NBA senior vice president Tom Carelli told The Undefeat…

NBA senior vice president Tom Carelli told The Undefeated via email that choosing the 10 teams to play in a mere five Christmas games is one of “the most difficult decisions that we make when we create the schedule.” “When we begin the process, we consider all 30 teams,” Carelli said. “Working with our partners, our goal is to provide fans with compelling matchups based on storylines, rivalries, competitiveness of the teams, star players, and the history of the teams and players competing on Christmas Day. At the same time, we also need to factor in broadcast windows, arena availability, schedule requirements, travel and rest and recuperation.”
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January 19, 2020 | 6:54 am UTC Update

Hawks an option for Montrezl Harrell?

If the Clippers don’t believe they can win with a 6’7″ center, especially one hoping for what is believed to be a $20 million-per-season payday, then they risk losing Harrell as a free agent. (Multiple executives believe the Atlanta Hawks could be a summer destination.) Los Angeles would have his rights and the ability to sign-and-trade him to another team, but that’s a move entirely dependent on Harrell’s participation.
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Another possibility for Harkless and considerations, one NBA source suggested, could be Thaddeus Young of the Chicago Bulls, who has $34.6 million of his $40.6 million guaranteed through the 2021-22 season. “They could go after Drummond, but if they’re sending out Zubac, Harkless and filler [like Rodney McGruder], they still have the issue that they’re not going to play Drummond with Harrell,” the Eastern Conference executive said.

Clippers eyeing Aron Baynes?

“They take up the same space on the court. The Clippers simply don’t play them together,” the Eastern Conference executive said. “Montrezl is getting 29 minutes a game, so even if the Clippers added on another center, where would those minutes come? They would need a floor-spacer.” In part, that’s why the Clippers have had their eye on Aron Baynes of the Phoenix Suns (17-24), though they are still looking to make a playoff push, just two games behind the eighth-place Memphis Grizzlies (20-22). Baynes is a strong, experienced defender who can space the floor. Giving up Zubac for Baynes could make sense if the Clippers reinvest in Harrell, but would the Suns have any interest in Zubac’s four-year, $28.5 million deal as a backup for Deandre Ayton?
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I don’t have any data to immediately quantify this, but I can say with certainty that LeBron has never spoken less frequently to reporters than he has this season. I’m going to leave last year to the side because he missed a career-high 27 games. He’s healthy this season, just not nearly as available. I’m not criticizing him for this, it’s simply true. Between the Lakers’ lack of practices and shootarounds, and LeBron’s being more willing to share the spotlight with veteran teammates, we’re just hearing less from him on a daily basis than ever before.
When the Hornets head to France next week, there will be a familiar face awaiting their arrival. As in the one who wore the No. 9 in purple and teal last season. Tony Parker is expected to be at some of the festivities, soaking up the retired life. Other than native Frenchman Nic Batum, there probably will not be anyone more thrilled to give Parker a bear hug than Willy Hernangomez. The two became tight during Parker’s 10 months in Charlotte. Hernangomez was almost like a little brother to Parker and they still communicate frequently.
“He helped me out a lot,” Hernangomez said. “Honestly, hanging with Tony on and off the court is always unbelievable. He’s always given me good advice. Even right now we are pretty close. Almost every two weeks we are in touch to see how the situation is and how he can help me. I’m looking forward to seeing him in Paris. He’s a really close friend of mine. It’s a really good thing that happened to me last year. A legend in Europe, a legend in the NBA. We really enjoyed playing together and I missed him this year. And hopefully, I can see him and spend time with him.”
January 19, 2020 | 1:16 am UTC Update
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