Leading off his Weekend Dime piece at ESPN.com, Marc Stein follows up on yesterday's tweet about the possibility of the Hornets and Matt Carroll reaching a buyout agreement. According to Stein, New Orleans "immediately commenced" buyout talks with Carroll upon acquiring him, meaning the ex-Bobcat should be on the open market soon. Here are the other highlights from Stein's Weekend Dime:
- While some pundits, including Grantland's Bill Simmons, continue to speculate about the Lakers trading Pau Gasol to the Hawks, Atlanta has no interest in sending Josh Smith to Los Angeles in a deal for Gasol, says Stein. The Hawks have "not been in enticed in the least" by the prospect of moving Smith, and are telling interested teams that they value the 26-year-old highly.
- Atlanta's stance doesn't mean that the Lakers haven't spoken internally about the possibility of making a run at Smith, adds Stein. But it looks like an unlikely fit unless another team or two gets involved.
- Even if the Pistons hadn't snapped a winless streak that saw them open the season 0-8, head coach Lawrence Frank likely wouldn't have been in immediate danger, according to Stein. Detroit views this season as a developmental one for its young core, and player development is considered one of Frank's strengths.
- Stein also passes along details on the final year of James Harden's max contract, via Mark Deeks of ShamSports. As we heard earlier this week, that fifth year is only 50% guaranteed. However, it would become fully guaranteed if Harden makes even one All-Star team from 2013/14 to 2016/17. There are other conditions related to personal statistical benchmarks and the Rockets' postseason performance that would also guarantee that final year for Harden. You can check out the complete details at ShamSports.