Mega-trade of Kyrie Irving, Isaiah Thomas doesn’t change much in East

The first few seconds of your first earthquake are disconcerting. You don’t know what’s happening. The undulation, the noise, the inability to focus — it’s all disconcerting. But once you’ve been in a few, you know the feeling. You don’t relax, but you don’t panic, either.

Mega-trade of Kyrie Irving, Isaiah Thomas doesn’t change much in East

Such is another week in the dramatic life of LeBron James jersey. Another ‘quake? Big deal. It’s like he lives in a village called Frackingtown.

Kyrie Irving’s gone? Isaiah Thomas’ hip is jacked up worse than the Cavs thought about wholesale NBA jerseys? …

Kevin Love’s shoulder? Irving’s knee? Dwyane Wade’s knee? For that matter, Larry Hughes’ foot?

Guys go down next to James year after year, yet very little has stopped the party since 2007 — and not at all since 2010. And while a whole lot of people got their NBA jackets cheap and knickers twisted when Cleveland temporarily braked the deal, the end result was as good as anyone in Northern Ohio could expect, given the complete lack of leverage the Cavaliers had once Irving’s trade demands and unhappiness became public. (No, Koby Altman’s future as a GM isn’t ruined; everyone around the league knows the straight jacket every Cleveland exec is in, with Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert driving the bus. Hey, he paid for the bus; he can drive it if he wants NBA jersey for cheap. Altman did a hell of a job getting what he got.)

Yet rarely have the two best teams in a conference made a trade with one another the summer after, jangling up all the pieces from their five-game Eastern Conference finals series just a few months ago.

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Thomas may miss the start of training camp. He says he’ll be fine eventually, but can’t say for sure he’ll be on the court at the end of the month. But there is no doubt in the James camp that whether Thomas is ready for training camp or not, or the start of the regular season or not, James will still be on the last East team standing in June 2018.

There’s also a little less variance in the number of NBA jerseys authentic games teams play vs. opponents that are playing the second game of a back-to-back, which is important too.

Over the last five seasons, a team that didn’t play the day before has won 59 percent of the time when it played a team that was on the second game of a back-to-back. Only five teams had a losing record in that situation (with a rest advantage) last season.

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Mitchell and Ness Jazz #12 John Stockton Stitched White Throwback NBA Jersey

This season, the number of games where one team is playing the second game of a back-to-back and other is not has only been reduced from 349 to 327. More work in that regard was done last season, when the number was reduced from 384 in 2015-16.

The Milwaukee Bucks jersey, one of the three teams with a losing record (3-5) when they had a rest advantage last season, will have the biggest positive discrepancy between games with a rest advantage (13) and games with a disadvantage (9). If playoff positioning is on the line after 79 games, the Bucks are in good shape, because their last three games of the season are rest-advantage games against New York, Orlando and Philadelphia.

On the other side of the spectrum are the Atlanta Hawks and Chicago Bulls, who each have a negative discrepancy of five games. The Hawks play only five NBA shorts cheap games with a rest advantage and 10 where they’re on the second game of a back-to-back against a rested opponent. The Bulls play seven of the former and 12 of the latter.

C.J. McCollum, Portland Trail Blazers

Half of the highest-scoring backcourt in the league, he’s improved through each of his first four seasons and fills it up from the 3-point line. He’d likely have to bump out teammate Damian Lillard for the spot.

Kristaps Porzingis, New York Knicks

The 7-foot-3 Latvian has all the skills to excel and the perfect forum to do it in at Madison Square Garden. If Carmelo Anthony gets his wish to be traded out of New York, the young forward will get more chances to become an All-Star.

Lonzo Ball, Los Angeles Lakers

He hasn’t played a single game or laced up his sneakers for an NBA practice. But if the ballyhooed No. 2 Draft pick lives up anywhere close to the hype and the Lakers are competitive, don’t discount the fan voting in L.A. from getting him in the race.

Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers

Let’s face it: he’d be the reigning Kia Rookie of the Year in 2017 if he’d played more than just 31 games last season. He’s got all the tools and he’s downright fun, too, which makes him a perfect fit to shine at All-Star weekend. It’s there for the taking … if he can stay healthy.

Grizzlies lose Chandler Parsons to torn knee cartilage

Memphis Grizzlies small forward Chandler Parsons will likely undergo season-ending surgery for the third consecutive year, sources told ESPN.

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The Grizzlies said Monday night that Parsons is out indefinitely with a partial tear of the meniscus in his left knee, which is not the knee he had operated on the previous two years. Sources said that a final decision on whether he needs surgery is likely to be made later this week after Parsons is further evaluated.

“To suffer a setback like this after working so diligently to rebound from the injury to his right knee is obviously tough,” general manager Chris Wallace said in a statement. “That said, we know he will continue to work tirelessly to return to the court with his teammates cheap jerseys and contribute.

“Chandler has the full support of myself, Coach [David Fizdale] and the entire team, and we are all focused on getting him healthy,” Wallace added in the news release.

Parsons, who signed a four-year, $94 million maximum contract to join the Grizzlies last summer, has been limited to only 34 games this season due to problems with both knees. Parsons has struggled when he has played, averaging career lows in virtually every category, including points (6.2 per game), rebounds (2.5), assists (1.6) and field goal percentage (33.8 percent).

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Both of Parsons’ seasons with the Dallas Mavericks ended prematurely due to surgeries on his right knee. He had hybrid microfracture surgery on that knee in May 2014 and a meniscus repair last March. Primarily due to his knee problems, the Mavs opted not to attempt to re-sign Parsons after he declined the player option for the final season of his contract last summer.

“We just want the swelling to go down,” Grizzlies coach David Fizdale said. “It blew up overnight, so he can’t even see out of the eye. He’s got to get the swelling down so that he can get back to work.”

Conley was hurt with 3:42 left to play on Tuesday when he collided with Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard. He was repaired by what one of the team’s athletic trainers called “a continuous stitch.”

“Instead of having like 13 [stitches], they’ve got this new stitch they can just run across the underneath [area] of it,” Conley said. “As you can see, it’s cut across the whole eyelid. So I’m thankful it’s not worse, because I’ve had eye injuries before. I’m just thankful this is just a gash. It could always be worse.”

Fizdale ruled out resting Conley until the playoffs.

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“He’s got to play some,” the coach said Wednesday. “His rhythm is the key. He doesn’t need to sit that much. I just want to make sure he’s in rhythm going into [the playoffs]. He’s obviously been playing great for us since All-Star [Weekend]. He’s really hit another gear. I don’t want him to lose that rhythm.”

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Grizzlies #32 O.J Mayo Revolution 30 White Stitched NBA Jersey

“Zach Randolph, the most rugged guy in the game, had zero free throws,” Fizdale said after the game. “But somehow Kawhi Leonard had 19 free throws. First half, we shot 19 shots in the paint, and we had six free throws. They shot 11 times in the paint, and they had 23 free throws. I’m not a numbers guy, but that doesn’t seem to add up. Overall, 35 times we shot the ball in the paint. We had 15 free throws for the wholesale jerseys game. They shot 18 times in the paint and had 32 free throws. Kawhi shot more free throws than our whole team. Explain it to me.”

The trio of Crawford, Spooner and Mott have officiated more than 400 playoff games over careers that span more than two decades for each, but Fizdale was irate with their performance.

“We don’t get the respect that these guys deserve because Mike Conley doesn’t go crazy,” Fizdale said. “He has class, and he just plays the game. But I’m not gonna let them treat us that way. I know Pop’s [Spurs coach Gregg Popovich] got pedigree, and I’m a young rookie. But they’re not gonna rook us. That’s unacceptable. That was unprofessional. Our guys dug in that game and earned the right to be in that game. And they did not even give us a chance.”

As Fizdale finished his thought, he slammed a pen on the table and stood up.

“Take that for data,” he said.

Nuggets talk to Bulls, Suns about Jimmy Butler, Eric Bledsoe trades

The Denver Nuggets held separate discussions leading up to Thursday night’s NBA draft about deals to acquire Chicago Bulls forward Jimmy Butler or Phoenix Suns point guard Eric Bledsoe, sources told ESPN.

The deal with the Bulls would include draft picks and multiple young players but not Nuggets center Nikola Jokic, a source said.

In the trade with the Suns, the Nuggets would send point guard Emmanuel Mudiay and the No. 13 overall pick to Phoenix in return for Bledsoe, league sources said. Sources described the dialogue for those negotiations as “fluid.”

Denver has for some time been seeking an upgrade at point guard.

The Wolves received the No. 16 overall pick in Thursday night’s draft, which was used to select Justin Patton, the freshman center from Creighton.

The Bulls, meanwhile, acquired guards Kris Dunn and Zach LaVine as well as the No. 7 overall pick Thursday night, which was used to select 7-footer Lauri Markkanen from Arizona.

“What we’ve done tonight is set a direction,” said John Paxson, the Bulls’ vice president of basketball operations. “We’re going to do it with young players. We’re going to be disciplined and patient.

“These are hard things to do. We traded a guy we really like. Tonight, we made a decision to change direction and define our path.”

Butler was in Paris when he learned of the trade, according to ESPN’s Jeff Goodman. He found out from his agent, Bernie Lee, about 2 a.m. Paris time.

When asked about the deal, Butler told Goodman he did not have a comment.

Butler was in France, along with several other NBA players, including Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Dwyane Wade and Carmelo Anthony, where they were attending the Paris fashion shows.

Dunn was last year’s No. 5 overall pick, and LaVine, who averaged 18.9 points last season before suffering a torn ACL, was the No. 13 pick in 2014.

Markkanen, meanwhile, is the first Finnish-born player drafted in the lottery. His 69 3-pointers last season were the most by a 7-footer in college basketball in the past 20 seasons, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

Rondo, 31, has a team option worth more than $13 million, and the Bulls’ front office spoke after the season ended that it was very likely that Rondo would return. Now that the Bulls have dealt Butler, the idea of seeing Rondo again in a Bulls uniform seems far less likely.

“As far as Rajon, we told you how highly we think of him,” Paxson said. “Zach and Rajon share the same agent, Bill Duffy, who is here today. We’re going to sit down with Bill and talk through [things]. We do understand that veterans are important for a young basketball team. The right veterans. The guys that are good teammates, are supportive of the young guys, and continue to teach them how to be pros. Those are things we’ll be addressing.”

Another main topic of concern during Tuesday’s meeting with reporters was the health of LaVine’s left knee. LaVine tore the ACL in his left knee last February, but he sounded confident Tuesday that he will play at a high level again at some point next season. While he didn’t put an exact timetable on his return, LaVine was optimistic about the rehab process, and Bulls officials are confident he will be back on the floor sooner rather than later.

“I’m going to be safe,” LaVine said. “The main thing is always being safe. And I always have to take care of myself and this franchise as well, so I’m going to be safe. I’m going to do everything I can physically to get back, and then when I’m at that point, I’m going to be ready. I’m the type of person that’s going to work my butt off to get there as fast as possible. I’m going to be ready when I am there.”

Sources: Kevin Durant to decline option, re-sign with Warriors

Golden State Warriors superstar Kevin Durant will decline his player option for the 2017-18 season and technically become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, but he will re-sign with the team, league sources tell ESPN.

The 2017 NBA Finals MVP will turn down a player-option salary of approximately $28 million to momentarily hit free agency with the intentions of taking less than the max he’s eligible for as a 10-year veteran. This is in order to improve the Warriors’ chances of re-signing reserve stud Andre Iguodala, league sources told ESPN.

By Durant taking about $4 million less than his max next year and waiting to get his long-term extension for at least another season, the Warriors would be able to use their Bird rights on an Iguodala deal that is far more comparable to what he’d see on the open market.

All signs, according to sources, point to Durant signing another one-plus-one pact, which carries a player-option at the end.

With Durant opting to sacrifice, according to league sources, the Warriors would not need to create room under the cap to re-sign him and thus would not need to renounce their rights to any of their other free agents.

Durant led the Warriors to their second championship in the last three years and in the process, captured his first. The Hamptons 5 — consisting of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Iguodala, Draymond Green and Durant, who all met together last summer during the free-agency recruiting period — has a pathway of remaining intact.

The 6-11 forward has said on multiple occasions that he intends to stay with the Warriors for many years, and he has put roots down in the Bay Area both personally and professionally.

Durant and business partner Rich Kleiman have set up their business, the Durant Company, in the Bay Area. He has forged partnerships with California-based companies such as YouTube, Acorns and Postmates. In a New York Times profile this spring, Durant revealed that he is in business with Silicon Valley “super angel” investor Ronald Conway and consulting with Laurene Powell Jobs, the widow of Apple founder Steve Jobs.