Steve Blake Rumors
May 7 at 9:32pm CST By Alex Lee
The Knicks have evened their conference semifinal against the Pacers at one. While the Grizzlies try to do the same, here are some news and notes from around the league:
- ESPN Boston's Chris Forberg examines the chances that Courtney Lee will stick in Boston as the Celtics head into their offseason. After being traded three of the last four summers, Lee struggled to carve out a role in his first year as a Celtic despite being given every chance to do so. Lee is under contract and the Celts coveted him a year ago, so it would make sense if they gave him another year to assimilate.
- Tom Moore of PhillyBurbs.com has a litany of Sixers coaching updates in his latest story. According to Moore, the team won't interview Michael Malone or Jeff Hornacek until next week at the earliest. Moore reiterates the team's interst in Brian Shaw and Michael Curry, while also adding a new name, Quin Snyder, to the coaching mix in Philadelphia. Snyder coached on Doug Collins' staff in Philly during the 2010-11 season and was mentioned earlier tonight as a possible fit in Atlanta.
- While Steve Blake is one of four Lakers to be amnesty eligible, his strong play this season as a role player makes it unlikely that he will be the one to go, writes Eric Pincus of the L.A. Times. Kobe Bryant, Metta World Peace and Pau Gasol are his other three amnesty eligible teammates.
- Alex Len and his agent, Michael Lelchitski, contemplated delaying last week's ankle surgery until after pre-draft workouts in an attempt to move into the conversation for the No. 1 pick, writes RealGM's Shams Charania. “If he had a chance to work out, I truly believe he could have moved up and gone No. 1,” Lelchitski said of the Maryland center. While it was clearly the right decision, Len's injury will certainly affect his draft stock, as it will sideline him for anywhere from four to six months.
- In an Insider-only blog, ESPN's Fran Fraschilla breaks down five underrated draft prospects he believes will rise up boards as team's get a better look at them in the coming weeks. Among them, Frachilla lists Murray State's Isaiah Canaan, Cal's Allen Crabbe, Brazil's Lucas Nogueira, NC State's Lorenzo Brown and Baylor's Pierre Jackson.
April 30 at 7:46pm CST By Alex Lee
Not only were they swept by the Spurs, but the Lakers lost all four games to San Antonio by double digits, culminating in Sunday's game four defeat at the Staples Center. Today was exit interview day for the Lakers in Los Angeles. Let's round up all the news coming out of those meetings here as it is reported throughout the night:
- D'Antoni expressed confidence that a full offseason with the talented Lakers squad could make a world of difference under his command, writes Trudell. The Lakers coach thought the team progressed in the second half and that their playoff hopes were largely derailed by injury.
- Like D'Antoni, Blake thinks the Lakers have the talent to win now, per Trudell. Blake thought he fit well into D'Antoni's system, but admitted that either the system or the roster would probably have to be tweaked to make it work.
- Pau Gasol acknowledged on Tuesday that he may not be back with the team next season, writes Eric Pincus of the L.A. Times. As Pincus points out, what happens with Dwight Howard in the offseason will go a long way to determining Gasol's fate in Los Angeles. If the Lakers re-sign Howard, speculation that Gasol will be traded or amnestied is sure to accelerate. Gasol did express his desire to remain a Laker.
- One Laker who seems to want both Gasol and Howard back is injured guard Kobe Bryant, writes Mark Medina of the L.A. Daily News. Bryant's torn Achilles has him unsure of his own NBA longevity, but in the short term he plans to help sell Howard on the Lakers as well as continuing to lobby for the retention of Gasol. Bryant said, “I want Pau here. It’s not a question or discussion. He gives us the best chance to win titles."
- Howard was continuously asked about his offseason plans after his exit interview, writes Lakers.com's Mike Trudell. Howard didn't hint one way or another, per Trudell, but did say that he needs to "clear his head" to think. He also expressed relief that Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak said he wouldn't pressure him into making a decision.
- Kupchak reiterated as much during his media session on Tuesday, adding that he is "hopeful" and "optimistic" that the Lakers will be able to re-sign Howard, writes Medina. Kupchak said that because of how the Lakers lost, "everything is in play" when it comes to improving the team, which includes bringing back Howard and Gasol. The Lakers GM insinuated that Howard's decision won't affect Gasol's future in Los Angeles more than that of any other of the current Lakers.
- Finally, Kupchak maintained that Mike D'Antoni will be back and dodged a question about the state of the Lakers amnesty provision. Medina writes that of the possible candidates - Bryant, Gasol, Metta World Peace and Steve Blake - only Gasol and World Peace seem to make sense as amnesty candidates. World Peace has a $7.7MM player option to consider. Kupchak said he has "no idea" if he plans to exercise it.
April 4 at 5:22pm CST By Luke Adams
Although the Lakers' short-term focus is on finishing the regular season strong and earning a playoff spot in the Western Conference, the team will face a number of questions this summer and beyond, with luxury-tax penalties set to increase starting in 2013/14. Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com spoke to a number of agents, executives, and players about the Lakers' cap situation, so let's round up the highlights:
- One general manager on free agent big man Dwight Howard: "No matter what, they have to re-sign Dwight. Even if they don't want to move forward with Dwight, you gotta
re-sign him because he's a tradable asset no matter what he makes.... You can always move him, but if you don't have him under your
control, then you've got nothing."
- The general belief is that if Howard is re-signed, the Lakers will look to move Pau Gasol, but there are mixed opinions on how much trade value he would have, and how strong a package the Lakers could acquire. Said one GM: "He'll have value as a super expiring contract. There are 12 teams with $12MM or more in [cap
space] this summer. Multiple teams will be open to doing an uneven deal
to acquire him.... They would probably have to take back a multiyear deal at a
lower number. Say, somebody with two or three years left at 6 million a
year. They can't incentivize a deal because they have no assets -- no
[draft] picks and no young players of value."
- Gasol could also be amnestied, which would significantly lessen the Lakers' tax burden, but it would be a purely financial move rather than a basketball one. Rival GMs are skeptical that the team would make such a move in what could be Kobe Bryant's last year.
- Metta World Peace is a more likely amnesty candidate, though if he decides to opt out of the final year of his deal, Steve Blake could be amnestied as well. World Peace told NBA.com last week that he'd consider declining his '13/14 option, and the knee surgery he underwent since then hasn't changed that stance, according to Shelburne.
- One Lakers player said he believes World Peace would like to secure a two- or three-year contract rather than exercising his one-year player option.
- There were also varying opinions among GMs on coach Mike D'Antoni's future with the Lakers. One GM's thoughts: "I like Mike D'Antoni, but if I was them, that's the move I'd make (letting him go). You can talk about amnestying players and
trades, but players are still assets. Coaches are different."
February 21 at 9:05am CST By Luke Adams
While the Lakers are unlikely to make a major move today, the team is exploring smaller moves, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. Wojnarowski tweets that the Lakers are offering Steve Blake, Chris Duhon, Devin Ebanks, and Darius Morris in search of second-round picks.
Given Blake's undesirable contract, which pays him $4MM this year and next, it's unlikely that the Lakers will be able to move him without giving up a pick of their own. I'd also be surprised if L.A. could land a second-rounder for Duhon. Ebanks and Morris could draw some interest though, as both players are young and on minimum-salary contracts.
If the Lakers were to move one or two players for picks, it would give the team the opportunity for a late-season free agent addition with the free roster spot(s). Alternately, it could simply allow the team to reduce its luxury-tax bill a little.
January 26 at 10:49pm CST By Ryan Raroque
Although Kobe Bryant
registered a season low of 10 field goals on Friday night, his 14 assists proved to be instrumental in the Lakers'
rout of the Jazz. Mike D'Antoni
praised his star shooting guard's approach, saying that the dip in field goal attempts shouldn't be looked at as a sacrifice if the team ultimately comes out on top, writes Dave McMenamin of ESPN Los Angeles
. McMenamin also takes a closer look at the impending return
of Steve Blake
, who practiced with the team today and could return to game action next week. You'll find the rest of tonight's Western Conference notes here:
- Earlier today, HoopsWorld's Steve Kyler answered some of his followers' questions on Twitter, saying that he doesn't think the Lakers aren't looking to move Dwight Howard before the deadline, Mike D'Antoni's job isn't necessarily safe right now, and that the Grizzlies aren't currently looking to make a deal with the Celtics (All Twitter links).
- Luke Ridnour has been a productive and dependable stop gap for the Timberwolves in spite of all the injuries he's handled this year, notes Kent Youngblood of the Star Tribune.
- Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro wants Lamar Odom to be more aggressive on the offensive end, according to Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times. Another 6'10 forward has been making waves in Los Angeles, albeit for the purple and gold. In another article, Ben Bolch examines Earl Clark's breakout year as a starter for the Lakers.
- Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin tells Bill Oram of the Salt Lake Tribune that he wants to groom Gordon Hayward into a player who can be counted on to close games.
- Mavericks owner Mark Cuban says there's no doubt in his mind that Dirk Nowitzki will be an All-Star again, writes Eddie Sefko of SportsDayDFW.
- Jason Smith has played with
a reckless abandon that has earned the attention and respect from his
teammates and the Hornets coaching staff, observes John
Reid of NOLA.com.
- Benjamin Hochman of The Denver Post makes a case for why Warriors guard Stephen Curry was the biggest snub of this year's All-Star game.
January 17 at 9:32pm CST By Sean Highkin
The starters for the All-Star game were announced on Thursday, and two members of the Los Angeles Lakers, Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard, were among those selected. Here are the latest updates around the Lakers:
January 16 at 8:25am CST By Luke Adams
The Lakers' new game plan involves increasing Kobe Bryant's role on defense, having him guard opponents' top wing players. The approach was certainly effective last night, as the Lakers beat the Bucks by 16, and Brandon Jennings told reporters after the game that Kobe played "probably the best defense anybody's played on me since I've been in the league" (Twitter link via Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register). As the Lakers look to continue their winning ways on the court, here are the latest off-court notes on the club:
- Brook Lopez is now trade-eligible, which would suggest that trade rumors connecting Dwight Howard to the Nets may be renewed. However, Ian O'Connor of ESPNNewYork.com hears from a source close to Nets management that Brooklyn's interest in D12 may not be as strong as it once was: "It's not as cut and dried as it was last year, when
the feeling was go ahead and pretty much gut the team for Dwight, give
up a bunch of draft picks and players and take back bad contracts. That
feeling isn't there anymore."
- Regardless of the Nets' interest or lack thereof, exploring trades involving Howard isn't even something that's on the table for the Lakers, says Steve Kyler of HoopsWorld.
- The Lakers are leaning toward keeping Pau Gasol at the trade deadline in part because they're not 100% sure Howard will remain in L.A. long-term, and they don't want to risk losing both of their All-Star bigs in a matter of months, writes Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times.
- Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com has details on how Gasol and Steve Blake are recovering from their respective injuries.
- GM Mitch Kupchak confirmed to reporters, including Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times, that the Lakers have requested a disabled player exception for Jordan Hill. Kupchak expects to hear back from the league within a week or so. I outlined on Monday what a DPE would mean for the team.
December 3 at 2:51pm CST By Zach Links
Pau Gasol is having one of his worst seasons in years and the problems have been ongoing since 2011, writes Matt Moore of CBSSports.com. The Lakers are now 3-4 in the Mike D'Antoni era and the big man is being pegged by many as the team's weak link. Despite his struggles, the Lakers can certainly move Gasol and get a solid return, but they may not get a piece in return that will help improve their club. They may not have a choice in the matter, however, as Gasol is clearly not buying into the system. Here's more on Gasol and the Lakers..
- More bad news in Los Angeles as the Lakers announced that Steve Blake will have laproscopic surgery to repair a torn abdominal muscle. The injury will keep him out of action for at least 6-8 weeks and the Lakers may need to look for outside help as fellow guard Steve Nash remains sidelined.
- It's slim pickins on the one-guard front as the best available point guards are players like Mike Bibby, Earl Boykins, Walker Russell, Jonny Flynn, and Coby Karl, tweets Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports. We learned earlier today that Bibby is working to stay in basketball shape and is hoping to make a return.
- Trading Gasol for a power forward who fits better next to Dwight Howard would be a great idea in theory, but the Lakers don't know that Howard will be with them beyond this season, tweets Marc Stein of ESPN.com.
- Trading Gasol to the Raptors for Andrea Bargnani and Jose Calderon is a deal that would make sense for both teams, writes Sam Smith of Bulls.com. Bargnani's style is well-suited for D'Antoni's offense while Calderon would be a great backup for the aging Nash.
- Despite mounting pressure on Gasol, Howard also has to elevate his level of play, writes Kevin Ding of The Orange County Register.
November 28 at 10:25am CST By Luke Adams
Steve Kyler of HoopsWorld took to Twitter today to field a variety of trade-related questions from his followers. Some of Kyler's tweets were particularly notable, so let's round up the highlights below (all links go to Twitter)....
- The Lakers have kicked the tires on Pau Gasol trades in the past and are aware that any move they make would be a downgrade. Kyler notes that if the team falls out of contention, a Lamar Odom-esque salary dump is a possibility, but it's hard to imagine that happening this season.
- Even though J.J. Redick is on an expiring contract, a deal isn't necessarily likely since Redick fits the culture the Magic are trying to establish. Asked specifically about a potential swap with the Timberwolves involving Redick and Derrick Williams, Kyler says the Magic would want to include at least one bad contract in that type of move.
- The Cavaliers continue to say Anderson Varejao isn't available, but Kyler thinks the team will have to cash him in at some point.
- The Hawks still intend to re-sign Josh Smith next summer and build around him.
- Having traded most of their first-round picks in other deals, the Lakers no longer have the draft picks to facilitate a contract dump, so the team will find it difficult to move a point guard like Steve Blake or Chris Duhon.
- The Lakers have talked about the possibility of adding Mickael Pietrus, Delonte West, or Raja Bell, but nothing is close.
- Kyler also reiterates a point he's made before, saying Jimmer Fredette is unhappy with the Kings.
November 13 at 2:50pm CST By Luke Adams
We heard almost a month ago to the day that the Lakers had made Steve Blake and Chris Duhon available via trade, and that hasn't changed even with Steve Nash out, according to Chris Mannix of SI.com (Twitter link). Mannix reports that the Lakers have continued to dangle the two point guards in trade talks, but, unsurprisingly, neither player is drawing much interest. Here are a few more updates out of the Western Conference:
- With Chase Budinger officially out for about three months, the Timberwolves will likely move to add a wing, tweets Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune. Zgoda names Mickael Pietrus, Josh Howard, and Raja Bell as possibilities, though Pietrus is seeking more than Minnesota can offer and Bell is still a member of the Jazz.
- Dirk Nowitzki's rehab on his surgically repaired knee isn't progressing quite as quickly as he'd anticipated, Nowitzki said on FOX Sports Southwest last night. Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News has the details.
- Following up on yesterday's report that the Rockets would send their three rookies to the D-League, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle notes (via Twitter) that that's always been the case with Rockets rookies who aren't getting regular playing time.
- SI.com's Ian Thomsen fields questions on the Lakers, DeMarcus Cousins, the Grizzlies, and a few other topics in his latest mailbag.