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Jonathan Feigen: Kiki VanDeWeghe on Trevor Ariza, Gerald Green: “Completely inappropriate. You can provoke something that could be a very bad situation for everybody.” On James Harden, Chris Paul: “Chris Paul tried to get his players out of the lockerroom, as did Harden. Again, confirmed by Clippers, arena and Rockets staff.”
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February 23, 2018 | 9:34 am EST Update
Donatas Urbonas: Cavaliers invited Arturas Gudaitis to come to Cleveland this summer for the try out. Olimpia big man told he knew that Cavs were interested in him before trading for his rights. Gudaitis said that Cleveland representatives will visit him in Milano in two weeks.
Recent comments from NBA commissioner Adam Silver about tweaking the league’s playoff format drew intense media coverage, but sources say there is also some behind-the-scenes momentum for the idea of a play-in tournament determining the last two seeds in each conference — to the point that two specific proposals are circulating at the highest levels within teams and the league office. The play-in proposal that has generated the most discussion, according to several sources: two four-team tournaments featuring the seventh, eighth, ninth, and 10th seeds in each conference. The seventh seed would host the eighth seed, with the winner of that single game nabbing the seventh spot, sources say. Meanwhile, the ninth seed would host the 10th seed, with the winner of that game facing the loser of the 7-versus-8 matchup for the final playoff spot.
A play-in would require collective bargaining with the players’ union. There is also debate within the league about whether a play-in would inspire as much fan interest and hype as supporters hope. After all, we are talking mostly about .500-ish teams battling for the right to get destroyed by top seeds. In theory, revenue from a play-in tournament — or a midseason tournament — could ease the league toward slashing a few games from the 82-game schedule, but it is unclear any such tournament would rake in sufficient cash.
Opponents recoiled at including the 11th seed, arguing that doing so would reward awful teams and devalue the regular season, sources have said. It’s possible that the promise of a tournament appearance might motivate teams so that the average 11th seed would be a little better than it is today, but the debate for now has settled on drawing the line at the 10th seed.
Some team higher-ups have pitched the idea of including the seventh and eighth seeds in the lottery — expanding the lottery field from 14 teams to 18, sources said. That would guard against the possibility of any team tanking its way out of the tournament.
There is one really small thing that I think you do better than anyone in the NBA. Do you have any idea what that is? TJ McConnell: No. It’s when the Sixers score a basket and you either hang out behind the three-point line or even hide behind a player and then sneak in for a steal on the inbounds pass when the guy doesn’t realize you’re there. How long have you been perfecting that? TJ McConnell: It’s just kind of a feel thing, you know? You see a guy kind of not paying attention throwing the ball in and I just step in and jump in front of it and get a steal. And it’s big momentum for us, which is what I’m trying to do, just change the game when I do it. And I’m going to continue to do it as long as it’s working.
Yeah. You’re the first player off the bench for a team that’s currently in the playoffs. TJ McConnell: I mean, it’s cool that people like to call me gritty. But in the back of my mind, I think I’ve worked hard to get where I’m at and just got to continue what I’m doing.