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Tag:Lakers
Posted on: March 9, 2012 12:10 am
 

Magic want Melo-like haul for Howard

Magic executives have continued to tell teams this week they do not intend to trade Dwight Howard, but several teams came away from the conversations with a clear picture of what the club wants if it changes course: a replica of the deal Denver pulled off last February for Carmelo Anthony, multiple league sources told CBSSports.com Thursday.

If the Magic decide to trade Howard, they have “not closed any doors” on potential suitors, said a person familiar with the organization’s strategy. Teams that are on and off Howard’s list of preferred destinations – the Nets, Mavericks and Lakers – will be considered, and may the highest bidder win, sources said.

What Orlando is seeking if it makes a deal for the All-Star center is a package similar to what the Nuggets received for Anthony at the 2011 trade deadline: multiple good, young players and draft picks. Orlando executives view the Denver model as a middle ground between blowing up a contender and starting over with draft picks and reaching for veteran All-Stars whose contracts ultimately could hinder the recovery from a Howard trade.

Representatives of three teams in the mix for Howard – either on his list or among teams willing to gamble on trading for him in the hopes that he can be persuaded to stay beyond this season – told CBSSports.com Thursday that the Magic have not decided which path to pursue. Howard, 26, can opt out of his $19.5 million contract after the season and become an unrestricted free agent. His formal trade request through agent Dan Fegan of Lagadere Unlimited remains on the table and he has not given the Magic any commitment to opt in and/or re-sign after the season.

In a complicated, three-team trade for Anthony that was consummated after a five-month marathon over his desire to join the Knicks, the Nuggets came away with a treasure trove of young talent and draft picks: Raymond Felton, Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler and 7-footer Timofey Mozgov plus a future first-round pick and two future second-round picks. Felton has since been dealt to Portland for Andre Miller. The Nuggets recently signed Gallinari to a four-year, $42 million extension (about half what Anthony makes over the same period), and are hoping to get Chandler, a potential 20-point scorer, back after a stint in China before the season is over.

The Nuggets also received another 7-footer, Kosta Koufos, from Minnesota, which made the trade work under league cap rules by taking Eddy Curry and Anthony Randolph from the Knicks along with a second-round pick from Denver.

For a variety of reasons, a similar haul isn’t realistic for Howard, despite the fact that he’s a far more valuable star than Anthony. The Knicks also got former All-Star Chauncey Billups in the deal, and the Nuggets were able to parlay interest from the Knicks, Nets and other teams Anthony had no intention of extending his contract with into a bidding war that drove the price for him through the roof.

If a player is heading out of Orlando with Howard, it is likely to be Hedo Turkoglu. Unlike Billups – a productive veteran leader with one year left on his contract – Turkuglo will be a liability in the deal due to his declining skills and the $23.4 million he is owed over the next two seasons.

Nonetheless, the revelation that Orlando wants similar assets as those Denver received for Anthony moved the needle on the Howard saga with only a week to go before the March 15 trade deadline. If the Magic decide not to trade Howard by next Thursday, they face the prospect of losing him as a free agent and receiving no assets in return.

The Mavericks and Lakers, teams loaded with high-priced veterans, do not have the kind of assets the Magic want for Howard. The Nets, with 24-year-old 7-footer Brook Lopez and promising rookie guard MarShon Brooks, come closer – though two people familiar with the Orlando strategy told CBSSports.com Thursday that none of the three teams has assets that would entice the Magic to part with Howard. Perhaps this is why Orlando officials have been more forthcoming in recent days about what they’d want in a package for Howard, and why at least one rival GM interpreted this shift in posture as an indication that Orlando understands it needs to create competition and prime the pump on the bidding war.

With the Magic determined to trade Howard to the team with the best offer if they decide to move him, a deal sending Howard to a so-called “rental” team (i.e., one he will refuse to give a long-term commitment to as part of the trade) could play right into the Nets’ hands. If, for example, Orlando traded Howard to Golden State and Howard opted out after the season, the Nets would be in a position to sign him as an unrestricted free agent without giving up any players or draft picks.

The other team aggressively trying to maneuver for a shot at acquiring Howard and persuading him to sign this summer is the Rockets, who need a replacement for retired center Yao Ming and who are still recovering from the voided Chris Paul trade that would’ve landed Pau Gasol from the Lakers. But a more serious contender could emerge in the coming days: the Hawks, who are dealing with disgruntled should-be All-Star Josh Smith’s own reported trade request. Smith and Al Horford would represent a coup for the Magic considering the alternative of losing Howard for nothing, and Atlanta is Howard’s hometown, where he attended Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy. Even with the potential of getting – and keeping – a player of Howard’s popularity and impact, questions remain about whether the Atlanta ownership group would be able to afford two max players going forward. Joe Johnson is owed $90 million over the next four years.

If nothing else, Howard’s familiarity with Atlanta would diminish the biggest impediment for another potential rental team giving up major assets to get him: Aside from it being an untenable gamble in a normal season, it’s even more so in this one. If, for example, Howard were traded against his will to Golden State, he’d play only 26 games with his new team – and only 12 home games in his new surroundings.

“That’s not a lot of games to get attached to Golden State,” one rival executive said.

Could the Warriors possibly give up Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Ekpe Udoh, etc., under those circumstances? The Magic hope so, which is why the Howard saga quietly escalated to the next phase Thursday: Orlando’s attempt to follow the Denver model by creating a bidding war and scoring a Melo-like haul of assets.

So from now until 3 p.m. on March 15, the Dwight Howard story is open for business, 24 hours a day.
Posted on: March 5, 2012 4:05 pm
Edited on: March 5, 2012 4:22 pm
 

Nets' Lopez to miss 3 weeks with ankle sprain

The Nets got a rare dose of positive injury news Monday when X-rays on center Brook Lopez's right ankle were negative. The key piece of a potential trade with Orlando for All-Star Dwight Howard will be in a walking boot for what the team described as a precaution and will miss three weeks.

Though that puts Lopez on the shelf until after the March 15 trade deadline, team officials privately were expecting worse. Lopez was injured Sunday night during Deron Williams' 57-point game in Charlotte and left the arena on crutches.

Lopez missed the Nets' first 32 games with a broken right foot, putting a damper on trade discussions between New Jersey and Orlando. The Magic have been telling teams over the past month that they intend to keep Howard beyond the trade deadline, but rival executives are dubious. Howard has not publicly or privately given any indication that he wants to stay with the Magic beyond this season, and Orlando could lose him as an unrestricted free agent without getting any assets in return under new collectively bargained guidelines governing sign-and-trades.

Howard's list of preferred destinations has not changed since the summer, and it includes the Nets, Mavericks and Lakers. New Jersey and Dallas will have the cap room to offer Howard a four-year, $81 million deal after Howard opts out July 1. If he stayed in Orlando, Howard would get an extra year and 7.5 percent annual raises -- as opposed to the four-year deal and 4.5 percent raises he'd get by leaving. Barring injury, the difference isn't as dramatic as it seems, since Howard, 26, would make most of it up on his next contract. He'd do even better in Texas, where there is no state income tax.

The Nets, who can offer Howard the allure of Williams' star power and their impending move to Brooklyn, continue to be the front runners for Howard if the Magic decide to trade him. Rival executives believe the Magic would be foolish to misread Howard's desire to change teams this summer, and the Nets have the roster and cap flexibility to provide Orlando with the assets they'd need to rebuild.

Meanwhile, sources say serious trade discussions league-wide are on hold while teams await a verdict from Orlando on Howard.

"That has to drop before anything else does," one rival executive said Monday. 
Posted on: March 1, 2012 7:57 pm
 

On Wilt's day, Russell takes a pass

The 50th anniversary of Wilt Chamberlain’s 100-point game is not only an occasion to remember the accomplishment, but also the man.

What better way to reflect on Chamberlain’s signature moment than through the eyes of his friend and most bitter rival?

So I called Bill Russell, the 11-time champion of the Celtics, and asked if he’d be so kind as to share his thoughts about the occasion 50 years ago Friday. I’ll provide his response, followed by the context.
 
The response from Russell: “Not really.”

“Is it a bad time, or is it a topic you don’t really want to talk about?”

“A little of both,” he said.

And that was that. I apologized for the intrusion and wished Russell the best.

“No intrusion,” Russell said. “And thank you.”

I shared the conversation with Sy Goldberg, Chamberlain’s longtime friend and attorney. On the phone from Los Angeles, Goldberg was neither surprised nor particularly offended by Russell’s reaction.

“There was a love-hate relationship between these two guys,” Goldberg said.

Let it be noted that Russell, who turned 78 last month, harbors no grudges or animosity toward Chamberlain – nothing different than they ever did, anyway. Goldberg said in the old days, the NBA used to schedule the Sixers and Celtics on Thanksgiving Day, and when the game was in Philadelphia, Russell was a guest at casa de Chamberlain for Thanksgiving dinner.

“Russell was there all the time,” Goldberg said. “They were close friends.”

But Chamberlain never forgave Russell for questioning his toughness after Lakers coach Jan van Breda Kolff refused to put an injured Chamberlain back into Game 7 of the 1969 NBA Finals against the Celtics. Chamberlain had asked out with six minutes left and asked back in with three minutes left, but van Breda Kolff declined. The Celtics won, 108-106, for their second straight championship and last of the Russell era.

“That day, Russell said something like, ‘I don’t care how bad he was, I would never have come out of the game,’” Goldberg said. “Wilt never forgave him for that.”

But with Russell and Chamberlain, the hard feelings weren’t permanent. On the day Chamberlain died of heart failure, Oct. 12, 1999, Goldberg got a call from a frantic Russell, who didn’t want to believe the news.

“I had been called by the gardener, and the police were there, and it was real pandemonium,” Goldberg said. “And I got a call from Bill Russell. His quote was: ‘I wouldn’t believe any news at all unless you tell me it’s true.’ And he sounded like he was devastated.”

In the old days, Chamberlain got all the attention and Russell got most of the championships. So on the eve of Wilt’s 100-point anniversary, the old Celtic stays quiet.

Maybe that’s for the best. Maybe that’s how Wilt would’ve wanted it.
Posted on: February 25, 2012 8:56 pm
 

Stern anoints Silver as successor

ORLANDO, Fla. – David Stern proclaimed Saturday night what has long been assumed but never confirmed: He will recommend deputy commissioner Adam Silver to succeed him as commissioner when he retires.

“One of the things that a good CEO does -- and I try to be a good CEO -- is provide his board with a spectacular choice for his successor,” Stern said during his annual All-Star news conference. “And I have done that. And that's Adam.”

Stern, 69, reiterated what he said after the collective bargaining agreement saving a 66-game season after a 149-day lockout was finalized: He will not be commissioner when both sides have the opportunity to opt out of the deal in 2017. Beyond that, he placed no timetable on his departure, but said he would have the discussion with owners “very soon.”

Silver has been deputy commissioner and chief operating office since 2006 after serving for more than eight years as president and COO of NBA Entertainment. He has played a key role in negotiating the league’s last two broadcast rights agreements and the last four collective bargaining agreements with the National Basketball Players Association – and also created NBA China as a stand-alone entity. Silver, who also played a key role in delivering the league’s public message to the media during the lockout, was asked during Stern’s news conference how prepared he is for the job. He smiled and slid the microphone in front of Stern.

“He’s a first-rate, top-of-the-class executive,” Stern said.

Stern's recommendation of Silver would have to be approved by the league's Board of Governors.

Among the other news Stern made Saturday night:

• Negotiations in Orlando involving the league, city of Sacramento and the Maloof family on achieving a funding plan for a new arena before a March 1 deadline has “several remaining points that may or not be bridged,” Stern said. The talks will continue Sunday, and Stern said the issue is coming up with additional funding necessary to pay for the project. “Life is a negotiation,” he said. “… It’s getting there, but it’s just not there yet. And we’re looking for other ways, imaginative ways, to bridge the gap.”

• He confirmed that there is a leading candidate to purchase the New Orleans Hornets and that the league is “optimistic that we will make a deal” in the next “week or 10 days.” There is a second group that is “in sort of second place,” Stern said, “waiting to see how we do with group one.” Both groups would keep the team in New Orleans, where the city is continuing to negotiate an arena lease extension upon which the ownership deal is contingent.

• Stern confirmed that he has spoken with Seattle investor Chris Hansen, who is spearheading support for an arena to attract a team and replace the Supersonics, who moved to Oklahoma City in 2008. “It sounded OK to us,” Stern said of Hansen’s plan. “Go for it. That’s all.” But Stern acknowledged that the plan would require that “we have a team that we could put there.” As arena funding talks with Sacramento and the Malodors continue, one might view Stern’s enthusiasm about the prospect of a return to Seattle as a leverage point in that negotiation.

• Stern alluded to increased attendance, TV ratings and sales, but didn’t give specifics. National Basketball Players Association executive director Billy Hunter said earlier in the day that Stern has told him attendance and merchandise sales are up, and that Silver told him in a recent meeting that league revenues are expected to increase more than pre-lockout projections. “Everything is good,” Stern said.

• Asked whether the NBA would consider aiding teams that lose superstars to free agency, such as host city Orlando is facing with Dwight Howard, Stern said, and “No. Why should we? … We have a system that has a draft that basically tells a player where he’s going to play in this league when he’s drafted, and a further system that has a huge advantage to the team that has him. Our players could play for seven years for a team they didn’t choose. And we think that’s a system, but not a prison. ... I'm sure Dwight will make a good and wise decision for him."

• Stern shot down the notion of adding expansion teams in North America (as if there aren’t too many teams already). But he wouldn’t rule out overseas expansion in the next 10 years, deferring the topic to silver, who said, “We’ll see.”

• Stern took issue when asked to evaluate his decision, when acting in his capacity as the owner of the Hornets, to disallow the trade that would’ve sent Chris Paul to the Lakers. “There’s no superstar that gets traded in this league unless the owner says, ‘Go ahead with it.’ And in the case of New Orleans, the representative of the owner said, ‘That’s not a trade we’re going to make.’” “But that representative was you?” Stern was asked. “Correct,” he said. “And was that the right move to make?” “Buy a ticket and see,” Stern said. “We’ll see how it works out.”

• Asked about reports that shoe companies are trying to steer their star clients to bigger markets – a reference to Adidas’ relationship with Howard – Silver said the league does not have jurisdiction over shoe companies. “But we have looked into it, and we have been assured by the two major shoe companies in the league that the incentives they build into contracts are based on winning as opposed to market size,” Silver said.

• On Jeremy Lin, the Taiwanese-American whose sudden emergence with the Knicks has spawned intense global interest, Stern said, “I just think it’s the universal story of the underdog stepping forward.”
Posted on: February 17, 2012 11:56 pm
 

For Knicks, ideal ending to Linsanity

NEW YORK -- Linsanity was going to end some time. For the Knicks, this was the ideal script.

After seven straight wins over nearly two weeks, fueled by outlandish statistical production, a 38-point performance against the Lakers, a Hollywood buzzer-beater in Toronto and a team-wide revival of chemistry and good times, there had to be an ending. A return to normalcy.

A loss.

All of those things arrived Friday night for Lin and the Knicks, who lost to the previously six-win New Orleans Hornets 89-85. Lin provided glimpses of his lead-guard artistry, but also coughed up nine turnovers to go with his 26 points and five assists. The Knicks committed 21 turnovers resulting in 28 points, shot 4-for-24 from 3-point range and 19-for-29 from the foul line and trailed by as many as 14 points and held the opponent under 20 points.

So why is his good, that only one game after climbing all the way back to .500 after being 8-15 when Lin first got significant floor time on Feb. 4 against the Nets?

Because Carmelo Anthony, in all likelihood, returns Sunday afternoon at home against the Mavericks. And thus, the end of this magical ride with the undrafted, Asian-American point guard from Harvard can't be his fault.

"I don't think this is good because I hate losing," Lin said. "But I know what you're saying in terms of everything dying down a little bit. It may help me, it may help the team a little bit in terms of having everything off the court cool down."

Lin blamed himself for the loss, saying, "If everyone wants to credit me for the last seven games, then I definitely deserve this one on my shoulders. That's fine with me. ... Just a lackluster effort on my part. Nine turnovers is obviously not going to get it done from your primary ballhandler."

The teammate who will need broad shoulders once he's back was the guy warming up hours earlier before the game on the Madison Square Garden court, testing his strained groin and launching jumpers with his iPod playing in his ears. Anthony, who will try to practice Saturday with the goal of returning to the lineup Sunday, has heard day after day of pre-emptive criticism that his ball-stopping, isolation-oriented offensive style would derail the chemistry Lin has inspired and bog down the Knicks' offense.

So maybe it will be prudent to allow Anthony to actually come back and play with his new point guard before deciding that it can't work.

"I don't think it'll change from my standpoint, my approach to the game," Lin said. "I think I'm going to come in with the same mentality, to attack and be aggressive, maybe run (fewer) pick-and-rolls and hopefully be more efficient. Obviously, it's always a good thing when you have more weapons, more play-makers -- not that we don't have enough right now. But somebody with Melo's capabilities, you don't get that every day from anybody."

Also coming on board soon will be newly signed shooting guard J.R. Smith, who is expected to arrive in New York Saturday night -- though he's unlikely to play Sunday without having practiced with the team. Smith brings some baggage with him, but presumably he will put it down long enough to knock down 3-pointers in bunches, something the Knicks could not do Friday night.

Before all the changes and adjustments that will come with them, the end of Linsanity -- or at least, the return to normalcy -- is out of the way. And for the Knicks, that might just be for the best. 
Posted on: February 10, 2012 8:33 pm
Edited on: February 10, 2012 9:17 pm
 

Metta to Lin: Get some swag

NEW YORK -- Leave it to Metta World Peace, the Artest formerly known as Ron, to weigh in on the Jeremy Lin phenomenon in ways that make you laugh, scratch your head and wonder if the world is about to end.

World Peace and Linsanity colliding at Madison Square Garden may simply be too much for the atmosphere to handle.

I never do this, because rarely are all the quotes worth your time. But A) I want to watch the game, and B) all the quotes are amazing, bizarre and will make for enjoyable reading during timeouts. But only during timeouts, as the Knicks' Linsation has nine of their first 13 points as New York leads the Lakers 13-4 as I type this in the first quarter.

Here ya go. Pay special attention to Artest's -- I mean, World Peace's -- fashion advice toward the end, when he suggests a new haircut and shades and says, "You're Jeremy Lin, for godsakes."

Q: Your impressions of Lin.

A: I was like, 'Wow, he had 25 in one game and everybody was going crazy.' New York media, you know? And then it happened two more times and I was like, 'Oh, yeah, it’s good. It’s good.' … Looking from the outside in, everybody’s pretty happy for him. It’s good to see something special for the first time. It’s kind of like when Yao came in and when Toni Kukoc came and everybody was talking about how he was Michael Jordan overseas. It’s good to see something for the first time. And he’s doing it without his two star players.

Q: Who were the Knicks' point guards when you started watching them?

A: (Charlie) Ward, (Derek) Harper, those old rugged guys, real basketball. This is like play-play basketball now. I miss the Harpers. They put that forearm on you and you can’t go nowhere. That’s New York City. That’s hard-nose. I miss that. I miss that. You can’t do that with these soft, cotton candy players. They cry all the time. Babies. Cotton candy.

Q: How good can he be?

A: He still has to play some New York City street ball to break himself in. He has to like go to Hunter College and Rucker and Kingdome and then he would be a real New York City insanity, or whatever you said.

Q: What do you think about all the attention he's getting on Twitter?

A: I think it’s good because it’s a first. It’s the first time. It’s just not normal to see an Asian-American in the NBA, and he’s the first. (Actually, he's the fourth. But who's counting.) And it’s great because Asian-Americans play a whole lot of basketball throughout America. You see it all the time. How many Asian-Americans do you see playing basketball in the street who actually want to play in the NBA? I’m assuming there’s a lot of them. And he did what it takes to play, and he’s a role model. Good in school, he’s a role model all the way around.

Q: What did you know about him before?

A: I know he used to miss layups on the fast break in Golden State. I know he used to turn the ball over at half court. He was trying to find himself. He was the first Asian-American to play (again, the fourth), he must’ve had a lot of pressure on him. He was pretty good. He was athletic. You saw that, but it wasn’t converted to his game. But now he’s playing ball now. He’s showing why he’s a good player. If he had that Ron Artest in his prime defense on him, that would've been a problem. That would've been a major problem. I don’t even think Metta World Peace wants to see that.

Q: Did the Lakers talk about him in the locker room?

A: Do we talk about him? Yeah, we talk about him. We think he needs a better haircut. I don’t like that style. You’re in New York, the fashion capital. Change your haircut, OK? You’re a star now. Wear some shades. Shades, OK? Put down the nerdy Harvard book glasses. Put on some black shades, OK? With some leather pants. Change your style. Fashion.

Q: Do you wear leather pants?

A: No, I won’t wear them, but he should wear leather pants. He’s the type of guy who should wear leather pants, some nice shoes and change his fashion. You’re Jeremy Lin, for godsakes. You know what I’m saying? You know? Put down that law book, stop reading the New York Times and start reading the Daily News. Newsday, that’s the one. I like that one because there’s always color in that one. What else? Wall Street Journal. Get some swag. You’re in New York City. Put your hat to the back, too. Put your hat on backwards. Come to practice with your pants sagging and just tell them, 'I don’t feel like practicing.' Practice? You know? Practice? And wear an Iverson jersey. You know? Come to practice with a cigar. Lit. 'I’m Jeremy Lin.' You know? He should change. We're all excited to play tonight. It’s like the first time for everybody. Everybody’s excited. Kobe’s excited. He wants to get 50. He wants to welcome Jeremy Lin to his new level."

And this concludes this episode of, "I never thought I'd type that and post it online."

Enjoy the game.
Posted on: February 8, 2012 4:29 pm
 

Lakers open to attending Arenas workout

Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak is awaiting word on details of a workout Gilbert Arenas is planning in Los Angeles later this week and is open-minded about attending, two people with knowledge of the situation told CBSSports.com Wednesday.

Although the Lakers have publicly been noncommittal about whether to pursue the three-time All-Star, Kupchak has nothing to lose by evaluating Arenas as a potential solution to the team's point guard woes. The workout date has not yet been set, but Kupchak is said to be willing to attend depending on timing and logistics.

"The Lakers are going to take a look at him," one of the people familiar with the matter said.

Arenas, 30, was waived by the Magic via the amnesty clause after averaging 8.0 points in 49 games for Orlando last season, including two starts. In a total of 70 games for Orlando and Washington in 2010-11, Arenas averaged 10.8 points -- his first full season since serving a 50-game suspension for bringing guns into the Wizards' locker room in December 2009.

Arenas played only 47 games in the previous three seasons due to an assortment of knee injuries, and there are doubts among NBA executives about whether he has anything left. But the Lakers, with no ball-handling guard who can break down opposing defenses, are seeking a spark anywhere they can find it. The team also has been linked with Cleveland's Ramon Sessions and Houston's Jonny Flynn, though neither situation has progressed.

While the Lakers are on the East Coast, losing in Philadelphia Monday night and playing at Boston Thursday and at New York Friday, Kupchak has stayed in L.A. and would be in position to attend Arenas' workout personally.

 
Posted on: January 23, 2012 2:13 pm
 

Hibbert, Pacers unlikely to agree on extension

Roy Hibbert wants to stay in Indiana, but is unlikely to agree to an extension by Wednesday's deadline to re-sign 2008 draft picks, his agent, David Falk, said Monday.

"There's no rush," Falk said. "I think it’s unlikely that we’ll come to agreement this week. It doesn’t mean in any way that he's not happy in Indiana. ... We've had very friendly discussions, and both sides recognize that the discussion is probably premature."

Last year, only five of the 30 first-round picks agreed to in-season extensions that took them off the restricted free-agent market, including a five-year, $85 million deal for Kevin Durant in Oklahoma City. So far this year, only the Bulls' Derrick Rose and Durant's teammate, Russell Westbrook, have gotten extensions done. Sources say the most likely candidates to beat Wednesday's deadline for new deals are Kevin Love (Timberwolves), Danilo Gallinari (Nuggets), Ryan Anderson (Magic) and Nicolas Batum (Trail Blazers) -- with Eric Gordon (Hornets) also a possibility.

Hibbert, 25, is averaging 13.9 points and 9.9 rebounds and is shooting 54.2 percent from the field in his fourth season, leading the Pacers to an 11-4 start -- including a 98-96 victory over the Lakers Sunday. Hibbert's scoring and rebounding numbers have gone up every season he's been in the league.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com