Fantasy: Beal a good deal for daily lineups

With many key players banged up, ample opportunities exist to exploit undervalued prices.



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NBA reaches commercial deal with Brazilian league (Yahoo Sports)

SAO PAULO (AP) — The NBA has reached a commercial partnership with Brazil’s top basketball league, taking over its marketing, advertising and licensing deals.

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Kentucky Basketball: How Will Wildcats Deal with Alex Poythress’ Injury?

Alex Poythress is out for the season with a torn ACL, according to Brian Milam of WKYT News. It’s a tough blow for a player who has, quite frankly, had a rough collegiate career up to this point.

But even if Poythress‘ stats may not jump out off the page at you (5.5 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 1.5 bpg), Poythress was a very important cog of the world-destroying machine that is Kentucky this season. With all of the depth the Wildcats have been blessed with, Poythress was the only honest-to-God small forward of the 10 players seeing action.

Losing Poythress means losing a great defender, first and foremost, and a player who could provide a spark from time to time with a big offensive rebound or dunk. And Poythress was actually third on the team in blocked shots. However, here is what Kentucky is not losing: an offensive threat.

So what does this mean for Kentucky moving forward? John Calipari has two options.


Abandon the Platoons

Look, I loved the platoon. I love throwing different shifts at opponents and wearing them down. I thought it was great. But it was pretty much predicated on Kentucky having 10 great players who needed time. With Poythress gone, all due respect to Derek Willis, it becomes less necessary to try to get 10 guys playing time.

Calipari was able to get away with one platoon without a legit 3. Trey Lyles is a talented, athletic individual, but that is not his pure position. That platoon gets away with it for stretches, but you can’t go that way the entire game.

That means in addition to the 1-2-4-4-5 that the White Platoon was throwing out there with Poythress on the bench, Kentucky is going to have to counter with some 1-1-2-4-5 or 1-2-2-4-5 lineups as well, and that essentially means breaking up the platoon system to make that happen.

You could see Devin Booker slide in with the Harrison twins to try on that 3 spot. Or have Tyler Ulis run the point, have Andrew Harrison move over to the 2 and have Aaron Harrison try his hand at small forward. Maybe trying Aaron in a new position will be the shot in the arm he needs to break out of this funk he’s been in.

Regardless, as soon as Cal starts mixing the lineups like this, the line changes stop and the platoon system dies an honorable death.

Derek Willis Time

Even though Willis is technically Kentucky’s 12th man, he’s basically the next man up as far as small forwards go. So it’s conceivable that if Calipari were intent on keeping his platoons together, Willis could go from 12th man to starter.

The key takeaway here is that Willis is no ordinary 12th man. He’s a pretty solid basketball player and somebody that I’m not totally opposed to seeing more playing time. And, if we’re being honest, he’s a much bigger offensive threat than Poythress ever was.

Willis has confidence in his game and won’t be shy about trying to contribute and, unlike Poythress, I won’t scream at my TV when he does something other than try to dunk the ball. With Kentucky’s struggles on offense lately, maybe it’s not such a bad idea after all to have a scoring-minded small forward playing more/at all.

Obviously, it’s a huge downgrade in the defense and rebounding game. But Kentucky has the size to make up the difference. Now maybe the Wildcats will go from being one of the greatest defensive teams of all time, per Gary Parrish of CBS Sports, to just being a really good defensive team.

Since the news hit so late Thursday night, Kentucky and Calipari are waiting until Friday to hold a press conference and possibly give some answers on the strategy moving forward. I kind of hope he keeps the platoons and just gives Willis some run. But I also wouldn’t mind shaking up Aaron Harrison and seeing what he could do at the 3.

Whatever happens, I don’t see this as the giant blow to Kentucky that initially it seemed like. Yes, Poythress provides some senior leadership and more than his share of great defense, but he is also Captain Inconsistent on a team that is having some consistency problems at the moment. I don’t think it’s necessarily addition by subtraction, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the Wildcats find a way to take what they’ve been given and make themselves a better team.


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Steve Fisher agrees to new deal

The 69-year-old coach just started his 16th season with the Aztecs.



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Hawks win again, deal Knicks 5th straight loss (Yahoo Sports)

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 10: Al Horford #15 of the Atlanta Hawks shoots against Amar'e Stoudemire #1 of the New York Knicks on November 10, 2014 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)

NEW YORK (AP) — Two nights after the best game of his NBA career, Dennis Schroder had one that was even better.

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Beck/Bucher: Would You Rather Give a Max Deal to Klay Thompson or Kawhi Leonard?

Klay Thompson and Kawhi Leonard are two emerging NBA superstars that can be looked at as franchise cornerstones, certainly worthy of hefty contracts.

With Thompson signing a rich extension with the Golden State Warriors and reigning Finals MVP Leonard still without a deal, we asked our NBA experts who is the better investment.

Ric Bucher and Howard Beck join Adam Lefkoe to debate that topic in the video above.

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Wolves give Rubio 4-year, $56M deal (Yahoo Sports)

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - OCTOBER 30: Ricky Rubio #9 of the Minnesota Timberwolves during the game against the Detroit Pistons on October 30, 2014 at Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images)

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Ricky Rubio is getting a four-year, $56 million contract extension from the Minnesota Timberwolves.

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AP Source: Jazz, Burks agree on 4-year, $42M deal (Yahoo Sports)

SALT LAKE CITY, UT - OCTOBER 29: Alec Burks #10 of the Utah Jazz handles the ball against the Houston Rockets at EnergySolutions Arena on October 29, 2014 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images)

From his second season to his third in the NBA, Alec Burks doubled his scoring and assist averages and improved his field goal percentage as well. It’s clear that the Utah Jazz expect the improvement from the 23-year-old to keep on coming. Burks agreed to a new four-year, $42 million contract extension on Friday that could be worth $45 million after incentives, a person with knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press. The Jazz later confirmed the signing, but didn’t release the terms.

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AP Source: Jazz, Burks agree on 4 yr, $42M deal (Yahoo Sports)

SALT LAKE CITY, UT - OCTOBER 29: Alec Burks #10 of the Utah Jazz handles the ball against the Houston Rockets at EnergySolutions Arena on October 29, 2014 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images)

A person with knowledge of the deal tells The Associated Press that the Utah Jazz have agreed with guard Alec Burks on a four-year, $42 million extension that could be worth $45 million after incentives. The person requested anonymity because an official announcement had not been made. Burks was the 12th overall pick in 2011. He averaged 14.0 points and 3.3 rebounds in his third season in the league last year and is off to a nice start this season with 16.5 points on 50 percent shooting in the Jazz’s first two games.

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With the NBA’s new TV deal comes issue of money sharing

NBA commissioner Adam Silver doesn’t want to worry about a possible lockout, but it’s out there



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