NBA Rumors: Latest Trade Whispers from Around the League

Who says NBA front offices have to wait for the trade deadline in February to start exploring potential moves? After all, wins in December and January count as much in the standings as wins in March and April, so it is worth improving your roster at any point during the year. 

While there have not been any league-altering swaps yet this season, there are plenty of trade rumors circulating around the Association.

With that in mind, here is a look at the latest whispers from the NBA.

 

Wesley Matthews

Chris Haynes of Cleveland.com provided an update on Wesley Matthews: “Barring an unexpected plummet, the Trail Blazers are dismissing all overtures for Matthews. He is a free agent at the end of the season and they have every intention of re-signing him next summer, a league source said.”

The majority of Haynes’ report revolves around the possibility of the Cleveland Cavaliers adding Matthews, and that would make perfect sense from their perspective. Shawn Marion is playing out of position at the shooting guard spot, while Dion Waiters has transitioned to a role off the bench, so there is a need for another shooting guard.

Matthews would greatly improve Cleveland’s perimeter defense and take some of the pressure off of LeBron James on that end of the floor.

Per NBA.com, Matthews holds opponents to a shooting percentage of 7.2 percent less than their normal shooting percentage. That number is even more impressive when the opponent is behind the three-point line, where Matthews holds opponents to a shooting percentage that is 10.9 percent worse than their normal long-range shooting percentage.

Throw in Matthews’ 38.8 percent mark from behind the three-point line, and he would be the perfect player alongside James in Cleveland considering James’ ability to set up his teammates by drawing extra defenders. 

Alas, Matthews seems like a pipe dream for Cleveland fans for now because the Portland Trail Blazers are an impressive 19-6 on the season and on the short list of Western Conference contenders. They likely aren’t looking to trade one of their main contributors at this point.

 

Corey Brewer

Speaking of solid perimeter defenders, Darren Wolfson of 1500ESPN.com provided an update on Corey Brewer:

The Houston Rockets are likely all in for an NBA title run this season at 18-5 and could use Brewer’s versatility and defense. He leads the NBA in steals per game at 2.3 a night and would allow Houston to hide James Harden on that side of the floor. Brewer could guard the opponent’s best perimeter player on a nightly basis.

What’s more, Brewer would give the Rockets another option at shooting guard and small forward outside of Harden and Trevor Ariza. Ariza leads the team in minutes per game at 38.1, and Harden is not that far behind at 37.5. Brewer could provide some meaningful time off the bench and keep Ariza and Harden fresh come playoff time.

Wolfson noted that nothing is imminent, but Brewer’s recent quotes regarding the Timberwolves’ rebuilding efforts made it seem like he wouldn’t necessarily hate a trade, via Jerry Zgoda of the Minneapolis Star Tribune: “It’s tough for me, I’m not going to lie. When I came back here, I wasn’t expecting this, to rebuild again. It comes with the territory. It’s business. It’s basketball. It’s what I love to do. So I wake up every day and I come to work.”

 

Jamal Crawford 

Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio passed along an interesting update on Jamal Crawford:

The Los Angeles Clippers are 17-7 and largely considered one of the favorites to compete for a title from the Western Conference, so any talk of trading a marquee player like Crawford is certainly interesting and perhaps premature.

Amico notes that the talks are simply exploratory, but it is difficult to envision the Clippers trading a streaky scorer like Crawford to a fellow Western Conference contender like the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Thunder could use another perimeter scorer alongside Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant, and adding the sharp-shooting Crawford would make their offense all the more formidable. 

For now, though, it appears as if Crawford will stay in Los Angeles. This will still be an interesting situation to monitor before the trade deadline.

 

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NBA Trade Rumors: Rounding Up Hottest Talk Around the League

Not nearly enough time has passed to crown an NBA champion, but some teams have suffered enough losses to already enter panic mode.

In a sport plagued by inequality, it becomes apparent which squads can make a postseason push and which are simply biding their time to the draft. After enduring such shaky openings to the season, some clubs are searching for ways to gut the roster.

While two entertaining yet maddening guards aren’t drawing much interest, a Western Conference squad that won’t make the cut is peddling two strong role players to intrigued contenders. 

Let’s take a look at what has everyone chirping around the Association.

 

Charlotte Hornets Already Shopping Lance Stephenson

Less than two months into the season, the Charlotte Hornets are already looking to move offseason signee Lance Stephenson. According to Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski, the Hornets have called the shooting guard’s former team to see if it wants him back.

The Charlotte Hornets are targeting the Indiana Pacers and Brooklyn Nets as destinations to unload guard Lance Stephenson, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

Stephenson becomes eligible to be traded on Monday, and Charlotte has rapidly lost hope that its brief partnership with Stephenson can stand the test of time.

Indiana hasn’t ruled out the possibility of bringing back Stephenson, but appears unwilling to seriously engage the Hornets without the inclusion of a first-round pick in a potential deal, sources told Yahoo Sports.

So far, Charlotte has shown no inclination to package a future draft pick to move Stephenson, league executives told Yahoo Sports.

The unpredictable 24-year-old has faltered in his new home, shooting just 38.7 percent while making eight three-pointers through 24 games. Pegged as a team to fill a playoff seed in the Eastern Conference, Charlotte has instead gone 6-18, getting outscored by 7.3 points per game.

With Stephenson on the court this season, the Hornets have mustered a minuscule 88 points per 100 possessions, which had to led to a tally of minus-0.9 offensive win shares for Stephenson. 

Indiana could hope to rekindle his breakout season in a familiar environment, but the club isn’t eager to orchestrate a reunion. While Stephenson is a Brooklyn native, the Nets would want the Hornets to absorb one of their veterans’ bloated contracts in turn.

Wojnarowski added that “Stephenson’s inability to co-exist on the floor with point guard Kemba Walker is among the primary reasons for the franchise’s desire to trade him.” They’ll entertain offers, but it’s not good business to jettison someone with his stock at rock bottom.

 

Contenders Interested in Mozgov, Chandler

According to SI.com’s Chris Mannix, a pair of championship hopefuls are looking to acquire someone Denver obtained for Carmelo Anthony in 2011.

“Teams continue to look at Denver as an appealing trade partner,” Mannix wrote. “The Cavs have been trying to acquire center Timofey Mozgov, and league sources said the Thunder have inquired about swingman Wilson Chandler.”

Mozgov, 28, has become a stout force up the middle, hoisting a 54.7 field-goal percentage while averaging 11 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per 36 minutes. As a team, the Cleveland Cavaliers rank No. 21 in boards and No. 20 in blocks, lacking a legitimate force to clog the paint.

Standing at 7’1″ and 250 pounds, Mozgov would add some size, which will especially come in handy during the playoffs.

With Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant back in business, the Oklahoma City Thunder have zoomed back into the playoff picture by winning seven of their last eight games. NBA TV documented their prowess with both stars in the lineup.

A brutal November proved how reliant the Thunder are on those two, and a lack of depth has crushed them in past postseasons. A two-way pro with size and shooting ability, Chandler would provide some essential insurance on the perimeter. 

The 27-year-old is scoring 14.5 points per game this season on 44.0 percent shooting. Andre Roberson can play defense, and Anthony Morrow can shoot, but Chandler would relieve Scott Brooks from picking just one.

Landing Chandler would go a long way for the Thunder, who have a steep hill ahead to climb back up the crowded Western Conference.

 

Who Wants J.R. Smith?

The New York Knicks are a dysfunctional soap opera that keeps on spinning. Since peak Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal didn’t come with Phil Jackson, a weak roster has delved to the bottom of a middling Eastern Conference, ahead of only the Philadelphia 76ers (2-22) at 5-21.

It’s gotten so bad that reports have surfaced about Anthony’s willingness to waive a no-trade clause attached to his recently signed five-year deal. While those talks are premature, the Knicks are looking to do something to avoid mass hysteria in Manhattan.

According to ESPN The Magazine Chris Broussard, they’re still hoping to make J.R. Smith the scapegoat. 

“With free agents who signed before Sept. 16 becoming available for trade Dec. 15, the Knicks could look to make roster changes soon—with sources saying J.R. Smith is the player they’d most like to trade,” Broussard wrote.”

Scoring 10.3 points per game with a 49.1 true shooting percentage, few New Yorkers will miss the mercurial shooting guard. Injuries, however, will make any deal tougher to manufacture.

Not only is Iman Shumpert out with a dislocated shoulder, but Smith also has a partial tear in his plantar fascia. He told the New York Post‘s Fred Kerber that he thought he was just dealing with a bruised heal.

I had problems with that early on in training camp,” Smith said. “But when I heard it was like a small tear I kind of got nervous. They told me there’s nothing really they can do but keep treating it, treating it. Some days will be better than others. Just got to figure it out.

His subpar numbers alone will deter teams from making an offer, but any trade talks would get effectively shelved if Smith must miss significant time. Either way, New York would not get much in return unless it took on an ugly contract, which interferes with its plans to retool in ensuing offseasons.

 

All advanced statistics courtesy of Basketball-Reference.com.

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NBA reaches commercial deal with Brazilian league (Yahoo Sports)

SAO PAULO (AP) — The NBA has reached a commercial partnership with Brazil’s top basketball league, taking over its marketing, advertising and licensing deals.

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Celtics Rookies Young, Powell Making Strides in the NBA Development League

Boston Celtics rookies Dwight Powell and James Young entered the game against the San Antonio Spurs with four minutes, 19 seconds left. Young finished with two points, while Powell chipped in six in a blowout loss.

Later that week, they both started for the Maine Red Claws. Young exploded for 31 points on 9-of-16 shooting (7-of-10 on three pointers), while Powell dropped 21 points on 9-of-14 shooting in a come-from-behind victory over the Fort Wayne Mad Ants.

So far the Red Claws are 2-2 without Young and Powell and are undefeated when either one plays. A preliminary case can be made that the Red Claws need Young and Powell. What’s certain is Young and Powell need the Red Claws.

Being a rotational player for the Celtics remains the goal for Powell and Young, but right now they are not quite ready. Being an Eastern Conference team should lead to plenty of mop-up duty in blowouts. But they get little out of being force-fed scoring opportunities during garbage time.

Getting big minutes in the NBA Development League fills the playing-time void for the rookies. Instead of throwing up a couple of worthless shots during exhibition time, Powell and Young get to develop their play in actual games under similar intensity they will face in the NBA. It’s the kind of preparation they wouldn’t get if they stayed in Boston all season long.

Boston took total control of the Red Claws in 2012 after sharing the franchise with the Philadelphia 76ers and Charlotte Bobcats for the 2011-12 season. This year Boston promoted Maine assistant coach Scott Morrison to head coach. Then Morrison spent two months learning the Celtics’ playbook from head coach Brad Stevens, ensuring continuity between Boston and Maine.

The Red Claws were useful to Boston before, but the Celtics are taking full advantage of their affiliate as Boston is exploiting all benefits now. Sending draft picks north for work is nothing new, as Avery Bradley, Fab Melo and Kris Joseph spent time with the Red Claws.

This year the training camp invites that didn’t make the cut with Boston are being groomed as the Celtics keep an eye on them. Tim Frazier, Christian Watford and Rodney McGruder, if they play well, could get called up to Boston if the Celtics suffer through a rash of injuries or if trades open roster spots. Chris Babb and Chris Johnson received call-ups last year.

What could be different in the future is Boston developing athletes that become NBA players. Last year, Red Claws guard Shelvin Mack, a 2013 D-League All-Star, went from signing a 10-day contract with the Atlanta Hawks last season to signing a three-year deal with the Hawks in 2014. Hopefully the next Red Claw player who graduates to the NBA doesn’t slip through Boston’s fingers.

That player could be Powell. The 45th selection in the 2014 NBA draft, the four-year Stanford product is a power forward with the range to stretch the floor. While that makes Powell similar to Kelly Olynyk, Powell’s athleticism sets him apart. His physical abilities would be a welcomed addition to Boston’s frontcourt.

Boston hopes Young becomes a permanent fixture in its rotation at some point this season. For a team searching for a closer, Young’s shooting and range would make him a go-to candidate in late-game situations.

But neither will become Celtics regulars until they improve their all-around game. Powell has to be more than just a finesse stretch 4. Young needs to be a better defender to earn minutes from Stevens.

When Powell and Young are ready to be full-time Celtics is up to them. Powell and Young will keep practicing with Boston during the week, then take their homework to Maine. The 106-mile commute to Portland isn’t appealing, but the D-League internship is preparing them to not just make the Celtics’ active roster, but to play consistently.

Years ago then-coach Doc Rivers expected Melo to dominate during his D-League assignment. That’s apparently Powell and Young’s approach. They are currently the Red Claws’ leading scorers, while Powell is also leading Maine in rebounds by a wide margin.

On Saturday against the Sioux Falls Skyforce, Powell logged his second double-double with 25 points and 12 rebounds while Young had 19 points. These are valuable minutes for a pair of players who barely see the floor when dressed in green and white. That will eventually change for Powell and Young as they gain confidence and polish their games with the Red Claws.

 

Questions? Comments? Send to randolphc82@comcast.net.

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Golden State Warriors Streaking to League of Their Own in Crowded West

The Golden State Warriors tied a franchise record with their 11th straight win, this time a 112-85 clinic against the up-and-coming New Orleans Pelicans.

It was a lopsided microcosm of this team’s young season at large. Coming off a solid 51-win campaign, the Warriors are playing like legitimate contenders these days—and handling outfits like the Pelicans in short order.

“This is the best game we played in a long time,” head coach Steve Kerr told reporters after the game.

Tallying 31 assists and just nine turnovers will elicit those kind of sentiments. But Kerr and Co. have more than one game on which to hang their hats.

After the Memphis Grizzlies fell to the Houston Rockets on Wednesday, Golden State now remains the only team in the NBA with just two losses, sitting atop league standings with a 16-2 record that may well be a harbinger of postseason success to come.

That record—and the streak that keeps on making it look better—is only the tip of the iceberg, though.

By the numbers, the Warriors are absolutely dominating their competition. Coming into Thursday night’s contest, their average plus-10 point differential tied the Toronto Raptors as the league’s best. According to Hollinger Stats, Golden State ranks seventh in offensive efficiency (with 106.7 points per 100 possessions) and first in defensive efficiency (allowing just 95.4 points per 100 possessions).

It’s the kind of two-way supremacy that sets Kerr’s club apart from the defensively minded Grizzlies or explosive Los Angeles Clippers.

The Warriors do it all, and they do it very well.

And no, you don’t have to be a Grizzlies hater to admit it.

Results aside, no team is working with a more well-rounded collection of personnel.

Attention has justifiably focused on Klay Thompson and November Western Conference Player of the Month Stephen Curry, but this team’s success is very much owed to collective efforts that take full advantage of Andrew Bogut’s interior defense and Draymond Green’s inside-outside versatility.

They’re even getting 31.2 points per game off a bench getting strong contributions from Andre Iguodala, Marreese Speights and Shaun Livingston, per HoopsStats.com.

The supporting cast’s willingness to do the little things has made this team a force on both ends of the floor, in much the same way last season’s San Antonio Spurs marched to a title with an ensemble mastery of their offensive and defensive systems alike.

Those Spurs have accounted for one of Golden State’s losses, and the ever-dangerous Phoenix Suns were responsible for the other.

It’s been smooth, undefeated sailing ever since.

That doesn’t mean this club has achieved perfection just yet. It snuck past the Orlando Magic by a 98-97 margin for that 10th consecutive win, taking advantage of Curry’s go-ahead three-pointer that fell with just 2.2 seconds remaining in regulation. 

And 10 of the Warriors’ last 11 victories have come against sub-.500 teams, so there’s little doubt more revealing tests await.

The good news is that this squad appears to have what it takes to meet those challenges head on. Even when one puts the numbers in context of the opposition’s strength (or lack thereof), all the intangibles are there, too, as Bogut recently described to reporters:

We’re enjoying ourselves. We have good guys in the locker room. We don’t have any prima donnas. We don’t have any guys who are about themselves, so that makes life a lot easier.

First team I’ve been on in a while where we actually have guys, we land in cities, we get together, and go and eat. I’ve been on teams where, plane lands, people are like [imitates sound of a wind gust].

It’s an encouraging sign from a group of guys who were reeling over former coach Mark Jackson’s ousting not long ago. Talented as the Warriors are on paper, it’s their chemistry and connectivity that could keep a good thing going.

“As a staff, we try to keep it light and loose while getting our work in, but it’s easy to have fun when you have great guys,” Kerr added. “Our guys are awesome. They’re coachable. They have senses of humor. They enjoy being around each other.”

And apparently, they also like winning.

Inimitable though it may be, their formula is simple enough. Curry and Thompson combined for 42 points and 16 assists against the Pelicans. Green and third-year forward Harrison Barnes combined for another 31. After a second-quarter defensive effort that held New Orleans to just 12 points, the Warriors’ variety of weapons were just too much to overcome.

Even for Anthony Davis and his 30 points, 15 rebounds and three blocks.

Golden State will get one more weapon with whom to work when power forward David Lee returns from a hamstring injury sometime next week

We need him,” Kerr told reporters after Thursday’s contest. “We’ll find ways to play him. It may mean a few less minutes for Harrison or Draymond. We’ll figure it out.”

And they’ll likely take another step past teams like Memphis in the process. A two-time All-Star, Lee averaged 18.2 points and 9.3 rebounds a season ago. He’ll instantly upgrade a front line that’s fairly small at the moment outside of Bogut. 

The Grizzlies and Clippers don’t have reinforcements of that caliber on the horizon. Nor do the healthy Portland Trail Blazers or Dallas Mavericks. Among the West’s would-be contenders, only the Houston Rockets—who’ve shouldered injuries to Dwight Howard, Patrick Beverley and Terrence Jones—can expect significant help in the near term.

Increasingly, the Warriors seem to be doing just fine without the help. Thursday’s nine turnovers may be indicative of an important turnaround for a team that struggled to value possessions earlier in the season. No team is hitting its stride quite like Golden State at the moment.

These Warriors are in sync and unafraid—and the rest of the Western Conference may not be able to do anything about it. 

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Familiar names dominating in Chinese Basketball League

Bo Jackson and his representatives instructed the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to not select him in the 1986 NFL Draft. The Buccaneers selected him in the 1986 NFL Draft. Yi Jianlian and his representatives instructed the Milwaukee Bucks to not select him in the 2007 NBA Draft. The Bucks selected him in the 2007 NBA Draft.
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League takes away LeBron’s triple-double (Yahoo Sports)

CLEVELAND (AP) — The NBA has stripped LeBron James of a triple-double.

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NBA Weekly Column: Warriors atop the league

Although the NBA season is still in the early stages, things are heating up. Unlike recent history, the East is competing with the West for bragging rights in labeling the best conference in the league.
Power Six Teams
1. Golden State Warriors(5-1):
Before losing to the Phoenix Suns this Sunday, the Warriors were the lone undefeated team in the league. They even won a battle between two unbeaten teams when they rolled through Houston and took down the Rockets 98-87.
2.  Chicago Bulls(6-2):
Derrick Rose is back from his bad ankle injuries, which only means the Bulls will get ten times better with him on the court. Their defense is darn near impenetrable and the combination of Joakim Noah and Pau Gasol down low is formidable to say the least.
3. Houston Rockets(6-1):
They are 4-0 on the road. Before losing to the Warriors this past Saturday, Houston reeled off  six straight wins…all by double digits!
4.  Memphis Grizzlies(6-1):
This team is for real. The Grizzlies may not be the most exciting team to watch

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NBA Rumors: Latest Buzz on Potential Roster Moves Around the League

While teams like the San Antonio Spurs, Los Angeles Clippers and Cleveland Cavaliers worry about positioning for the NBA playoffs early in the season, others like the Philadelphia 76ers already have their eyes on next year.

However, there are still some rumors revolving around the 76ers early in the 2014-15 campaign because they are required to actually play the games on the schedule. Playing the games on the schedule actually means fielding a roster, even if it’s not competitive.

With that in mind, here is the latest from Philadelphia, as well as a rumor regarding a former Big Ten superstar.

 

Philadelphia 76ers

Tom Moore of Calkins Media passed along an update on the 76ers’ big-man situation:

Philadelphia sits at 0-7 and is fresh off a blowout loss at the hands of the Toronto Raptors on Sunday night. This team is not built to compete this season and would be better off losing every game for draft purposes.

Still, as mentioned, it has to field a deep enough roster to play actual NBA games.

Considering Henry Sims and Nerlens Noel are the only healthy centers on the roster while Joel Embiid recovers from injury, adding another center would bolster the interior depth. Sure, there may not be a lot available at this point of the season, but even a replacement-level center would help take some mileage off Noel’s legs.

The good news given the current roster situation is that it won’t be particularly difficult to find a player to cut.

Eventually, the 76ers could field a roster led by Michael Carter-Williams, Embiid, Noel and Dario Saric, but this will be yet another lost seasonregardless of whatever big man they pull off the free-agency pile at this point of the year. 

Hopefully, the fanbase has impressive patience.

 

Aaron Craft

Sportando’s Orazio Cauchi noted that former Ohio State point guard Aaron Craft could have a new basketball home rather soon.

“According to several sources, Aaron Craft is the main target at PG position for the Partizan Belgrade. Craft spent the training camp with the Golden State Warriors and he has the chance to play in D-League for the Santa Cruz Warriors,” he wrote.

Craft is best known for his time as a Buckeye, where he reached the Sweet 16 three times, the Elite Eight twice and the Final Four once. He was never much of an offensive threat (8.9 points a game in his four-year career), but he was an absolute defensive wizard at the college level.

Craft won the 2013-14 NABC (National Association of Basketball Coaches) Defensive Player of the Year and racked up 337 steals in his career, which is the most in the history of the Big Ten.

It is really no wonder that the Partizan Belgrade are interested in landing a perimeter defender who can keep up with almost any ball-handler on the outside and apply full-court pressure when needed. There could also be room for that type of play at the NBA level if Craft was put in the right situation.

He is capable of coming off the bench and speeding up the game for short spurts with pressure defense and forced turnovers.

Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr seemed to think so when he said the following to NBA TV (h/t Bob Baptist of the Columbus Dispatch) during summer league: “Guy’s a baller. He just plays.” 

It looks like Craft may have to turn more heads than just Kerr’s from abroad now if he ever wants to make it in the NBA.

 

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NBA Trade Rumors: Latest Whispers from Around the League

You have probably made a number of trades already in your fantasy basketball league or in NBA 2K15, but there usually aren’t any big-time moves in the opening week or two of an actual NBA season.

That is certainly the case for the 2014-15 campaign, but there are still plenty of rumors circulating around the league.

Two of those trade rumors in particular surround the Los Angeles franchises, as the Clippers are looking for ways to improve a title-contending roster, while the Lakers’ star is caught up in some rumors of his own.

With that in mind, here is a look at some of the latest trade rumors from around the NBA.

 

Kobe Bryant

Frank Isola of the (New York) Daily News passed along an update regarding the possibility of Kobe Bryant getting traded to the New York Knicks:

The Lakers could begin the rebuilding process immediately by removing Bryant’s salary from their cap. The Knicks are one team that has expiring contracts to placate Los Angeles.

“I don’t see it happening,” said one Eastern Conference GM. “I’d put it at minus 20%.”

The same general manager thought about it for a moment and added: “The only way this happens is if Kobe goes to the Lakers and asked to be traded.”

If you take away the fact that Bryant has played with the Lakers his entire career and that the Eastern Conference general manager said it’s not going to happen, this potential trade makes some sense.

A Bryant and Carmelo Anthony pairing would make the Knicks instant playoff contenders in the watered-down Eastern Conference. What’s more, Bryant is familiar with the triangle offense and with Phil Jackson and Derek Fisher from their time in Los Angeles together and would accelerate the learning curve in the Big Apple.

From the Lakers’ perspective, getting rid of Bryant would exponentially increase their chances of landing a top-five draft pick, which is the only way their pick doesn’t go to the Phoenix Suns this season. Considering Steve Nash and Julius Randle are out for the year, Bryant is the only real hope the Lakers have at stringing together any wins.

Interestingly, Isola notes that if Bryant were to become available, the Chicago Bulls and Dallas Mavericks would also be among the teams that take a look at the future Hall of Famer.

Chicago and Dallas are both title contenders on paper, and adding a dynamic star like Bryant would really alter the landscape of the NBA. It would especially help in Chicago, since the Bulls have struggled to score the past couple of years and Derrick Rose’s health is always a concern.

Before everyone gets excited about the prospect of Bryant switching uniforms, it is worth looking at some quotes from the man himself, via Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports:

I hear the chatter of Kobe should ask out and he should go and play for a contender in this latter stage of his career. But that’s not what I do. I’m extremely loyal to the Lakers.

I believe in fighting through the tough times as well as enjoying the good times. It’s my responsibility to get us to be the best that we can be. It’s important that we approach that on a day-to-day basis. 

Perhaps he will change his mind when the trade deadline rolls around after a half season of losing.

 

Los Angeles Clippers Looking for a Small Forward

Things are looking a lot better for the other Los Angeles franchise, but there is still room for improvement for the Clippers if they want to compete with the defending champion San Antonio Spurs in the playoffs this season.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports made the following statements on The Home Team radio program, via www.kfwbam.com:

“The Clippers have to find a way to get better at small forward. They’re just not good enough there. They’ve scoured the league trying to find a small forward, but I don’t know that they have the assets or players to give up to get that kind of player back in a trade.”

The Clippers have arguably the best point guard in the game in Chris Paul, one of the best overall players in the league in Blake Griffin and an interior force in DeAndre Jordan. They also boast solid backcourt depth with Jamal Crawford and J.J. Redick, and Spencer Hawes is a formidable big man off the bench.

However, there is not a lot of proven or reliable talent outside of Matt Barnes at the small forward position. Hedo Turkoglu is well past his prime, and Chris Douglas-Roberts is not exactly the guy you want to rely on in crunch time against the Spurs in May.

Even Barnes himself is more of a defensive stopper than an offensive threat.

It is really no wonder that Los Angeles is looking at small forwards with that roster. There really aren’t any other holes to fill. 

The Clippers have the pieces to make a run at the title, and the injury situation in Oklahoma City means the Western Conference is wide open behind the Spurs. This could be their best chance to take home the Larry O’Brien Trophy, and another small forward would only make Los Angeles even more dangerous come playoff time.

 

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