Western Rumors: Lakers, Paul, Josh Smith, Mavs

According to Grantland's Bill Simmons, who finishes off his three-part trade value column, there's "increasing buzz" that the Lakers would amnesty Kobe Bryant if they were guaranteed to sign both Dwight Howard and Chris Paul. That appears a longshot on multiple counts, since the Clippers seem all but assured of re-signing Paul, while the Lakers have insisted they're not considering the amnesty move on Kobe. Even if the Lakers take Kobe's $30MM+ salary for next season off their books, it would still be difficult for the team to fit a max contract for Paul under the cap. Regardless, the offseason figures to be full of intrigue in L.A., as always. Here's the latest from the City of Angels and other Western Conference locales:

  • HoopsWorld's Bill Ingram identifies the five teams most likely to lure Josh Smith away from the Hawks, with the Mavericks at the top of the list. If the Hawks want to pursue a sign-and-trade, however, that would probably eliminate Dallas from the equation, Ingram figures.
  • In the same NBA PM piece, Ingram points to recent comments from GM Donnie Nelson and sizes up the Mavs' chances of landing Paul.
  • George Karl tells Marcos Pineiro of Marca.com that he's had conversations about someday coaching in Europe, since doing so may give him the opportunity to coach with his son, Coby Karl (translation via HoopsHype). 
  • Charley Rosen of HoopsHype identifies the ideal coaching fit for each of the six teams with a current opening. Rosen, a longtime confidant of Pistons adviser Phil Jackson, wouldn't be surprised to see Brian Shaw wind up in Detroit, even though Rosen believes Stan Van Gundy is best suited for that job.
  • Los Angeles is a destination for many, but the idea of coaching either the Clippers or Lakers doesn't appeal to Van Gundy, HoopsWorld's Steve Kyler hears (Twitter link).
  • The Jazz will host six second-round draft prospects for workouts tomorrow, as Jody Genessy of The Deseret News details.
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