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And-Ones: Bryant, Clippers, Heat, Celtics

Kobe Bryant still believes that AAU basketball is hurting the game, Baxter Holmes of ESPN.com writes. “I hate it because it doesn’t teach our players how to play the right way, how to think the game, how to play in combinations of threes,” Bryant said following the Lakers’ loss to the Blazers on Saturday. The 37-year-old added that he is thankful for his international upbringing. “My generation is when AAU basketball really started [to go downhill],” Bryant said. “I got lucky because I grew up in Europe and everything there was still fundamental, so I learned all the basics.”

Here’s more from around the NBA:

  • If the Clippers are going to trade away Chris Paul, the only plausible scenario would be sending him to Cleveland for Kyrie Irving, Kevin Pelton of ESPN.com argues in a piece that examines the team’s most valuable trade assets.
  • Lance Stephenson is the Clipper who is most likely to be traded, Pelton opines in the same piece. The shooting guard has played just a total of 41 minutes in the month of January and the team reportedly feels it would be better off in the long run if it could unload the 25-year-old. Pelton suggests that the team look to deal Stephenson to the Suns for P.J. Tucker or to the Blazers for Gerald Henderson.
  • Making a push for the playoffs is the only option for the Heat, Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel argues. The team will send its first-round pick to the Sixers if it falls outside the top 10. If the pick does not convey, Philadelphia will receive Miami’s 2017 first-round pick regardless of where it lands, and Winderman believes that is a scenario to avoid due to the uncertainty surrounding this team during the upcoming offseason. Hassan Whiteside will be an unrestricted free agent. Dwyane Wade, who will turn 35 next season, will also be a free agent and it’s unclear how much of a burden that he will be able to carry should he re-sign with Miami.
  • The Celtics have recalled R.J. Hunter, Terry Rozier and James Young from the D-League Maine Red Claws, per the team’s Twitter feed.

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