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Sources: LaMarcus Aldridge to sign $80 million contract with Spurs (Yahoo Sports)
(Sat, 04 Jul 2015 09:17:13 PDT)
All-Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge is leaving the Trail Blazers to play with Tim Duncan and the Spurs.

Rockets bringing back spark plugs Brewer, Beverley (The Associated Press)
(Fri, 03 Jul 2015 20:44:57 PDT)
The Rockets general manager locked up two important role players from last year's team on Friday, reaching agreements with swingman Corey Brewer and point guard Patrick Beverley to keep them in Houston. Beverley got a four-year deal worth $23.4 million, agent Kevin Bradbury said. After coming over in a trade from the Timberwolves in December, Brewer gave the Rockets a boost with his energy on both ends of the court.

Rajon Rondo gets a shot to rebuild his reputation with the ever-confusing Kings (Ball Don't Lie)
(Fri, 03 Jul 2015 19:40:53 PDT)

Patrick Beverley agrees to $25 million contract to return to Rockets (Yahoo Sports)
(Fri, 03 Jul 2015 16:19:57 PDT)
Patrick Beverley took a four-year contract to return to Houston, where his career has flourished.

Mavs reportedly lure DeAndre Jordan
(Fri, 03 Jul 2015 15:56:58 PDT)
The Dallas Mavericks have landed center DeAndre Jordan, one of the most coveted NBA free agents of 2015, the Dallas Morning News reported on Friday. The deal, which can't be sealed until the free agent signing period begins on July 9, is reportedly worth four years at the maximum allowed under the salary cap of more than $81 million. The move to Dallas, where superstar Dirk Nowitzki is in the twilight of his career, will allow Jordan to take a lead role on a team.

Sources: Corey Brewer agrees to $24 million deal to return to Rockets (Yahoo Sports)
(Fri, 03 Jul 2015 15:21:30 PDT)
Corey Brewer is returning to the Rockets after helping anchor their bench for the second half of last season.

AP sources: Mavericks, DeAndre Jordan agree to 4-year deal (The Associated Press)
(Fri, 03 Jul 2015 14:34:27 PDT)
DeAndre Jordan has chosen the Mavericks over the Los Angeles Clippers in what turned into a tense boom-or-bust wait for Dallas in pursuit of the free-agent center. This is the biggest free-agent pickup in Mark Cuban's 15 years as Dallas owner, after three straight summers of losing out on the big names. The deal comes two days after the Mavericks lost their backup plan when last season's starter, Tyson Chandler, bolted for Phoenix.

AP Source: Blazers reach 5-year $120M-plus deal with Lillard (The Associated Press)
(Thu, 02 Jul 2015 21:49:10 PDT)
When Damian Lillard agreed to a new maximum contract extension with the Trail Blazers on Thursday, it may have been the beginning of a changing of the guard in Portland. Lillard agreed to terms on a five-year contract worth more than $120 million, a person with knowledge of the negotiations told The Associated Press. ''Thank you so much to (at)PaulGAllen and the (at)trailblazers organization,'' Lillard tweeted after the news broke.

Sources: Lakers get second meeting to pitch LaMarcus Aldridge; Heat also pursuing meeting (Yahoo Sports)
(Thu, 02 Jul 2015 13:30:46 PDT)
LaMarcus Aldridge was unimpressed with the Lakers' initial attempts to recruit him. This time they're focusing on basketball.

Monta Ellis gets $44 million to bring points, playmaking to Pacers (Ball Don't Lie)
(Thu, 02 Jul 2015 12:11:20 PDT)

Trail Blazers assistant coach: 'We didn't publicize it, but we lost LaMarcus Aldridge' (Ball Don't Lie)
(Thu, 02 Jul 2015 08:57:19 PDT)
LaMarcus Aldridge was a busy man on Wednesday, opening up the 2015 NBA free-agent period by meeting with the San Antonio Spurs, Los Angeles Lakers, Houston Rockets and Phoenix Suns, all of whom were very eager to give the All-Star power forward boatloads of cash to leave the Portland Trail Blazers after nine seasons. Aldridge reportedly left three of the four meetings impressed — sorry, Lakers — but Yahoo Sports NBA columnist Adrian Wojnarowski suggested the Blazers were still very much in the mix to retain Aldridge's services. [ Follow Dunks Don't Lie on Tumblr: The best slams from all of basketball] Evidently, Blazers assistant coach Kim Hughes is a more pessimistic sort. During an interview with Terre Haute, Ind.-based WTHI-TV on the eve of free agency discussing the development of Blazers big man Meyers Leonard, who had returned to his hometown to host a summer basketball camp for local kids, Hughes — a famously vocal and outspoken sort — talked up an increased role for Leonard due to the loss of Aldridge ... which, of course, hasn't happened yet, but which the veteran coach seemed to think was a fait accompli : "Well, people don't realize we just went young," Hughes said (around the 2:05 mark of the video clip). "We didn't publicize it, but we lost LaMarcus Aldridge. It hasn't been declared yet, but I'm sure he won't come back. We will go young, and we depend on Meyers to play a lot of minutes. This year, he led the league, in the playoffs, in 3-point shooting. Had a fantastic series against Memphis. He defended Marc Gasol very well in the low block. He really stepped up his game. What we'd like is to have the same type of intent and same type of progression next year, which I fully expect."

Sources: Omer Asik finalizing $60 million contract with Pelicans (Yahoo Sports)
(Wed, 01 Jul 2015 21:11:44 PDT)
Center Omer Asik will help strengthen the Pelicans' frontline next to star forward Anthony Davis.

Paul Pierce gives Clippers another scoring option, championship pedigree (Ball Don't Lie)
(Wed, 01 Jul 2015 19:09:52 PDT)

Sources: Sergio Llull passes on Rockets' offer, will stay with Real Madrid (Yahoo Sports)
(Wed, 01 Jul 2015 14:34:25 PDT)
The former second-round draft pick has decided against joining the Rockets for the upcoming season.

Sources: Draymond Green breaks off talks with Warriors, for now (Yahoo Sports)
(Wed, 01 Jul 2015 12:11:24 PDT)
Draymond Green is open to meeting with other teams. The Warriors can still match any offer sheet he signs.

Report: Damian Lillard near 5-year, $120 million max extension with Blazers (Ball Don't Lie)
(Wed, 01 Jul 2015 07:42:24 PDT)

Big names, big markets in pursuit as NBA free agency opens (The Associated Press)
(Tue, 30 Jun 2015 23:18:46 PDT)
NBA free agency opened with Anthony Davis agreeing and Kawhi Leonard agreeing to max contract extensions to stay where they are, and the Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks among the teams looking for a dominant inside force of their own. All-Stars LaMarcus Aldridge of Portland and Marc Gasol of Memphis lead the list of bigs that includes DeAndre Jordan of the Clippers, Tyson Chandler of Dallas, and twins Brook Lopez of the Nets and Robin Lopez of Portland.

NBA-National Basketball Association roundup
(Tue, 30 Jun 2015 16:39:49 PDT)
If the San Antonio Spurs are the favorite to land free agent All-Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge, it's not evident by the itinerary of the Portland Trail Blazers' big man. Aldridge, one of the most coveted players in the 2015 free agent class, is scheduled to visit with officials from the Los Angeles Lakers and then the Houston Rockets starting Tuesday night. Free agency begins at 9:01 p.m. PT.

Stephen Curry overtakes LeBron James for NBA's top jersey (The Associated Press)
(Tue, 30 Jun 2015 11:52:33 PDT)
Stephen Curry has surpassed LeBron James for the most popular jersey in the NBA. The Golden State Warriors star and league MVP topped the list of jersey sales in the NBA for the first time Tuesday. With teammates Klay Thompson ranking fifth and Draymond Green at No. 15, the Warriors also led the team-merchandise sales list during the playoffs.

Your 2015 NBA free agent primer (Ball Don't Lie)
(Mon, 29 Jun 2015 21:02:37 PDT)
The NBA has just one offseason left before the salary cap jumps by tens of millions of dollars because of an upcoming television deal and the subsequent increased revenue that will result. It also has just two offseasons before the next unending NBA owners lockout probably hits, which is why this free-agent period (which starts at 12:01 a.m. ET on Wednesday) will mean so much as teams and players slyly work up some machinations with the next two summers in line. This is why we’ve decided to break down some of the futures of the more notable 2015 free agents, divided into four completely relatable categories. Superstars Kevin Love, unrestricted free agent There is a legitimate chance that Kevin Love, who came from an NBA family and would seem to be well in place to choose happiness and less money over the max with the Cleveland Cavaliers, could leave the Cavs. All the marks are in place, however, for Love to have his cake and eat it too: Cleveland played ridiculously well with him in the team’s hoped-for starting lineup this season, he can make more money in Cleveland than anywhere else and he has the legitimate built-in excuse that his postseason shoulder injury robbed him of his best chance at a title. For once, he wasn’t unfairly made the fall guy with the nice box score stats. [ Follow Dunks Don't Lie on Tumblr: The best slams from all of basketball ] In signing a two-year deal with a player option for 2016-17 with Cleveland, Love leaves himself the chance to opt out in the summer of 2016 should financial or basketball reasons (or both) lead him to decide that Cleveland isn’t the best option for him moving forward. Even with the gut-bust of that season-ending injury and some bumps along the road in 2014-15, Love really is in the best situation of his career as he finally stares down a destiny of his own choosing. Where he should sign : Cleveland. Where he’ll probably sign : Cleveland. *** LeBron James, unrestricted free agent If it were any other player – even a player of LeBron James’ remarkable talents – there would be a chance (however slight) that James could look elsewhere this summer. Because LeBron made such an “aw, shucks” story of it last summer in returning to Cleveland, however, there’s no chance in hell that he’s leaving Northern Ohio. Even forgetting narrative and silly stories about legacies, James also knows how these sorts of things work – he understands that the Cavaliers aren’t exactly in a place where they can make massive roster overhauls in the wake of the team’s Finals loss, so the blips about him minding the Cavaliers’ offseason before deciding when and where to sign is a bit overstated. James is no dummy, and he knows the Cavaliers are stuck attempting to bring the whole gang back. Which is fantastic news for Cavs fans, because James and his team played brilliant basketball down the stretch of the season with everyone healthy. As with Love, LeBron will likely take a two-year deal with a player option for next summer, wherein he can opt out yet again and sign a massive max contract once the league’s salary cap vaults past the $90 million mark. It’ll be then and only then that he’ll be paid anywhere near what he’s genuinely worth as both a player and draw. Where he should sign : Cleveland. Where he’ll probably sign : Cleveland. *** Dwyane Wade, unrestricted free agent Wade made it official on Monday , opting out of the final year of his contract in order to genuinely take a look at the open market. It will be an uneasy summer for all involved, as Wade played absolutely killer basketball when healthy in his first post-LeBron season, but he’s also missed nearly an entire season’s worth of games over the past four years. He gave up money in order to help lure James and Chris Bosh to the Heat in 2010, and even more money during the 2014 offseason as the Heat attempted to retool. It’s understandable that he feels like he’s owed a max payday after five years’ worth of giving back to the only team he’s ever known. The Heat, flush with ideas about adding Kevin Durant in 2016 or any number of helpers this season, have ideas above the team’s 37-win 2014-15 station. The last thing they want is Wade to act as a millstone moving forward, with a game that might not age well and with the squad’s top-heavy approach leaving it prone to injury (this is not a 37-win team on paper, but it falls to that realm after one or two stars go down). It would take a massive falling out for the Heat and Wade to fail to come to an agreement on terms, but that doesn’t mean July is going to be easy. Wade and team president Pat Riley are professionals, but upcoming discussions will be awkward at best. Where he should sign : Miami. Where he’ll probably sign : Miami. *** LaMarcus Aldridge, unrestricted free agent Out of seemingly nowhere, the once-assumed Trail Blazer for Life is all but assured of leaving PDX after nearly a decade with the team. It’s a sad parting, to be sure, but one that also might be the best for all involved. LaMarcus turns 30 in July, and though he should be able to work his touch-happy game deep into his 30s, he is also going to likely turn in declining seasons over the course of the contract he’ll sign this month. It won’t be a dramatic fall-off, he’ll probably be an All-Star for the length of this new deal, but this is worth noting. Potential suitors are more than a little aware of this, and they could not care less. LMA would be a killer addition to a heady team like the San Antonio Spurs, and even a pairing with an aging Dirk Nowitzki in Dallas would still result in some beautiful basketball. A scenario that would send him to Toronto is incredibly intriguing. The Knicks and Lakers will make their play, but if Aldridge were in it solely for the money he’d stick it out with a fat contract in Portland (who could pay him $28 million more over the course of a max deal, or even higher amounts if he took a one-year deal and opted out in 2016). The guy wants to win. (Yeah. Watch him sign with the Lakers.) Where he should sign : San Antonio. Where he’ll probably sign : Los Angeles Lakers. *** Marc Gasol, unrestricted free agent Marc Gasol went to high school in Memphis, the Grizzlies were the first team to take a “chance” on both him and his brother Pau, and the Grizzlies also happen to be a damn good basketball team. Even better, the Grizz can offer more money than any other potential free-agent suitor, with the knowledge that the team’s front office will continue to build around Gasol and Mike Conley after Zach Randolph’s career winds down a bit. The Grizzlies are stuck in a somewhat-intractable situation as they attempt to find someone, anyone, to score from either swingman position, reportedly and understandably looking to take chances on players once (rightfully) called amongst the NBA’s most overrated by some of the team’s front-office personnel a decade ago. Gasol is aware of the road blocks the West tends to put in place come playoff time, but even with San Antonio sniffing around when Memphis is home there truly is no place like home. Where he should sign : Memphis. Where he’ll probably sign : Memphis. *** Tim Duncan, unrestricted free agent Duncan’s free-agent discussions with San Antonio won’t nearly be as awkward as the ones pitched between Dwyane Wade and Miami. Duncan has already taken several pay cuts to help his Spurs through the years, but he also understands that San Antonio isn’t exactly looking to break the bank for a player who probably won’t even average 29 minutes a game next season. Duncan’s recent gallows humor when discussing the business adviser who allegedly might have cost him $20 million once again proves that cash isn’t really key with this guy right now. What is key is winning, the only thing that drove Duncan to briefly consider leaving what appeared to be an aging Spurs squad a decade and a half ago (!) in order to visit with Orlando as a free agent. This is a crucial summer for San Antonio, and hurt feelings could abound as the team tries to juggle contracts of players both incoming and possibly outgoing, but as always the Duncan discussion should be a no-fuss, no-muss affair. Where he should sign : San Antonio. Where he’ll probably sign : San Antonio. *** Ex-Rookies Greg Monroe, unrestricted free agent Monroe told the Pistons that he had their qualifying offer “right here” while pointing to unmentionable places, which is why he’ll be one of the rare high-end players to come off of a rookie contract and into unrestricted free agency. To Monroe’s credit, he played hard and did not mope while working for the qualifying offer of $5.4 million last year (laugh at the supposed injustice before remembering that Monroe could have twice as much in an open market with no restrictions), but his low-post game isn’t a great fit alongside Andre Drummond or in coach Stan Van Gundy’s offense, and the team seems ready to part with him for no compensation. That’s a rarity, in the modern NBA, but one all sides seem to be fine with. New York has long been considered Monroe’s top suitor, and his blend of low-post scoring and slick passing would seem to fit well within the team’s triple-post offense. Monroe is probably looking for the same two-year deal with a player option for 2016-17 that other stars are coveting, and that might be the best move for both sides: New York might tire of Monroe pushing Carmelo Anthony out of the power forward position that he’s thrived at. Where he should sign : New York. Where he’ll probably sign : New York. ***

Sources: Tim Duncan joining Spurs' recruiting meeting with LaMarcus Aldridge (Yahoo Sports)
(Mon, 29 Jun 2015 19:41:42 PDT)
Tim Duncan's efforts to help convince LaMarcus Aldridge to join the Spurs is a possible sign of his willingness to play another season.

Here Mavs go again, pursuing big names in free agency (The Associated Press)
(Mon, 29 Jun 2015 16:52:34 PDT)
Dirk Nowitzki is getting to know this drill pretty well: depleted Dallas roster, big names in free agency, no idea how the starting lineup will look in four months. Here the Mavericks go again, trying to sign a cornerstone but now with time running short to build a championship contender around a 37-year-old star who's getting ready for his 18th season. It's been that way for Nowitzki since owner Mark Cuban chose salary cap flexibility over bringing back key pieces of the franchise's only championship team in 2011.

Report: Dwyane Wade opts out of contract, will enter free agency (Ball Don't Lie)
(Mon, 29 Jun 2015 12:54:14 PDT)
Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade has elected to decline the $16.1 million player option he holds for the 2015-16 season and enter the market this July as an unrestricted free agent, according to ESPN.com's Ramona Shelburne . [ Follow Dunks Don't Lie on Tumblr: The best slams from all of basketball] Wade, 33, will be able to negotiate with any suitor he chooses when free agency kicks off at 12 a.m. ET on Wednesday, July 1. He has spent his entire 12-year career in Miami, winning three NBA titles, making eight All-NBA teams and earning 11 All-Star nods since the Heat selected him with the fifth overall pick in the 2003 NBA draft. He ranks first in Heat franchise history in games, minutes, points, assists and steals. On one hand, Wade's decision to opt out might come as a bit more of a surprise than those of his former Heat teammate, LeBron James , and James' current Cleveland Cavaliers teammate, Kevin Love , considering he said back in April — after the Heat wrapped up an injury-plagued 37-45 season, missing the playoff for the first time since 2008 — that he would not exercise his opt-out clause . In recent weeks, though, Wade's been making noise about a willingness to pursue free agency in the interest of getting made whole after years of taking lower salaries for the good of the team. Back in the summer of 2010, Wade agreed to take less than a maximum salary to afford Heat owner Micky Arison and president Pat Riley the flexibility to fit free agents James and Chris Bosh in under the salary cap, paving the way for a "Big Three" era that resulted in four straight Eastern Conference championships and the second and third NBA titles of Wade's Hall of Fame career. Last summer, Wade joined Bosh and Udonis Haslem in exercising the early termination options in their deals to create enough flexibility to allow Riley to try to keep James and retool the roster after Miami's NBA Finals loss to the San Antonio Spurs. When James headed back to Ohio and Arison gave Bosh a full five-year maximum contract , Wade had brief dalliances with prospective suitors like his hometown Chicago Bulls before agreeing to terms on a two-year deal that paid him about $11 million less than the one out of which he'd opted, allowing Riley to rebound by signing small forward Luol Deng, bringing in forwards Josh McRoberts and Danny Granger, and bringing back Haslem, reserve center Chris "Birdman" Anderson and point guard Mario Chalmers. Initial reports pegged Wade's asking price this time around at an average annual value of $20 million over the next three years . The Heat, for their part, were reportedly thinking something more like $10 million, as Riley looks to maintain whatever flexibility in pursuit of yet another star-laden reload that could vault Miami back to the top of the East. More recent updates suggest Wade's brought his number down a few ticks, and is now looking for at least $16 million per year over the next three seasons . That split — plus might-mean-nothing-might-mean-something stuff like Wade talking about his time in Miami in the past tense while working as a commentator for ABC during the Finals and his dad wearing Cavaliers gear around — have led to speculation that Wade might seriously consider alternate options should the Heat come in with what he deems an unacceptably low offer this summer. What's "unacceptably low" for a player of Wade's accomplishments, stature, current effectiveness, age and injury history, though, is something of a tough figure to nail down. Wade was inarguably productive when he was on the court, averaging 21.5 points, 4.8 assists, 3.5 rebounds and 1.2 steals in 31.8 minutes per game last season. His Player Efficiency Rating of 21.44 ranked behind only MVP runner-up James Harden of the Houston Rockets among shooting guards . It's the "when he was on the court" part that's the problem, though. Wade has missed 78 games over the past four seasons — 20 last year, 28 in 2013-14, 13 in 2012-13, 17 in 2011-12 — as he's battled a variety of knee and hamstring problems. During his season-wrapping press conference, Riley spoke openly about the need for Wade to "change the narrative himself about his body and about his injuries and about his missing games," and as much as he loves Wade — and as much as Wade has meant to the franchise — you'd have to imagine he's not particularly thrilled by the prospect of paying a premium for the through-age-36 seasons of a non-outside-shooting shooting guard with nearly 35,000 NBA minutes worth of wear on his surgically repaired wheels. It might make Riley uncomfortable, but it might also be unavoidable from a roster-construction standpoint. With Bosh expected to come back fully healthy after his season-ending scare with blood clots on his lung , revelation center Hassan Whiteside in line for a larger role in his first full season with the team, trade-deadline acquisition Goran Dragic expected to receive a five-year maximum contract offer from the Heat when free agency opens, Deng deciding Monday to stay in Miami by exercising his $10.1 million player option and Miami perhaps getting the steal of last Thursday's draft when Duke's Justise Winslow fell in their laps at No. 10, the Heat look to be both loaded up for a run at the top of the East and left without significant financial wiggle room to replace Wade's production at the two guard if he leaves: Remember: With Bosh, Dragic, Deng - even if Heat traded McRoberts, Chalmers etc. - Miami wouldn't have meaningful cap space to replace Wade — Barry Jackson (@flasportsbuzz) June 29, 2015 ... So Heat has every reason to want to make this work with Wade, which is their objective. Must now find $ both sides are OK with. — Barry Jackson (@flasportsbuzz) June 29, 2015 The question, then, is whether Riley can strike the right balance between showing Wade he's respected and revered, and getting him to agree to a figure that wouldn't trigger exceptionally insane luxury tax payments — and allow Miami to retain enough financial flexibility to take a run at future potential A-list free-agents like Kevin Durant and Anthony Davis — in the years to come. “Everybody in this organization over the years has had to sacrifice,” Riley recently said, according to Joseph Goodman of the Miami Herald . “The one player that’s had to sacrifice for the sake of winning has been [Wade]. This is now getting down to business. We respect him. We want him back. We want him here for the rest of his career. And we’re going to try to do everything to make that happen.” - - - - - - - Dan Devine is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at devine@yahoo-inc.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @YourManDevine Stay connected with Ball Don't Lie on Twitter @YahooBDL , "Like" BDL on Facebook and follow Dunks Don't Lie on Tumblr for year-round NBA talk, jokes and more.

Report: 76ers fined $3M for 'not fully disclosing' Holiday's injury history before trade (Ball Don't Lie)
(Mon, 29 Jun 2015 10:16:41 PDT)

Draymond Green eager for free agency courtships (Yahoo Sports)
(Sun, 28 Jun 2015 18:21:44 PDT)
There is expected interest from Golden State and Detroit. The Hawks and Rockets are also expected to be interested in Green, a source said.

Sources: Rockets agree to deal with undrafted UNLV PF Christian Wood (Yahoo Sports)
(Fri, 26 Jun 2015 16:05:36 PDT)
The 6-foot-11 forward performed below standards in pre-draft workouts and dropped out of the second round on Thursday night.

Grading the 2015 NBA draft (Ball Don't Lie)
(Fri, 26 Jun 2015 09:42:29 PDT)
The 2015 NBA draft took place on Thursday, after a flurry of rumors and trades preceded the festivities. We thought we’d go in depth and look at each team’s haul for the week, grading each team in terms of context, potential, scouting, and the idea that half of these damn kids are 20 – so let’s give ‘em a little room to figure things out, OK? On to the grades *** Atlanta Hawks Acquired : Tim Hardaway Jr. (via trade with New York), Dimitrios Agravanis at No. 59, two future second-round picks. Because the Hawks’ outright theft of a midrange first-round draft pick from the Nets (a swap of selection from the three-year old Joe Johnson deal) was so cunning, it feels like a bit of a disappointment that the team was only able to parlay the 15th overall pick into Hardaway Jr. and a pair of second-rounders from Washington. Atlanta chose Kelly Oubre for the Wizards in the deal, moving them down to 19th in what seemed like a head-scratcher at the time – the price of moving up four slots in the middle of the first-round is only two second-rounders? Then the Hawks added to the confusion by adding Hardaway Jr. in exchange for the 19th pick, which New York used on Jerian Grant. If DeMarre Carroll returns as a free agent and Thabo Sefolosha comes back to full health (no sure thing, ATL doesn’t have Carroll’s Bird Rights and Thabo’s injury is a rare and unfortunate non-basketball one), the Hawks would have no immediate use for Oubre or any of the other several swingmen available at 15 (or 19), and they don’t need another point man. Hardaway has his merits. He took a step back in his second season but he could be the isolation scorer the Hawks sorely need in the backcourt. This still seems like a disappointment. Grade: C *** Boston Celtics Acquired : Terry Rozier at No. 16, R.J. Hunter at No. 28, Jordan Mickey at No. 33, Marcus Thornton at No. 45. Boston entered the night attempting to do damage with its cadre of young, solid-enough tradeable player assets, its two first-rounders this year, two extra first-round picks besides its own in 2016, and potentially 11 future extra second-round picks spread out between 2016 and 2018. It takes two or sometimes three teams to tango in the NBA, however, and when trades fell through the Celtics settled on taking hybrid guard depth with Louisville’s Rozier, a shooter/playmaker in Georgia St.’s Hunter late in the first, and a possible rotation-ready rim protector in LSU’s Mickey in the second round. The similarities between Rozier and last year’s lottery pick, Marcus Smart, are a little concerning, but the C’s seem convinced he was the best player available. They’ll rely on the brilliant Brad Stevens to turn Hunter into a consistent contributor, and Mickey does serve a need in the paint even with his whippet-thin frame. Marcus Thornton will have an uphill battle to make the team, which is a shame because the Celtics could have been one trade and one roster invite away from having two Marcus Thorntons on their team. We’re still upset at the fact that the Celtics waived Allan Ray just weeks after trading for Ray Allen, so this clearly drags their grade down a bit. Grade: C+ *** Brooklyn Nets Acquired : Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (No. 23 pick, via trade), Juan Vaulet (No. 39 pick, via trade), Steve Blake (via trade), Chris McCullough at No. 29. The Nets shipped center Mason Plumlee, who was oddly in and out of the rotation last season, to Portland for Hollis-Jefferson and Blake. The Arizona product is a killer athlete, teammate, and he’ll be a consummate pro, but he remains a terrible shooter with mechanics that need a complete overhaul. As we saw in Charlotte with Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, even exacting attention to fixing these sorts of things oftentimes isn’t enough. McCullough was considered a lottery talent until he tore his ACL while at Syracuse, and it’s possible that he’ll miss all of 2015-16. Prior to the injury he still looked like a project, full of long arms but a wispy frame, but Brooklyn doesn’t mind developing him at the low-low price of the penultimate pick of the first-round. Vaulet is an Argentinean athletic swingman who has quite a bit to do in order to develop an all-around NBA game. Grade: B ***

2015 Draft Winners and Losers (Rotoworld)
(Fri, 26 Jun 2015 06:59:00 PDT)
Ed Isaacson checks out early winners and losers from Thursday's NBA Draft, including Miami's selection of Justise Winslow.

Clippers end up with 56th pick, tab Branden Dawson (The Associated Press)
(Thu, 25 Jun 2015 22:45:11 PDT)
The Los Angeles Clippers began the day without a pick in the NBA draft, but they got one anyway. ''One of the things we had talked about for some time was looking to buy in to the second round because we didn't have a pick in this draft,'' general manager Dave Wohl said. ''We focused on a couple of guys, and Dawson was still there in the second round.

Rockets take Wisconsin's Sam Dekker with 18th pick in draft (The Associated Press)
(Thu, 25 Jun 2015 22:29:24 PDT)
When Sam Dekker gets back home after his trip to New York for the NBA draft he might throw out some of the winter clothes he's had to wear for most of his life. Dekker, who was born and spent his whole life in Wisconsin, is heading to sunny and snow-free Houston after the Rockets selected the Badgers forward with the 18th overall pick in the draft on Thursday night. Of course, he's looking forward to joining the Rockets for many reasons other than the climate.

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