Willie Reed

Pistons eye Sixers' spot with blockbuster as bigger domino looms

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Pistons eye Sixers' spot with blockbuster as bigger domino looms

MILWAUKEE — The Pistons are making a long-term commitment to contend as they battle for a playoff spot this season against the Sixers and other teams in the Eastern Conference.

According to multiple reports Monday (first reported by ESPN), the Pistons will send Tobias Harris, Avery Bradley, Boban Marjanovic, a first-round and a second-round pick to the Clippers in exchange for Blake Griffin, Brice Johnson and Willie Reed.

The Pistons (22-26) are currently one spot behind the Sixers (24-23) in a race for a playoff berth. The Sixers are 3-0 against the Pistons so far this season. They will face off again on April 4 in Detroit, a game that could have postseason implications.

Griffin scored 29 points with six rebounds and five assists in the Sixers’ November win over the Clippers this season.

The Pistons are shedding short-term contracts to lock in Griffin (22.6 points, 7.9 rebounds, 5.4 assists this season) long term. Griffin signed a massive $171 million contract this past summer. He has three years guaranteed after this season and a player option for 2021-22. The contracts of Johnson and Reed expire this season.

The Pistons are willing to part ways with Harris, who is having the best season of his seven-year NBA career with 18.1 points, 5.1 rebounds and 2.0 assists. Harris has two guaranteed years remaining ($16 million, $14.8 million), as does Marjanovic ($7 million per year).

The Pistons also are shedding Bradley’s expiring contract, a bargain by today’s market at $8.8 million. Bradley once again will play for Doc Rivers, who likely will tap into the guard’s defensive strengths as he did on the Celtics.

This may not be the only major move coming in the East. The Griffin trade could have an impact on the entire league during the summer. 

The New York Times' Marc Stein reported the Clippers feel they could be a team to lure LeBron James out of his player option with the Cavaliers this summer and will look for trade partners for DeAndre Jordan and Lou Williams by this trade deadline (Feb. 8). If James leaves the Cavaliers, that would create a huge window of opportunity for teams like the Sixers to move up in the conference.

Trash talk, tussle fuel Joel Embiid to career night in win over Clippers

Trash talk, tussle fuel Joel Embiid to career night in win over Clippers


LOS ANGELES — Joel Embiid is no stranger to trash talking. Kevin Durant, Draymond Green, even his best friend Nerlens Noel have been on the receiving end. They’ve all brushed it off. Willie Reed, not so much. Their hostile interaction was in the heat of the moment and neither were laughing. 

“I just wanted to go inside, especially against [DeAndre Jordan] and I don't know, what's his name? But that boy fouled out,” Embiid said in a walk-off interview after the Sixers’ 109-105 win over the Clippers on Monday night (see observations).

That player whose name just happened to slip Embiid’s mind was Reed.

The tension between the two bigs began less than two minutes into the second quarter. Reed did not approve of Embiid’s defense on him at the basket when he was whistled for traveling. Embiid reacted by pointing at Reed and smiling. 

That smile didn’t last long. 

Only seconds later, Embiid went up for a basket on the Sixers’ following possession. Reed pulled him down by the shoulder, sending the 7-foot-2, 280-pound center to the floor. 

Embiid bounced up and quickly got right in Reed’s face (see video). Their teammates and officials intervened before it went any further. The refs called Reed for a Flagrant 1. The Clippers’ reserve big man ended up fouling out with 23 seconds remaining in the game.

“He just did what he had to do,” Embiid said. “He was fouling me and he got a [flagrant] because he couldn’t guard me.”

Embiid thrives in situations like this. He’s not shy to initiate the banter, but if someone else does it first, he doesn’t object. Embiid was fueled by the exchanges and put them toward a career-high 36 minutes, career-high 16 rebounds, and season-high 32 points (see highlights). It was a bounce-back effort after scoring just 12 points against the Warriors on Saturday. 

“I love when guys come at the beginning of the game and start talking trash,” Embiid said. “It gets me going. That’s what I’ve been needing the past couple games and I think it got me going, too. They were being aggressive and that’s how they get in foul trouble and that’s how I do my job.” 

Embiid made 16 trips to the free throw line, a place he has said he wants to live this season. He connected for a season-high nine free throws.

“Embiid is a tough player,” Doc Rivers said. “He just drew foul after foul. He got [Jordan] and Willie in foul trouble. That tells you how good he is.” 

Still, Embiid had to be careful about getting wrapped up in the emotional side of the matchups. His tussle with Reed happened with 10:38 remaining in the first half. He could have let the incident get the best of him, but he collected himself and stayed focused the rest of the night.

“He walks that fine line, doesn’t he, of getting engaged, getting into the game,” Brett Brown said. “I thought that he did a really good job of staying on the side of the fence that didn’t produce anything harmful for the team, a technical or something like that. 

“He used his spirit and he used his sort of swagger to help motivate himself and us. He was dominant tonight. He wanted the ball. He was physical. Brutally physical at times. I thought his attitude stayed on that fence. He didn’t cross that line.” 

As for Embiid’s approach to keeping his cool, well, it’s simple. 

“I mean, I don’t want to get fined,” he said. “So just stay calm.”

NBA Notes: Nets to play 2 regular-season games in Mexico City

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NBA Notes: Nets to play 2 regular-season games in Mexico City

NEW YORK -- The Brooklyn Nets will travel to Mexico City in December for two regular-season games as part of the 25th anniversary of the first NBA game in Mexico.

The league announced Wednesday that the Nets and Oklahoma City Thunder will play in Mexico City on Dec. 7. The Nets will play the Miami Heat on Dec. 9. Both games will be in Arena Ciudad de Mexico.

It's all part of the NBA's emphasis on expanding the popularity of basketball in Mexico. Last season, the Phoenix Suns played the Dallas Mavericks and the San Antonio Spurs in Mexico City. The league has played 26 times in Mexico dating back to 1992, the most games held in any country outside of the U.S. and Canada.

The games will be televised on ESPN.

Clippers: Reed’s wife wants domestic battery charge dropped
MIAMI -- The wife of Los Angeles Clippers center Willie Reed said Wednesday she does not wish to press battery charges against her husband after an argument between the couple led to his weekend arrest.

Jasmine Reed said in statement issued by her attorney, Ivlis Mantilla, that the situation was blown out of proportion and that she never called police. Willie Reed, who played last year for the Miami Heat, was arrested on a misdemeanor battery charge after the argument Saturday night with his wife at their Miami residence.

A police report quoted Jasmine Reed as saying her 6-foot-11 (2.1 meters), 245-pound (111 kilograms) husband pulled her hair, grabbed her wrists and dragged her in a struggle over her purse. She also told officers she hit Willie Reed with a glass candlestick holder.

On Wednesday, she called Willie Reed "a good man and a great father." The couple has two children.

"This is a private matter between my husband and I and for the sake of our family I would like to keep it that way," Jasmine Reed said (see full story).

Hawks: Veteran Babbitt signs 1-year contract
ATLANTA -- The Atlanta Hawks have signed veteran forward Luke Babbitt to a one-year deal.

The Hawks announced the deal on Wednesday. Babbitt will earn about $1.9 million, the league minimum for a player entering his eighth year.

Babbitt has averaged 4.8 points and 2.3 rebounds during his NBA career. He will bring experience to a young rebuilding Hawks roster. The 6-foot-9 forward started 55 games for the Miami Heat last season and shot 41.4 percent from 3-point range. He started 36 of the final 41 games when the Heat finished the season 30-11.

Babbitt believes his ability to shoot the 3-pointer is why Atlanta signed him. He says "the way the game is played now, it's so much about shooting and spacing and giving guys room to make plays."

Before his time in Miami, the 28-year-old Babbitt spent three seasons each with New Orleans and Portland.