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DeAndre Jordan’s relationship with Clippers will only become more awkward with contract negotiations ahead

Jordan might be holding some resentment toward Clippers management, and understandably so. He has logged the most games in franchise history, playing at least 77 games in each of the last five seasons prior to 2017-18. After earning his first All-Star selection last year, his production has dipped without Chris Paul (nearly a seven percent drop in field goal percentage), but Jordan has still been effective in the paint, averaging 11.4 points and a career-high 15.1 rebounds per game. He is right behind Pistons center Andre Drummond in defensive and overall rebounding percentage, and he is among the league leaders in points off putbacks.

The Clippers could keep Jordan if he opts in, reset the trade clock and compete for a playoff spot. But that road could keep them stuck in NBA purgatory. Let Jordan walk, and the Clippers can completely put the nail in the coffin on the Lob City era. But with veterans remaining on the roster and changes to the NBA lottery system ready to be put into effect, how much of a rebuild would it truly be?

Ham was an assistant coach with the New Mexico Thunderbirds of the D-League from 2008-10 and later took over as head coach in 2010-11. He joined the Lakers following his D-League stint, and in 2013, new Hawks head coach Mike Budenholzer came calling.

I wanted Ham, Budenholzer said. He had to be part of what we were doing. You never know if you’re ready to make that jump until you do, but he’s got all the tools.

Budenholzer would know — he’s already had two coaches leave his tree for head coaching jobs. He’s also part of the Popovich tree, which has taken roots all over the league.

It’s good to have assistants with aspirations, Budenholzer said. Pop always encouraged us to have input, and it’s made so many guys so much better. Now, it’s my turn to do the same.

We will hear a lot about how Mitchell has carried Utah, while Simmons has been able to lean on Joel Embiid. There is truth in that. Opponents have outscored the Sixers by about 4.2 points per 100 possessions when Simmons plays without Embiid, per NBA.com.

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The initiative is not only aimed at Americans. It can also be used as a tool for teams to potentially attract Australians weighing the NCAA, such as Ben Simmons, Patty Mills, Josh Green and others.

Absolutely we would like to see Australians spend at least a season playing in their home country before moving on to the NBA, Kestelman said.

In recent years, the NBL has made more of an effort to keep top young basketball players in Australia, rather than see them take the familiar and well-forged path of being recruited by NCAA schools. Australian national team coach Andrej Lemanis has been outspoken about the need to keep more players home.

Marcus Smart, Celtics: Boston has suddenly made Smart available in trade talks, but it looks like it will take a first-round pick for any team to complete a deal. If the Celtics are able to score a pick, then they would prefer to flip it for either Williams or Evans.

Lakers youngsters: Jordan Clarkson, Julius Randle and Larry Nance Jr. have all been offered in potential trades. The ultimate goal for LA is to create enough cap space for two max slots, opening the door for stars like LeBron James and Paul George to head west.

You get better every day, Bickerstaff said. I’m fortunate to have my father. I talk to that man every day. He watches every game and we talk. There are so many more responsibilities as head coach. It’s a big move to that seat. I’m glad to get the shot, and now we have to get better as a team. It’s little things like picking road practice facilities to what we eat for breakfast.

I have a great support staff here that helps. But when the chips fall, if it goes wrong, it’s on me now, and I’m okay with that.

Washington’s All-Star point guard recently hit back at the criticism from media members, and his teammate Marcin Gortat, for saying that the Wizards don’t need Wall to find success.

They say what they say. I know what I do, and what I bring to a team, Wall said on SportsCenter on Tuesday. I know I’m a team player. I average almost 10 assists a game — I’m very prideful, and finding my teammates and getting these guys easy shots. It was more just shocking to hear from him, and understanding that he gets the most assists from me, and the most spoon-fed baskets ever.

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For us to evaluate him right now, we are not there. We’ll talk about all of that at the end of the season.

Oladipo can’t be a first-half wonder if the Pacers are to move forward as an organization. That’s indicative of the strides Oladipo has taken. He was seen as a solid but unspectacular NBA starter before this season. Now, the Pacers need him to be a franchise cornerstone and selling point.

Harden and Westbrook, both signed through 2022, are out. DeRozan is signed through 2020. But the Lakers will make a pitch to George this summer, after a year of rumors linking him to LA. Thompson will be a free agent in 2019, and there is a glimmer of hope around the league that he’ll be looking to bolt his third-wheel spot with the Warriors by then in search of a role as a headliner. (For what it’s worth, Thompson has made it clear he’d like to remain a Warrior, and his father, Mychal, says Klay is not looking to leave.)

During media availability on Saturday, as Westbrook and George were fielding questions, a group of nearby Lakers fans began chanting, We want Paul! When a reporter, pointing out the chant, told George, There it is, he smiled and said, Yeah. But he insisted that he has not made up his mind about what he’s going to do this summer.

I don’t, George said. I know what I feel is best, but it’s a long ways until the end of the season.

The Knicks picked up the 2015 No. 7 overall pick Emmanuel Mudiay from the Nuggets in a three-team deal which saw Doug McDermott go to Dallas and Devin Harris and a second-round pick go to Denver.

Phoenix made an under-the-radar move, acquiring the 2014 No. 10 overall pick, Elfrid Payton, from the Magic for a second-rounder. He will fit alongside Devin Booker nicely.

Then there were the other deals that were overlooked in all the buzz surrounding the Cavs’ busy day. The Pistons traded Willie Reed for Bulls guard Jameer Nelson, and they also moved Brice Johnson and a second-rounder to the Grizzlies for James Ennis. The Wizards traded Sheldon Mac and cash to the Hawks for a second-round pick.

Let’s take a look at how Johnson’s statement compares to what former Suns general manager and current Warriors coach Steve Kerr had to say about a certain superstar back in 2010. Then, we can provide a final verdict on the more ridiculous tampering fine.

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There are certain players that when they are on the floor make the whole greater than the sum of the parts, Jazz coach Quin Snyder says. Joe Ingles ‘the part’ has gotten better, and then Joe Ingles ‘the teammate’ makes other people better.

There just hasn’t been anything that he’s not willing to do for the team. That’s where he’s found his game. He’s found his game making the team better when he’s on the floor. The things that he’s been able to do to make the team better have continued to multiply.

Ingles and his now wife, Renae, were picking over their lunch in a Los Angeles restaurant and discussing what to do with their lives when he first heard from the Jazz. It was October 2014 and he had just been cut by the LA Clippers, bad news he delivered to Renae moments before she boarded her 15-hour flight from Australia.

Los Angeles Lakers: Josh Hart suffered a small fracture in his left hand during practice on Wednesday and is likely going to have to miss time. Without Hart, it’s going to mean more opportunity for guards Isaiah Thomas, Lonzo Ball and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. Hart had been averaging 32.1 MPG in his past 10 games.

Memphis Grizzlies: A rib injury will cost Tyreke Evans a third straight game, as the veteran has been ruled out for the home game against the Suns. This is a big blow for those with Evans on their team; he has averaged 25.0 PPG on 50.0 percent shooting in three games against Phoenix this season.

That hot streak wasn’t too surprising. Ingles has developed into a premier 3-point shooter, ranking second in the league behind Golden State’s Klay Thompson at 44.4 percent after finishing fourth last season.

Ingles is a key cog in the league’s sixth-rated defense, versatile enough to guard multiple positions, using length and anticipation to make up for a relative lack of quickness. He’s also the Jazz’s best communicator, making sure his teammates know the right coverage and demanding accountability when they don’t execute.

Detroit Pistons: Coach Stan Van Gundy indicated that he hopes Reggie Jackson (ankle) can return to practice before the team’s West Coast road trip begins on March 13. If you read into that a little bit, it looks like we are still at least three weeks away from Jackson returning to game action. He has been sidelined for more than two months already, last playing on Dec. 26.

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John Wall could use less conversation, more appreciation for Wizards’ success without him

Instead, Wall got mad. Worst of all, this wouldn’t even be the first time this has happened. He complained about his years without a signature shoe deal were attributed to not getting the money he thought he deserved.

All of these teams know very well that these lineups don’t work. Half of these late-season injuries wouldn’t keep guys out of games that mattered.

Something I’ve always wondered: Teams defend late-season tankery by screaming player development, but how much functional development comes from shoving young guys into uncomfortable roles amid lineups that don’t make sense? How much value is there in letting Josh Jackson fling up floater after floater (even if he’s making a lot lately)?

There is some value letting guys stretch their skill sets. Might there also be a cost? I don’t know. I do know that anyone paying to watch something like Grizzlies-Suns should get League Pass free next season.

NBA All-Star weekend is an event unlike any other, and this year’s event is sure to be entertaining. Some of the most anticipated events of All-Star weekend actually come the night before the exhibition game when we see players battle it out for supremacy in the Dunk Contest, 3-Point Shootout and Skills Challenge.

These contests all take place Saturday, Feb. 17, at the Staples Center in L.A. The Skills Challenge is the first event, starting at 8 p.m. ET, followed by the 3-Point Shootout and then the Dunk Contest to cap off the night. All three event will be broadcast on TNT and live-streamed via Watch TNT.

The highlight event of the night is always a must-see for NBA fans. And while many long for the year when LeBron James faces off against Russell Westbrook, there are still plenty of exciting faces to keep us glued to our TVs on Saturday night.

The 2018 Dunk Contest features four dunkers who face off in two rounds. After the first round, the judges eliminate two of the four to set up a final dunk-off with the winner decided by the judges.

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Kokoskov was the first non-American hired as a full-time assistant in 2001 with Clippers. In 2004, he became the first non-American assistant coach to win an NBA championship with the Pistons. Kokoskov, 46, was also the first non-American to serve on an NBA All-Star Game coaching staff. He has worked for the Clippers, Pistons, Suns, Cavs, Magic and, currently, the Jazz.

Jazz head coach Quin Snyder knows Kokoskov brings something special to his team.

Sources told SN that one player who has drawn significant interest has been wing Justin Holiday, currently averaging a career-high 13.4 points and making 37.7 percent of his 3s. Holiday is on a reasonable contract — he is owed $4.4 million next season — and his ability to shoot and defend the perimeter has made him a potential target for playoff teams like Boston, Minnesota and Oklahoma City.

As has become a common theme here in the NBA’s trading season, the Bulls would like to get a first-rounder for Holiday, but teams are wary of paying that price. Chicago does have an advantage, able to absorb unwanted salary with its $18 million in cap space.

The Bulls have also made Robin Lopez available, and even if they don’t wind up parting with either player, they could be a factor in potential deals as a facilitating third team because of their salary situation.

I knew he was special when he was a video guy, Popovich said. He worked so hard, and he also worked smart. That’s a very rare combination. He played the game in college, so he can relate to players in a different way. But he also learned to coach the old-fashioned way. There are so many things he does well as a teacher. There is a reason why people around the league love him and keep trying to hire him away from me.

Despite a lackluster 2017 season, Darnold remains the top quarterback on and off the field in the 2018 draft class. The Browns, who have to take a quarterback first overall after their recent snafus at the position, likely have Darnold in their crosshairs.

A year ago, the Bills were considering moving up in the draft for quarterback Mitchell Trubisky. Their new management and coaching staff in place this year could look for a similar move for Josh Rosen, a quarterback in whom they have shown substantial interest. Both of their first-round picks this year and a 2019 early round pick should be enough, and the Giants can move back and remain in win-now mode.

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