Bernucca: Leonard Giving the Spurs a Big Bang

Kawhi Leonard

What do James Harden, Stephen Curry, Russell Westbrook and LeBron James have in common? They’re all legitimate MVP candidates, of course. But what else does that Awesome Foursome have in common? In a potential playoff series against the defending NBA champion San Antonio Spurs, they can all expect to see an individual matchup with Kawhi Leonard. In case you’ve been transfixed by March Madness, the Spurs are looking like a championship contender. Again. If you want some perspective, my son Andrew was born

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SH Blog: Warriors Clinch Division; LeBron Responds to Love’s MVP Vote; Khris Middleton Has ‘Horry Moment’

Warriors Stephen Curry

Warriors Clinch Division Title 39 years is a long time for anything. It’s especially long when it is the amount of time since a team last won its division title. The Golden State Warriors, who have been buried behind the greatness of many teams in the Pacific Division — the Los Angeles Lakers, Sacramento Kings, Phoenix Suns, Portland Trail Blazers and Seattle SuperSonics (both previously members of the Pacific Division), even the historically bad Los Angeles Clippers in recent years — are

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Bernucca: Gimme Shelter: Fallout from Durant injury will reach Near and Far

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The last 12 months represent by far the least amount of basketball Kevin Durant has played in his eight-year NBA career. In a sadly ironic twist, it also represents a time when he has had more intrigue swirling around him than ever before. In the last year, Durant has won NBA MVP and given a moving acceptance speech; quit as the new face of Team USA; created a bidding war between apparel companies in the mid nine figures; become the beacon of

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Sprung: Spurs are living and dying with/without Kawhi Leonard

Kawhi Leonard

Where would the San Antonio Spurs be this season without Kawhi Leonard? To answer my own question, probably out of the playoff picture. In a Western Conference where the 8th-seeded New Orleans Pelicans are seven games over .500, the Spurs are 33-16 with Leonard and just 9-9 without him. Leonard leads the team in scoring, defensive rating and minutes per game. There’s an immense difference in Leonard’s stats in Spurs wins and losses, to the point where an off night can torpedo

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

PI-NBA-Suns-Goran-Dragic-011714

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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Heisler: Trade deadline widens gap between best, worst teams

dragic

Why is the trade deadline different from all other nights of the year? It’s not. The West just got tougher. In the East, where there’s no life-or-death importance attached to getting better, the top teams sat this one out while the bad teams—your Knicks and 76ers—dumped, shut down or otherwise disposed of their best players in order to tank more definitively. [Read more…]

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Here’s Your NBA Trade Deadline Buyout Cheat Sheet

Jamal Crawford

The NBA trading deadline is slightly more than 24 hours away. And while the feeling is that there will be some deals, many teams made their biggest moves some time ago. The deadline has become about far more than acquiring players. It is just as much about stockpiling assets such as draft picks and expiring contracts or unloading players with long-term deals. With that in mind, we have compiled a list of veteran players who have either partial or no guarantees on

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Sprung: Austin Rivers Not Doing Much to Help Dear Old Dad’s Bench

DocandAustin

Doc Rivers is still trying to make things work on the basketball court with his son Austin. After orchestrating a three-way January trade for his son with Boston and Phoenix, giving up what many thought was too high a price at the time, Doc is betting on Austin becoming the catalyst for a Los Angeles Clippers second unit that has been in the league’s bottom third this season in both points scored and allowed. Austin has played 10 games so far for Los

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