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Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Basketball

Andre Iguodala reportedly has no plans to meet with Warriors in free agency

Andre Iguodala

Andre Iguodala is setting up his free agent meetings, and, at least initially, the Golden State Warriors reportedly will not get one.

League sources told ESPN’s Chris Haynes and Zach Lowe that, at the moment, Iguodala has no plans to meet with the Warriors during the initial free agency period.

It’s unclear who Iguodala will be meeting with, though Minnesota, San Antonio, the LA Clippers, Philadelphia, Orlando, Brooklyn and Utah are said to be interested in him. It’s not really a dealbreaker — Iguodala knows the Warriors and their core well, and there’s likely little the team could tell him in a meeting that he doesn’t already know. Teammates are willing to take less money to keep him in the fold, but he may just decide to make a break for it.

Warriors reportedly may consider signing Dewayne Dedmon

The Golden State Warriors may be eyeing a new starting center.

Sam Amick of USA TODAY Sports reports on Friday that the defending champions would consider signing Dewayne Dedmon if Andre Iguodala leaves in free agency. Amick also notes that incumbent Warriors center Zaza Pachulia is a free agent as well and that the full mid-level exception would be in play if Golden State stays above the salary cap.

Dedmon, who will turn 28 in August, averaged 5.1 points and 6.5 rebounds in 17.5 minutes per game for the San Antonio Spurs last season. Of course, he was infamously involved in this dirty play on Stephen Curry during the playoffs, so Golden State’s interest may be surprising to some. But Dedmon is an athletic big man who is impactful defensively and who would fill a major need for them, especially if Iguodala and/or Pachulia depart this summer.

Image via Dewayne Dedmon on Instagram

Report: Wizards open to dealing Otto Porter, pick to rent Paul George

The Washington Wizards are apparently feeling lucky.

ESPN’s Zach Lowe reports on Friday that the Wizards would “likely” deal forward Otto Porter plus one protected pick to rent Paul George for a year.

The 24-year-old Porter, an up-and-coming 3-and-D combo forward, is a restricted free agent this offseason, so for now, any deal involving him would have to be of the sign-and-trade variety. Meanwhile, the longer the Indiana Pacers wait to trade George, the lower his trade value will presumably get (as we are beginning to see).

The Wizards came within one win of an Eastern Conference Finals berth last season, and swinging such a trade for George, rental or not, would prevent them from having to commit major long-term money to Porter, keeping the books clear for future free agent pursuits. Does the team want to go all-in now as franchise player John Wall enters his prime or are they looking to plan for the next several years with Porter as a core member instead? That’s the question that may ultimately determine their course of action here.

Report: Phil Jackson confused free agent with footage of 1990s Bulls

Phil Jackson

Now that the disaster that was the Phil Jackson era with the New York Knicks has come to a close, we are sure to hear many stories about all the things the 11-time NBA champion did wrong. Apparently one of them was showing off footage from his legendary Chicago Bulls teams.

In his in-depth look at Jackson’s disappointing three years with the Knicks, Frank Isola of the New York Daily News shared a story about the time Jackson “confused” a free agent with his inability to get a video to play and the content of the video itself.

Jackson even used the triangle to recruit free agents. When Jackson sat down with a free agent last July the meeting got off to an awkward start when Jackson couldn’t get his computer to work. General Manager Steve Mills had to step in to start the video of how Jackson envisioned the Knicks and the unnamed free agent would play.

That video? Footage of the ’90s Chicago Bulls. The free agent in question was confused. He couldn’t figure out if Jeff Hornacek or Jackson was the coach. Either way, the player signed elsewhere.

That was a microcosm for one of Jackson’s biggest issues with the Knicks. He hardly ever met with the media and wanted to be more like the Wizard of Oz than the face of the franchise, but he still wanted the team to use his offensive system and coaching philosophies. That obviously put Hornacek in a difficult position.

While Jackson’s alleged free agent meeting mishap was nothing compared to what supposedly happened earlier this offseason in a pre-draft workout, we get the picture. No one can take away what Jackson accomplished as a player and coach. It simply doesn’t seem like he has what it takes to run a basketball operations department.

H/T Pro Basketball Talk

Report: Celtics won’t trade top young players, picks for Paul George

Paul George

The Boston Celtics still want Paul George, but they’re not prepared to give up that much to get him.

ESPN’s Zach Lowe details the pursuit of George in a new column and notes that, much as the Celtics want to bring in both George and Gordon Hayward, they are aware that they would not be able to sign George to a long-term deal under such a scenario unless they elected to trade Al Horford.

For this reason, the Celtics have resisted making Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, or the 2018 first-round pick from the Brooklyn Nets available to the Pacers, nor will they deal the pick acquired from the Philadelphia 76ers in the Markelle Fultz deal. The Pacers want a top-10 pick or a similar amount of talent, and have not gotten that sort of offer yet.

Lowe does note that George finds the idea of playing with Hayward intriguing, though the salary cap gymnastics mean even if it happened, it wouldn’t last more than a season.

George’s destination remains a mystery. One major suitor appears to be out, and few teams are willing to pay a king’s ransom for him with the knowledge that he’s probably going to wind up being a rental.

Knicks reportedly won’t request permission to speak with Masai Ujiri

Masai Ujiri was one of the first names that came up after the New York Knicks severed ties with Phil Jackson, but the team is reportedly going to go in another direction.

Both ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne and Bruce Arthur of the Toronto Star are now saying that the Knicks will not request permission to speak with or interview Ujiri.

That’s surprising, especially since the Knicks are being advised by former Raptors executive Tim Leiweke, who hired Ujiri in Toronto. The belief was that the Knicks would use Leiweke to help recruit Ujiri, though there may have been an issue over whether they would need to compensate the Raptors if a deal was reached.

Ujiri joined the Raptors in 2013 after he was named NBA Executive of the Year with the Denver Nuggets. Among the many excellent moves he 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.

With Ujiri’s name reportedly off the list, former Cleveland Cavaliers GM David Griffin may be the most intriguing candidate to fill the void left by Jackson. There have also been rumblings that a famous college coach is interested in the position.

Stephen Curry’s jersey from NBA Finals sells for record price

The jersey worn by Stephen Curry during Game 3 of this year’s NBA Finals sold at an auction Thursday night, and it went for a record amount of cash.

According to ESPN’s Darren Rovell, the game-worn jersey sold for $135,060. The previous record for a piece of game-used NBA memorabilia was $100,040, which someone paid for the jersey Kobe Bryant wore in his final All-Star game last year.

For whatever reason, the jerseys worn by LeBron James ($92,020) and Kevin Durant ($71,260) sold for far less than Curry’s. Durant actually scored a team-high 31 points in Golden State’s Game 3 win, including 14 in the fourth quarter. LeBron led all scorers with 39.

While it’s hard to imagine a jersey fetching six figures, that seems a lot less strange than someone spending $3,190 last year on an item Curry slobbered all over.

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