Bernucca: Suns’ Epilogue on Dragic is Self-Serving Spin

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There was a lot of shade in the Valley of the Sun this week. It all started with Goran Dragic, who is far from blameless in this mess. But because the Phoenix Suns sent Dragic packing in a trade, president Lon Babby and GM Ryan McDonough got to write the epilogue and spin it in intelligence-insulting fashion. Dragic is an unrestricted free agent this summer. At 28, it’s his first and last chance at a max contract. And while the idea of

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Bernucca: For me, The Best All-Star Game Ever

MSG inside pregame3

All-Star Weekend didn’t start out too well for my son, Andrew. On Friday morning, he had an argument with his first serious girlfriend a day before his first serious Valentine’s Day. With that hanging over his head, he had to go to work, where his primary job is to kick mallrats out of the store. And it was the last work day before the All-Star Game and we still hadn’t heard from someone who had said that maybe, just maybe, he

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Bernucca: “Soft” Wizards Staggering Toward All-Star Break

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After the Washington Wizards ended a season-high five-game losing streak Saturday with a 37-point victory over the Brooklyn Nets, Marcin Gortat wasn’t quite ready to declare that their earth was back on its axis. “At the end of the day, it was Brooklyn, so we can’t get really excited,” he said. There’s nothing like perspective. And Gortat is right: One win against a plodding, tired team is nothing to get excited about. What the Wizards should be is concerned. Prior to the win

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Bernucca: The Hawks Are Real and They Are Spectacular

Hawks core for 2014

Why do doubts remain about the Atlanta Hawks? The Hawks are 40-8. They have lost twice since Thanksgiving. They have beaten Chicago, Cleveland, Houston, Dallas, the LA Clippers, Cleveland again, Portland, the Clippers again, Memphis, Washington, Toronto, Chicago again, Oklahoma City and Portland again. The Hawks just completed the best undefeated month in NBA history, going 17-0 in January. They have won 19 consecutive games, the fifth-longest streak in league annals. They have won 12 straight road games. What seems to be the

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Bernucca: Who Deserves to be an All-Star Reserve?

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Every team wants a player in the NBA All-Star Game. Just this week, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban complained that the voting system is “absolutely, positively broken” and lobbied for the NBA to provide additional roster spots for reserves who may have been overlooked by the fans. His reasoning was that leading vote-getter Stephen Curry received a mere 1.5 million votes, which is a miniscule total when you consider the global, electronic balloting process. As he often does, Cuban made some good

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Bernucca: Handing Out My Midseason Awards

James Harden

One of the biggest knocks against the NBA is that when the season starts, there are only five or six teams that can truly win the championship, making the regular season and the early playoff rounds interminably tedious. Not this season. As we reach the midway point – 18 teams have played at least 41 games, another nine have played 40 – there are no less than a dozen teams with legitimate title aspirations, including a handful that haven’t been in the

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Bernucca: For West Teams, Trade Grades as Deadline Arrives Early

Rajon Rondo and Josh Smith

After last week’s loss in Atlanta, Memphis Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger – whose team has the fifth-best record in the NBA – lamented his roster’s shortcomings. “We have to get another playmaker on the floor,” Joerger said. “We’re going to have to start playing multiple point guards (at the same time). We’ve got to be able to get inside of defenses.” It doesn’t matter that the Grizzlies have been at or near the top of the league for most of the season.

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Bernucca: Who’s Getting Maximum Production From Minimum Veterans?

Leandro Barbosa

In today’s NBA, the formula for winning in recent years was simple: Accumulate as many maximum-salary stars as you can without breaking the bank. But when you start piling up eight-figure salaries against the luxury tax, the bank breaks pretty quickly. So teams fill out their rosters with minimum-salary veterans. And if you look at the top of the NBA standings right now, many teams are getting very productive seasons from veterans signed to minimum-salary deals. The Chicago Bulls added Pau Gasol to Jimmy

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