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April 20, 2015 | 09:58 PM ET Update

Jarvis Varnado penned a deal in Puerto Rico with Piratas de Quebradillas. The big man has played a few games in D-League with Los Angeles D-Fenders averaging 11.6 points, 6.5 rebounds and 2 blocks. Sportando

Spencer Breecker (Kauffman Sports): Currently, the avg HC salary is $3.5m, 5.55% of cap (historically been between 5-6%). Too low but if % same, avg salary should be $6m in '17. The projected '17-18 season $108m cap will be 86.07% higher than the cap in '07-'08. Since that year, avg NBA HC salary has gone DOWN -5.83% Twitter

April 20, 2015 | 08:32 PM ET Update

Kevin Ollie, who led the UConn Huskies to their fourth NCAA championship in 2014, is being “seriously considered” for the Oklahoma City head coaching job, a source close to the situation told SNY.tv. Ollie teamed with Thunder stars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook in Oklahoma City and remains close with GM Sam Presti. Ollie is considered to be one of the keys to convincing Durant to remain in Oklahoma City after he enters free agency in 2016, the source said. ZagsBlog.com

Charles F. Gardner: Jared Dudley (left foot soreness) was listed as probable on Bucks injury report but Kidd said in pregame the veteran would play in Game 2. Kidd on Dudley: "He can play, so we'll see." Dudley was 1 for 4 and scored 2 points in 12 minutes in Game 1 of series on Saturday. Twitter @cf_gardner

THE BEST NICK YOUNG QUOTES EVER

Swaggy P actually said all these things. We're lucky to have him in the NBA.

   
April 20, 2015 | 07:32 PM ET Update

"I'm very confident that this is where I'm going to be for a number of years in the future," Williams said. "So hopefully it works out there. I'm a creature of habit, a product of my environment. And once I'm somewhere I like to be comfortable there. And this team, this city and this organization has embraced me as one of their own and I look forward to being here." USA Today Sports

BUZZ METER: WHO'S TRENDING IN THE NBA TWITTERSPHERE?

Who's the man of the minute in the NBA Twittersphere? Find out here who's getting the most mentions at any given moment.

   
April 20, 2015 | 06:53 PM ET Update

Kendrick Perkins never ceases to be amazed by his ex-Celts captain, Paul Pierce. But as much as Pierce was his old trash-talking self during Washington’s win Saturday over Toronto, the Cavaliers center found himself wanting more. “I actually thought that they maybe should have gone to him a little more down the stretch,” Perkins said when asked about the Pierce 3-pointer that sent the game into overtime. “I don’t know if the Wizards know what kind of a killer they’ve got over there.” Boston Herald

Sacramento Kings guard Ben McLemore has been named a finalist for the 2014-15 Seasonlong NBA Cares Community Assist Award. “I’m grateful to be in the position to give back to underserved communities and serve as a role model for kids across the country,” McLemore said in a press statement by the Kings. “Giving back and creating positive change is important to me, and I am humbled to be recognized by the NBA for the work I’ve done and will continue to do.” McLemore’s nonprofit “All 4 Kids” has provided meals and presents to less privileged children in Kansas and Missouri. The 22-year old treated low-income Sacramento youth to a holiday shopping spree last winter, and regularly visits schools and shelters to promote reading and literacy by donating books and reading to children. Cowbell Kingdom

Kaiser Permanente and the NBA will donate $25,000 to the charity of the winner’s choice. McLemore designated Saint John’s Program for Real Change, which intends to buy a 15-passenger van to take homeless kids currently without transportation to and from school. The winner will be chosen by NBA judges and fan votes. The window for voting is April 20-27. This can be done with a post on Twitter, an NBA Facebook account, or an Instagram post by using the hashtags #NBACommunityAssist and #BenMcLemore. Cowbell Kingdom

 

SOCIAL MEDIA PICTURES: PHOTOS PLAYERS POST

Just like everybody else, NBA players are spending more and more time on social media sites and photo-sharing services. Check all the pictures they are posting on Instagram, Twitter and more here.

   
April 20, 2015 | 05:39 PM ET Update

Jon Krawczynski: So the headlines from today's Flip Saunders State of the Wolves address: Priorities this summer are getting stronger, improving D, 3s Twitter @APkrawczynski

The Blazers have a laminated motivational card affixed to the television monitor in the visiting locker room. It's titled, "We are Rip City." It lists all the ways in which the No. 4 seed Blazers will find a way to win this series against the No. 5 Grizzlies. It begins with "We will be tougher," and ends with, "Staying together through adversity." But the middle part is what has to alarm anyone following this matchup closely. Oregonian

Because that middle section included such oddities as, "We don't lose to Spanish players," and "Nobody can beat us eight times in one year." Also, it includes a vow to, "Win the dog fight," and, "We will play as a team and outwork Memphis each and every night." Also, "We are better when we come to play," and a promise to be, "(Expletives) on defense." Instead, Portland was mostly a sloppy pushover. Also, the Blazers just lost their fifth straight to Marc Gasol (See: Spanish player). Oregonian

The Hawks’ planned t-shirt giveaway for Game 1 of their playoff series had to be scraped when it was discovered that the name of one of their starting players was missing from the apparel. On Friday, Philips Arena workers place the red t-shirts over each seat. On Saturday, they were all gone. They were not replaced by Sunday’s series opener against the Nets. The t-shirts were emblazoned with the name of each Hawks player – but one. It was not immediately known whether the team plans to distribute updated t-shirts later in the series. Atlanta Journal-Constitution

THE 30 BEST-PAID PLAYERS IN NBA HISTORY

We're living in a time when it's great to be good at basketball. Most of the highest-paid players of all time are in the NBA right now.

   
April 20, 2015 | 04:48 PM ET Update

Fred Hoiberg: #progress pic.twitter.com/29yteMV30B Twitter

FREE AGENCY 2015

Who will be the top free agents in the summer of 2015?

   
April 20, 2015 | 03:01 PM ET Update

Keith Pompey: Free agent to be Luc Mbah a Moute wants to remain with #Sixers: "When you been through a season like this, when you see ups and downs, you see glimpses of what could be. You want to be a part of it. You want to be there when things turn around and we finally get hopefully that right team and become a good team. So yeah, that's what I'm thinking now." #NBA #PompeyOnSixers Instagram

John Schuhmann: Lou Williams' new car. instagram.com/p/1tNKy0HBm1/ Twitter @johnschuhmann

BUZZ METER: WHO'S TRENDING IN THE NBA TWITTERSPHERE?

Who's the man of the minute in the NBA Twittersphere? Find out here who's getting the most mentions at any given moment.

   
April 20, 2015 | 01:01 PM ET Update

The Toronto Raptors’ Lou Williams, who averaged a career-high 15.5 points this season and helped Toronto win a franchise-record 49 games, is the winner of the 2014-15 Kia NBA Sixth Man Award as the league’s best player in a reserve role, the NBA announced today. The 6-1 guard becomes the first Raptors player to earn the honor. Williams, in his 10th NBA season and first with the Raptors, amassed 78 first-place votes and 502 total points from a panel of 130 sportswriters and broadcasters throughout the United States and Canada. Isaiah Thomas of the Boston Celtics finished second with 324 points (33 first-place votes), and two-time winner Jamal Crawford of the Los Angeles Clippers was third with 131 points (eight first-place votes). NBA.com

Arash Markazi: Nope. I asked Ballmer about that. He's keeping the Clippers name (for now at least.) RT @JKastanis13 @Arash Markazi possible name change? Twitter @ArashMarkazi

Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant is under contract to sell his home in Newport Coast, according to the Multiple Listing Service. The pending sale is expected to set a price record for the Pelican Ridge community. The current high water mark for the enclave is held by an 8,000-square-foot home that sold for $4.78 million in 2013, property records show. Bryant’s house currently shows a list price of $6.45 million. Daily Pilot

REAL ESTATE: WHERE DO PLAYERS OWN HOMES?

NBA players spend a lot on real estate. But where and how much exactly? Find out here

   
April 20, 2015 | 12:18 PM ET Update

Surya Fernandez: Riley very confident that Dragic will re-sign. Says he feels very good about the position that they have an advantage over other teams. Twitter @SuryaHeatNBA

The 26-year-old Smith is definitely an intriguing player. Even if it’s in a backup role. “That’s OK with me,” Smith said. “I just surprised myself as a starter. I am not going to lie. I’m sure it surprised everybody in the NBA. Hopefully, wherever it might be, I am ready. I have a lot to work on, but I see the light at the end of the tunnel. I know I have more that I can give. I’m not going to take much time off. I’m getting right back at it.” NBA.com

Even amidst this first-round challenge against the Golden State Warriors that even Russell's Boston Celtics would have found daunting, Davis found himself picturing the possibilities when he stumbled upon a black-and-white image of one of the game's greats. "I'm more focused on Golden State, what they're trying to do to stop us and what we're trying to do to stop them," Davis told USA TODAY Sports. "But you do think about Bill Russell and what he did here, what he did for the league. He led the way for guys like us today. "I went in the Bill Russell Room, and me and (a Pelicans media relations official) were saying (as they looked at the picture) that he looks so much younger. He and I were in the same predicament. It's just cool when you see something like that." USA Today Sports

If only because it reminded Davis of where he wants to go. "When you mention basketball or NBA and you talk about greatest players, I definitely want to be in that conversation," Davis continued. "You mention Bill Russell, Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, all those guys. I want to be in that conversation." USA Today Sports

When seen afterwards leaving the locker room, Afflalo was asked if he’d be good to go in Game 2, telling CSNNW.com, “Yeah, I’m good.” Afflalo, who suffered a right shoulder strain earlier this month against the Golden State Warriors, missed the last three games of the regular season while recovering. Blazers coach Terry Stotts said Afflalo did partake in some shooting drills on Sunday morning, adding that it was good "he's getting some range in motion." CSNNW.com

"There isn't a person in the organization who doesn't think we should have made the playoffs," Riley said Monday morning at AmericanAirlines Arena. "We always come to win a championship. I don't care what the odds are; I don't care what the prognosticators say. South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Gregg Popovich and the San Antonio Spurs dropped Game 1 of their first round series to the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday night, 107-92. After the game, Coach Pop was his usual sunny self as he gave reporters the most trite and obvious answers he could [barely] think of. How much did DeAndre Jordan affect things? A lot. Does he think of things? He does. Does his team need to be better to win the next game? Yes. The Big Lead

"If the state comes in at $150 million, the deal is dead, and the Bucks will move," city alderman Bob Bauman told Milwaukee Magazine this week. The arena would be in his district. "The gap is too big." Meanwhile, a poll released this week by Marquette University Law School was bleak for the Bucks. Nearly 80 percent of the respondents didn't favor public funding for the arena even though the current plan includes no new taxes. In Milwaukee itself, 67 percent of those polled were against giving the Bucks public money. As for Walker, who is a strong supporter of the arena construction plan, his approval ratings have dropped over the past several months. As he's about to run for president, he now has a 41 percent approval rating in his home state. ESPN.com

It is in this gap that the Milwaukee Bucks and their ambitious out-of-town new owners want to lead a massive effort in urban revitalization -- an arena-focused development funded with a blend of private and public money. Or, if they fail to raise adequate public political support, it is here that this city's fraught relationship with professional basketball will end, with the Bucks moving on to Seattle; Las Vegas; Louisville, Kentucky; or some other city with more ready cash for stadiums. After months of progress, promises of hundreds of million in investment and the release of mock-ups of an architectural gem, the Bucks' future in Milwaukee is looking shaky. The battle for the team's future is coming to a head quickly. ESPN.com

In an extraordinary NBA TV post-game show, Isiah Thomas and Rick Fox ripped the Nets point guards and by extension, their game plan, with Thomas, the Hall of Fame point guard, saying that if he was Brook Lopez, he would have started a locker room fight with his point guards, "throw them up on the floor." "Their reluctance to throw the ball inside baffles me," said an agitated Thomas. "As a big man playing for the Brooklyn Nets, I would be sooo upset with the guards. The big man should go into the locker room and there should be a fight with the little guard. He should grab that little guard and throw him up on the floor and say, 'Next time, when I'm open, throw me the call in the paint.' "Watching the game as a point guard, I am seriously frustrated that you've got bigs underneath the basket with a man sealed on their back and you are reluctant to throw them the basketball." "He had 14 points, 17 rebounds, six for seven! That ball should have been inside to him a lot more tonight. " NetsDaily

An inside look at both the triumphs and struggles of NBA icon and all-time great shooting guard Allen Iverson. IVERSON premieres Saturday, May 16th on SHOWTIME. Sportando

 

THE TOP 50 PLAYERS IN HEAT HISTORY

Many players from the current squad in the list – including the two guys at the top.

   
April 20, 2015 | 09:38 AM ET Update

Jeff Goodman: Utah makes it official that 7-foot Austrian Jakob Poeltl will return for his sophomore campaign. Twitter @GoodmanESPN

Chris Vivlamore: Hawks announce Ludacris to perform at Game 2 ... but you already knew that. #ATLHawks Twitter @CVivlamoreAJC

The mayor of Oakland and the mayor of New Orleans made a friendly bet Friday on the outcome of the playoff series between the Golden State Warriors and the New Orleans Pelicans, the mayor's office said. The mayor of the city with the winning team will receive some of the other city's best goods after the seven-game series ends May 3. "After a thrilling regular season, we're pulling for the Splash Brothers, Coach Kerr, and the rest of this dynamic team to bring a title home to Oakland," Mayor Libby Schaaf said in a statement. Contra Costa Times

A debate over who is the best basketball player of all time, LeBron James or Michael Jordan, became heated early Saturday morning, and resulted in felony charges of aggravated assault and criminal trespassing for a State College man. At 3:49 a.m. Saturday, Daniel Mondelice, 22, and his roommate began the argument at their Calder Commons apartment, 520 E. Calder Way, the State College Police Department said. Daily Collegian

BEST PLAYERS THAT DIDN'T GET THEIR NUMBERS RETIRED

There's no shortage of great players who don't have their jerseys hanging in the rafters at the arenas of the teams they starred for.

   
April 20, 2015 | 08:26 AM ET Update

Some Blazers players have already said they are worried free agency will take Aldridge away from Portland this summer. Earlier this month, before a home game, a Blazers player estimated the chances of him returning to Portland at 50-50. Oregonian

A couple hours later, after the Blazers were embarrassed by Memphis, I'm beginning to wonder whether Allen, and the rest of the Blazers, shouldn't be the ones offering Aldridge the well wishes. After an atrocious performance by the Blazers that at one point left Aldridge sitting alone on the bench as his teammates joined a late-game huddle, the Blazers need to worry about more than just losing this series. Oregonian

For Aldridge and Gasol, waiting to sign long-term contracts until 2016 could add $50-80 million to the total value of a potential five-year deal under the higher salary cap on the horizon. "If I don't think about it, I don't expect my teammates to think about it," Gasol said. "And if I don't talk about it, I don't expect anybody to talk about it besides you guys [in the media]. It's going to come anyway, just like everything in life. It'll come, and you'll deal with it. You can't worry about things you can't have an impact on just yet because it's just useless." ESPN.com

Jason Richardson is open to re-signing with the 76ers this summer. The 34-year-old envisions himself in a similar role to the one he had this season. He would mentor his young teammates, be a positive influence and receive some playing time - maybe just not as the starting shooting guard. "I don't have a problem coming back here," said Richardson, whose contract expires in June. "I like every guy in this locker room, believe it or not. . . . And I love coach Brett [Brown]. He's one of my favorite coaches of all time. So, yeah, I'm really open to [coming] back." Philadelphia Inquirer

It means the 28-year-old, whose initial deal was worth $8.9 million over three years – could opt to sign elsewhere in the NBA or even pursue a return to Europe. However he told Gigantes.com that remaining Stateside is likely to be his preferred option. “I want to stay in Portland where I am happy and feel at home and am contributing to a team that wants to go for a ring,” he said. “The NBA is my priority but until July, I will not take an decisions on my future.” MVP 24/7

The play registered as just one fleeting moment in the San Antonio Spurs' 107-92 loss Sunday to the Los Angeles Clippers in Game 1 of the Western Conference playoffs, but it epitomized the out-of-character night experienced by the defending NBA champions. That's not to take away credit from the Clippers. "The game was their defense was better than our offense. That's the bottom line," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "Their aggressiveness, their physicality, their athleticism really hurt us offensively." ESPN.com

While Irving scorched the nets from the opening tip to the final buzzer during the pair’s NBA postseason debut, Love missed his first five shots — finally sinking a 3-pointer with 7:13 left in the second quarter — and went just 2-of-11 in the first half of the Cleveland Cavaliers’ 113-100 victory over the Boston Celtics on Sunday. “Coming into my first playoff game there was a little bit of anxiousness, I don’t think it was nerves,” Love said. “There was just so much excitement. The fans were great, they were waving their shirts and they had their little red batons going … so I think that really played into it.” Chronicle-Telegram

Love even drew praise from his coach for his defense down low. “He drew two charges and at least one of them was a huge play for us — he really played a great game for a first playoff game,” Cavs coach David Blatt said. “I really liked the way Kevin was locked in the whole game. He went 2-for-11 in the first half, but he continued to play.” Chronicle-Telegram

Bradley Beal started Game 1 against the Toronto Raptors nearly reduced to tears by an inspiring pregame speech from Washington Wizards coach Randy Wittman. "I almost cried," Beal said. "Witt almost had me teary-eyed before the game. He said make sure you cherish each moment, because you never know, this may be your last game playing. He looked at Paul [Pierce] and said, 'Paul, this may be your last time ever making it to the playoffs.'" "You have to embrace each moment that you are out here on the floor and live in each moment each and every second." ESPN.com

Bradley hit one of his first six shots and never found a groove, shooting 3-for-10 with 1-for-6 from 3-point range and scoring seven points. Considering how he can stoke this offense with early baskets, the timing couldn’t have been worse. “They made it tough on me,” Bradley said of Cleveland’s defense. “I have to come out the next game and find ways to get myself easier shots. They did a good job trying to make it tough on me. At the same time, I took some shots I usually make, and tonight I wasn’t knocking them down. I have to shoot better, and I know I will Tuesday.” Boston Herald

Coach Dwane Casey scoffed at questions about Pierce winning the "psychological war." "I guess Paul has done it before, I'm sure it's been done before and he's got a championship, so I guess he's been successful at it," Casey said. "I haven't seen very many times where people talk themselves into a game ... again, if that's the way he feels, fine." The Star Phoenix

Ramona Shelburne: I asked Tony Parker if the thigh injury that left him planking was OK. He laughed and said, "It'll be sore tomorrow, but hey, nobody cares." Twitter @ramonashelburne

Mirza Teletovic was ruled out of Game 1 just two days after being medically cleared to resume contact basketball. The 29-year-old, who had been treated with blood thinners until recently because of clots in his lungs, traveled with the Nets to Atlanta but simply didn’t have enough practices under his belt, according to Hollins. “The guy’s been off for three months,” the coach said. “He’s had two practices. You can’t expect a guy to come out and play.” New York Daily News

Sam Dekker: People still want to talk about the Duke game on all my tweets. The sun has come up each day since, so I think I'm gonna be alright ?? Twitter @dekker

Now that he’s in charge of the Cavaliers’ latest attempt at a ring, coach David Blatt is trying harder than usual to distance himself from his Celtics-flavored childhood in Framingham. “I’m not a Celtics fan anymore, I can guarantee it,” he said. “Haven’t been one for a while. My Celtics fan days were the days of Bill Russell and the crew. That’s long, long since passed. I’m in a different place now, but I certainly do appreciate the rich history and the great things that franchise did for the NBA and this game.” Boston Herald

So people were asking me all week why your style was considered any different than Marshawn’s. I’ve got my own opinion, but how do you see it? Gregg Popovich: The only time I’m uncooperative is the end of the first or third quarter. Other than that, I do interviews and laugh it up with everybody all the time. I just have a philosophical difference with the NBA, and I let them know it every time. But that’s like 1% of the interviews that I do. For The Win

Have you argued to have those after-quarter interviews eliminated? Gregg Popovich: Oh, Sure. Hell, I bring it up every year at the head coaches meeting in Chicago, when all the head coaches are there and TNT and ESPN and all the representatives. I raise my hand every year, and I say, “Well guys, you know what I’m going to say. I don’t understand why we have to do this, to subject the coaches and the questioners to this little period of idiocy. They (the TV people) are in our timeouts the entire game. They have cameras in our timeouts. They hear everything we say. They have microphones and they can use anything they want — you know, we trust them. So if they have total access like that, this end of first and third quarter actually takes us away from our job.” And that’s my philosophical difference with them. For The Win

Toronto Raptors General Manager Masai Ujiri has been fined $35,000 for using obscene language in a public setting on Saturday, April 18 prior to the Raptors' playoff game against the Washington Wizards, it was announced Sunday by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. NBA.com

Hours before his team executed a wire-to-wire annihilation in Sunday's 100-84 Game 1 playoff victory against the Portland Trail Blazers, Gasol stood in a tunnel after the team's morning shootaround and spoke of how far he's come with the franchise he anchors. "When I first got here, this team was playing in the Pyramid," Gasol told ESPN.com of the time he arrived as Pau's 16-year-old younger brother. "They're supposed to be turning that building into a Bass Pro Shops now. Can you believe it? I've been here when this team used to win 20 games, and I've been in the stands when they used to lose every game in the playoffs." ESPN.com

Griffin’s “posterizing” of Baynes exploded on social media and attracted unsympathetic coverage from major US news sites. It also prompted a rewriting of Baynes’ Wikipedia page. “Aron John Baynes (born 9 December 1986) is an Australian professional basketball player who currently plays for the San Antonio Spurs of the National Basketball Association (NBA) who was reduced to a smoldering pile of ash by Blake Griffin during the 2015 NBA Playoffs,” it began. FOXSports.com

THE BEST NICK YOUNG QUOTES EVER

Swaggy P actually said all these things. We're lucky to have him in the NBA.

   

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