SH Blog: Warriors acquire Steve Blake, Nets trade for Thornton, Clippers no longer looking for Shumpert deal

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With the trade deadline rapidly approaching, rumors have been rampant around the league throughout the day.

Can Cleveland find a taker for Luol Deng? How serious is Sacramento about moving MIP candidate Isaiah Thomas? Will the New York Knicks finally trade Iman Shumpert? Those are some of the many burning questions as general managers try to determine what will be the best course of action for their respective franchises. Some minor deals have already gone down on Wednesday, and plenty more juicy conversations are being had as you will find below:

BROOKLYN NETS ACQUIRE THORNTON AND LOOKING FOR MORE:

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SH Blog: Knicks hoping for Love, Rondo; Aldridge plans to shoot more threes

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JohnWallAll-Star Saturday is one of my favorite days of the NBA season, because it’s the best chance we get to see players just having fun. More than just about any other sports league on the planet, the NBA likes to show off its players’ charisma, flair, and general ability to entertain. And it’s working. Just ask every company that uses an NBA player in their advertising. Any of the twenty or so of them.

I rounded up some NBA players’ reactions to the dunk contest, so click through for that. Personally, I thought the freestyle round was a cool addition, and the East team had some really slick teamwork. The battle format was a little iffy, though, and only getting to see one dunk from each competitor was a bit of a letdown. Ben McLemore’s rumored 720 never materialized, though his dunk was pretty easily the runner-up to John Wall’s runaway winner. He also had my favorite individual dunk of the freestyle round and showcased his ridiculous hops. On the whole, the dunkers (especially the East, who clearly had a game plan, whereas the West seemed a little starstruck) brought it, but the format held them back.

The other great thing about All-Star Saturday is that everyone’s in one place, and that means one-of-a-kind trade rumor coverage. It’s like baseball’s winter meetings, only with dunks also. It’s a pretty great time for the basketball blogger.

Now let’s get to the news:

Bernucca: Can the Eastern Conference Even Field an All-Star team?

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AS14_NewOrleans_LogosheetAmid its myriad injuries, its dozen teams below .500 and its 44-98 record against the Western Conference, 159299855_Rondo_ASPortsthere is a looming question regarding the Eastern Conference:

Can the East even field an All-Star team?

A year ago, Kevin Garnett, Rajon Rondo, Luol Deng, Joakim Noah, Tyson Chandler, Kyrie Irving, Brook Lopez and Jrue Holiday were among the East’s All-Stars. You can make the argument – irrefutable in some cases, strong in others – that none of those players should be invited back this season.

And a handful of the usual suspects with All-Star resumes – Derrick Rose, Deron Williams, Paul Pierce, Joe Johnson, Al Horford – won’t fill the void because they have been injured or awful.

Not even Rudy Gay – who at $17.9 million is the league’s highest-paid player who never has been an All-Star - can grab one of the spots now that he has been traded to the West.

So who will be filling the dozen spots? Lotsa Pacers, lotsa Heat and lotsa guys making their All-Star debuts.

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SH Blog: Dragic says Hornacek is “a great coach”; Horford unlikely to return for playoffs

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Bynum The Andrew Bynum news is dominating the NBA today.

Of course, this big news would break on a day I spent a good portion of in the car, driving from my grandparents’ place in New York to my parents’ house in Baltimore.

So if you, like me, are still playing catch-up, here’s the basics: The Cavs suspended Bynum indefinitely for “conduct detrimental to the team” and it looks like he’s played his last game for Cleveland. There’s murmurs that Bynum just flat out doesn’t want to play basketball, but that’s not entirely deterring teams from showing interest in the former All-Star, who has shown flashes of that dominating form he had with the Lakers.

Sprung: All-Breakout Team led by L.Stephenson, A.Afflalo, I.Thomas

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time flies'Where the hell has the time gone? It certainly flies as the days get shorter and darkness descends in the late afternoon.

We’re already through the first quarter of the NBA season and almost at Christmas. The league has seen plenty of pleasant surprises, like the consistently stellar Portland Trail Blazers, and many disappointments, like the entire Eastern Conference besides Indiana and Miami.

There have also been a whole host of players who have really progressed in a positive direction over the opening 20 games or so.

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