Today's matinee between the Clippers and Spurs, two of the top teams in the Western Conference, highlights a light NBA schedule. Here's what's up around the league:
- Pau Gasol is averaging a career-low 16.6 PPG, and Kobe Bryant believes trade talk is one reason for the uncharacteristic performance, as Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Times notes.
- HoopsWorld's Jason Fleming has a rundown on the available cap space for each team. He notes the Grizzlies, who stand just over the tax line, could get under by making a deal before the March 15th trading deadline. The Kings, meanwhile, must either take on salary to get up to 85% of the cap or distribute that money to their existing players. Fleming has the Pacers in the same boat as the Kings, but James Posey's amnestied $7.6MM salary pushes them above the 85% line.
- Salary cap guru Larry Coon sees J.R. Smith declining his $2.5MM option for next season and heading to another team with more money available. Smith already took the more lucrative option on the table this week when he picked the Knicks for this season over the Clippers. (Twitter links)
- Coon tweets the Clippers may covet Ray Allen, one of the Celtics cornerstones GM Danny Ainge may be willing to trade, but doubts L.A. has enough assets to get a deal done.
- We examined Tyson Chandler's impact as a free-agent signing earlier today. Justin Kubatko of The New York Times takes a closer look at the Knicks center playing in the shadow of Jeremy Lin.
- Fellow Times writer Benjamin Hoffman looks at Brandan Wright, who is one of the centers charged with replacing Chandler in Dallas. The scant $1MM investment is paying off for the Mavs, Hoffman writes.
- Mark Cuban and James Dolan are owners who like to spend money and meddle with their teams, but the similarities end there, writes Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News, who believes the Knicks' Dolan should try to further emulate his Dallas counterpart.
- Omri Casspi's numbers are down since the Cavs acquired him via trade last summer, yet Casspi and coach Byron Scott aren't too concerned, notes Mary Schmitt Boyer of The Plain Dealer. Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio tweets that the team feels it got the better of the deal, which sent J.J. Hickson to the Kings for Casspi and a first-round pick.