A pair of Celtics roster moves yesterday led to some speculation that the team was clearing room for a bigger deal, but according to Ric Bucher of 95.7 The Game (Sulia link), Jarvis Varnado and Kris Joseph were destined to be cut regardless, since the C's didn't want to pay the luxury tax on those deals. That means, as we heard yesterday from Sam Amick of USA Today, that the Celtics likely aren't close to any sort of deal for DeMarcus Cousins or anyone else. Here are a few more Monday morning links on Cousins and a handful of other Pacific Division topics:
- Bucher notes that it still seems as if Cousins isn't available, but if that stance changes, the Kings may want to try to package him with a bad salary or two.
- Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee reiterates (via Twitter) that there's "no chance" of Cousins being dealt to the Celtics.
- According to Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News, Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard got into a "heated exchange" after a loss on New Year's Day. However, multiple reporters, including Jarrod Rudolph of RealGM.com (Sulia link) and Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com (Twitter link), say there's nothing to the story.
- Whether or not the two Lakers stars were involved in any sort of altercation, Howard believes the team needs to improve its chemistry on and off the court, as Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News writes.
- Acknowledging that he has been disappointed with the Lakers' performance so far this season, GM Mitch Kupchak suggested that establishing Pau Gasol's role is a top priority. "I think Pau continues to struggle to figure out how he's going to play with his group," Kupchak said, according to Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times. "Our coaches are struggling as well. We're not going to succeed as a team until we figure that out."
- The Suns have no untouchable players and will likely be very open to participating in trades as February's deadline approaches, says Sam Amico of FOX Sports Ohio.