Trae Young walks slowly alongside the ball in late November. His Hawks are up three against the Rockets with six minutes left in the game. He burns nearly 18 seconds off the game clock — the longest he’s walked the dog this season. But the next five and a half minutes go poorly for Atlanta. Young goes 0-for-3 from the floor, Houston’s Jalen Green explodes late in the fourth and the Hawks lose the game, 128-122. Atlanta could have used those wasted seconds in the game’s final moments. This is one of the key risks of walking the dog when the game is on the line. “I think there’s always a trade-off,” says Jeff Van Gundy, the broadcaster and former coach. “You are able to run some time off the clock. The counterpoint would be: At what expense to your rhythm and your flow? It’s not as simple a decision as just trying to take time off the clock, because it could actually hurt you.”
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January 31, 2023 | 4:33 am EST Update
Sacramento is said to be monitoring the availability of Philadelphia’s Matisse Thybulle as the Kings, unexpectedly holding the West’s No. 3 seed after a league-record 16 consecutive seasons out of the playoffs, ponder the pursuit of a more defensive-minded option on the perimeter.
As Kyrie Irving’s agent and stepmother Shetellia Riley Irving told my podcast partner Chris Haynes in a Bleacher Report story last week, Irving hopes to sign a contract extension with the Nets — but substantive talks between the sides have yet to begin. Some league observers have posited that this could be by design on Brooklyn’s part, with the Nets apparently convinced that they are under no pressure to move swiftly on the extension front when Irving would likely need their help via sign-and-trade to relocate in the offseason to any other team he likes.
Teams like the Los Angeles Clippers would like to improve at that position, with John Wall apparently available. The Orlando Magic have eyes on a quality veteran like VanVleet, per sources. The Dallas Mavericks are still looking for a Jalen Brunson replacement. The Washington Wizards don’t have a true answer at the point.
The Lakers are fighting to climb into the top 10 in the Western Conference. While coach Darvin Ham has found a viable role for Westbrook off the bench, the franchise does have concerns about his playoff viability, per multiple sources.
Despite changes at the very top, the team is expected to make more significant changes after the season, but sources say the team has come to terms with the likelihood that Paul is starting to decline (38 years old in May). Even if he can bring it for another postseason, the Suns need to find a long-term replacement.