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NBA trade rumors: 76ers pushed for Chris Paul deal, but Suns star wasn’t interested

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NBA trade rumors: 76ers pushed for Chris Paul deal, but Suns star wasn't interested

The 76ers are a legitimate title contender this season. They have All-Stars in Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons and, after some offseason tweaks, a more balanced roster with complementary role players. Plus, Doc Rivers is hitting all the right buttons in his first year as Philadelphia’s head coach.

Pretty good, right? Now imagine this 76ers team with Chris Paul.

NBA STANDINGS: Seeding scenarios, breakdown for playoff spots

A Paul-to-Philly trade may have happened this past offseason if the future Hall of Famer had expressed any interest in joining the Sixers. But Paul was reportedly a “driving force” behind the deal that sent him from the Thunder to the Suns in November.

From The Athletic’s Sam Amick:

Ironically, sources say Philadelphia — with [Daryl] Morey having taken over the Sixers’ front office just weeks before Paul was sent to the Suns, and his former Clippers coach, Doc Rivers, part of their program too — made a spirited push to land Paul. The Sixers even believed there was some traction on a possible deal. The interest from Paul, however, was not mutual. With Paul targeting Phoenix as the best fit professionally and personally, and [Sam] Presti in a much-improved negotiating position because of the way Paul had played, the Suns had won the CP sweepstakes.

It’s unclear why Paul didn’t entertain the idea of playing for the Sixers. Perhaps he didn’t view himself as a great fit alongside Embiid and Simmons. He may have been hesitant to work with Morey again after the former Rockets general manager unexpectedly traded him to Oklahoma City in exchange for Russell Westbrook.

Regardless of the reasoning, Paul’s decision has worked out just fine. He is averaging 16.1 points and 8.7 assists per game for a Phoenix squad that finds itself just one game back of the Jazz for the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference. He has a $44.2 million player option for next season that could keep him with the Suns for another season, but he is not sure whether he will take that option or hit free agency in search of a long-term contract.

“I mean, first and foremost, I love it [in Phoenix],” Paul told Amick. “I don’t know how many years I’ve got left. I don’t really think about that either. I feel too good. Seriously, this summer, I have no clue. As much as I’m involved in the union and stuff like that [as the president of the National Basketball Players Association], I don’t know what anybody’s teams are, [what their] caps are, I don’t know none of that stuff. I just play.”

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Twitter reacts to Russell Westbrook’s NBA-record 182nd career triple-double

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Twitter reacts to Russell Westbrook's NBA-record 182nd career triple-double

Russell Westbrook made history Monday night, notching his 182nd career triple-double — and moving past Oscar Robertson for the all-time NBA record.

Robertson’s record lasted 47 years, from 1974 through Monday night when a fourth-quarter rebound in front of a reduced-capacity crowd in Atlanta gave Westbrook sole possession of the record. It took him 12 years to surpass Robertson’s record after he achieved his first triple-double (17 points, 10 assists, 10 rebounds) in 2009 as a rookie with the Thunder.

MORE: Jaylen Brown injury update: Celtics star out for rest of season with torn wrist ligament

Monday’s triple-double was Westbrook’s 36th of the year. That insane output is helping him average, for the fourth time in his career, a triple-double over the course of the season. The previous such campaigns came in 2016-17 through 2018-19.

Westbrook finished with 28 points, 21 assists and 13 rebounds in the Wizards’ 125-124 loss to the Hawks; the loss dropped Washington to 32-37 on the season, but the team still ranks 10th in the Eastern Conference standings. The Wizards’ playoff hopes pale in comparison to the history Westbrook made, however.

He even made sure to get the game ball from officials so he could be certain to commemorate the historic achievement.

Here are some of the best reactions to Westbrook’s history-making feat:

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Kenny Mayne’s ESPN cover letter was perfect precursor to his incredible career

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Kenny Mayne's ESPN cover letter was perfect precursor to his incredible career

ESPN’s Kenny Mayne, one of the most recognizable talents in sports broadcasting, is leaving the network, he announced on Monday.

The 27-year ESPN anchor broke the news on Twitter, describing his exit from the worldwide leader in sports as a “salary cap casualty.” Naturally, he could only include some of the dry humor that helped him become a beloved presence in the studio and on millions of sports fans’ TVs.

MORE: ESPN anchors get emotional over laid-off co-workers: ‘We are all hurting’

The longtime “SportsCenter” host’s final day will be on May 24, bringing to an end a 27-year stint at ESPN that began in 1994. His absence will undoubtedly be noted among fans who appreciated his humor and presence in ESPN’s studios — but his Monday announcement is as good a reason as any to remember the incredible cover letter that first landed him the gig in 1994.

Mayne sent a short and sweet cover letter to ESPN’s John Walsh in 1994, offering him three checkboxes in the former’s bid to land a job with ESPN:

Unsurprisingly, Mayne made Walsh smile. Walsh wouldn’t be the last person to smile at Mayne’s humor and creativity.

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Jaylen Brown injury update: Celtics star out for rest of season with torn wrist ligament

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Jaylen Brown injury update: Celtics star out for rest of season with torn wrist ligament

The Celtics will have to fight for a playoff spot without one of their most important players.

Boston announced Monday night that All-Star forward Jaylen Brown has suffered a torn scapholunate ligament in his left wrist and will miss the rest of the 2020-21 season. He is expected to undergo surgery later this week.

MORE: Will LeBron James return vs. Knicks?

The Celtics offered no specific timetable for Brown’s return to the court, but as The Athletic’s Jared Weiss noted, Boston guard Romeo Langford suffered the same injury last year and took about six months to recover. If Brown stays roughly on that timeline, he should be available to rejoin the lineup for the start of the 2021-22 campaign.

Brown dealt with injury and COVID-19 issues throughout the season, but the 24-year-old still managed to earn his first All-Star selection with some of the best individual numbers of his career. He averaged a career-high 24.7 points per game while shooting 48.4 percent from the field and 39.7 percent from 3-point range.

Without Brown available, Boston will rely heavily on Jayson Tatum and Kemba Walker to produce offensively. The Celtics will also need more from trade deadline acquisition Evan Fournier, who most recently scored 30 points in a loss to the Heat on Sunday — his highest scoring output since joining the team.

Even if other players step up in Brown’s absence, the Celtics, currently the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference standings, are unlikely to make a deep run in the 2021 NBA playoffs. They would face an uphill battle in a potential first-round series against the 76ers, Nets or Bucks, the top three seeds in the Eastern Conference.

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