Atlanta's (Racially) Confusing Rise to the Top

The Atlanta Hawks are in a very odd situation.  Despite sitting atop the Eastern Conference with a 29-8 record, the franchise finds itself up for sale.  It all started in September when majority owner Bruce Levenson “self-reported” a bigoted e-mail he sent out regarding the Hawks’ predominantly African-American fanbase.  Amidst the backlash from the Donald Sterling disaster, Levenson tried to save face and immediately declared that he would sell the team.

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Are the Lakers About to Piss Off the Whole League... Again?

In 2008, the Memphis Grizzlies traded Pau Gasol to the Los Angeles Lakers for perennial punchline KWAMAY Brown (to paraphrase Stephen A.) and a bag of peanuts.

The deal was universally panned. Clearly the deck was stacked in favor of the big-market juggernaut. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich gave voice to the collective disgust emanating from the rest of the league:

“What they did in Memphis is beyond comprehension,” said Popovich. “There should be a trade committee that can scratch all trades that make no sense. I just wish I had been on a trade committee that oversees NBA trades. I’d like to elect myself to that committee. I would have voted no to the L.A. trade.”

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How J-Smoove Can Find His Groove

NBA free agency is winding down.  Yet, a couple high-profile names still don’t know where they will be playing next year: restricted free agents Eric Bledsoe and Greg Monroe.  The former is in the middle of a contract negotiation meltdown with the Suns, pushing his relationship with the team to “the verge of [being] irreparable."  The latter is disgruntled with the current roster makeup of his Detroit Pistons.  More specifically, Monroe has a problem with a certain player:

Josh Smith.

I understand that Smith and Monroe share the same natural position (power forward) and do not complement each other’s games, but Monroe is at the point where he is on the verge of signing a one-year qualifying offer from the Pistons instead of agreeing to a lucrative long-term deal.  The implied message is that Monroe will flee the Motor City next summer if Smith is still there.

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Houston, We Have a Problem

A few days ago, the Rockets officially declined their team option on Chandler Parsons, making him a restricted free agent (meaning they can match any contract Chandler agrees to with another team and retain him).  Parsons was due just $964,000 on the final year of his rookie deal, which would have made him one of the biggest bargains of the 2014-15 season.  So why in the world did the Rockets put their third best player on the open market where he will likely earn an 8-figure salary, when they could have had him for less than all these things?

Before we delve into Parsons’ free agency, let’s take a look at just how valuable Chandler’s contract could have been with a game of who would you want the most:

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