excellent moves Ujiri has made to turn the Raptors into a perennial contender in the Eastern Conference was a seemingly lopsided traded with the — you guessed it — New York Knicks. Shortly after he took over in Toronto, Ujiri unloaded Andrea Bargnani’s contract by trading him to the Knicks for several role players, a 2016 first-round pick and second-round picks in 2014 and 2017. Bargnani ended up being a terrible addition in New York.

In addition to being an excellent executive, Ujiri has also been known to rile fans up before big games. That’s something you certainly would never see from Jackson.

Ujiri will have some tough situations to deal with if he remains in Toronto (such as trying to re-sign Kyle Lowry), but nothing would be as big of a challenge as trying to rescue the Knicks.

Report: Kevin Durant will wait until later in free agency to sign new deal

Kevin Durant Warriors

Kevin Durant is reportedly willing to give the Golden State Warriors flexibility this offseason by signing less than a max contract, so it makes sense that the NBA Finals MVP would wait until other business is taken care of to finalize his own deal.

According to ESPN’s Marc Stein, Durant is going to allow the Warriors to address their other needs in free agency before signing him to a new deal.

That’s the most logical way of approaching things, especially if Durant is willing to take less money so the Warriors can keep some of their important role players. Should Golden State wind up losing those players in free agency, Durant may not want to accept less than max money.

Teams are always looking to improve, but the Warriors don’t really need to. They just need to keep their core together. No other team was close to contending with them last season, though the Cleveland Cavaliers could make a run at it if things change for them with a certain star swingman.

ESPN officially announces Adrian Wojnarowski hire

Adrian Wojnarowski

ESPN is adding one of the most respected reporters in sports media, and the hire was made official on Wednesday.

The network announced in a press release that Adrian Wojnarowski is being added to its NBA Insider team.

“Prolific and highly respected NBA journalist Adrian Wojnarowski is joining ESPN as an NBA Insider. Wojnarowski will break news, report stories and features and provide insights from across the NBA and around the basketball world for ESPN’s multiple media, including digital, television, audio and print. He will begin at ESPN on July 1, making his debut on SportsCenter with Scott Van Pelt at Midnight and will then also join the NBA Free Agency Special hosted by Rachel Nichols (ESPN2, Midnight – 2 a.m. ET),” the statement read.

“Wojnarowski will be central in ESPN’s multimedia coverage of the NBA throughout the year, covering the league, its teams and players, free agency, the NBA Draft, the NBA Summer League and more.”

How good has Wojnarowski been in his nearly 10 years at Yahoo? So good that the term “Woj Bomb” is widely used when he breaks a major news story. No NBA reporter is more plugged in and better at uncovering scoops than Woj. He’s a huge get for ESPN.

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