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Blogtable: Did Zaza Pachulia deliberately try to injure Russell Westbrook?

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Russell Westbrook says Zaza Pachulia deliberately tried to injure him. What say you?

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David Aldridge:  I can’t judge intent, though the optics of it were horrible. I am reminded, though, of what I would think after hearing a certain player (he’s now on TV) had been involved in some kind of off-court incident: “why is it, when the (bleep) goes down wrong, you’re always there?” Why are guys always limping after encountering Zaza? Yes, he’s clumsy. But nothing in that exchange with Westbrook suggests a professional athlete, as Pachulia is, exercising any kind of restraint or control of his body, as he obviously has, or he wouldn’t be a professional athlete. I have said and continue to believe that Matthew Dellavedova, if not a dirty player, is a careless one, who throws his body around not caring if it careens into someone else’s at an odd angle and causes injury. I guess I’d put Zaza in that same category. And just as the league ultimately penalized Draymond Green for continued groin contact whether he “meant” to do it or not, it has to ultimately adjudicate Pachulia if this continues.

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Russell Westbrook and Zaza Pachulia got tangled up in this sequence on Saturday.

Steve Aschburner:  I say it’s got to be hard to be Zaza.In a league of ridiculously lithe and agile athletes, Pachulia is a plodder. A plowhorse trying to keep up with thoroughbreds. His rap sheet of shaky, punishing plays suggests malice, and yet the worst of his banging and thrashing was perpetrated last season on his own teammate, Kevin Durant (and Zaza was mortified by it). So did it look like he targeted his fall to land on Westbrook’s legs? Yeah. But would that have been a lot to process in real time — Nick Young’s foot catching Pachulia behind the knee, giving him an opportunity to try for a little mayhem — to have an alibi? Yeah. No one wants to be known as a dirty player. But it surely can’t be fun, either, being known as an oaf or a lummox in a league full of gazelles. Cut Zaza some slack.

Tas Melas:  Zaza Pachulia is an “opportunistic dirty player”. Nick Young’s foot on the back of his knee gave him enough reason to fall on Westbrook. He could have maintained his balance far better than he did, possibly even stayed on his feet, but when opportunity knocks, Zaza is there. He doesn’t overtly go out of his way to hurt anyone, but someone giving him a nudge was enough of a justification to fall on an opponent, and if there’s an injury which occurs because of it, so be it.

Shaun Powell: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

John Schuhmann:  I’m not Zaza Pachulia, so I don’t know. But Pachulia’s reputation as an irritant doesn’t help him when it comes to stuff like this.

Sekou Smith:  I think suggesting deliberate or “dirty” intent about Zaza is something that simply is not there. Those words imply a sinister intention or a dark side I’ve never witnessed in the big fella. Is he, as Kevin Durant suggests, a bit clumsy? I think so. That makes much more sense than Zaza being some dirty player bent on taking out opposing team’s stars like Russell Westbrook on a regular basis. Yes, he plays a physical style and pushes it to the edge sometimes. Dirty, though, that’s strong. I didn’t think it was fair when Spurs coach Gregg Popovich tagged Zaza with that label after the Kawhi Leonard incident in the Western Conference finals last year. And I don’t like it now. That’s a serious charge, one that carries a heavy burden of proof, one I don’t think Russ, Pop or anyone has established.

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Is Zaza Pachulia a dirty player? The Starters share their thoughts.

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Report: Pau Gasol to join Trail Blazers

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Free agent center Pau Gasol has agreed to a one-year deal with the Portland Trail Blazers, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Gasol, 39, who was limited to just 30 games last season because of a variety of injuries, has career averages of 17.0 points and 9.2 rebounds over 17 NBA seasons.



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Report: Furkan Korkmaz returning to 76ers

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Free agent forward Furkan Korkmaz has agreed to a two-year contract to return to the Philadelphia 76ers, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Free agent forward Furkan Korkmaz has agreed to a two-year contract to return to the Philadelphia 76ers, agent Mike Lindeman of Excel Sports tells ESPN.

Korkmaz, 21, brings back a rotational forward with the ability to spread the floor with his shooting. The loss of JJ Redick in free agency – and Kyle Korver’s decision to choose Milwaukee over Philadelphia – brought some increased urgency to keep Korkmaz on the Sixers roster.

 The 21-year-old Korkmaz, who was the 26th overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, averaged 5.8 points and 2.2 rebounds in 14.1 minutes last season.

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Report: Kevin Love to withdraw from World Cup

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Cavaliers forward Kevin Love is the latest player expected to withdraw from Team USA’s training camp for the FIBA World Cup, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania.

This news comes just one day after Damian Lillard reportedly withdrew from the World Cup. Love, who played in just 22 games last season because of a shoulder injury, averaged 17.0 points and 10.9 rebounds in 2018-19.

During the previous two weeks, James Harden, Anthony Davis, Eric Gordon, Zion Williamson and CJ McCollum reportedly decided not to compete in the World Cup this year.

Although the guard ranks will be somewhat depleted of NBA stars, Team USA continues to have a deep pool of players available.



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