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Basketball news gathered from around the net.

LeBron, Irving Had 'Healthy' Exchange Of Words After Blazers Loss

LeBron James and Kyrie Irving exchanged words in the Cleveland Cavaliers' locker room after a blowout loss to the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday, according to sources.

It led to Irving leaving quickly without speaking to the media.

The discussion was seen as healthy, with the veteran James voicing concerns about the direction of the Cavaliers' offense.

James scored 11 points in the game against Portland. The Cavaliers are off to a 1-3 start.

Via Brian Windhorst/ESPN

Pacers To Sign A.J. Price Due To Mekel Visa Issues

The Indiana Pacers were unable to complete their signing of Gal Mekel due to visa issues.

The Pacers are desperate to sign a point guard before Friday's game and will instead sign A.J. Price.

Price was waived by the Cleveland Cavaliers in order to sign Will Cherry.

Via Marc Stein/ESPN

John Lucas III Receives Interest In NBA, China; Hoping For Stable Decision On Next Team

Free agent guard John Lucas III received interest from the Oklahoma City Thunder, Indiana Pacers and Memphis Grizzlies, but declined those potential opportunities due to their short-term nature and has focused on making a more long-term decision, league sources told RealGM.

The Thunder, Pacers and Grizzlies scoured the free-agent market for point guards after injury issues, and they contacted Lucas prior to deciding upon players this week. Lucas, who has been working out in Houston since his release from the Washington Wizards, also received proposals in the Chinese Basketball Association.

As a seven-year NBA veteran who carved an instant-offense role, Lucas had his most successful and potent stretch in 49 games for the Chicago Bulls in the 2011-12 season. Long considered a respected teammate in the locker room and prepared on the court, Lucas had four 20-point efforts that season — including a 24-point game in March 2012 against the Miami Heat.

Lucas is believed to be hoping to ultimately return to the Bulls on a deal later this season, league sources told RealGM. Chicago currently has 14 players on the roster.

“John has received interest from different teams, but to say he has declined any formal offers would be inaccurate,” Lucas’ agent, Bernie Lee, said when reached on Wednesday. “John is in a situation, after a crazy summer, of trying to make the right decision versus any decision, but he is willing to prove himself as requested. John owes a tremendous amount of his value in the NBA to the opportunity Chicago's front office gave him there initially. Over time, it's become clear that Gar Forman has a unique ability to find value in obscure places: He signed John out of China, and he might be the best in the NBA at this. In some ways John was at the beginning of this.

“I have not had a single conversation with Gar about John since John left. The different situations just haven't lined up. Gar has found various ways to replace the role John left, including this year, and John has been under contract since leaving. I do have every belief that John will resume his NBA career soon, but to date the only opportunities John has declined have been lucrative money offers with Jilin in China earlier in the year and Fujian on Wednesday.”

Lucas, 31, has spent the past two seasons with the Toronto Raptors and Utah Jazz, signing multi-year NBA deals in 2012 and 2013. The 5-foot-11 product has scored 4.8 points and registered 1.4 assists per game in his career, and averaged 3.8 points and one assist in 42 appearances for Utah a season ago.

Via Shams Charania/RealGM

Ish Smith Plans To Sign With Thunder

Ish Smith underwent a physical exam in Oklahoma City on Wednesday and plans to sign with the Thunder.

The Thunder are expected to receive a hardship player exception in time to sign Smith for Friday's game.

Via Darnell Mayberry/The Oklahoman

Klay Thompson's Contract Only A Max Under $66.5M 15-16 Cap

Klay Thompson's extension with the Golden State Warriors is not a max contract despite reports to the contrary, according to sources.

The first-year salary of a true max contract is set as a percentage of the cap rather a dollar figure amount, which is 25 percent of the cap for players coming off rookie contracts with 7.5 percent annual raises.

Thompson’s contract sticks at four years and $69 million regardless of what happens to the 2015-16 cap between now and the start of next season.

The max is almost the exact dollar-for-dollar equivalent of a max contract under the $66.5 million cap scenario, which is the currrent projection for 15-16.

Via Zach Lowe/Grantland

Clippers Tried To Sneak Joe Ingles Through Waivers

The Los Angeles Clippers cut Joe Ingles during the preseason as part of a roster crunch, but quickly found a home with the Utah Jazz.

Doc Rivers believes the Australian small forward “would’ve found his way on the floor with us” if the Clippers could have held on to the 27-year-old.

“I just think a guy that knows how to play when you put him on a good team, he can be really good,” Rivers continued. “And he’s a great guy that you want on your team.”

The Clippers were hoping nobody would claim Ingles off waivers while they tried to figure out how to re-sign him, which would have required cutting a player.

Via Jody Genessy/Deseret News

Kalin Lucas Signs With Grizzlies

The Memphis Grizzlies have signed Kalin Lucas.

Lucas (6-1, 186) recently averaged 3.1 points and 1.0 assists on .429 shooting in 7.9 minutes in eight preseason games for Memphis. The 25-year-old, who also played for the Grizzlies in the 2014 Orlando Pro Summer League, was originally signed on Sept. 25 and waived on Oct. 25.

Via NBA.com

Durant Could Delay Free Agency Until 2017 For Larger Max Contract

It is believed that Kevin Durant has already made it known to some people that his free agency decision in 2016 will come down to the Oklahoma City Thunder and Washington Wizards.

Some teams are optimistic that Durant will consider all options as a free agent.

Durant could also sign a one-year deal with the Thunder in 2016 to become a free agent in 2017 when he'll have 10 years of experience and be eligible for a larger max contract. Players can earn up to 35 percent of the cap after they have 10 years of experience, which is up from 30 percent.

Delaying his free agency until 2017 also gives Durant the opportunity to see what Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka decide to do.

Via Zach Lowe/Grantland

Durant: I Can Inspire D.C. Kids From Oklahoma

In an interview on ESPN's Mike & Mike Show, Kevin Durant was asked whether watching the impact of LeBron James returning to his home area of Cleveland could influence his decision on possibly signing with the Washington Wizards.

Durant will become a free agent in 2016 and there has been speculation that he might leave the Thunder for the Wizards.

"I really haven't thought about that, to be honest," said Durant. "I hear it a lot. But I think I can make an impact on the community I grew up from anywhere. So I think I'm doing a good job of that in Oklahoma. My friends, my family, the kids in my neighborhood are seeing that. I'm inspiring them from Oklahoma City. I really haven't thought about it. I love where I am. I know that sounds cliche and the answer everybody gives, but that's really true from my side of it. I'm sure everybody's watching from afar."

Via Berry Tramel/Oklahoman

Thunder Contact Ish Smith

The Oklahoma City Thunder have contacted Ish Smith, but they have not made a decision on a replacement guard.

The Thunder have also reached out to other veteran point guards, after losing Russell Westbrook due to injury. They have been with only one true point guard, Sebastian Telfair, since losing Westbrook.

The Thunder have applied for an injured player exception with the NBA to add a 16th player to the roster.

Smith signed a guaranteed deal with the Houston Rockets in the offseason but was released before this season.

Via David Aldridge/NBA.com

Knicks, Pacers Discussed J.R. Smith For Chris Copeland Trade

J.R. Smith may wait until 2016 to become a free agent.

Kobe 'Extremely Loyal To Lakers', Not Considering Asking For Trade

Kobe Bryant makes $23.5 million this season and $25 million in the next, which would limit the Lakers' ability to trade him.

Nuggets Expected To Exercise $5M Option On Timofey Mozgov

Timofey Mozgov would then become an unrestricted free agent in 2016.

Jimmy Butler: 'I'm Going To Be In Chicago'

Jimmy Butler remains convinced he will remain with the Bulls.

Cavaliers Waive A.J. Price To Sign Will Cherry On Two-Year Deal

Will Cherry played for the Cavaliers in the NBA Summer League in July.

Lakers Among Teams Interested In Quincy Miller

The Rockets and Pacers also have registered varying levels of intrigue in Quincy Miller, sources said.

Reggie Jackson Determined To Find Starting Job In Restricted Free Agency

Some teams believe Reggie Jackson could command a deal in the $13 million-$14 million-plus annual range.

Ricky Rubio, Wolves Agree Upon Four-Year, $55M Extension

Ricky Rubio and the Wolves have agreed upon a four-year, $55 million extension.

Jimmy Butler Rejects 'Hometown Discount' Offer From Bulls

Jimmy Butler rejected the Bulls' final contract extension offer on Friday and will become a restricted free agent in the summer of 2015.

Klay Thompson, Warriors Agree Upon $70M Max Extension

Klay Thompson and the Warriors have agreed upon a four-year, $70 millon maximum contract extension.

Brandon Knight, Bucks End Extension Talks

Brandon Knight was acquired by the Bucks from the Pistons in 2013.

Klay Thompson, Warriors Hold No New Extension Talks

Klay Thompson would become a restricted free agent in 2015 without a new deal.

Kawhi Leonard, Spurs End Extension Talks

Sources say the Spurs want to keep Kawhi Leonard's contract off the books until they can explore free agent targets, especially since Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili could retire.

Exec: Meeting With Rich Paul On LeBron Was For Them To Publicize Their Business

LeBron James empowered his agent Rich Paul to meet with several teams to Klutch’s offices in Cleveland for free-agent presentations without him present.

Ricky Rubio, Wolves Approximately $6M Apart On Extension Talks

The Wolves have offered Ricky Rubio a four-year, $52 million deal and could possibly go as high as $54 million.

Alec Burks, Jazz Agree Upon Four-Year, $42M Extension

Alec Burks' deal could climb to $45 million with reachable incentive clauses.

Mavericks Open To Late Season Signing Of Ray Allen Or Rashard Lewis

The Mavericks would be open to signing Ray Allen or Rashard Lewis later in the regular season should either player be interested in a deal.

Hawks Decline John Jenkins' Fourth-Year Rookie Option

The Hawks have decided to allow John Jenkins to become an unrestricted free agent next offseason, league sources told RealGM.

Jermaine O'Neal Hasn't Ruled Out Continuing Career

Jermaine O'Neal is not ruling out returning to the NBA for his 19th season after just turning 36.

Gilbert: Signing Kyrie Irving To Extension Was Pivotal To Getting LeBron

Dan Gilbert believes getting Kyrie Irving signed to a max contract extension with the Cavaliers was critical in landing LeBron James in free agency and then trading for Kevin Love.
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