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Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Clippers coach Doc Rivers bemoans ‘bum’s luck’ after injuries KO Blake Griffin, Chris Paul 04.27.16 at 8:30 am ET
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Welcome to Wednesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

WEDNESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: Braves at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Padres at Giants, 3:45 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Yankees at Rangers, 8:05 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA playoffs: Hornets at Heat, 8 p.m. (TNT)
NBA playoffs: Trail Blazers at Clippers, 10 p.m. (NBA TV)
NBA playoffs: Rockets at Warriors, 10:30 p.m. (TNT)
NHL playoffs: Islanders at Lightning, 7 p.m. (NBCSN)
NHL playoffs: Predators at Ducks, 10 p.m. (NBCSN)
MLS: Timbers at Revolution, 7:30 p.m. (CSNNE)
Soccer: UEFA Champions, Bayern Munich at Club Atletico de Madrid, 2:30 p.m. (FS1)

AROUND THE WEB:

— A bad week got worse for the Clippers on Tuesday, as Blake Griffin was ruled out for the rest of the playoffs after aggravating his partially torn left quadriceps tendon, and Chris Paul underwent surgery on his broken hand that will sideline him indefinitely.

Both players were injured in Monday’s Game 4 loss to the Trail Blazers that left the first-round series tied heading into Wednesday’s Game 5. One day after it appeared things might finally be lining up for a long playoff run after three years of disappointing finishes, the team appears headed for another frustrating ending.

“It’s bum’s luck three years in a row,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. “What can you do? All you can do is you’ve just got to keep going.”

It seemed likely that Paul would not return this postseason after he got his hand caught in Gerald Henderson’s jersey and suffered a broken third metacarpal in his right hand. However, now there is speculation that he might return in a few weeks, if the team was able to reach the Western Conference finals.

“It’s not as long as I think some may think it would be,” Rivers said. “That’s the good news, but we don’t know how long yet.”

Rivers attempted to stay positive despite the setbacks, insisting: “We have won games before without key guys, and I think we can win games in the future without key guys.”

Added Rivers: “I get down for like five minutes, and I was [Monday] night, but you wake up in the morning and you feel like we’re going to find a way, and it’s my job to try to get them to feel like I feel. If we do that, I think we’ll have a fighting chance.”

— Assuming Tom Brady’s four-game suspension holds, one of the games he’ll miss will be a home game against the Dolphins. But there is no rejoicing in Miami, as the Dolphins have their own issues.

Tuesday was the first day of voluntary veterans minicamp under new coach Adam Gase, and it was marked by a couple of noticeable absences.

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Read More: Blake Griffin, Chris Paul, Curt Schilling, doc rivers
Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Clippers G Chris Paul expected to miss remainder of playoffs after breaking hand 04.26.16 at 8:14 am ET
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Welcome to Tuesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

TUESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: Red Sox at Braves, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Reds at Mets, 7:10 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Cardinals at Diamondbacks, 9:40 p.m. (FS1)
NBA playoffs: Celtics at Hawks, 8:30 p.m. (CSNNE, TNT)
NBA playoffs: Pacers at Raptors, 6 p.m. (TNT)
Soccer: UEFA Champions, Real Madrid at Manchester City, 2:30 p.m. (FS1)

AROUND THE WEB:

— When Clippers coach Doc Rivers was asked Monday about the knee injury to Stephen Curry that will sideline the Warriors star for about two weeks, Rivers brought up the 2010 Celtics when they lost Kendrick Perkins in Game 6 of the NBA Finals — and that comparison led to some chuckles due to the obvious difference in the players’ abilities. Now, however, Rivers has a more appropriate comparison.

Clippers guard Chris Paul broke his hand in Monday night’s 98-84 loss to the Trail Blazers and is expected to need season-ending surgery.

Paul had scored 16 points in 24 minutes, but midway through the third quarter he tried to slow down a driving Gerald Henderson and appeared to get his right hand stuck in the back of Henderson’s jersey. The result is a fracture of the third metacarpal in Paul’s right hand. He went to the bench shortly after the play and headed to the locker room with a trainer, showing his frustration by kicking a seat cushion on the way.

“It obviously doesn’t look very good for him,” Rivers said. “For this to happen to him, he’s a very emotional guy. … The whole team was in the training room. It’s nice in that way, but the reality is you don’t have Chris Paul.”

To make matters worse for Los Angeles, Blake Griffin missed most of the fourth quarter after aggravating a left quad injury that he initially suffered on Christmas Day and caused him to miss about half the season. Rivers said Griffin is 50-50 for Game 5.

“It doesn’t look good for him, either,” Rivers said.

The Clippers went 3-5 during the regular season when Paul was out of the lineup.

“They’re a different team without him,” Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts said.

The Clippers and Warriors, fierce rivals, would meet in the second round if both teams advance. The Clippers now are tied 2-2, while the Warriors have a 3-1 lead on the Rockets.

— Tigers outfielder Tyler Collins apologized for giving Detroit fans the middle finger during Monday night’s 7-3 victory over the A’s, after they booed him for a defensive miscue.

In the sixth inning, Collins lost Marcus Semien’s pop-up in the lights. Teammate Justin Upton then mishandled the ball, allowing Semien to get to third base. As the fans rained boos, Collins flipped the bird and mouthed some expletives toward the crowd.

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Read More: Chris Paul, Deflategate, Erin Andrews, Tyler Collins
Heading into union meeting, NBA players question Adam Silver’s claim that teams are losing money 07.20.15 at 9:12 am ET
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According to NBA commissioner Adam Silver, “a significant number” of teams are losing money. However, players were hard-pressed to agree with Silver at Sunday’s NBA Players Awards show in Las Vegas, citing a need for proof before they believe him.

“I’ve got to see that for myself,” said Chris Paul, president of the players’ union. “This is probably one of the first years I didn’t really pay too much attention. … But we have a number of things we want to talk about, obviously some a little more important than others.”

For Paul and the rest of the union, they have specific issues they want to address during Monday’s meeting. They did not disclose their agenda at the Players Awards, but did voice their suspicion over Silver’s comments on teams’ worth.

“I can’t agree with that,” Nazr Mohammed said about Silver’s claim. “I think the league is as healthy as it’s ever been. Teams are worth more than they’ve ever been. The Clippers just went for $2 billion. I think it’s hard to say that especially when you networks willing to give us the type of money they are to watch our games.”

According to Paul and players’ union executive director Michelle Roberts, LeBron James will be directly involved in discussions with the commissioner, a huge boost for younger players coming up on their first collective bargaining decision.

“Obviously me and ‘Bron talk about it every day,” Paul said. “He’s the face of our league. His opinion matters. Our players listen when he talks. It’ll be great to have him in there. One thing about ‘Bron, too, is when he commits to something he’s always passionate about it, so I know his voice will be heard.”

NBA players and owners will have the chance to opt out of the current collective bargaining agreement in 2017, a decision that could result in another lockout like the one seen in 2011. While the players prepare for the discussions Monday, they hope for productive talks that don’t stall the process before more intense negotiations next offseason.

“I’ve been around long enough and I know there’s a lot of posturing that goes on during this process,” Mohammed said. “There’s going to be things said that can be supported by numbers, but sometimes the numbers don’t always give out the real facts. Hopefully they’re going to let us see their books and we’ll see exactly what they mean by that.”

Read More: Adam Silver, Chris Paul, LeBron James, Michelle Roberts
Clippers PG Chris Paul speaks out about female referee after technical foul 02.06.15 at 10:10 am ET
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After being given a technical foul in the third quarter by referee Lauren Holtkamp, Clippers guard Chris Paul was not happy.

With 10:17 left in the penultimate frame, the Clippers tried to inbound the ball quickly after a Cleveland free throw and Holtkamp said no. When Paul questioned her, he was assessed the technical. It was one of Los Angeles’ five on the night, four of which came in the third quarter and three in a 52-second span.

“The tech I got was ridiculous,” Paul said. “That’s terrible. There’s no way that can be a technical. We try to get the ball out fast every time down the court. When we did that, she said, ‘Uh-uh.’ I said, ‘Why uh-uh?’ and she gave me a technical. That’s ridiculous. If that’s the case, this might not be for her.”

Holtkamp is one of two active female officials in the NBA.

Coach Doc Rivers and forward Matt Barnes also got technicals. Barnes had two on the night and so was ejected in the third after his second in complaining to the ref about his teammate, Jamal Crawford, receiving a charging foul. He implored referee Eric Lewis to not “give [Cleveland] the game.”

“It keeps happening,” Barnes said. “Some of these I earn, some of them I don’t.”

Read More: Chris Paul, doc rivers, Lauren Holtkamp, los angeles clippers
Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Magic Johnson defends himself following criticism from banned Clippers owner Donald Sterling 05.14.14 at 8:01 am ET
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Welcome to Wednesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

WEDNESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: Red Sox at Twins, 8:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Tigers at Orioles, 12:35 (MLB Network)
MLB: Yankees at Mets, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
NHL playoffs: Canadiens at Bruins, 7 p.m. (NBCSN)
NHL playoffs: Ducks at Kings, 9:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
NBA playoffs: Nets at Heat, 7 p.m. (TNT)
NBA playoffs: Trail Blazers at Spurs, 9:30 p.m. (TNT)
Soccer: UEFA Europa final, Sevilla vs. Benfica, 2:30 p.m. (FS1)

AROUND THE WEB:

Magic Johnson responded to criticism from Donald Sterling by calling the suspended Clippers owner’s latest comments “disturbing” and “sad.”

In an earlier interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, Sterling said Johnson is not a good role model for children because he became HIV positive due to his irresponsible sexual behavior. He also questioned Johnson’s financial commitment to the African-American community.

“That’s his opinion if he things I’m not a role model,” Johnson told TMZ. “I know the things that I’ve done in urban America and for people.”

Johnson also sat down with Cooper and said Sterling is struggling with the fact that he “is not welcome back in the NBA.”

“He’s trying to find something that he can grab on to help him save his team. And it’s not going to happen. It’s not going to happen,” Johnson told CNN. “The board of governors now have to do their job. Adam Silver, our commissioner of the NBA, did a wonderful job of banning him for life. Now the board of governors have got to do their job.”

Johnson said Sterling called him after the tape of Sterling’s racist comments — including specific mentions of Johnson — was released, but the owner never apologized to him.

“I’m tired of talking about Donald, it’s a shame, I wish I would had did something to deserve this,” Johnson told CNN. “[I take] a photo with a young lady and I have to answer all these questions.”

Shelly Sterling, meanwhile, said she thinks her husband is having mental issues.

“He’s not the man I know, or I knew,” she told NBC’s “Today” show. “There’s something wrong. I really think, personally, he has dementia.”

— The Clippers did their best to tune out the Sterling distraction in Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinals, but they squandered a seven-point lead inside the final minute and dropped a controversial 105-104 decision to the Thunder on Tuesday night in Oklahoma City.

“We were robbed,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said, referring to an out-of-bounds call with 11 seconds left that went in favor of the home team — and stood after a review.

“That could be a series-defining call,” Rivers said. “And that’s not right.”

On the ensuing play, Chris Paul was called for touching Russell Westbrook‘s elbow on a 3-point try. Westbrook hit all three from the line for a one-point advantage with 6.4 seconds left.

Paul then had the ball stripped from him in the closing seconds as he drove the lane.

“Probably the toughest thing I’ve been through, basketball-wise,” said Paul, who also had a key turnover down the stretch. “Everything that happened there at the end is on me. It was just bad basketball.”

The Clippers got a memo from the league after a bad call in their opening-round series against the Warriors admitting the officials erred. Rivers said he doesn’t want a similar note this time.

“No, I don’t need it,” he said. “I’ll release the memo. They blew the call. That’s the memo.”

— Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson apparently is not convinced his team is on a fast track back to respectability.

The Texans were among the league’s elite in 2012 but are coming off a disastrous 2013 season and have a new coach, Bill O’Brien. Johnson, the team’s longest-tenured player, has played on just three winning teams in his 11-year career in Houston, and he acknowledged that “over time it can become very frustrating.”

When he looks at the team’s roster of quarterbacks, Johnson sees an unimpressive list that includes Case Keenum, Ryan Fitzpatrick, T.J. Yates and fourth-round draft pick Tom Savage.

Speaking to reporters at a charity event Tuesday, Johnson said: “I just kind of wonder sometimes: ‘Is this still the place for me?’ ”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On May 14, 1981, the Celtics captured their 14th NBA title with a 102-91 victory over the Rockets in Game 6. Who was named finals MVP?

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Read More: Andre Johnson, Chris Paul, doc rivers, Donald Sterling
Monday’s Morning Mashup: Doc Rivers recounts players’ anger after Donald Sterling story broke 05.05.14 at 7:55 am ET
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Welcome to Monday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MONDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NBA playoffs: Wizards at Pacers, 7 p.m. (TNT)
NBA playoffs: Clippers at Thunder, 9:30 p.m. (TNT)
NHL playoffs: Penguins at Rangers, 7:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
NHL playoffs: Kings at Ducks, 10 p.m. (NBCSN)
MLB: Cardinals at Braves, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
Soccer: Premier League, Crystal Palace vs. Liverpool, 2:55 p.m. (NBCSN)

AROUND THE WEB:

— Clippers coach Doc Rivers, in a sit-down interview with ESPN’s Michael Wilbon on Sunday, a day after his Clippers eliminated the Warriors in Game 7 of their first-round series, recounted how his players reacted when they first heard about owner Donald Sterling‘s racist comments last week.

“This was a distraction,” Rivers acknowledged. “In our first meeting after the tapes came out and we had a meeting before practice, and when I walked in that room and looked at [the players’] faces, it was bothering them. They were angry. They wanted to DO something. ‘€¦ As a coach, I had to think about it. I’m not going to kid you. I walked out with my gear on, because I needed the players to see me with the gear on, but it wasn’t easy to do it on that day. Because at that moment, at that time, you’re representing something else, and you didn’t want to and that was hard.”

Rivers recalled his experiences with racism growing up in Chicago, but he said sports has helped make him color blind.

“I think sports helps me, too,” Rivers said. “Sports, you don’t care what’s next to you, you just want to know, can he play? I think that does help. I think people who play sports learn that early on. That there’s no race. There’s people and I think that’s important.”

Meanwhile, reports emerged out of Los Angeles that the Clippers and Warriors had an altercation in the tunnel after Saturday night’s Game 7. The Warriors reportedly did not appreciate the Clippers’ celebrating and taunting outside their locker room, and that led to a confrontation.

The teams have had battles all season, on and off the court, and hard feelings apparently have continued. While Blake Griffin usually is in the middle of things, Warriors center Marreese Speights said earlier in the series that Chris Paul “starts all of that stuff.”

— Racism continues to be an issue in European soccer, most notably Spain, where for the second straight Sunday there was an embarrassing incident.

In Levante’s 2-0 upset victory at Atletico Madrid, midfielder Papakouli Diop danced like a monkey after the final whistle in response to monkey gestures from the crowd.

“They called me a monkey and I turned and imitated a monkey,” Diop said. “I’m tired of racism in football. And there’s a lot.”

Added Diop: “I did the monkey dance to highlight the matter. I wanted people to know what happened. I do not know if it’s racist or disrespectful, but they have to stop the monkey noises made by some people.”

One week earlier, in a game at Villarreal, Barcelona’s Dani Alves picked up a banana that was thrown at him and took a bite of it before taking a corner kick. Fellow players then posted photos of themselves eating bananas to draw attention to the cause.

— Florida State Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Jameis Winston was reinstated to the school’s baseball team Sunday after being suspended for a shoplifting incident last week.

Winston, who was issued a citation by police after leaving a supermarket with $32 worth of crab legs and crawfish, was held out of action until he completed community service as part of his agreement with the court.

Winston, FSU’s closer, missed the team’s three game series against Minnesota.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On May 5, 1969, in Game 7 of the NBA finals, the Celtics edged the Lakers, 108-106, for their 11th title in 13 seasons. It was the final game for which two Celtics legends?

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Read More: Blake Griffin, Chris Paul, doc rivers, Donald Sterling
Doc Rivers: Clippers ‘should be better than any team I’ve ever coached’ 10.03.13 at 11:35 am ET
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He left the Celtics about three months ago, but Clippers coach Doc Rivers continues to make news in Boston.

His latest head-turning comments came at Clippers practice on Wednesday, when Rivers said that he believes his current squad of players could be the most talented group that he’s ever worked with.

“They should be better than any team I’ve ever coached, I really believe that. They’re more athletic,” Rivers said. “They don’t have the veteran IQ, but they should be good in that area. We have a couple of individual defenders that can be dominating on defense. We have great speed, but we don’t have the size in some ways as some of the teams I’ve coached.”

That’s certainly lofty praise for his new team, as Rivers helped lead some impressive teams during his tenure in Boston, including a 66-win Celtics team that won the NBA title in 2008 and a 62-win squad that won 19 games in a row, the longest streak in franchise history, during the 2008-09 season.

Rivers also found similarities between LA and his prior Celtics teams by stating that he believes the Clippers have a “big three” of their own in Chris PaulBlake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan.

“I’ve always focused on our big three guys, Blake, DJ and Chris. Their leadership is important to our team. I’m always watching them. I think those are the guys that I have more focus on than anybody else,” Rivers said. “That’s our big three, I like our big three.”

Rivers will make his return to Boston on Dec. 11, as the Clippers and Celtics will face off that night at the TD Garden.

Read More: Blake Griffin, Chris Paul, Clippers, doc rivers
Thursday’s Morning Mashup: New NBA players’ union president Chris Paul says organization needs ‘rebuild’ 08.22.13 at 7:35 am ET
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Welcome to Thursday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

THURSDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: Diamondbacks at Reds, 12:30 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Nationals at Cubs, 2:20 p.m. (WGN)
MLB: Braves at Cardinals, 8:15 p.m. (MLB Network)
Little League World Series: Mexico vs. Panama, 4 p.m. (ESPN)
Little League World Series: Washington vs. Connecticut, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
NFL preseason: Patriots at Lions, 7:30 p.m. (WBZ-TV)
NFL preseason: Panthers at Ravens, 8 p.m. (ESPN)

AROUND THE WEB:

‘€¢ Six-time All-Star Chris Paul was elected president of the NBA players’ association Wednesday and said the union needs a “rebuild” following the firing of executive director Billy Hunter six months ago.

Paul replaces Derek Fisher, who was accused by Hunter of conspiring with NBA officials during the 2011 lockout. He gives the union a star turn for the first time since Patrick Ewing was the top representative in 2001, and he said he understands the job won’t be easy.

“It was something I saw as a challenge, something I knew I’d be able to handle,” Paul said. “It’s an unbelievable opportunity, a lot of responsibility comes with this position but I’m very fortunate to have an outstanding committee of guys. The past couple of days have been outstanding, the dialogue we’ve had as an executive committee also with the players that have come in town, it was amazing.”

Paul, who served as vice president the last four years, said naming a replacement for Hunter might take a little more time.

“We definitely discussed [hiring an executive director], but there’s no rush,” Paul said. “For us, it’s all about getting our house in order and making sure that everything moves right in that direction.”

Roger Mason Jr., who played for the Hornets last season, was elected first vice president, while Bobcats forward Anthony Tolliver and Lakers guard Steve Blake were named vice presidents.

“We want to make sure that nothing remotely close that has gone on in the union in the past 12 months or so will ever happen again,” Tolliver said. “It’s a huge job. It’s a huge responsibility. I’m glad to be a part of that.”

‘€¢ Jeremy Lin, speaking to a crowd about 20,000 at a youth conference in Taiwan, talked about how difficult last season was as he placed unrealistic expectations upon himself in his first season with the Rockets.

“I became so obsessed with becoming a great basketball player ‘€¦ trying to be Linsanity, being this phenomenon that took the NBA by storm,” the former Harvard star said. “The coaches were losing faith in me; basketball fans were making fun of me. ‘€¦ I was supposed to be joyful and free, but what I experienced was the opposite. I had no joy, and I felt no freedom.”

Lin, who signed a three-year, $25 million contract last offseason after his NBA breakthrough with the Knicks, averaged 13.4 points and 6.1 assists per game and struggled with injuries that forced him to miss two games during the team’s first-round playoff loss to the Thunder.

“The one thing I learned was how empty fame and worldly success really are. … The desire for success never stopped,” Lin said. “If the voice that you listen to the most isn’t God’s voice, then eventually you will experience that emptiness, confusion and misery that I felt when I listened to the voice of Linsanity.”

‘€¢ New York City mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio found himself involved a controversy this week when The New York Times published a story about his “deep devotion” for the Red Sox.

The Democrat was raised in Cambridge and said, “I have my loyalty to the team of my youth.”

Current mayor Michael Bloomberg, who grew up in Medford, also had an allegiance to the Red Sox when he took office in 2001. However, Bloomberg, admittedly not much of a sports fan, claimed to have switched his support to the Yankees.

That doesn’t seem likely for de Blasio.

“The team that I grew up with was constantly the underdog but managed to prevail,” he said. “I don’t know any better lesson in life.”

Added de Blasio: “Everyone I knew was a Red Sox fan. Living up there in 1967 — the Impossible Dream season — that moment was incredibly compelling. I just naturally gravitated to the team. 1975 was arguably the greatest World Series of all time.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Aug. 22, 1993, which veteran outfielder, acquired a day earlier in a trade with the Tigers, hit a home run in his first at-bat for the Red Sox as part of a 3-for-6 day in a 3-2 loss to the Indians?

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Read More: Bill de Blasio, Chris Paul, Jeremy Lin,
NBA free agency update: Knicks reportedly acquiring Andrea Bargnani from Raptors; Dwight Howard sweepstakes heating up 07.01.13 at 10:20 am ET
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He’€™s tall, he’€™s injury-prone, he’€™s expensive, and soon he’€™s going to be a Knick — maybe.

The Knicks and Raptors are close to finalizing an agreement that would send 7-foot power forward Andrea Bargnani to New York, ESPN reported, in exchange for center Marcus Camby and small forward Steve Novak.

However, the NBA refused to approve the deal Sunday night, so in order to complete the trade under 2013-14 cap terms, the Knicks are expected to sign-and-trade at least one player they had at the end of the season as part of the deal, according to ESPN’s Jared Zwerling. Earl Barron and Quentin Richardson are two candidates.

Howard Beck of The New York Times reports the Knicks also will include their 2016 first-round draft pick, and USA Today indicates two second-round picks will also go the Raptors’€™ way.

In his seven seasons since joining Toronto for 2006-07, Bargnani has averaged 15.2 points and 4.8 rebounds per game, with those marks down to 12.7 and 3.7 in 2012-13. Tommy Beer of hoopsworld.com points out that Bargnani was the first 7-footer to average both 28 minutes and fewer than four rebounds per game in NBA history this season.

The native of Italy has missed 98 games the last two seasons, including the end of this season after suffering an avulsion sprain of his right elbow. He is also set to make $23 million before his contract expires in two years.

The teams cannot officially complete the trade until July 10.

The Knicks aren’€™t the only team — or individual — preparing deals to be finalized in a week and a half.

The Rockets are pulling out all the stops as they enter the Dwight Howard sweepstakes, according to Yahoo!’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Besides Houston brass, a dinner meeting with the free agent also reportedly featured former Rockets Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler, plus Yao Ming Skyping in from China. The AP reports the team cut guards Carlos Delfino and Aaron Brooks in an effort to open up some cap space.

Howard will visit with the Warriors and Hawks on Monday, then the Mavericks on Tuesday, writes Sam Amick of USA Today. Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak met informally with the 6-foot-11 Howard Saturday and Sunday in an effort to get a head start on his competition.

The Lakers are using billboards and newspaper ads to woo Howard, and Dallas is getting some help from the community: Fast-food chain Raising Cane’s is offering Howard free chicken fingers for the rest of his life if he signs with the Mavs.

The Clippers’€™ acquisition of Doc Rivers, meanwhile, appears to be paying off. ESPN reports that Chris Paul, reportedly one of the driving forces in Los Angeles trading for the coach, is expected to accept a five-year, $107 million extension from the Clippers, and that it is such a sure thing that Paul’€™s agent told other teams to not bother with offers.

Forward Andrei Kirilenko, who averaged similar numbers to Bargnani with the Timberwolves in 2012-13, is turning down $10 million and opting out of his contract in favor of testing free agency again. His 12.4 points and 5.7 rebounds per game were his best totals since 2005-06.

Read More: Andrea Bargnani, Andrei Kirilenko, Chris Paul, doc rivers
Monday’s Morning Mashup: Japanese team reportedly had interest in Alex Rodriguez 06.10.13 at 8:04 am ET
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Welcome to Monday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MONDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: Red Sox at Rays, 7 p.m. (NESN, ESPN; WEEI-FM)
College baseball: CWS regional, Mississippi State at Virginia, 4 p.m. (ESPN2)
College baseball: CWS regional, South Carolina at North Carolina, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
College baseball: CWS regional, Kansas State at Oregon State, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)

AROUND THE WEB:

‘™¦ After Alex Rodriguez flamed out in the postseason last fall, there was little interest in the oft-injured third baseman. However, one team reportedly reached out to the Yankees to see if they would be interested in a deal.

The Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks of Japan contacted the Yankees through an intermediary, The New York Times reported.

However, the Yankees never responded, knowing that Rodriguez was destined for extensive hip surgery and that he would not agree to play in Japan.

Rodriguez entered this season with five years and $114 million remaining on his contract.

‘™¦ Jason Kidd, only days after announcing his retirement as a player, apparently thinks he’s ready to step right in as an NBA head coach. According to a report from Yahoo! SportsAdrian Wojnarowski, Kidd is pursuing the Nets vacancy and trying to assemble a staff that would help him overcome his lack of experience.

Kidd, a 10-time All-Star, led the Nets to consecutive NBA finals appearances in 2002 and ’03 as part of his 19-year NBA career. He spent the past season with the Knicks.

The Nets are said to be looking at Brian Shaw as their top choice, although the Clippers and Nuggets also have an interest in the former Celtics player and longtime NBA assistant.

‘™¦ According to a report in the Houston Chronicle, the Rockets are preparing to make a push to land high-profile free agents Dwight Howard and Chris Paul. The team’s interest in Howard previously has been documented, and Howard is rumored to have mutual interest, having spoken with Rockets players James Harden and Chandler Parsons.

Howard, who had a trying 2012-13 season with the Lakers after leaving the Magic, also is said to be intrigued with the possibility of playing under coach Kevin McHale, a Hall of Fame big man.

Paul, also friends with Harden after they played together on the U.S. national team, might be more of a challenge for Houston to pry from the Clippers, as they would need to move some money around to create some room. The Chronicle report speculates that the team would try to move young forward Thomas Robinson or try something more creative. Said a source, “There are about 20 other ways.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On June 10, 1970, Jim Lonborg was put on the 21-day disabled list and the Red Sox made the rare move of activating a coach to the roster. Which coach-turned-player went on to hit .343 in 38 games that season, while making appearances at all three outfield positions, first base, third base and even catcher?

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