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February 20, 2015 Updates

The McGee deal was a little tougher for Denver to swallow. But in the Nuggets minds, McGee had to go. Beyond McGee's contract, which will pay him $12 million next season, Connelly and Shaw believe in building a winning culture in Denver and there was a strong sentiment inside the walls of the Pepsi Center that McGee’s presence was adversely affecting that. And as difficult as it was to part with the pick—which, if you are scoring at home, belonged to Oklahoma City and is 1-18 protected this season and lottery protected for the next two—the Nuggets believe that the $11.2 million trade exception that was created in the deal will be useful in acquiring a more valuable asset down the line. And the Nuggets could have five first round picks over the next three years anyway. Sports Illustrated

Two days before the Thunder's season opener in Portland, Jackson sprained his ankle and missed the team's first two games. In their third game, the Nov. 1 home opener against the Nuggets, Jackson was cleared to play, but according to a source, refused to because of disappointment that he wasn't traded before the Oct. 31 extension deadline for first-round picks entering their fourth season, like Harden before him. Jackson spoke at shootaround that morning, coyly saying he probably wouldn't play that night. Immediately after finishing his session, he grabbed a ball and threw down an impressive drop-step windmill dunk -- in front of reporters and his teammates. Remember: This was when the Thunder were piecing together a roster without Durant and Westbrook, and only had eight active players available. ESPN.com

On the surface, it seems as though the trade request Jackson's agent made on Wednesday -- first reported by Yahoo and confirmed by a source -- was what frayed his relationship with Durant and some teammates. But his standing with teammates, primarily the leaders of the locker room, had been deteriorating throughout the season. The request simply hammered home what everyone in the organization knew since October: Reggie Jackson didn't want to be there. ESPN.com

In the locker room, the divide was growing. Injuries to Durant were keeping the team from finding a rhythm, and without the band-aid of winning to heal wounds, the Thunder's chemistry was suffering. The cliquish aspect was impossible not to notice. Jackson, Perry Jones and Jeremy Lamb all had lockers together on one side; Durant, Westbrook and Ibaka were on the other. Jackson, Lamb and Jones are close, shooting pregame together and often leaving the arena together. All three had also fallen out of favor with Brooks. ESPN.com

Brian Windhorst of ESPN on SiriusXM NBA Radio: I think he’d still be there. LeBron definitely wanted to play with Kevin Love, but remember, Wiggins was not mentioned in the LeBron letter. And on July 7th, the Cavs felt like, if they signed LeBron, they would just keep Wiggins, that they wouldn’t trade him for Love. If Love really wanted to play in Cleveland, he could’ve come there as a free agent next summer. By July 10th or 11th, once LeBron had gotten there, all of a sudden, Wiggins was in the deal. So, you can draw your own map from there. People can deny it from now until those guys retire, but I know exactly what happened. I saw the roadmap. If Wiggins had signed with LeBron’s agency, then Wiggins would have been in the letter. If Wiggins would have been having a relationship with LeBron in the weeks leading up to the draft, then it would have been a no-brainer. NBCSports.com

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